Everything to Know About Mangoes

How to choose, store, cut and cook these sweet tropical fruits.

June 05, 2023
Mango, Mangoes, Ripe, Ripeness, Fresh, Freshness, Fruit.

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Mango, Mangoes, Ripe, Ripeness, Fresh, Freshness, Fruit.

Photo by: Jena Ardell/Getty Images

Jena Ardell/Getty Images

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By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

Although you can find mangoes at your grocery store year-round, these tropical stone fruits reach their full flavor potential during peak season months. Their sweet-tart profile makes them perfect for adding to summer salads, salsas and smoothies, but you’ll need a little know-how to tell when they’re ripe and to cut them. Here’s everything you need to know about mangoes.

Tree with Unripe Green Mangoes Hanging Down

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Tree with Unripe Green Mangoes Hanging Down

Photo by: Alexandre Morin-Laprise/Getty Images

Alexandre Morin-Laprise/Getty Images

What Are Mangoes?

Mangoes are a tropical stone fruit with juicy, golden-orange flesh and sweet-tart flavor. The mango, also known as Mangifera Indica, is part of the Anacardiaceae family, which also includes tropical fruiting trees such as cashews and pistachios.

Mangoes range from oblong to round to kidney-shaped and can weigh anywhere from six ounces to four pounds. Depending on the variety, mangoes’ skin varies in color, including yellowish-orange, yellowish-green, yellow with bright red spots or dark red. Mangoes contain long seeds, which can make them challenging to slice.

Mangoes are native to Southeast Asia and seventy-five percent of the world’s mangoes are grown in India (although these fruits rarely reach the U.S. due to import restrictions). In the U.S., mangoes are grown in Florida and California; the top four varieties native to the U.S. are Tommy Atkins, Haden, Keitt and Kent.

Stack of several varieties of Mangoes of different size and colors

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Stack of several varieties of Mangoes of different size and colors

Photo by: Julien Viry/Getty Images

Julien Viry/Getty Images

When Are Mangoes In Season?

Peak mango season runs from May through September, though you can find imported mangoes at your grocery store year-round. Different varieties of mangoes reach peak availability at different times of the year.

Are Mangoes Good For You?

From a nutrition standpoint, Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, award-winning nutrition expert and Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Diabetes Create Your Plate Meal Prep Cookbook, says, “A cup of sliced mango contains 107 calories, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and contains over 20 vitamins and minerals. They’re an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and are also a source of potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin K and vitamin E.”

6 Varieties of Mangoes

There are several varieties of mangoes, but The National Mango Board outlines characteristics of six common U.S. varieties.

  • Tommy Atkins: medium to large, oval or oblong, mostly red skin with green or yellow accents, firm flesh and a tart flavor with sweet notes. This variety is the most commercially grown in the U.S.
  • Haden: medium to large, oval to round, bright red skin with green and yellow overtones and small white dots and firm flesh. They have a sweet-and-sour flavor with a slightly bitter after-taste of tropical fruit.
  • Keitt: large, oval, dark to medium green skin, sometimes with a small pink blush, firm, juicy flesh that tastes sweet and fruity.
  • Kent: large, oval, dark green skin with a dark red blush, and juicy, tender flesh whose flavor is sweet with sour notes.
  • Ataulfo/Honey: small, flattened oblong shape, golden skin, with an intensely sweet and silky-smooth flesh.
  • Francis: oblong, bright yellow skin with green overtones, soft, juicy flesh and sweet-fruity flavor.

How to Know When Mangoes Are Ripe

Cropped shot of female hand picking up a mango from the product aisle in the store.

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Cropped shot of female hand picking up a mango from the product aisle in the store.

Photo by: Oscar Wong/Getty Images

Oscar Wong/Getty Images

You’ll know a mango is ripe if it yields slightly when gently squeezed and if the stem has a fruity aroma.

Depending on the variety, the National Mango Board advises looking for different visual cues to assess for ripeness. As it ripens, Ataulfo mangoes turn a deep golden color and small wrinkles appear once they fully ripen. Kent mangoes bear yellow undertones or have dots covering more of the mango as it ripens. The green areas of the skin on Haden mangoes turn yellow as they ripen, while Keitt mangoes stay green even when ripe. Francis mangoes’ green overtones diminish as they ripen and the yellow progresses to a more golden hue.

Avoid mangoes that are gray, bruised or have black spots on the skin as these are all signs of spoilage.

How to Store Mangoes

Healthy eating themes. Tropical Fruits: Sliced mangos in a clay rustic plate on a wooden table in rustic kitchen

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Healthy eating themes. Tropical Fruits: Sliced mangos in a clay rustic plate on a wooden table in rustic kitchen

Photo by: apomares/Getty Images

apomares/Getty Images

Store unripe mangoes at room temperature and ripe mangoes in the refrigerator. Mangoes will continue to ripen at room temperature and become softer and sweeter. You can speed up ripening by placing mangoes in a paper bag and storing them at room temperature. When ripe, store mangoes in the refrigerator for up to five days. Mangos can also be peeled and cut and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for several days or in the freezer for up to six months.

How to Cut a Mango

  1. Gather your materials: you’ll need a cutting board, vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works well), sharp knife and container to put the cut mango in.
  2. Set up your cutting board: stabilize your cutting board by placing a wet paper towel underneath to keep it from slipping.
  3. Slice the mango to create a flat end: cut a thin slice off the bottom of the mango so that you can securely stand it on the cutting board.
  4. Peel the mango: use a vegetable peeler to peel the mango from top to bottom, leaving a 2-inch patch of peel on each side. These patches are where you’ll hold the mango as you cut its slippery flesh.
  5. Cut off the sides: stand the mango up on its flat end and hold it with one hand, using the patches of skin as your grip. Place the knife under the arch of your fingers and cut each side off the flat pit, cutting as close to it as possible.
  6. Finish peeling the mango: with the mango halves flat on your board, peel the patches of skin off each side of the mango.
  7. Cut the mango: with the mango cheeks flat side-down, cut them lengthwise into slices. If you need large, flat pieces, slice the cheeks diagonally on the bias. If you want cubes, slice a mango cheek lengthwise, then make perpendicular cuts. Make thinner slices to achieve smaller cubes for dishes like salsa or chutney.

For more tips and techniques, like how to score a mango, check out our guide on How to Cut a Mango.

What to Cook with Mangoes

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

These tangy, bright tropical fruits make a delicious, healthful snack (try sprinkling ‘em with lime and chili powder) or they can be added to both sweet and savory dishes.

Try making a mango slaw to serve as a side or a topping for dishes like tacos, as with these Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw, or burgers, like these summer cookout-ready Turkey Burgers with Mango Slaw.

It’s worth making your own mango chutney to serve with cheese, spread on sandwiches or pair with grilled proteins, like this Curried Salmon with Mango Chutney.

Diced mango makes an excellent addition to salsas, ideal for accompanying tortilla chips or grilled entrees, like this Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mango (pictured above) or this Sweet and Spicy Skirt Steak with Mango Salsa, where the stone fruit flavor plays nice with habanero and garlic.

Mangoes’ sweet and savory versatility applies to salads too. Try adding cubes to this Fresh Fruit and Mint Salad, a taco-night Avocado Salad or this picnic-ready Mango-Cucumber Rice Salad. Unripe mangoes can also be used to make salads. Pickled mangoes bring a tangy crunch to sandwiches, salads and burgers.

Spin mangos into tropical-leaning desserts like No-Churn Mango Lassi Ice Cream, Tres Leches Cake with Mango, Peach-Mango Shortcakes, or a Mango Float, a no-bake, Filipino-inspired layered dessert that calls for the ripest, juiciest mangoes. For the easiest-ever dessert, grill mango cheeks to caramelize their sugars and amplify their sweetness.

Get your fill of mango-inspired libations and slurp a refreshing, yogurt-based Mango Lassi or sip a morning glass of Mango Pineapple Juice instead of your usual OJ. Bring summertime refreshment to your next pool party or backyard barbecue with batches of Mango Margaritas and Mango-Guava Batidos.

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