How to Cut a Pineapple

4.73 from 37 votes
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Learn how to cut a pineapple with this simple step-by-step guide. The sweet golden flesh can be sliced and diced for a tropical fruit snack or used in various recipes.

Bowl of fresh cut pineapple chunks.

The thick prickly skin and pokey pineapple crown may seem challenging to cut, but the process is simple! This guide will teach you how to pick a ripe and juicy pineapple and cut them into rings, spears, chunks, or diced pieces.

Once you learn how to cut a fresh pineapple, enjoy them as a dessert or add them to savory dishes to enhance their taste. The sweet and tangy fruit can even be frozen to use in smoothies and sweet treats. After practicing the technique a few times, you’ll be a pro at cutting one up to enjoy anytime!

How to pick a pineapple

Your first task at the market is to determine if the pineapple is ripe. The peak season is from March to July. However, they are available year around depending on the producer. Pineapples are harvested at their peak ripeness, so once they hit the store, they are ready to eat or just need a few more days at room temperature to hit maximum sweetness.

Use these tips to select the most ripe and juicy pineapple:

  • Smell: Pick it up and smell the bottom of the pineapple. It should have a sweet and not fermented aroma. If it still smells very green, then it’s not very ripe. 
  • Look: The outer skin and leaves should have some shine and not be dull. It should have a golden-yellow hue with a mix of green areas. The exterior color is not the main indication of ripeness. As the fruit ages, the skin color will turn more golden and brown the more it’s aged and been sitting at the store, eventually spoiling.
  • Squeeze: The outer skin should also feel firm with a slight give. Too hard and it’s not ripe; too soft and it’s overripe. Skip any that are bruised or have dark spots.
  • Pull: The green leaves are the fronds of a pineapple. Pull from the top, and if it comes out easily, it’s ripe.
  • Ripen: If the fruit isn’t quite ready, leave it at room temperature for a few days. To ripen your pineapple quickly, place it in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana or apple. The ethylene gas produced by the other fruit will help ripen the pineapple faster.

How to cut a pineapple

This guide for how to cut a pineapple is the easiest method that I’ve found after many delicious testing opportunities. You really don’t need a pineapple hack. The key is to use a sharp chef’s knife and a stable cutting board before you get started.

Wash the fruit with cold water and dry it before cutting to remove any dirt or debris. You don’t want to contaminate the flesh!

Step 1: Slice off the crown and bottom

Photo of a person showing how to cut a pineapple with a chef's knife.

Place the fruit on a cutting board and lay the pineapple on its side. Secure the pineapple with one hand, and then slice off the top, about 1/2-inch down from where the green crown and flesh meet.

Person using a chef's knife to cut the bottom of a pineapple.

Turn the pineapple around and trim off about 1/2-inch from the bottom of the fruit. Trimming off the top and bottom will make it much easier to remove the fibrous skin.

Step 2: Trim the skin

Person holding a pineapple up and trimming the sides off.

Stand the pineapple up on the cut bottom side. Carefully trim the thick fibrous skin, starting from the top to the bottom. Be careful to preserve as much of the sweet flesh as possible. Cut around the fruit, following the natural curved shape of the pineapple, until all of the skin is removed.

Step 3: Remove the eyes

Person using a paring knife to remove the eyes from the pineapple.

There will be brown circular “eyes” left in the pineapple flesh. They are hard and chewy, and best to cut out as much as possible. It’s a little more work to remove them, but worthwhile if you’re cutting rings or thick slices. If you don’t mind losing more flesh, you can trim them off with a chef’s knife, but I like to preserve as much fruit as possible.

Use a small paring knife to make shallow diagonal V-shaped cuts in a spiral diagonal pattern to remove the eyes. Carefully cut the eyes out in a connected diagonal slope, turning the pineapple until all eyes are gone.

When cutting smaller slices or chunks of pineapple, I found it equally easy to trim off the eyes as I cut the fruit into smaller pieces, which I did for this guide below.

Step 4: Cut the pineapple into pieces

Cutting into pineapple rings

If you’re making rings, then lay the pineapple on its side. Cut the rings into desired thickness, typically ¼ to ½ inch thick. This works best when you have removed the eyes using the spiral cut method.

Person using a knife to slice the pineapple into rings.

Use a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to remove the core. A 1 to 1 1/2-inch round cutter is a good size. Alternatively, use a paring knife to cut out the core.

Person using a round cutter to remove the core of the pineapple.

Slicing into Spears

Person cutting down the center of a pineapple with no skin.

Stand the pineapple up on a cut end. Slice the pineapple in half lengthwise through the center.

Person using a knife to cut down a piece of pineapple.

Cut each half lengthwise into quarters. There will be used to make spears or pineapple chunks.

Person using a knife to cut the core of the pineapple.

Working one at a time, stand the spear up and use a knife to cut out the core from the center of each piece. The core will be slightly lighter in color than the flesh and feel fibrous. Discard the core is not used for another purpose. The spears can be left large or cut into smaller pieces. I usually can get twelve spears from one pineapple.

Cutting into smaller pieces

Person using a knife to cut pineapple into small chunks.

From the spears, cut the fruit into slices, chunks, diced, or smaller bite-sized pieces.

Person using a knife to dice the pineapple.

If you made rings, you can also cut the pineapple into smaller chunks.

Storing

  • Whole Pineapples: If you’ve selected a good pineapple, it’s best to eat it within the first few days to avoid deterioration. Store at room temperature on the counter for 2 to 3 days. It can be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life by placing it in a perforated plastic bag for 3 to 5 days. I’ve noticed that refrigerating causes the skin to darken and get softer, so cut the pineapple soon after chilling.
  • Cut Pineapples: Sliced or diced pineapples should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days. They may brown slightly due to oxidation, but they are safe to eat. Dispose of them once they start to smell fermented.
  • Freezing: Place the cut pineapples in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 1 to 2 hours, then transfer to a container. This prevents the pieces from sticking together. Store cut pineapples in a resealable plastic freezer bag with as much air removed as possible. Placing them in silicone bags, plastic, or glass containers provides extra protection in the freezer against freezer burn. Frozen pineapples last for up to 12 months.

Ways to use pineapples

Add a tropical twist to your next recipe! Here are some delicious ways to add sweet pineapple to any dish.

Frequently asked questions

How can I avoid getting the pineapple juice all over the place?

Chill the pineapple for a few hours before cutting. The cold temperatures will firm up the flesh, holding in more juice as you slice.

Can you use a serrated knife to cut a pineapple?

If you don’t have a sharp chef’s knife, a serrated knife (a bread knife) can be handy. It has a sharp saw-like edge and a long blade, which is excellent for oversized food items. The grooves help to break through tougher foods like crusty bread or the thick skin of a pineapple.

Why does fresh pineapple make my mouth itchy?

The flesh of a pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelin. This enzyme has the unique function of breaking down proteins. In fact, they are often used as a meat tenderizer or digestive aid in supplements. When your mouth and tongue are exposed to the enzyme, it can cause some irritation. Drinking some milk or eating ice cream can help neutralize the action of the enzyme.

Nutritional benefits of pineapples

This popular tropical fruit delivers a nutrient-dense profile of vitamins, phytonutrients, and fiber. The golden flesh is especially loaded with vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, and manganese. The high amounts of dietary fiber help with satiety and regularity. The presence of the bromelain enzyme aids in the digestion of some proteins. In a one-cup serving of pineapple chunks, there are approximately 83 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 22 g carbohydrates, and 79 mg of vitamin C, plus other nutrients (Source: USDA FoodData Central).

How to Cut a Pineapple

Learn how to cut a pineapple with this simple step-by-step guide. The sweet golden yellow flesh can be sliced and diced for a fruity healthy tropical snack or used in different recipes. 
4.73 from 37 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Snack
Cuisine Caribbean

Ingredients  

  • 1 pineapple

Instructions 

  • Wash – Rinse the pineapple under cool running water, then dry with a clean towel.
  • Slice the Crown and Bottom – Lay the pineapple on a cutting board on its side. Secure the bottom with one hand, and then use a chef's knife to slice off the top, about ½-inch down from where the green crown and flesh meet. Turn the pineapple around, and trim off about ½-inch from the bottom.
  • Trim the Skin – Stand the pineapple up on the bottom cut side. Carefully trim the thick fibrous skin, starting from the top down. Preserve as much of the sweet flesh as possible. Cut around the sides, following the natural curve of the fruit until all of the skin is removed.
  • Remove the Eyes – Remove the brown "eyes" left in the pineapple flesh. Use a small paring knife to make shallow diagonal V-shaped cuts in a spiral pattern. Turn and cut into a connected diagonal slope until all the eyes are gone. From here, cut the pineapple into the desired shape, like rings, spears, wedges, or small dice.
  • Cutting into Rings – Lay the pineapple on its side. Cut rings crosswise into desired thickness. Use a round cookie or biscuit cutter, 1 to 1 ½-inches in size, to remove the core. Alternatively, use a paring knife to cut out the core.
  • Slicing into Spears – Stand the pineapple up on the bottom cut side. Cut in half lengthwise through the center. Cut into quarters lengthwise. Working one piece at a time, stand the spear up and trim off the thick fibrous core from the center. Cut into thinner spears if desired.
  • Cutting into Smaller Pieces – Cut each spear into thinner slices, chunks, or smaller diced pieces.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 1 pineapple yields about 4 cups of diced fruit or 12 spears.
  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Storing: Store whole pineapples at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Store cut pineapples in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days. 
  • Freezing: Freeze cut pineapples in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 1 to 2 hours. Transfer to a resealable bag or container for up to 12 months.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 74kcal (4%)Carbohydrates 20g (7%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 0.2gSaturated Fat 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat 0.02gSodium 2mgPotassium 178mg (5%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 14g (16%)Vitamin A 100IU (2%)Vitamin C 77.6mg (94%)Calcium 20mg (2%)Iron 0.4mg (2%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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15 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. tom says

    I have a much easier way to cut a pineapple. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in my process.

  2. Steven says

    Wow, Tom, thanks for you’re help here. Jessica took time to document a great way to do something and share it with everyone. You took time to say you know a better way. Thanks for making the world a better place.

  3. Produce Dude says

    Hi Jessica, great article. Could you also just cut around the core once you’ve peeled the skin off at the beginning like you would coring and apple?

    • HeatherJustice says

      I’ve seen where they sell this long tube that cuts the core for you. You put it at the top of the core & push it all the way down. And then pull it out and the core is inside of the tube

  4. HeatherJustice says

    Thank you so much! I’ve always bought canned. But it’s not as healthy. Now that I know the proper way to cut the whole Pineapple, that’s what I’m going to do:) God bless you & your loved ones! Stay safe