How to Peel and Cut a Fresh Pineapple

The easiest way to peel and cut a pineapple also helps you keep the most fruit. And don't throw away the core! We show you ways to put it to good use.

Its tough, prickly exterior seems formidable, but learning how to peel and cut a pineapple is nothing a determined cook with a sharp chef's knife can't tackle. It requires no special gadgets or training and, once you realize how easy it is, you'll never want to pay more for pre-cut pineapple at the store again.

Cutting a pineapple is so easy, you'll soon find myriad reasons to pull out recipes that use fresh pineapple. One large fruit makes about 8 cups of chopped pieces. Once cut, fresh pineapple lasts in your refrigerator for about 5 days, and up to a year in the freezer.

Whether it's chunks or rings you need, follow our easy steps for peeling and cutting pineapple. We also have ideas for using that pineapple core to add sweet, tangy, tropical flavor to a wide range of dishes, so don't throw it out!

Considerations Before You Get Started

Selecting a pineapple that's not under- or over-ripe is half the battle. Here are some characteristics of one that's just ripe:

  • Feels firm, but not hard.
  • Smells fresh and not overly sugary.
  • Leaves in the crown are vibrant green with few gray or brown spots.

If a pineapple is spongy to the touch or feels "heavy" at the bottom," it may be too ripe.

What You Need

How to Cut a Pineapple Into Chunks

If pineapple chunks are what you're after, follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Cut Off the Ends

Laying the pineapple on its side on the cutting board, use the chef's knife to slice across the bottom of the fruit to create a flat surface. Next, slice across the top to remove the pineapple crown, and then discard both end pieces.

Step 2: Peel the Skin

With the pineapple standing on its cut bottom, use the chef's knife in a top-to-bottom motion to shave its skin away from the flesh. Keep the knife close to the skin to preserve as much fruit as possible. Repeat for the entire pineapple.

Step 3: Trim the Eyes

Using a paring knife, cut out any bits of remaining skin or leftover eyes, which are those little brown notches in the fruit's flesh.

Step 4: Cut Out the Core

With the chef's knife, slice the pineapple into quarters longways. Standing each quarter on one end, cut away the tough center core or about an inch of the inner-most portion of the fruit (the pointy tip of the triangle).

Step 5: Chop Into Chunks

Cut each quarter into smaller triangles, and then chop into bite-size pieces.

How to Cut a Pineapple Into Rings

To cut a pineapple into rings instead of pieces, take a slightly different approach.

Step 1 Through Step 3

Follow the same procedure as for cutting pineapple chunks.

Step 4: Slice Rounds

Rotate the pineapple back onto its side, and use the chef's knife to slice the fruit into ½- or 1-inch rounds.

Step 5: Cut Out the Core

Use a ¾- or 1-inch circle cutter to remove the core from the center of each pineapple round. If you don't have a round cutter, use your paring knife to gently trace around the core and then punch it out with your thumb.

Don’t Toss That Core

When cutting a pineapple, most of us throw out the fibrous core because it’s so tough to chew. Actually, it’s entirely edible and has that same wonderful flavor as the rest of the fruit, so don’t let it go to waste! Here are some ways to make good use of the core's flavor and minimize its tough texture:

  • Slice the core very thin, and then eat as is. The fibrous texture is less noticeable.
  • Slice the core thinly, and then dehydrate the slices to make pineapple chips.
  • Grate the core to use as a salad topping or to mix into salad dressing.
  • Boil the core in water to soften it up, toss in a blender, and then use the purée in smoothies, cocktails, or soup; or lightly freeze the purée and serve as a sorbet.
  • Cut the core into chunks and freeze. Use these pineapple ice cubes to subtly infuse flavor into water or drinks as they melt.
  • Freeze the entire core to flavor and chill a pitcher of tea or a tropical punch bowl.
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