If you’ve shied away from buying a whole pineapple at the store because you don’t actually know how to cut a pineapple properly, don’t worry.
We’re here to show you how simple it is, so all you need to do is decide how to eat it!
Whether you’re eating pineapple straight up, grilling it, or throwing it into a salad (or a smoothie), this golden fruit is beyond delicious. Plus, it’s also loaded with nutrition. One cup of pineapple chunks provides:
- 83 calories
- 1 g protein
- 0 g fat
- 22 g carbs
- 2 g fiber
And it’s an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B6.
You could buy canned pineapple or pick up a container of chunks in the produce section, but learning how to cut a pineapple isn’t hard.
In fact, we bet you could have the whole pineapple prepped in less than 2 minutes.
Pro tip: When buying canned, always choose pineapple in 100% juice (not in light or heavy syrup to avoid hidden added sugars).
To show you the easiest way to cut a pineapple, we’ve enlisted our in-house expert, Kirsten Morningstar. In the GIF below, she shows you her best pineapple hacks, so you can feel comfortable buying a whole pineapple at the store.
(You can also check out her fancy knife work to learn the best way to cut an avocado.)
How to Cut a Pineapple, Step by Step:
1. Cut Off the Top and Bottom
To start cutting a ripe pineapple, you’ll need a few tools:
- a large, sharp knife
- a paring knife
- a cutting board
“Lop off the top and take a sliver off the bottom to create a flat surface,” explains Holly Layer, R.D., a busy blogger and mom who uses Beachbody On Demand to squeeze in her workouts.
To pick a sweet pineapple, the bottom and spiky leaves, or crown, are indicators of ripeness.
“I always smell the bottom,” explains Layer. “It should smell sweet like a pineapple. You can also tug at the green spikes on the top. If it’s ripe, they should wiggle a little or come right out.”
2. Slice Down the Sides
Now that you have a flat surface that won’t wobble on your cutting board, slice down the sides from top to bottom in strips, turning the pineapple after each slice until you’ve gone all the way around.
“One tip that I like to point out is that you don’t have to cut too deeply into the flesh to trim away the skin,” explains Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.
In other words, it’s a great way to cut a pineapple without wasting any of its nutritional benefits.
Pineapples are very high in vitamin C and copper, but they also contain some fiber, folate, and B vitamins, says Palmer.
3. Clean Up the “Eyes”
Once you’ve removed the skin, there might be some leftover scale-like pieces or “eyes” studding the sides of the fruit. To remove them, get your paring knife and carefully trim around each one.
If you’re curious about what those dots are, you might be surprised.
“These are actually the result of multiple flowers forming fruits, which are fused together during the pineapple’s development,” explains Palmer.
4. Decide on a Shape
Once you’ve cleaned up your pineapple, you have a few options. “The great thing about removing the rind this way is that you can cut the trimmed pineapple into chunks, wedges, or rings,” says Palmer.
- Chunks are great for mixing into a chopped fruit salad or having on yogurt.
- Rings are a yummy burger topping or pretty on a platter.
- Wedges are perfect for tossing in the blender or eating as a snack.
If you want rings, turn the pineapple on its side and use your large knife to cut slices.
For any of the other shapes, stand your pineapple up and cut it right down the middle; then cut each part in half again.
5. Remove the Core
To remove the pineapple core, or the tough middle part that you’ll discard, you need your paring knife again.
- For rings, cut the core out by following the circular shape of the core (think of a donut and a donut hole).
- Or, if you’ve cut quarters, stand each one up and slice down with your big knife to remove the core.
- Once you’ve removed the core, lay a piece on its side and chop it into slices. Leave the slices as large chunks or cut them into smaller wedges.
What Can You Do With Cut-Up Pineapple?
Fresh pineapple is delicious to eat on its own, but it’s also versatile. Here are some ways to use your cut-up pineapple:
- Toss it into a smoothie
- Whip up a healthier piña colada
- Dice it into a sweet and salty salsa
- Grill it with meat or blend into a marinade
“Pineapple is unique because it has a digestive enzyme, bromelain, that breaks down protein, so it can be used in a marinade to help tenderize the raw meat,” says Layer.