If you’re always leaning on frozen or pre-cut mango in order to avoid slicing one yourself, you’re not alone. Mangos are notoriously hard to cut due to their asymmetrical pits, tough outer skins and slimy inner flesh. But with a few tricks up your sleeve, these juicy fruits are surprisingly simple to peel and prepare for smoothies, snacking and—our favorite—bowls of guacamole. Here’s how to slice a mango in two different ways (spears and cubes), plus how to peel it. Taco Tuesdays are about to get way more interesting.
3 Ways to Peel a Mango
You may or may not need to peel a mango depending on how you’re going to cut it. Leaving the peel on can actually be a big help in terms of getting a grip on the slippery fruit—but more on that later. Regardless, be sure to thoroughly wash the mango before you peel or cut into it. If you do decide you want to peel your mango, here are three methods to try.
1. Use a paring knife or Y-shaped peeler to remove the mango’s skin. If your fruit is a little under-ripe, it’ll be slightly tough and green under the peel—keep peeling until the flesh on the surface is bright yellow. Once the mango feels slimy, you’ll know you’ve reached the sweet part.
2. Our favorite way to peel a mango is actually with a drinking glass (yep, really). Here’s how: Cut a mango in half, set the bottom of each piece on the edge of a glass and apply pressure right where the outer skin meets the flesh. The fruit will slide right off the peel into the glass (check out this video from our friends at Saveur if you need a visual) and you won’t even have to get your hands messy.
3. If you want to be even more hands-off, spring for a mango slicer. It works just like an apple slicer—all you have to do is position it atop the mango and press it through around its pit. Easy-peasy.
Now that you know how to peel a mango, here are two different ways to cut it.
How to Cut a Mango into Slices
1. Peel the mango.
2. Slice the peeled fruit lengthwise on two sides as close to the pit as possible.
Start by placing your knife in the middle of the mango, then moving about a ¼-inch to either side before cutting through.
3. Slice the other two sides around the pit.
To do this, stand the mango up and cut it vertically into slices. Shave all the flesh off the pit into additional slices in order to get the most fruit.
4. Place the two remaining halves that you cut first down on their flat sides.
Cut the fruit into slices according to your desired thickness (from spears to matchsticks) and enjoy.
How to Slice a Mango into Cubes
1. Slice off each side of an unpeeled mango along its pit.
2. Score the inner flesh of the mango.
Slice a grid with a paring knife by making horizontal cuts then vertical cuts all the way across each piece.
3. Pick up each piece with the grid facing up and push the skin-side in with your fingers to turn the mango slice inside-out.
The peel is what makes this method so easy.
4. Slice the cubes off with a paring knife and enjoy.
May we suggest showing off your freshly-cut fruit with one of these delicious mango recipes?
One More Thing: Here’s How to Pick a Ripe Mango
How can you tell if a mango is ripe? It all comes down to how the fruit feels and smells. Just like peaches and avocados, ripe mangos will give a little when gently squeezed. If it’s rock hard or excessively squishy, keep looking. Ripe mangos tend to also feel heavy for their size; this usually means they’re full of juice and ready to eat. Also give the fruit a good sniff at its stem before you buy. Sometimes you’ll be able to note a sweet, mango aroma—but don’t worry if you don’t. Just be sure there isn’t a sour or alcoholic smell, meaning the mango is overripe.
If you’re not going to eat it right away, snag a mango that’s a smidge under-ripe and leave it on the kitchen counter for a few days until it’s soft. You can speed up the mango ripening process by placing the mango in a brown paper bag with a banana, rolling it closed and leaving it on the counter for a couple days. If you have an already-ripe mango on your hands, storing it in the fridge will halt the ripening process and keep it from turning to mush.