How to Cut a Mango

Never was the phrase "It's what's inside that counts" more important than when tackling a mango! Here's how to navigate around that big seed in the center.

Grab your Chef's Knife!
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How to buy

You need to actually have a mango before you can cut it up, so you’ll need to know how to pick a mango. Unfortunately, the color of the skin won’t help you figure out whether or not your mango is ripe. Instead, give the fruit a little squeeze. It should feel just slightly tender, like a peach or avocado and it should be just starting to get a few wrinkles.

Three mangoes on a cutting board.

How to store

Mangoes are similar to avocados when you buy them in that they are usually shipped to stores underripe. Just as with avocado, you should buy a mango several days before you plan on eating it, knowing it will ripen in your fruit bowl at home. Unless you’re trying to slow down the ripening of a mango, leave it at room temperature. If it is already ripe and you want to prevent it from over-ripening, store it in your refrigerator. You can even cube and freeze mango for use at a later date.

Types of mangoes

There are hundreds of different varieties of mangoes in the world, but we usually just see a few different kinds in our grocery stores.

  • Ataulfo or Honey Mangoes are small and flattened oval in shape with yellow skin and firm yellow flesh. They have a small seed (better ratio of flesh to seed) and are available March through June.
  • Haden Mangoes are medium to large in size and have a skin that is bright red with green or yellow tinges. They are round to oval with firm flesh and are best in March through May.
  • Tommy Atkins Mangoes are the most commonly found mango in the United States. Their skin has a dark red color with green and yellow accents and a firm fibrous flesh. Their peak season is in March to July and again in September and October.

How to slice a mango

Start by acknowledging that there is a flat, wide seed inside the mango (even if this is just to yourself in your head) and place the mango up on one of its sides. Place your knife in the middle of the mango as though you were going to cut it in half and then move your knife over ½-inch to one side. Slice down and you should slice right next to the seed inside.

A hand holding a mango and a knife cutting down one side of the mango.

Spin the mango around and slice down the other side of the seed.

A hand holding a mango and a knife cutting down one side of the mango seed while the other half is sitting on the cutting board.

Make slices in the halved mango, but slice into the flesh only and not through the skin.

A knife cutting slices into half a mango.

The next step is to cut the slices off the peel. The easiest way to do this is to cut the mango half in half down one of the slices, leaving you with two quarters. 

Mango in various stages of how to cut a mango on a cutting board with a knife.

Now run the knife parallel to the cutting board, between the skin and the flesh of the mango, slicing the mango flesh slices off the skin smoothly.

A knife cutting the slices of mango off the peel.

How to dice a mango

Dicing a mango starts exactly the same way as if you were going to slice the mango. Instead of making just one set of cuts into the mango half, spin the mango 90º and make cross hatch slices into the flesh, not piercing the skin.

A mango cutting cross hatch marks in a mango.

Now you can do as you did when slicing the mango and cut the half in half again before holding your knife parallel to the cutting board and slicing between the flesh and the skin to remove the diced fruit. Or, you can invert the mango half, turning it inside out to expose the dice and then simply cut the dice off the peel. 

A mango half inverted to show squares of mango next to slices of mango and a chef's knife.

At the very end, don’t ignore the strip of mango flesh around the seed. Slice as close to the seed as possible, curving the knife around the mango to slice off the extra flesh. Then chop the mango as desired, not piercing the skin and slice your knife between the skin and the flesh to cut away the remaining fruit.

Whole mangos on a cutting board with a cut up mango and a knife.

Quick Notes:

  • A ripe mango does not have a specific color, but should be slightly tender to a squeeze and just have wrinkles starting to appear.
  • Store an underripe mango at room temperature.
  • Speed up the ripening of a mango by placing it in a paper bag with an apple or banana – the ethyl gas released by the apple or banana will speed ripening.
  • Slow down the ripening of a mango by refrigerating.
  • You can cut and freeze mango flesh for use later on.
  • There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes in the world, but only a few available to us in grocery stores. 
    • Ataulfo/Honey – small and yellow; good fruit:seed ratio
    • Haden – medium to large; starts out freen, ends with pinklish blush
    • Tommy Atkins – medium to large; beautiful red blush; can be stringy and fibrous

 


How to Cut a Mango

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