Culinary School 101: How to Supreme a Grapefruit


Looking to impress someone in the kitchen? Offer them a orange or grapefruit that’s been supremed. It’s one of those things that most home cooks don’t know how to do, and although a little laborious and certainly not something I’d do every day, it adds that special touch to a salad, dessert, or any dish with citrus.

At first, the idea of supreming an orange or grapefruit seems annoying, cumbersome, and perhaps intimidating. However, these step-by-step instructions willl help you quickly learn the process and get you supreming in no time!

*Before you even get started, get out a large knife. Make sure it is sharp. You can use a smaller knife after cutting off the skin, but I personally like to use the larger one the entire time.

What does “supreme” mean?

“Supreming” is the process of removing the skin and pith and creating beautiful, clean segments of a citrus fruit. It’s most commonly done with oranges and grapefruits and is a great way to put them in a salad.

Step 1: The easy part. Cut off the ends of the grapefruit. Take off just a little bit. By the “ends” I mean the part where the little black dot is!

After you’ve cut the ends off, it should look like this:


Step 2: Cut off the skin. This is the perhaps the trickier part. Once you do it a few times though, it’ll be a cinch. Cut off the skin of the grapefruit by placing your knife in between the skin and flesh. You’ll want to angle the knife so it matches the curve of the skin. Cut in one smooth motion (don’t saw back and forth).

*Beware that the first slice is always the hardest, because you can’t always tell where the skin ends! Once you do the first piece, it will be easier to tell where the skin and flesh meet.

See? Follow the curve of the skin all the way down.

Step 3: Cut into segments. Beware, your hands will get a little juicy here! If you look closely, you’ll see that there are a number of segments which are separated by the pith (the white stuff that’s bitter). To cut each segment out, place the entire blade of your knife just to the inside of the pith and push in to the center of the grapefruit.

It helps if you angle your knife a bit to begin separating the segment from the rest of the grapefruit. Then do the same on the other side of the segment.

Continue to angle your knife further until you’ve completed the separation of the segment from the grapefruit. This may take a quick redo of the first cut to ensure an even and clean separation.

Step 4: Celebrate. Voila! A beautiful segment of a grapefruit!

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