peeled grapefruit segments on a white plate with a whole grapefruit in the background

How to Peel a Grapefruit

Watch the video to learn how to peel a grapefruit with your hands in this quick and easy tutorial! This quick tip is easier and produces less waste than using a special serrated grapefruit spoon. No special tools needed using this method to peel and segment a grapefruit!

peeled grapefruit segments on a white plate with a whole grapefruit in the background
How to Peel a Grapefruit

Watch the video to learn how to peel a grapefruit with your hands in this quick and easy tutorial! This quick tip is easier and produces less waste than using a special serrated grapefruit spoon. No special tools needed using this method to peel and segment a grapefruit!peeled grapefruit segments on a white plate with a whole grapefruit in the background

When I was a little girl, I begged my mom to buy those nifty serrated spoons so I could copy grapefruit eaters on television and peel a grapefruit just like them. Cut the grapefruit in half, stick your spoon in, and enjoy, right? I was dismally disappointed when she bought a set of serrated spoons and I got to try it out for myself. I found that there was an enormous amount of waste, and that I could not really release the grapefruit from its peel very cleanly. I never used the serrated spoon again.

I know there are many nifty ways to peel and segment a grapefruit. Sometimes I do use a knife to segment the citrus, gliding my knife between the segment and the peel to release clean cuts of grapefruit. However, my favorite way of peeling and segmenting a grapefruit actually relies more on my own hands. It was the method my mother taught me, and one I had assumed everyone knew about.

I realized that my method of segmenting grapefruit was different when I was pregnant with my daughter. Talk about pregnancy cravings! While I was carrying her, I could not get enough of grapefruits! I had at least one a day, and in my old office lunchroom, you could probably bet that I was in there, peeling a grapefruit by hand. My coworkers were intrigued by my technique, and even my husband confessed that he had never seen anyone segment a grapefruit my way before. But all agree that it definitely yields less waste.

So, I’m curious – how do you segment a grapefruit? This is how I peel a grapefruit:

How to Peel a Grapefruit Step by Step

I realized that the best way to show you how to peel a grapefruit is with a video, so I put together a short clip so you can see my method in action!

Did you find these tips on how to peel a grapefruit helpful?  You might also enjoy these other produce-related quick tips:

How to Cut a Squash Easily
How to Pick a Perfect Cantaloupe
How to Peel and Store Fresh Ginger
How to Pick Spicy Jalapeños

Comments

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  1. CurlyCupcake

    I had to follow up and let you know I used your method! Usually when I peel a grapefruit, I pull the segments apart before taking the skin off of them. It was so much easier to slide my thumb between the fruit and skin like you do! And they stay in whole pieces (in my method they often don’t). This is the way I’ll do it from now on! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Liren

      This makes me so happy! I’m so glad the technique worked well for you – thank you so much for letting me know :)

      Reply
  2. Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot

    I had no idea this could even be done! I normally just hack the crap out of mine. The only citrus fruit I ever attempt peeling is a mandarin and even then I take forever to surgically remove every spec of white.

    Reply
  3. Jean

    Liren, that’s the only way I eat a grapefruit. I always thought it was such fun to be able to remove the entire segment from the skin. Gee, like you, I thought this was how everyone else did it.

    Great video tutorial!

    Reply
  4. thumba

    that’s the way my mother taught me too…although, we usually use it for pomelos.

    how many things do you grow up with that you think are “normal” that you grow up to find out others never heard of!!!

    in my case, i didn’t know you could cook (ie, baked potatoes, etc) in the microwave until i was a senior in high school.

    Reply
  5. sacha

    i just got 5 grapefruits from my mom’s orchard today! that’s the same way i’ve been peeling them since i was 13.

    Reply
  6. angi

    You’re reminding me that it’s been too long since I’ve had a grapefruit. :) Lovely video, Liren – your grapefruit-peeling method is similar to how I usually deal with pomelos. But I like the idea of using it on grapefruit! It looks much less messy than the knife method.

    Reply
  7. HeatherS

    This is exactly the way my 84-year-old father taught me how to peel a grapefruit and the way that I eat them to this day. When I was a teen, I could eat 2-3 grapefruit at a sitting. Now that I’m a Mom, they are a once-in-a-while thing, but I’m feeling a binge coming on right now!

    Reply
  8. Cristina

    Thanks for sharing about peeling and segmenting a grapefruit, Liren…very good video demo. You are so neat and orderly about it. I think I just look for a good place to stab the outside with my fingernail, usually up at the base and then start peeling away. I guess I’m kinda beastly about it compared to your refined method. =)

    Reply
  9. Magic of Spice

    OK, so that is pretty much how I do it but mine never come out so nice… Maybe I need to practice :) Great post and video!

    Reply
  10. timlee

    Oh my goodness! I thought I was the only one that peeled them like that! It definitely takes more time, but is totally worth it. I don’t eat it any other way.

    Reply
  11. Hailey Kocol

    That is EXACTLY how I peel too! I just kind of figured it out the other day. We bought a big bag of grape fruit from Costco and I did the slice in half method a few times. But it was hard and I felt like I wasn’t getting much grape fruit. So out of frustration I just decided to peel it like an orange and eat it like an orange. However, the “skin” as I call it got in the way, so I then started peeling that off too. So after a few trial and errors, I ended up with the exact method you described above!

    Reply
  12. CurlyCupcake

    This is how I eat a grapefruit too, and I also thought no one really ate them peeled like this. It takes a little bit of time/effort but its really worth it to get more of the delicious fruit!

    Reply
  13. Monet

    Smile. We have very similar techniques except I don’t score my grapefruit and I tend to eat the inner skin. I have been craving grapefruits so badly this month. I think my body knows it needs that vitamin C!

    Reply
  14. Carissa

    I peel all my citrus like that! Way easier to eat than with that spoon!

    Reply
  15. foodwanderings

    Liren, It is exactly how I do it, so now there are two people in the world with youe method. I don’t like the waste with other method but i like the fruit, pulp in tact. So yay & great job with gorgeous pics and video.

    Reply
  16. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    I didn’t know there was any other way, until I attended a cooking class and had to use a paring knife to “supreme” the grapefruit and ended up with a bunch of grapefruit pieces :) Using your hands is much more efficient!

    Reply
  17. A Canadian Foodie

    I cannot eat a grapefruit any other way, and haven’t for years. Love the little video and I am sure many will find it so helpful. I am just surprised more don’t do this with a grapefruit as the pith is so bitter while the fruit is so refreshing! I sometimes freeze these segments, and then make a special little before dinner “amuse bouche” salad laying one on a little bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, sprinkling a bit of crisp toasted coconut over it, and then zest of lime and lime juice. That is all it takes and it is really a lovely little palate pleaser!
    :)
    Valerie

    Reply
  18. Kelsey{itsybitsyfoodies}

    Liren, I’m just like you. While pregnant, I crave grapefruits. I’m eating at least one a day lately! I’ve never tried those spoons…but I don’t think I will after reading all of these posts. I either peel them or use a serrated knife.

    Reply
  19. Becky

    Your tutorial was very helpful. I’ve tried those serrated spoons, and they don’t work. Thanks for making the video!

    Reply
    • Liren

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Becky! I felt the photos could not explain it as well as a video, even despite my poor video skills :)

      Reply
  20. norma

    I used to use those little spoons myself and thought of what a waste they were. I think I still have a couple around. I guess we gave a lot in common because this is also my method. Great tutorial. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Norma, glad to know someone else who peels grapefruit this way :)

      Reply
  21. Tracey@TangledNoodle

    I try my best to avoid one-task tools (like egg-toppers & grapefruit spoons!) but will admit that when I’ve botched peeling an egg or piece of fruit by hand, they start to look good! 8-)

    Thanks for this excellent tutorial – it’ll be particularly handy for dishes that call for segmented citrus like grapefruit. The presentation would be so much nicer than my usual hacked up version 8-)!

    Reply
    • Liren

      I know what you mean about those tools – my drawer is cluttered with many of them. In the end, I find our hands make the best tools!

      Reply
  22. Stephanie

    I’ve never peeled a grapefruit by hand, but that makes a lot of sense! Thanks for sharing your technique!

    Reply
    • Liren

      I’m so happy to share this – hope you try it and it works for you!

      Reply
  23. Debi(Table Talk)

    I eat a grapefruit almost every night during the winter months. (Had a Ruby Red tonight, in fact!), and use a knife to peel and segment.
    The video looks great!

    Reply
    • Liren

      H Debi, grapefruits are one of my favorite things about winter. They have been so good lately, too!

      Reply
    • Liren

      Thanks Brian! Glad you liked the tutorial and video – you’ll love this technique!

      Reply
  24. Liz

    That’s funny, that’s the only way I’ve ever eaten grapefruit!

    Reply
    • Liren

      I’m so glad to hear – all this time, I just assumed no one else ate it this way because people used to make comments when they would see me eat grapefruit this way! Glad to know I’m not alone.

      Reply
  25. Kate @ Diethood.com

    I used to eat them with those spoons, but I never got the entire segment so, just as you, I decided to start peeling them in the same manner. It takes a while, but I enjoy eating them after all that hard work. :))

    Reply
    • Liren

      Oh good, someone else who eats it this way! Yes, it’s worth the extra effort :)

      Reply
  26. linda l

    That’s how I peel grapefruit and pomelo also. If I’m lazy I’ll cut the grapefruit into slices like you would get at a chinese restaurant.

    Reply
  27. betsy

    Great post! I agree that those little spoons do nothing..but make a mess and turn the grapefruit into mush. Love this tutorial.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thanks, Betsy, glad you liked it! Yes, I just love how this technique preserves the grapefruit – less juice lost and less mush for sure :)

      Reply
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