How to Cut a Mango with a Knife: A Step-by-Step Guide

Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits around the world. Their sweet, tropical taste makes them an irresistible snack and a refreshing addition to many recipes. However, cutting a mango can be intimidating with its large pit and slippery flesh. With the right techniques and tools, you can easily cut a mango into slices, cubes, or cheeks to enjoy this delicious fruit.

Why Learn Proper Mango Cutting Techniques?

Learning how to properly cut a mango allows you to get the most out of this juicy fruit. Improper cutting can result in a lot of wasted mango flesh that gets left behind on the pit or skin. With the right cutting method, you can peel and slice the mango efficiently to make the most of the edible pulp. Proper mango-cutting skills also minimize the mess and allow you to neatly portion the mango for recipes, snacks, or garnishes. Taking the time to learn mango cutting methods can seem daunting at first but with a little practice, you’ll be able to quickly prep mangoes for any use.

Equipment for Cutting a Mango

Cutting a mango doesn’t require any special tools. With just a few basic items from your kitchen, you’ll be ready to peel, pit, and slice mangoes.

Knife – A chef’s knife with a 6 to 8-inch blade works best. The length of the blade allows you to cut along the mango without having to sew back and forth.

Cutting Board – Protect your counters and have a flat surface for cutting by using a durable cutting board. Plastic, wood, or bamboo boards all work well.

Dish Towel or Paper Towels – Have a towel or paper towels nearby to wipe and clean your knife and hands while prepping the mango. The paper towels can also be used to hold onto one-half of the mango while slicing if it’s too slippery.

How to Choose a Ripe Mango?

Selecting a ripe, ready-to-eat mango ensures the fruit will be sweet and juicy instead of sour or fibrous. Follow these tips when picking mangoes:

  • Color – Red, yellow, and orange skin indicates ripeness. Green mangoes are underripe while excessive black spots mean the mango is overripe.
  • Touch – Press gently on the mango. Ripe mangoes give slightly but remain firm.
  • Smell – Bring the mango up to your nose. It should have a sweet, fruity aroma.
  • Weight – Heavier mangoes tend to be more ripe and juicy. Lighter fruit may be underripe.
  • Stem – Avoid mangoes with the stem still attached as they were likely picked too early.
Mango with a Knife
Mango with a Knife

How to Cut a Mango with a Knife

Once you’ve selected ripe mangoes, it’s time to cut them up. Follow these simple steps for how to cut a mango with a knife.

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Step 1 – Wash the mango

Give the mango a quick rinse under cool running water and gently pat it dry with a paper towel. This removes any dirt, debris, and possible bacteria.

Step 2 – Stand the mango upright on a cutting board

Place the mango on the cutting board so it can stand up on its own. Turn it until you find its natural flat base. Having the mango upright and stable makes it easier to cut the cheeks off the sides.

Step 3 – Locate the mango pit

Mangoes contain a large, flattened pit that runs from top to bottom in the center of the fruit. Locate the two flatter edges of the pit with your fingers to determine what direction to slice the mango cheeks.

Step 4 – Slice down one side of the pit

With the flatter side of the pit running left to right, carefully make a vertical cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch to the left of the pit. Press the knife tip to the top of the mango and guide the knife down along the edge of the pit until you reach the bottom.

Repeat this vertical slice on the right side of the pit. Be sure to slice close to the pit to maximize the flesh on each mango half.

Step 5 – Cut the mango cheeks

Use the knife to carefully slice along the contour of the mango from top to bottom to release one mango cheek off the skin. Repeat for the other cheek. If the mango cheek slices neatly away from the skin, the mango was ripe and ready to be cut.

Step 6 – Trim the mango cheeks

Look over the two mango cheeks and trim off any remaining flesh close to the skin. Also cut away any section of the cheek that was too close to the pit and did not come off cleanly.

Step 7 – Dice or slice the mango cheeks

Now you’re ready to cut the mango cheeks into cubes, slices or chunks. First, make perpendicular cuts into the cheek about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart without cutting through the skin. Then make parallel cuts in the other direction. Press on the mango lightly to invert the chunks inside out or simply scoop them from the skin with a spoon.

Common Ways to Cut Mangoes

With the cheeks removed, you can now cut the mango pieces into various shapes and sizes for eating, recipes, and garnishes. Here are some of the most common ways to cut mangoes:

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Mango Cubes – Evenly dice the mango cheeks into small squares or cubes. They make an easy snack for kids.

Mango Slices – Cut the mango cheeks into thin slices or spears. These wedges work well for fruit platters, smoothies and skewers.

Mango Chunks – For a rustic presentation, cut the cheeks into randomly sized large chunks. Use in fruit salsa and chutneys.

Diced Mango – Small mango dices add color and flavor to yogurt, desserts and savory dishes.

Storing Cut Mangoes

Like many fruits, sliced mangoes will start to brown when exposed to air. To keep cut mangoes fresh and colorful longer, follow these storage tips:

  • Place mango pieces in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • Coat diced mango in a bit of lemon, lime or orange juice which acts as an antibrowning agent.
  • Cover diced mango tightly and freeze for several months. Use frozen mango straight in smoothies.
  • Dry mangoes in the oven or dehydrator for homemade mango chips. Dehydrated mango keeps for 2-3 weeks stored in an airtight container.
  • Puree mango chunks and freeze in an ice cube tray. Pop a cube into smoothies for an easy way to use frozen mango.

Common FAQs About Cutting Mangoes

If you’re new to cutting mangoes, chances are you have a few questions about the proper techniques. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How do I know when a mango is ripe and ready to cut?

Ripe mangoes have golden, orange or reddish skin and yield slightly when gently squeezed. Unripe green mangoes are hard while overripe fruit is very soft and mushy. Mangoes without stems attached are likely ripe.

What’s the easiest mango to cut for beginners?

The Tommy Atkins and Kent cultivars are great starter mangoes because they have less fibrous flesh and larger pits that make the cheeks easy to slice off. Avoid flat, kidney-shaped mangoes initially.

Can I cut and eat just half a mango?

Yes, you can slice one cheek off, trim it and cut the mango half into pieces. Rub the remaining mango half with lemon juice, cover tightly and refrigerate to enjoy the next day before it browns.

What can I do with mango scraps and skins?

Don’t throw the skin, pit and leftover flesh away! They make delicious smoothies, chutneys, teas, and even crafts. Store scraps in the freezer until ready to use.

How do I cut a mango into thin slices?

Carefully slice each mango cheek lengthwise into thin strips like spears. Use a very sharp, thin knife for the cleanest cuts. These slices work great for garnishing desserts.

Enjoy Mangoes Cut to Perfection

With a sharp knife, a ripe mango, and these easy-cutting techniques, you can prepare mangoes like a professional. Proper slicing prevents waste so you can enjoy sweet, juicy mango flesh for snacks, sides, desserts, and beverages. Impress family and friends with neatly cut mango cubes, chunks, and slices.


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