How to Cut an Orange into Segments the Fancy Way

peeled orange on wooden chopping board ready to cut into segments

It’s easy to just cut an orange. But what about when you are making a beautiful salad, fruit salad or dessert where appearance is important? Find out how to easily cut an orange into segments that will make your citrus dishes stand out from the crowd. This easy way to segment oranges will also work for other citrus fruits like grapefruit.

oraneg salad on white plate with text "how to cut up an orange the fancy way"

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The benefits of a beautifully cut orange

When you cut an orange using this method, it removes all of the pith, stringy membranes and seeds. You’ll just be left with melt in the mouth segments of orange. Not only are they more enjoyable to eat without the white stringy parts, these cleanly cut orange pieces look amazing when use in your favourite recipes.

This technique comes from French cooking. There is actually a special name for citrus segments cut to wedges or segments this way – supremes. In fact you can use it as a verb – to “supreme” an orange, grapefruit or other citrus. And yes, you can cut other types of citrus fruits into supremes as well.

These cleanly cut orange pieces really come into their own when citrus is a feature in desserts or salads, like our citrus fruit salad with vanilla cardamom syrup. Or if you simply don’t like the stringy parts of citrus fruit, you may prefer to cut them this way.

Step by step instructions to cut an orange into segments

Segmenting an orange is very quick and easy. The tools you’ll need are:

  • chopping board
  • sharp paring knife or utility knife
  • bowl for orange slices and juice

Whether you use a paring knife or a slightly larger utility knife will depend on how big your orange is and what you are more comfortable with. The most important thing is that the knife you choose is very sharp, so that you don’t squash or mis-shape the orange whilst cutting. I’ve just upgraded my knives and really love my Wusthof classic paring knife for this job.

Step 1

Carefully slice the top and the bottom off of the orange to create flat ends.

orange with ends sliced off on wooden chopping board with knife

Step 2

Using your knife, slice from top to bottom to remove the the remaining skin and pith. Make sure to remove all of the white pith, leaving just the “naked” orange. Be careful not to remove too much of the orange flesh in the process.

orange with skin and pith removed on wooden chopping board

Step 3

Hold the peeled orange over a small bowl. Carefully slice each segment of orange between the white membrane. Catch any juice in the bowl underneath to save for later.

cutting an orange into segments over a white bowl

Step 4

Finally, remove any remaining white membranes. Use the tip of the knife to remove any seeds.

You will now have perfectly segmented orange pieces to use in your favourite dish. These beautifully cut oranges would be perfect in a tasty fruit salad, dessert or to add some colour and interest to a leafy green salad.

orange segments in green salad leaves

More ways to use oranges

Once you’ve cut up your oranges, don’t forget to save the juice you collected. You can use it in a beautiful dressing like our easy orange vinaigrette salad dressing.

You can use this method for cutting grapefruit too, which is handy for many of these delicious grapefruit salad recipes.

If you love cooking with citrus, make sure to read our guide to choosing the best citrus juicer for home cooks. Or try your hand at making your own dried orange slices in the oven.

For more ways to enjoy oranges and other citrus, don’t forget to subscribe and never miss our latest posts.

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