How to Cut a Pineapple

Why pay extra for pre-cut pineapple when you can cut it yourself for a fraction of the price? Follow our step-by-step guide to perfect rings, wedges and chunks.

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April 26, 2022

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How to Cut a Pineapple
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How to Pick a Ripe Pineapple

Pineapple prep starts at the grocery store when you’re picking a pineapple. If you're eating it that day, pick a ripe pineapple; otherwise, bring home a pineapple that's slightly underripe and it'll be ready to eat in a couple days. Here's how to tell when a pineapple will be ripe and sweet when you cut into it.

  1. The leaf test: Pick up a pineapple and pull a leaf from the top. Very firm resistance indicates an underripe fruit. If a leaf pulls out easily, proceed to the second step.
  2. Color: Green pineapples are underripe. Ripe pineapples have a golden hue. Avoid pineapples which are dark orange or turning brown in places: these ones are overripe!
  3. Firmness: Look at the pineapple, turn it over and look at the bottom. It should be firm. A soft, squishy base is a give-away that the fruit is past its prime. The sides of a ripe pineapple should give a little bit when you squeeze them.
  4. Smell: The pineapple should smell pleasantly sweet. No smell means the pineapple is underripe; a hint of alcohol aroma indicates the fruit is too ripe and has started to ferment.

1. Slice off the Top and Bottom

Wash and dry your ripe pineapple: Any bacteria on the outside will be transferred to your cutting board and could end up on the cut fruit. You wouldn’t worry about it if you were going to cook the fruit, but chances are you’ll be eating this raw, and erring on the side of caution is a good plan.

Next, turn the pineapple on its side, and using a large chef's or serrated knife, cut off the top and bottom.

2. Remove the Rind and Eyes

Stand the trimmed pineapple upright on the flat base you created and starting from the top, slice off a section of the rind, following the contour of the fruit. Repeat until all the rind has been removed. Depending on how deep you cut, there may or may not be brown “eyes” left behind. If they're largely intact and feel thorny, use a paring knife, melon baller or pointed end of a potato peeler to gouge around them and remove them. It's safe to eat a hint of eyes - as long as they're not thorny. Keep in mind that the flesh closest to the rind is the sweetest.

3. Slice Pineapple Into Your Desired Shape

How to Cut Pineapple Slices

Lay the pineapple on its side and slice into rounds. The thickness of the slices will be determined by how you’ll be using the pineapple. If you’re going to be grilling the pineapple, 3/4- to 1-inch-thick rounds will make it easy to flip the slices without them falling apart. 1/2-inch-thick rounds are good for pineapple upside down cake.

How to Cut Pineapple Rings

Using a 1 1/2- to 2-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out the core from the center of each slice. Skip this step if you’re going to grill the slices: grill first; remove the core after grilling. Flipping a solid slice is much easier than flipping a ring, and taking the core out of the cooked pineapple with the cookie cutter is easier too.

How to Cut Pineapple Into Wedges

The first step on the path to wedges and chunks is cutting “panels”. Stand the pineapple upright and cut off the sides, working around the core. You’ll end up with semi-flat panels of pineapple.

If you cut each into two or three pieces lengthwise you’ll have wedges that are a good size for grilling. (Notice the theme here? Grilled pineapple is just about the easiest dessert you can make that looks like you went to a lot of trouble, but you didn't.)

How to Cut Pineapple Chunks

For large chunks, cut the wedges you have crosswise into chunks. For smaller chunks, cut the wedges into thinner wedges and then crosswise into small bite-size pieces.

What to Do with Pineapple Core

Instead of tossing the core, consider these really smart ways to use it. Yes, it’s tough and fibrous, but used the right way, it imparts pineapple flavor and nutrition. Here are some ideas.

  1. Dressing or Salsa: Grate the whole core and toss it into salad dressing or salsa.
  2. Ice Cubes: Chop the core into squares, freeze them in a single layer and then use them as ice cubes in water or cocktails.
  3. Flavored Beverages: Stick a whole core in a pitcher of water to create pineapple water. Or put it into a pitcher of margaritas for a sweet kick.
  4. Marinades: Chop it into small pieces, then puree it with other marinade ingredients. Fun fact: all fresh pineapple has bromelain, a protein-chopping enzyme combo which is a natural meat tenderizer.

Pineapple Recipes

Food Stylist: Brett Kurzweil 
Prop Stylist: Meghan Guthrie

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Food Stylist: Brett Kurzweil Prop Stylist: Meghan Guthrie

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

Pineapple adds irresistible tangy sweetness to salsa, which will keep everyone coming back for more.

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Grilling wedges of pineapple gives you an elegant presentation, especially if you want it to be the star on a plated dessert or a platter of several grilled fruits.

Normally, you'd toss pineapple peel but this smart recipe puts it to work. As fish is grilled directly on the peels, they release steam and keep the seafood juicy and tender. You'll serve the fish on the pineapple planks for a festive presentation.

Grilled pineapple caramelizes and takes on smoky flavor on the grill, making it a unique pairing for shrimp and bell peppers.

Rum and amaretto are blended with fresh mango-pineapple-lime juice, transporting you straight to the Caribbean.

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