Face the most intimidating-to-cut fruit with confidence
A mango seems like a bloody knife accident just waiting to happen; I mean, soft texture plus solid seed does not a simple slice make. But learning how to cut a mango doesn't have to be a scene from a horror film. It just requires a bit of know-how—and a lot of practice. Yes, a mango is slippery, so you want to be sure to hold it firmly without causing the fruit to slide out of your hands while peeling it. There's also the issue of the hard seed, and figuring out how to slice a mango without hitting that middle pit and ruining your knife is certainly a skill.
But ultimately, learning how to cut a mango just takes some practice in the kitchen—and if you're giving it a shot for the first time, or just want a refresher on how to quickly and safely cut a mango, here are two ways to cut a mango that will maximize your enjoyment with minimal effort (and, hopefully, risk of slicing your finger).
What You Need
You definitely need a knife, a cutting board, and a couple of washed mangoes. Whether or not you use a peeler really depends on how you want to cut your mango and whether or not you have a peeler readily available. If you want to dice your mangoes, like into a salsa, you're probably going to want the peeler. But if you just want to eat a mango right now, I'd say the peeler is distinctly optional.
So let's get started with the mango cutting, shall we?
If You Do Have a Peeler
If you want skin-free fruit for a recipe, the first step is to peel the mango. You could use a paring knife, but I've always found that a peeler makes the whole process much easier and less treacherous. Grip the mango in your nondominant hand, and pull the peeler down, from the top, skinny tip to the bottom. The trick here is to hold the mango firmly without squeezing it too hard, because it might bruise or, worst case, slip out of your hands.
Once your mango is peeled, your ready to cut. Mangoes are kind of oval in shape, and you want to make your first cut along the broad side of the mango. But you can't just go in and whack away at the meat; there's a very hard mango pit right in the middle that can ding your knife.
So the best way to make sure your cut isn't going to hit that hard seed is to start your cut about a third of the way into the fruit. You can also just look at the location of the mango stem and cut a little bit to the right or left of this. You might not get it totally right the first time, so move your knife slowly. You'll know you're doing it right when the knife goes through the mango with no resistance. Repeat these steps on the other, broad side of the mango.
Once you've got your two larger pieces of mango, you can still get some fruit off of the seed. Take that middle core with the seed, and lay it on the cutting board. There should be some soft mango flesh around the hard pit, again, about a third of the way into the fruit. (You can see where my knife is in the picture above.) You kind of have to feel this one out with your knife, too, and you'll know if you've hit the seed because the knife won't be able to cut it.
And with that, you've got your four skinless mango slices, ready to dice or slice however you want.
No Peeler? No Problem!
You don't need to peel a mango to eat it, especially if you're looking for some instant gratification, and this method is great for on-the-go snacking.
As you did with the peeled mango, cut the bulk of the fruit off of the seed, about a third of the way in.
Then take those two slices and score them, which means you're making cuts into the flesh of the mango without touching the skin. I did this my lightly drawing my knife across the mango in one direction, and then turned the fruit and made perpendicular strokes.
If you really wanted, once you're done scoring the fruit, you could grab a spoon and scoop out the nicely diced pieces. But I much prefer popping the piece up, so the chunks of mango lift up from the skin, and taking a bite.