How to Cut and Eat a Dragon Fruit (+ Recipe Tips)

Last updated: February 13, 2024

A quick guide to cutting and eating dragon fruit in multiple ways, plus practical storage, selection, and recipe tips for this exotic fruit.

Dragon fruits have an exotic look that’s not quite like any other fruit out there. Given this, it’s no surprise many people have no idea how to approach cutting and eating this unique fruit. But don’t worry, it is much easier than it looks!

In this article, I’ll show you how to cut and eat dragon fruit in three different ways: peeling, scooping, and slicing.

I will also give you some of my favorite tips for using and storing this exotic fruit to help you get the most out of it!

Cutting and Eating Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is unlike most other fruits in that it comes from a cactus, not a tree or shrub.

There are several different pitaya cactus species that produce edible fruit. All are native to Mexico and the Pacific coast of Central America.

Steps for Eating a Dragon Fruit

I will show you three different ways to cut and eat dragon fruit:

  1. Peel it
  2. Scoop it
  3. Slice it

Let’s go through these methods in more detail.

1. Peel It

The easiest way to enjoy dragon fruit and to make sure none of that delicate flesh goes to waste is to peel away the leathery skin.

  1. Start by laying the fruit down on a cutting board.
  2. Cut the stem and blossom ends off the fruit, making sure to cut deep enough to reveal the flesh inside.
  3. Make a slit in the peel from one cut end to the other. Cut just deep enough to hit the flesh.
  4. With your fingers, peel back the rind and then carefully remove it from the flesh below, then discard.
  5. Return the peeled flesh to the cutting board and chop, slice, or quarter the fruit as needed.

2. Scoop It

Another easy and fairly quick way to deal with a dragon fruit is to slice it in half and scoop out the flesh.

You are more likely to leave some of the flesh behind using this method, but it comes with the benefit of leaving the rind intact so it can be used as a serving dish.

  1. Start by laying the fruit down on a cutting board.
  2. Slice the fruit in half lengthwise.
  3. Take one half and, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh inside. Do the same with the second half.
  4. Slice or dice the scooped-out flesh to your desired size.
  5. Use the hollowed halves of the rind to serve your cut dragon fruit in.

3. Slice It

Slicing your dragon fruit and then peeling each section is another fairly easy approach to preparing this fruit.

This method is more time-consuming than the other two, but produces clean-looking results.

  1. Start by laying the fruit down on a cutting board.
  2. Slice the fruit in half lengthwise.
  3. Take one half, slice off the ends, and discard.
  4. Slice the remaining portion widthwise into equal sections.
  5. Take each slice and use a paring knife to remove the rind. Alternatively, you can peel each piece with your fingers. Discard the rind pieces.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 with the other half of the fruit.
  7. Serve the slices as is or cut them into smaller pieces if needed.
Cutting dragon fruit lengthwise
Cutting dragon fruit lengthwise


The most common variety of sweet dragon fruit features a bright pink rind with scale- or flame-like green spiky growths.

The inside of this fruit is white, with hundreds of tiny black seeds. If you found your dragon fruit at the grocery store, it is most likely this kind.

Pink dragon fruit with white flesh
Pink dragon fruit with white flesh

Less common is the red-skinned, pink-fleshed dragon fruit variety. This one looks similar on the outside but with darker reds in place of the pink tones on the rind and bright fuschia flesh instead of white.

The rarest of the sweet dragon fruits is the yellow variety. This fruit has bright yellow skin, small green-yellow scales, and white flesh with black seeds.

Flavors and Texture

Both yellow and white-fleshed pink fruits have a similar flavor. They are both mild, with a taste somewhere between pear and kiwi.

The pink fleshed fruits are much more intense. The base flavor is like a sweet pear but with an added layer of perfume that is slightly astringent and very floral.

Scooping dragon fruit
Scooping dragon fruit

All dragon fruit flesh has a similar texture, very much like that of a kiwi. The exterior rind is thick and leathery. You know when a dragon fruit is ripe because the rind has some give, much like a ripe avocado.

Dragon fruit season typically runs from June through November in tropical climates where these cactuses thrive. Specialty produce markets farther north will generally stock dragon fruit toward the end of summer.

Only the flesh and seeds of dragon fruits are edible, which makes preparing them a bit tricky.

Would you like to know more about this fruit? Read my guide explaining what is dragon fruit and learn more about the origins and history of this fruit, how to grow it at home, recipe ideas, and much more.

Practical Tips

Now that you know how to cut and eat dragon fruit like a pro, here are a few more tips for selecting, preparing, eating, and storing this exotic fruit.

How to Know When Dragon Fruit Is Ripe

Ripe dragon fruits have brightly colored flesh: pink, red, or yellow, depending on the variety. The scales will be bright green, and the rind should show no areas of brown or black.

Like a ripe avocado, the flesh should give a little when squeezed but not be too soft.

How to Store Dragon Fruit

Fresh, ripe dragon fruit should be stored in the fridge. The cooler temperatures will preserve the fruit for up to two weeks.

However, if your fruit is not yet ripe, store it on the counter to give it more time to soften up.

Cut dragon fruit pieces
Cut dragon fruit pieces

Once cut into, dragon fruit will only last a few days. Place any uneaten portion in an airtight container and put it in the fridge.

To preserve dragon fruit for an extended period, you can freeze the flesh in airtight containers or freezer bags. This is especially useful for smoothies, sorbets, and other frozen treats.

Dragon Fruit Recipes and Uses

Dragon fruit is typically eaten fresh. White fleshed varieties have a mild flavor that blends well with many recipes. And the intense flavor of pink-fleshed types has the potential to elevate the right dishes.

Adding sliced or cubed dragon fruit to fruit salads is always a good idea. You can also blend this tasty tropical treat into your smoothie or add it as a topper to your yogurt and granola. Much like pears or apples, dragon fruit can also be added to greens salads for a sweet twist.

On the savory side, dragon fruit can be added to salsas and marinades. And for dessert, try whipping up some homemade dragon fruit ice cream.

Check out this dragon fruit blueberry smoothie recipe if you’d like to try and create a smoothie with dragon fruit.


How to a eat dragon fruit (plus recipe tips)

Donna Harrison

My name is Donna Harrison, and I created this blog because I am passionate about discovering new foods and learning everything about them. I am also a bit of a smoothie fanatic, and I try to document all my favorite smoothies and other recipes here on Healthy Food Tribe, in addition to recommendations and reviews of my favorite kitchen tools.

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