Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How to Cut a Mango

posted in Fruits by Kathy Maister

A mango is one of those fruits that people avoid buying because they don’t know how to cut them. I’ll show you two different ways to cut a mango.

Mangos are great with just about anything. (Chicken, fish, salsa, pancakes, smoothies, on ice cream, fruit salad, etc.) They are low in calories, can be eaten fresh or cooked and are really tasty.

They are in season from May to September. When you buy a mango, it should have a fragrant, fruity aroma and yield slightly to pressure from your thumb. It will ripen sitting on your counter, or you can speed the ripening process by sticking it in a paper bag. Once ripe, put it in the refrigerator. A mango should get eaten within a day or two of being cut.

To cut a mango, start with a serrated edge knife. (That’s the one with the jagged edge that you use to cut a loaf of bread.)  Mangos are very slippery and you have to be very careful when peeling a mango that the knife does not slip.

Slice off the fattest part, sometimes called the “cheek”, of both sides of the mango. Notice in the photo below the position of the knife in relationship to the stem. (The stem is next to my left index finger.)

Now score the “cheek”. That means to make shallow cuts with a paring knife. Make each cut about ½ inch apart, and then turn the “cheek” and make perpendicular cuts as well.

Once scored, press the back side of the mango so that all the flesh is standing at attention. You can serve it this way or trim off the flesh from the skin.

Cut around the pit with a small paring knife.

Remove the remaining skin from the flesh.

Trim around the pit to remove the remaining flesh.

The pit is actually quite large as you can see from the photo below.

The Alton Brown Way to Peel and Cut a Mango:

I was watching Alton Brown on FoodTV demonstrating how to peel and cut a mango. His method actually produced more edible flesh, and was safe and efficient.  But you do need a few more pieces of equipment for the Alton Brown method.

Corn-on-the-Cob Holders

In addition to a large kitchen knife, you will need a vegetable peeler and a corn-on-the-cob holder.

Start by peeling the mango with a vegetable peeler

Then slice off the top (stem end) and bottom of the mango.

Insert a corn holder into the mango.  This is going to act as a holder while you slice the mango. Notice how the mango can stand by itself!

Holding the corn holder, slice off the cheeks.

And trim the flesh off the pit.

Then slice the mango according to your recipe.

Enjoy!

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47 Comments

Justin said:

Thanks!

This is so awesome. I’ve either cut my hand or just given up and wound up eating the thing whole (and getting soaked with mango juice) every time I’ve tried!

Such a great tip. thanks!

will said:

It’s very pretty when you push the scored mango trhough. I would just leave it like that and make it part of a lovely fruit salad sculpture. add some grapes and sliced strawberries, kiwi.

Kathy Maister said:

Ripe mangos are the best! Sweet, juicy and full of flavor, but very slippery to peel and cut!

(BTW, you can buy them frozen, already cut into chunks. My neice buys them this way to add to her smoothies.)

Jon said:

Great tip – thank you – all I now need to know is how to tell when mangoes are ripe – along with melon, papaya (aka pawpaw) etc, etc …

Malhori said:

Another way is to score the mango into quarters, length-wise . Peel 1 quarter, then cut slices through the exposed flesh down to the pit. Then cut across the pit to release the slices. Do this with each quarter until all 4 quarters are done.

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Malhori, Thanks for the great tip! I’ve seen an avocado cut this way but never a mango. I’ll have to give this a try!

Allie said:

Wow. I stumbled across this site. This tip is awesome. It’s so simple yet not described to me like I’m a moron, or a pro cook. Just a normal person! Thanks!!

adnan malik said:

it has received my very attention, thank-you

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks Allie, glad to be of help!

LEE ANN said:

Thank you so much. I’m 39 years old and just learned how to cut a mango. I was always intimated to ask “how to cut” or “do you peel it”. None of my friends eat mangos. NOW, everyone is getting fresh mangos.

wafa said:

thanx for every thing ,you have anice and easy way .i like most of the recipes.

Tracey said:

Lee Ann: Don’t feel bad. I am 41 and just learning myself. Someone gave me mangos and I didn’t know what to do. I don’t think they are ripe enough yet as they are tearing apart on the inside. But they are sooo good. I am looking forward to using the techniques above.

Kathy Maister said:

All of your wonderful comments bring such a smile to my face! I am thrilled you are finding startcooking.com to be a helpful resource!

sabamba13 said:

This is a great method, for a somewhat surprising reason, which I learned the hard way. Some people suggest eating the fruit right off the pit or serving in the skin, bad idea!! Turns out, mangos contain the same oil as poison ivy! Not the fruit itself but the plant, so it can be on the skin or in the pit. If you’ve ever had an odd, itchy, poison ivy like rash on your lips try to figure out if you’ve eaten mango recently.

Kathy Maister said:

Not a good thing! Thanks for sharing Sabamba!

jerry said:

Excellent! My wife and I love mango but every time she looks at me struggling with the cutting and the slices are messy, she kind of loses her appetite.

Now I can show off to her and we can really enjoy mango!

Jerry

Kathy Maister said:

Mangos are really tricky to cut given the size of the pit and how slippery they are! I am delight to hear you are now able to show off your new found skill!

Theis said:

Very nice guide. I just bought two mangos and were kind of just sitting there and thinking, now what? My plan is to use them in smoothies, so now I just have to find a good recipe.

Kathy Maister said:

Hey Thesis – I’ve got some great smoothie recipes right here!

marquetta said:

I’ve been at mangos forever and have never had luck in peeling and lost half of the fruit, I finally gave up and looked for help, Thanks! Also for the inexperienced cook, I’ve been cooking since 4 yrs old, and never figured it out so don’t feel too bad!

Kathy Maister said:

Peeling a mango is really tricky – it’s just so slippery! Personally, the vegetable peeler works best for me!

Anonymous said:

this is the best advice i as a novice have received — thanx

Juhani said:

Thanx!
This morning I bought my first mango as it was a special bargain in my supermarket, and I’ll let it ripen because it was still quite hard. After that I’ll try out your chopping method. I’m glad that I googled for instructions.

startcooking said:

Juhani,
To ripen your mango keep it on the kitchen counter, not in the refrigerator . You can speed the process by putting it in a paper bag with a green apple.
Good Luck!
Kathy

Family Cookbook - Denise said:

Now this is handy. Always make a mess when I try to peel a mango. Thanks for the helpful instruction …

Shelbie said:

That was verrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyy useful.

startcooking said:

Shelbie and Denise, you are both most welcome!

Enjoy!
Kathy

Jennifer said:

I’ve been cutting mangoes like this since I was 9 years old. It’s pretty and delicious.

startcooking said:

You are so right Jennifer!

Kevin said:

Thanks for the tip. I’m wondering approximately how many peeled cut up mangos it would take to get a pound. Any idea?

startcooking said:

I’m guessing that it would take about 4-6 mangoes to yield one pound of cut up mango.

Qbasic said:

Thanks for this information, it was very helpful. Keep up the good work.

Dfg said:

put it in the refrigerator, a mango should get eaten within a day or two of being cut.

Holly said:

Thanks so much for this. We bought a whole bunch of mangos because they were on sale (two for 88 cents!) and I just butchered one. Now, I know how to do it right!

Spooscott said:

Hi Kathy,

In Jamaica we get mangos all year round! The first method is how most of us cut similar sized mangos to eat- slice off both cheeks, pass aroud if sharing & enjoy (without scoring), right from the skin. The teeth is usualy used to peel away the sides from the seed section & the flesh eaten, discarding the seed when done. We dont have “poison ivy” problems & never heard of it. Of course, wash the mango before eating.

The Julie or East Indian mango are the favorites for most Jamaicans, though we have a wide variety. I love both the scoring & Alton Brown tips & will definately use when making salads for presentation! thanks! :-)

startcooking said:

Oh how wonderful to have fresh mangoes year round! What a treat!
K.

Isneha said:

I suggested this site to my friends as it is useful & informative.

WPP said:

It was another joy to see your post. Really useful Post. Great stuff as usual.

Resume said:

Awesome! Some really helpful information in there. Bookmarked. Excellent source.

Lan said:

Good work! Your post is an excellent example of why I keep coming back to read your excellent site. Thank you!

MIV said:

In the refrigerator, a mango should get eaten within a day or two of being cut.

Sandie said:

I’ve had mango’s before but have never tried to peel / cut one. Today I took the plunge. I bought 2 for a buck. Was that a deal or what? I ended up doing a Google search and found this site. Very useful information for a first timer. Thanks… Now I’m going to go cut my mango and serve it up with dinner…

Jeff said:

Mango looks pretty delicious…if you are already eating a banana and grapefruit everyday is there nutritional value in adding this to my diet?

Jeff said:

You mean the hack and pray method isn’t the best :) , that’s the one I always use…those tools look really handy

Jeff said:

Would it just be easier to simply pick it up and bite into it like an apple?…and then simply discard the core? I guess it could be worth it for the bigger ones however.

Mi said:

. I bought 2 for a buck. Was that a deal or what? I ended up doing a Google search and found this site. Very useful information for a first timer.

boomschors said:

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