How to Cut Dragon Fruit

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Learn how to cut dragon fruit (also known as pitaya) with this simple step-by-step guide. The sweet, speckled flesh is a tropical treat that can be eaten as a healthy snack or added to other recipes. 

How to cut dragon fruit to use in smoothies and fruit salads.

Recipe Science

  • Ripe dragon fruit has vibrant, evenly colored skin, slight give when pressed, slightly dried extensions, and a fragrant, sweet aroma.
  • Red-fleshed varieties are generally sweeter than white-fleshed ones, except for yellow-skinned dragon fruit.
  • A sharp knife ensures clean cuts through the fruit’s tough skin and tender flesh, preserving its texture and preventing bruising.

What is Dragon Fruit?

If you spot exotic dragon fruit at the market, don’t pass it up! With bright pink skin and green leaves resembling scales, it’s hard to miss. Native to Mexico and Central America and part of the Cactaceae (cactus) family, this tropical fruit, also known as pitaya or strawberry pear, tastes like a cross between kiwi and pear.

Once cut open, you’ll be surprised to find flesh speckled with tiny black seeds. Depending on the type of dragon fruit, the pulp may be white, red, or purple. Once you open it up, you can simply enjoy it sliced, add it to a salad or smoothie, or even place it on the grill.

How to Cut Dragon Fruit

The leaves may look prickly and intimidating, but they’re easy to slice through. The skin’s surface is thin and smooth, like a mango. Right beneath is a thicker, soft, waxy, and pliable peel that separates easily from the pulp.

Knife cutting a dragon fruit in half.

Step 1: Cut in Half

Place the dragon fruit on a cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice it in half lengthwise. I recommend starting at the top, then down into the thicker stem. You can eat the pulp straight from the halve using a spoon.

Person using a spoon to scoop out the white flesh of a dragon fruit.

Step 2: Remove the Flesh

Now that there are two halves, you have two options. Use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh, just like an avocado.

Hands peeling the dragon fruit flesh off the skin.

Alternatively, you can use your fingers to peel the thick skin away from the fruit. It’s easier to do this when cut into fourths.

For a fancy presentation, I like to cut it into pieces with the skin on like oranges, served on a cheese or fruit platter.

Dragon fruit being cut into slices.

Step 3: Make Slices

Depending on how you will use the dragon fruit, you can cut it into thick or thin slices.

Dragon fruit on a cutting board being sliced to make cubes.

Step 4: Make Cubes

Start with slices, then cut lengthwise and turn and cut in the opposite direction to create cubes. I like to freeze ¾-inch cubes in a single layer to use in a dragon fruit smoothie.

Make smaller dice to add to a mango salsa or topping on an acai bowl.

Dragon fruit cut into cubes and slices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a dragon fruit taste like?

Once ripe, dragon fruit boasts a delicately sweet taste, often likened to a fusion of pear and kiwi, accompanied by a tender texture reminiscent of ripe kiwi. Conversely, when under-ripe, dragon fruit tends to lack any discernible flavor profile. It can be eaten raw, or its texture holds up well to grilling. The red flesh is sweeter than white. However, yellow dragon fruit has the highest sweetness level.

How do you store dragon fruit?

Store the whole dragon fruit at room temperature. Ripe dragon fruit should be stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This technique prevents it from picking up smells from other foods.
If underripe, you can accelerate the ripening process by placing it in a paper bag with an apple or banana. The ethylene gas emitted from those fruits accelerates ripening. For cut pieces, store in an airtight container for about 2 to 5 days, but discard when the flesh turns brown or mushy.

How do you know if Dragon Fruit is ripe?

The fruit’s peak season is from the summer months until early fall.
To select a dragon fruit at its peak ripeness and sweetness, seek out vibrant, uniformly pink skin. Minor imperfections on the exterior are acceptable, but excessive discoloration on the flesh could indicate overripeness. When gently pressed with your thumb, the skin should yield slightly, indicating softness, but should not feel excessively mushy.

How do I cut the dragon fruit into spheres?

Once you’ve cut the dragon fruit in half, I find it easiest to scoop out the flesh with a melon baller while the skin is still intact to make round spheres. This is great for a tropical fruit salad or on a skewer.

Is dragon fruit healthy?

Dragon fruit is a good source of dietary fiber, prebiotics, magnesium, iron, and potassium. It’s no surprise that it’s regarded as a superfruit, especially the red pulp variety. The colorful pigment delivers additional plant polyphenols, like the antioxidants vitamin C, betalains, lycopene, and beta-carotene, to prevent cellular damage.

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How to Cut Dragon Fruit

Learn how to cut a dragon fruit with this simple step-by-step guide. The colorful flesh can be sliced and diced for a fruity healthy tropical snack or used in different recipes.
4.88 from 24 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Snack
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients  

  • 1 dragon fruit, pitaya

Instructions 

  • Cut in Half – Place the fruit on a cutting board and lay the dragon fruit on its side. Use a sharp chef's knife to cut the fruit in half lengthwise, starting from the top of the fruit down to the stem.
  • Remove the Flesh – Use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh. Alternatively, use your fingers to peel away the skin; this is easier when cut into quarters.
  • Cut Into Slices – Cut the flesh into thick or thin slices. You can stop at this step if this is your desired shape.
  • Cut Into Cubes – Turn the fruit and cut the slices into cubes of your desired size.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Storing: Place cut pieces in an airtight container for up to 2 to 5 days. Discard once the flesh becomes brown or mushy.
  • Freezing: Cut into ½ to ¾-inch pieces. Store in a single layer in a large resealable bag. Fruit can be frozen for up to 12 months.
  • Making Spheres: Once the dragon fruit is cut in half, use a melon baller to make small rounds.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 15kcal (1%)Carbohydrates 2g (1%)Fat 1g (2%)Sodium 15mg (1%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 2g (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)

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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