How to Peel Fruit Quickly and Easily

peeled apple on cloth
peeled apple on cloth

librakv / GETTY IMAGES


  1. On This Page

    • Washing Fruit

    • Fruits You Shouldn't Peel

    • Best Tools to Use

    • How to Peel 7 Fruit Types

    • How to Use Fruit Peels

We're trying hard to eat more fruit. An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but we know that swapping out a serving of fruit for a mid-afternoon processed snack is better for us and the planet. Plus, fruit is delicious—but just thinking about the work involved in peeling a pineapple is enough to make us reach into the cookie jar.

Each type of fruit is different. Some must be peeled to be eaten, while others shouldn't be peeled at all. Some have thick skins, while others have thin ones. And some are just more difficult to peel than others. To make the process easier, we asked a chef and cooking teacher and a registered dietician which fruits should be peeled—and the best way to remove the rind or skin. Heed our tips, and you'll be reaching for a piece of fruit more often.

Related: Our Guide to Washing All Types of Fruit

Wash Fruit Before Peeling

Always wash fruit before you peel it. Even if you purchased a package of fruit that says it has been cleaned, washing the fruits before you remove the skin or rind ensures they are safe to eat. "Pesticide residue, sand and grit, and possible pathogens like salmonella and e. coli could cross-contaminate the flesh during the peeling process if you don't," says Jay Weinstein, chef-instructor of plant-based culinary arts at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Plus, retailers sometimes apply "food-grade wax" to the skins of fruits and vegetables for aesthetic and preservative purposes. You don't have to go crazy with washing, though. To remove this wax, washing in plain water is sufficient, says Weinstein.

Fruits You Don't Have to Peel to Eat

While some fruit skins, such as citrus or melon, are basically inedible, others contain vital fiber and nutrients—so even though you can peel them doesn't mean you should. "Apples contain more nutrients with the skin on," says Jeanette Kimszal, a registered dietician. Peaches also have more fiber when eaten with the skin and the peel of a kiwi might be beneficial for gut health, she adds.

Peeling fruit is also a matter of personal preference and how you ultimately want to use it. "An apple eaten out of hand is one of life's pleasures," says Weinstein. "But peel it to poach it for elegance. Ditto for stone fruits, such as plums, apricots, nectarines, and peaches." Always peel fruits like kiwi, dragon fruit, and others with fuzzy, tough, or gnarly skin if you're serving them to guests, he adds.

In general, if you're not cooking the following fruits, you don't have to peel them: apples, pears, peaches, plums, and nectarines.

Fruits You Should Never Peel

Fruits that should never be peeled include small options with thin skins, such as berries and most grapes.

Best Tools for Peeling Fruit

The fruit in question dictates the peeling tool. The most common tools used for fruit peeling are a paring knife or a vegetable peeler (or Y-peeler). A chef's knife is often used to prep the fruit before peeling.

Paring Knife

Use a small, sharp knife, like a paring knife, for peeling and trimming fruits with thin skin, such as kiwi, mangoes, and oranges. A paring knife requires a bit of skill, but it allows for maximum precision.

Vegetable Peeler

Another great tool is a vegetable peeler. Use it to peel fruits and vegetables with tough or smooth skin, such as apples and pears. "Tree fruit like pears, apples, and quinces respond well to a swivel peeler, either the trendy Swiss Y-shape or granny's potato peeler," Weinstein says.

How to Peel 7 Common Fruits

How to Peel Apples

Use a Y-peeler or swivel peeler and hold the peeler in one hand and the apple in the other. Start at the apple's stem end and peel in a circular motion—bonus points if you walk away with the perfect swirl.

How to Peel (and Cut) Mangos

To peel and cut a mango you'll need a peeler, a 4 to 5 inch utility knife, and a cutting board.

Using a vegetable or Y-shaped peeler and working from top to bottom, remove the skin from the mango. After peeling, you can cut the mango as desired. The most common mango cutting technique is:

  1. Lay the mango on its side on the cutting board, oriented, so both cheeks (the prominent "cheeks" you see on each side) are on the cutting board—grip one of the cheeks with your non-knife hand.

  2. Position your knife on the opposite side, about 1/4 inch away from the stem; slice it off in one large section. Your knife should get as close to the pit as possible without cutting into it.

  3. Rotate the mango so the stem is facing away from you, and repeat with the other cheek, using the pit section for a grip. (Be aware of where your fingers are at all times—they should never cross paths with where your knife will be slicing.)

  4. Using your non-knife hand, position the mango upright and grip the top, almost making a claw gesture with your hand (don't forget to tuck your pinky in!)—slice along the sides of the pit, cutting off the two smaller sections.

  5. Dice the fruit into pieces.

How to Peel Oranges

To peel an orange, use a sharp paring knife and a cutting board.

  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the orange using a sharp paring knife.

  2. Peel the orange following the curve of the fruit. Remove as much bitter white pith as possible with the peel or use the paring knife to go back and remove it after you've peeled the orange.

  3. Once it's peeled, slice the orange horizontally into rounds.

fresh peeled halved peaches in bowl
fresh peeled halved peaches in bowl

SGAPhoto / Getty Images

How to Peel Peaches and Other Stone Fruits

As an alternative to peeling, you can bring stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots) to the boil to remove their skin quickly. "Stone fruit like peaches slip out of their skins easily when blanched in boiling water," Weinstein says.

You'll need a saucepan, ice bath (bowl with ice and water), paring knife, and cutting board.

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.

  2. Use a paring knife, score a shallow "X" in the bottom of each piece of fruit.

  3. Filling a large bowl with ice water for an ice bath.

  4. Use a slotted spoon to carefully lower each piece of fruit into the water.

  5. Boil just until the skins start to soften and separate where the peach was scored, about 30 seconds to a minute. Use the slotted spoon to remove the fruit from the boiling water, lowering them into the prepared ice bath. Let them cool for about a minute.

  6. Starting where the X was scored, use your fingertips or a paring knife to peel the skin back and off each piece of fruit.

How to Peel Pineapples

To peel a pineapple, use a serrated knife, cutting board, and either a melon baller or a paring knife.

  1. Start by slicing or twisting off the leaves—save them for a garnish if appropriate, or discard.

  2. Trim about 1/2-inch off of both ends of the pineapple to make it flat, then stand the fruit on one end.

  3. Following the fruit's contour, slice off the skin, taking care to stay as close to the skin and remove as little flesh as possible. (The sweetest part of the fruit is closest to the skin.)

  4. Some pineapple "eyes" may remain; these are easily removed using a melon baller or a sharp paring knife, working in a circular motion.

  5. Once it is peeled, cut the pineapple into spears, rounds, or chunks.

How to Peel Dragon Fruits

Depending on how you plan to use dragon fruit, you might not need to peel it. If you do, grab a chef's knife and a cutting board. If you simply want to eat the dragon fruit flesh, use a chef's knife to slice the fruit lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and eat.

If you're planning on using the dragon fruit in a smoothie, use a chef's knife to slice the fruit lengthwise. Then, use your fingers to peel the fruit skin gently. (If the dragon fruit is ripe, the skin will come off easily.)

How to Peel Kiwis

To peel a kiwi, you'll need a chef's knife, a spoon, and a cutting board. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Using a chef's knife, cut off the top and bottom of the fruit.

  2. Insert a spoon inside the fruit, against the skin with its bowl side facing the middle of the fruit and push it all the way down the fruit against the skin.

  3. Rotate the spoon around the fruit to release the entire peeled kiwi.

How to Use Fruit Peels

You may already be a pro at storing fruit so it doesn't go bad before you eat it, but as you consume more, you might notice those peels piling up in your compost or garbage bin. You don't need to trash them: Bakers are pros at utilizing fruit peels, and with a bit of practice, you can be, too. "Utilize your fruit peels," Weinstein says. She suggests you shave the aromatic zest from citrus before peeling—or simmer julienned citrus peels in sugar to candy them.