How to Cut and Eat Dragon Fruit
Learn how to cut dragon fruit quickly and easily with this step-by-step guide. The sweet flesh is delicious and packed full of nutrients. You can eat dragon fruit on its own as a simple and refreshing snack or add it to fruit salads, smoothies, desserts and more!
Dragon fruit can seem a bit intimidating at first with its unique look and bright colors. Learning how to prepare it is actually quite easy, and the more you eat it, the more you’ll love it!
This tropical fruit makes a delicious snack that’s slightly sweet with an interesting texture. It’s low in calories (only 60 calories per dragon fruit!) and low in sugar. Plus, it has many health benefits and is keto.
What is Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)?
Dragon fruit, also called pitaya or pitahaya, is a tropical fruit coming from the dragon fruit tree, which is actually a type of large cactus. There are three varieties of dragon fruit:
- Pink skin with white flesh (white dragon fruit)
- Pink skin with red flesh (red dragon fruit)
- Yellow skin with white flesh (yellow dragon fruit)
All of these varieties have tiny black seeds interspersed throughout the flesh and a very similar taste.
Most U.S. dragon fruit used to come from Latin America or Asia and is fairly expensive. However, as America’s fastest-growing exotic fruit, there’s now a domestic harvest of more than one million pounds in Florida alone!
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is loaded with nutrients and has many impressive health benefits including:
- Beneficial antioxidants like vitamin C.
- 7 grams of fiber per cup along with prebiotics for a healthy gut and digestive health.
- Plant compounds like polyphenols and carotenoids that help to strengthen the immune system.
- Beneficial minerals like iron and magnesium.
Some people have called it the next pomegranate in terms of super food properties!
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
Dragon fruit has a mild and slightly sweet taste, resembling a cross between kiwifruit, pear and sugar beets. The flesh has a slightly crunchy texture, like watermelon or starfruit but slightly softer. Dragon fruit has almost no smell.
Choosing Dragon Fruit
When ripe, dragon fruit has bright, evenly colored skin. A few spots are normal, but a lot of dark blotches or blemishes usually indicate it’s overripe.
The outer skin should feel firm with a slight give. However, mushy skin or wrinkles/sagging indicate it’s too old and should be discarded.
Dragon fruits are usually available year-round in Asian grocers and sporadically in other grocery stores. If you can’t find any, try ordering online (Amazon). Once you’ve selected the perfect dragon fruit, it’s time to cut it up.
Cutting Dragon Fruit
Cutting dragon fruit is very easy. Place it on a clean cutting board and cut straight through the middle using a large sharp knife:
Then grab a large table spoon and slide it in between the skin the flesh, like you might do with an avocado or kiwi. You should then be able to lift the flesh out of the skin, or alternatively just peel the skin off using your fingers:
Place the flesh on a cutting board flat-side down and trim off any pink residues, which can be bitter. You can cut up dragon fruit into quarters like an apple, slice it widthwise into semicircles, or chop it into cubes or chunks as you like:
Dragon fruit is best when freshly cut. If you’re not ready to cut right away, it can sit for a day or two at room temperature on the counter. Any longer and you should store it in a sealed ziptop bag in the fridge for up to one week.
Here is a video tutorial showing how to prepare dragon fruit:
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
Once you’ve figured out how to cut dragon fruit, you can explore many ways to eat it. The easiest way is straight out of the skin with a spoon as a snack. Note: the skin is not edible.
If you’ve already cut the fruit into chunks, you can place them back into the half-shell for an attractive serving presentation (kids love this one). Alternatively, just put into a serving bowl.
While dragon fruit is delicious on its own, it’s even better added to fruit salads, smoothies, and desserts. Drinks have also been trending since Starbucks launched the mango dragon fruit refresher. Finally, dragonfruit can be substituted for kiwi in many recipes and goes well with berries, mango, kiwi, pineapple and papaya.
If you’re not consuming cut dragon fruit right away, store it for up to 1 day in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Tip: sprinkle lemon juice on top to help it stay fresh.) Otherwise, freeze for up to 3 months for use in smoothies only, since the texture isn’t the same for eating after freezing.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit (with Video)
- 1 medium dragon fruit
- 1 cup mango, chunks (1 medium mango)
- 1 cup pineapple, chunks (1/4 pineapple)
- 1 cup kiwi, chunks (2 medium kiwis)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
How to Cut Dragon Fruit
- Place the dragon fruit on a clean cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife, cut each one in half lengthwise down the middle. The flesh may be white or red.
- Slide a large table spoon in between the skin and the flesh, sliding it along the peel to separate the flesh (like you might do for an avocado or kiwi).
- Scoop out the flesh onto the cutting board. Make sure to trim off any pink residues, which can be bitter. (Optional: Reserve the skin halves for serving.)
- Repeat the previous step for the remaining half.
- Place the flesh flat-side down and chop into cubes or chunks as desired. You can also slice it widthwise into semicircles.
Dragon Fruit Salad
- Cut the optional mango, pineapple, and kiwi into chunks.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cut dragon fruit with the mango, pineapple, and kiwi.
- Sprinkle lemon juice on top and toss to combine.
- 1 dragon fruit yields 2 cups of diced fruit.
- Serving size: 1 1/4 cup
- Nutrition information provided below includes the optional mango, pineapple, kiwi, and lemon juice.
- Cut dragon fruit can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day or frozen for up to 3 months.
Equipment for Cutting Dragon Fruit
More fruit cutting tips:
Editor note: Originally published Mar 4, 2019 and updated Sep 9, 2019.
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