How to Cut a Pineapple: The Simple and Easy Process

Summer tropical fruit has a delectable taste, texture, and freshness that is particularly wonderful served sweet, ripe, and cold—pineapple, especially. I've been so intimidated by using whole pineapples that it was only recently that I actually learned how to properly cut into them. Those scary-looking spikes as well as its crown? Yikes! But it turns out that there are many ways to learn how to cut fresh pineapple.  

What You Need to Cut Pineapple (ingredients + tools)

When chopping fruit, especially as massive and juicy as a pineapple, you are going to need a sturdy, heavy, nonslip cutting  board with drip grooves to help contain the mess. We have recently learned some tips on caring for cutting boards.

Typically used for baking such as with biscuit dough and cookies, a cookie cutter is also useful for how to cut up a pineapple.

Wüsthof Classic High Carbon Steel 3 Piece Chef's Knife Set

A large, sharp knife. Learning how to cut a whole pineapple with a knife can seem daunting but the prickly skin isn't as scary as it seems. However, with the use of a proper and sturdy chef’s knife, you will cut a pineapple into chunks in no time.

WÜSTHOF Gourmet Three Piece Pairing Knife Set | 3-Piece German Knife Set | Precise Laser Cut High Carbon Stainless Steel Pairing Knife Set – Model 9727

A small knife. Essential for peeling off prickly skin and carving pineapple rings, a trusty and sturdy paring knife is essential. We use Wusthof in our home kitchen and we recommend this decent set for a beginner.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Cut a Pineapple

Step One: Position the pineapple on your cutting board

Lay the pineapple on its side. Center the fruit on the board.

Step Two: Cut off the top and the bottom

If you're sensitive, wearing clean gardening gloves may allow you to avoid getting "stung" by the thorns and provide a better grip on the fruit. Holding the crown in your "weak" hand, place your dominant (cutting) hand firmly on one side of your pineapple and slice off the top. To do this, cut below the part where the crown and top of pineapple meet. Turn the pineapple and cut an inch off the bottom.

Step Three: Slice off the skin and spikes

This step, personally, is the most gratifying step as it finally allows you to get rid of those spikes. To do this, you must stand your pineapple upright. Secure your pineapple on the top part so that it is firmly balanced on the chopping board. Starting from the top to the bottom, slice your way down through the thick spiky skin. Just follow the natural shape of your pineapple when cutting down the surface. You can cut deeply and remove the "eyes" with the skin, or...

Step Four: Get rid of the brown pineapple "eyes"

The next step involves removing those small solid, inedible parts of the pineapple, the flower cups, also called "eyes."  For this chore, you'll need your paring knife. Just make some cuts in a diagonal but spiral manner. This action will cut those rock-like parts out. Just make sure the cut is in a slope. This is a bit difficult to explain without a video, so here is Emmy Made in Japan showing us how to remove the pineapple eyes. 

Or, if you are just going to chunk this pineapple up for snacking instead of making rings, you can get rid of these eyes after you've cut them into chunks by slicing them out as you go.

Step Five: Remove the core

There are several ways to do this. Removing the pineapple core depends on what type of cut you’re aiming to achieve. Are you aiming for small chunks or cut pineapple rings?

For the former, using one hand to hold the pineapple in place, cut the fruit directly at the center. Lengthwise, cut the body of the fruit cut into quarters. With this step, you have already cut the pineapple into wedges. Now you can pare the core away from the wedges themselves.

As for the latter, instead of cutting the pineapple at the center, what you do is you lay the whole fruit on its side and cut the pineapple at its width, following its natural round shape.

To remove the woody core for each pineapple ring, choose one of these options:

1) You can use a pineapple corer, which will remove the core in one (or two) strokes before you slice the pineapple into rings.

2) Use an apple corer after you slice it into rings, which will save more of the pineapple flesh. 

3) After slicing through the body of the pineapple, press a small cookie cutter into the center of each ring.

4) Use a paring knife to go around the center of each pineapple ring slice by hand.

Step Six: How to cut a pineapple into chunks

​​Now, the last step is where you divide them into the smaller pieces. For the lengthwise cut, slice them into small rectangular pieces. For the round or ring slices, split them into chunks.

Additional Cooking Tips for Pineapple

  • For round slices of pineapple, it is always better to slice off the top and bottom part first.
  • If you’re making salsa and you found out last minute there’s no tomato left, you may use small chunks of pineapple for a substitute. It adds acid and a bit of sweetness.
  • Pineapple tends to highlight the umami flavor of meats such as chicken, pork or beef. It's great in a marinade, and grilled pineapple as a side dish.
  • You may have been reading the latest about how to cut a pineapple hack, where you pull the thorns off one at a time with a bit of pineapple flesh stuck to each piece. Here's the Eater article that helps explain how; they say it's pretty hard to do and tough on the fingers.
  • Lastly, the core that everyone dismisses as compost can be repurposed! You can slice them down lengthwise and can reuse them as a fun stirrer for your drinks or cocktails. 

Final Thoughts

Pineapples certainly are one of the most versatile fruits out there. Salsa? Check. Fruit juice? Check. Perfect on the grill? Check. All you have to know is how to not be scared away by its intimidating spikes and to cut them properly. Finally, you also need to know how to properly store pineapple.

​We got a little bit of help from ​Delish.