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How to Eat Mangosteen

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Have you ever wondered exactly how to eat mangosteen?

I’ll show you an easy way to cut this delicious exotic fruit as well as answer commonly asked questions about mangosteen! If it's your first time eating mangosteen, you are in for a real treat!

What is a mangosteen?

Mangosteen (garcinia mangostana) is called the queen of fruit in Southeast Asian countries - what a fantastic name for this delicious tropical fruit! Durian is called the king of fruits.

Mangosteen has a tough, purplish-brown exterior with sweet, white pulp that's slightly fibrous and creamy. Because of the creamy, custard-like flavor, some people compare it to ice cream.

They’re native to the Philippines, Borneo, and mainland Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Malaysia). For the United States market, they are sometimes grown in Puerto Rico and shipped to specialty produce stores, but most of our supply still comes from Thailand.

Up until 2007, it was illegal to import mangosteens into the US, because they carried a tropical fruit fly that devasted crops. With that under control, mangosteens have become a popular import for gourmet grocery stores and Asian markets. They're now commonly found across many shops in North America.

A mangosteen fruit being held in a hand.

How to tell when mangosteen is ripe?

Slightly squeeze fresh mangosteen fruit to test its ripeness - the purple shell should yield slightly to gentle pressure, but not have any bruising or hard spots. The color should be a dark, purplish-burgundy. The darker the color, the sweeter it will taste!

How to Cut a Mangosteen

You'll need a cutting board and a sharp knife (I suggest using a serrated knife).

Hold the mangosteen against a cutting board. Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut around the center of the fruit (if it is a globe, you would be cutting along the equator). 

Gently hold the top stem and pull it away from the bottom of the fruit.

Using a fork or knife, pop the clove-shaped fruit pieces out of the skin to eat.

A mangosteen with a serrated knife.
An opened mangosteen.

Mangosteen FAQs

What does a mangosteen taste like?

Mangosteen has a sweet, juicy flavor that is similar to banana, lychee, and peach. It might have slightly sour flavors, but overall it is on the sweeter side.

If you've tried cherimoya, you'll notice some similarities in texture and custard-like flavor of the white flesh.

Is mangosteen skin edible?

Purple mangosteen skin (the hard outer peel) is inedible, although it is not toxic.

Can you eat raw mangosteen?

Yes, mangosteen is mainly eaten raw! There is not a lot of flesh in each fruit, so the best way to eat it raw on its own.

I don't typically add mangosteen to fruit salads because the fruit is so good on its own!

Is mangosteen healthy?

The purported health benefits of mangosteen include powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects - one study has shown positive results for improving these biomarkers in healthy adults (source). Mangosteen juice may boost your immune system.

However, there has been less research done on some of the other claims around mangosteen, including weight loss, reducing free radicals, and fighting off gum infections (source). Mangosteen will likely not hurt you (although some people are allergic to it), but take most claims about mangosteen extract with a grain of salt!

Mangosteen is very nutritious and is a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber (source).

What part of mangosteen do you eat?

You eat the fleshy, interior part of the mangosteen. The flesh has a circular, clove-like structure and you pull the white parts out of the tough skin before eating.

The mangosteen seeds are soft and edible. They're so small you may not even notice them.

Why is mangosteen so expensive?

Mangosteen has a short growing season and is time-consuming to cultivate. It grows on evergreen mangosteen trees that only grow in humid, tropical environments.

Neither Florida nor California have proved humid enough, but some trees have been able to grow in Hawaii.

If you are buying it outside of Southeast Asia it was likely imported from a great distance, making it a rare and expensive treat!

When is mangosteen in season?

Mangosteen has a short season, it is typically harvested and sold from April to August. Depending on the growing conditions, the season can be as short as 6 weeks though, making it difficult to reliably get mangosteens for a longer period of time.

Yield: 1 serving

How to Eat Mangosteen

A ripe mangosteen being held.

Here's how to easily cut and eat a mangosteen fruit!

Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes


  • 1 ripe mangosteen


  1. Hold the mangosteen against a cutting board. Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut around the center of the fruit (if it is a globe, you would be cutting along the equator).
  2. Gently pull the two sides of the peel apart.
  3. Using a fork or knife, pop the clove-shaped fruit pieces out of the skin to eat.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 55Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g


Sunday 6th of August 2023

I find it is easiest to cut the mangosteen fully in half (horizontally, at the equator) and then use the knife to lift the flesh out of the shell. The mangosteen tastes like a mix of overripe strawberries and lychee fruit.

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