Pineapple

The Pineapple Cutting Trick We Learned From Chrissy Teigen's Mom

Trust Pepper to show us the quickest, most mesmerizing way.

July 31, 2020
Photo by Julia Gartland

Chrissy Teigen—cookbook author, recipe site helm-er, kitchenware creator, actress, hilarious Twitter personality, woman about town—has given us some of our very favorite kitchen hacks over the years. See this "why didn't we think of that?" way to make bacon even better; this crispy rice salad that changed the way we think about salads; this large-format casserole that tastes just like our favorite everything bagel breakfast with all the fixings.

And the best part of it all: Stanning Chrissy and her ingenious tricks is sort of a two-for-one package, because we also get access to her incredible mom, Pepper—to whom Chrissy credits all of her cooking know-how. So when Chrissy posted a video of Pepper's go-to way to cut pineapple, you can bet we paid attention. Chrissy's Cravings account said of this technique: "Out of all the tricks Pepper has up her sleeve, this hack has to be one of our favorites."

And now it's become one of our favorites. It allows us to discard as little of the pineapple as possible and make the fruit look super fancy. Watch the video below, read the step-by-step instructions we've gleaned from Pepper's moves, and never find yourself in a spiky, bewildering mess again.

Step 1: Find your very sharpest chef's knife and steadiest cutting board (set a damp cloth underneath your board to make extra-sure there's no sliding around). Lay another small wet cloth onto the cutting board and stand a ripe pineapple on top.

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Gripping the leaves of the pineapple to hold it steady, shave off a thin layer of skin by slicing down and around the pineapple. Try to remove as little of the flesh as possible, using the fruit's curvature as a guide.

Pro tip from Pepper: Don't even think about tossing that pineapple peel! You can rub it all over your metal jewelry make your pieces extra shiny. (Pepper also uses the pineapple peel as a skin exfoliant, which we think is a very clever idea, too.)

Step 2: Slice the bottom off the pineapple, so it can stand up straight on the cutting board.

Step 3: Look at the "eyes" of the pineapple—or the little brown dots that pattern the fruit (we removed such a thin layer of skin so we could easily see these). Notice how they circle the fruit in a diagonal spiral.

Make two long, but shallow cuts along each line, all around the circumference of pineapple (the above video really helps in visualizing this step). You'll end up with an eyeless, very handsome pineapple—one that kind of resembles a tornado potato (our favorite).

Step 4: As-is, you can use this spiralized pineapple as a wondrous display. Or, proceed with cutting it into bite-size pieces for snacking.

Again gripping the leaves, cut along the pineapple's core on all four sides, creating four thick planks. Depending on the pineapple's size, and how big or small you consider "bite size," cut the four planks in halves or thirds, lengthwise.

Cross-cut each plank to create little fruit nuggets. Pepper does this step in her hand instead of on the board, which is slightly terrifying (again, your knife's supposed to be really sharp) and maybe not recommended for first-timers trying out this trick.

Have you ever cut a pineapple Pepper's way? Let us know in the comments.

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Brinda is the Editorial Lead at Food52, where she also edits all of Food52's cookbooks and covers the latest and greatest books on the site (drop her a line with recs!). She likes chewy Neapolitan pizza, stinky cheese of all sorts, and tahini-flavored anything. Brinda lives in Brooklyn with 18 plants. Find her at @brindayesterday on Twitter and Instagram.

11 Comments

HalfPint August 10, 2020
This is how my mother cuts pineapples. I think it's a Southeast Asian thing. The goal is to lose as little of the edible part of the fruit as possible. Asian moms hate to lose the good stuff with poor cutting skills ;)
 
Karen L. August 9, 2020
I’m impressed with how she cuts the pineapples right on her hand! People injure their hands cutting avocados; can’t imagine how they’d do cutting pineapples. Go Pepper!!
 
Karen L. August 9, 2020
*Pineapple- not pineapples.
 
W J. August 9, 2020
Been doing this for many years. So nothing really new here.

There are inexpensive tools (<$10, some <$5) available (Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc.) for removing the pineapple eyes. These are special purpose tools, which either cut away the eyes in a series of grooves in a single pass unlike the video in which the lady uses a knife or a plucker which plucks out the remaining dark eye.

I have a gouger type that I use most often to quickly cut a series of parallel grooves.

The plucker type of pineapple eye remover, however, wastes less pineapple, and can be used on things like potatoes to remove eyes, tomatoes to remove the stem end, and strawberries to remove the cap. Plucker types, when older and less sharp, can also be used in the garden to pluck out small weed plants.

Search YouTube for pineapple eye removal to see more and the different types. Search Google for the same thing and check out Amazon. These tools are only a few dollars each.

We buy fresh pineapples often, especially when they are around $2 each at our local Korean market and prepare them in the manner presented in this article, except I quarter the peeled, eyeless pineapple and then slice out the core.

If you have a hand-operated food mill, you can also get a bit more juice by milling/grinding the detritus such as the eye grooves, so even less is wasted. This is usually only worth the trouble when you are doing several pineapples at a time, however.
 
Janice August 9, 2020
This article is not about Chrissy Teigen; it is about prepping a pineapple for eating! I had a friend from my teen years who went to Hawaii on vacation. Back home to California, on a beach trip with friends, he was designated the job of cutting the pineapples. He taught me the same process shown here. He learned it while in Hawaii. I’ve been cutting pineapple that way ever since! However, I always quarter it and then cut out the core. This was the best part - good fiber and not too sweet. My boys loved it! There is very little waste with this process. I use a very sharp slicing knife (normally used for meat but I’m vegan). A friend told me about a pineapple corer/slicer that she loved! I purchased one, and it works well if you want to use the pineapple shell for table decor, a drink holder, or if you’re in a hurry, but there is a loss of pineapple. Like any kitchen task, cutting a pineapple can be a soothing and pleasant process especially with some good music playing in the background!
 
Paulette August 9, 2020
I have another good way of cutting a pineapple. I don't peel it but I cut off the 2 ends. Then I cut it in half and then in quarters. At that point I remove the hard core of each quarter. Then I make cuts going across the width of the pineapple for each quarter. Finally, and above a large dish, I cut the pineapple placing my knife along the bottom of each quarter, and VOILA!! nice and easy and delicious!
 
Steven W. August 1, 2020
I like the idea of leaving the top on, but the rest seems silly to me. I use one pineapple a week if they aren't too expensive. I usually trim off the skin, and cut it into quarters. It makes it easy to remove the core. Then chop it up as she did, cutting the quarters into three pieces each, depending on the size. I have a family member who works in a chain grocery store produce department, so they have cut up thousands of pineapples. They don't do it this way, but I am not sure if they leave the top on. That's the best p[art of this video!
 
Losi P. July 31, 2020
We don’t like her!!!!! No more Chrissy Teagan
 
Steven W. August 1, 2020
Um, that's her mother, not her?
 
Melinda J. August 2, 2020
“We” are just fine with Chrissy. Speak for yourself, Losi P.
 
Tracy M. August 9, 2020
Please don't presume to speak for all of us...