How To Cut An Orange

How you cut an orange has a big impact not just on how it looks, but also on the texture, and its usefulness in particular situations and recipes.

After years in professional kitchens cutting countless oranges and other manners of citrus, I’ve learned the best way to cut oranges for a variety of different uses.

So stick around to learn the 4 best ways to cut oranges, plus how to pick the right fruit for the job.

But First, Pick The Right Fruit!

orange cut

In most cases, you won’t find this information printed on orange labels at your local market. But in the restaurant industry, oranges are often divided into three different categories: Eating, Juicing, and Mandarin.

There are also bitter oranges. A 4th bonus type that is almost always used in cooking applications. No need to worry about that here.

Getting to know the types will make it easier for you to choose the best orange for your intended purpose.

Eating Oranges

Eating oranges are generally very sweet, have little to no seeds, and have thinner membranes. All things that make them perfect to eat as is.

The big name to know here is the navel orange. There is a wide variety within the navel category (Cara Cara is my favorite), but these are generally what you want if you’ll be cutting and eating them.

Juicing Oranges

A Glass of Orange Juice and Orange Fruit

Juicing oranges tend to have a better balance of acid and sweetness, which is ideal when it comes to making a beverage out of them. 

Valencia is the king of the juicing oranges. Of course, you can also eat them just as well but they tend to have a much higher concentration of seeds.

Mandarin Oranges

Mandarin oranges are known for having loose and often thin skin that is very easy to peel. The fruit is also usually on the small side compared to most other varieties.

All of these things make them the perfect option to eat out of hand, but not a great choice when it comes to cutting.

Clementine, satsuma, tangerine, and tangelo are some of the more popular and widely available types of mandarin.

4 Ways To Cut An Orange

No matter how you’ll be cutting your oranges, the first step is to give them a good rinse under running water. 

Even though you won’t be eating the orange peel, you still want to get rid of any unseen bacteria or pesticide residue. That way, when you make your cuts you won’t be transmitting any unwanted pathogens from the exterior to the interior of the orange.

1. Wedges

orange cut in wedges

Orange wedges are the official snack of every kid’s sporting event that I’ve ever been a part of. Wedges are also the fastest and easiest way to prep an orange if you’ll be eating it out of hand.

No peeling, minimal knife work, and a built-in handle for eating. All things that make this the go-to option for busy parents or anyone who just wants to eat an orange without any fuss.

First, place a clean orange on your cutting board and hold it in place with your non-dominant hand.

Then, use a sharp knife to cut the orange in half vertically, going through the stem and blossom end.

Now, place each half cut side down on your board for stability and cut them in half again. You’ll now have wedges that are each a quarter of an orange. You can stop there, or split each quarter in half again if you want smaller, more manageable pieces.

Optionally, if your orange has a thick core, lay the wedges on their sides and make an additional cut to remove the excess white from the top of each wedge.

2. Slices

Fresh juicy orange round sliced slices closeup

Orange slices are thin rounds or half-moons that still have the peel intact. Slices are generally used for cocktails and other beverages for flavor and color and are less common as a means of actually eating an orange.

Round Slices

First, place an orange horizontally on your cutting board and hold it firmly in place. Keep your fingers tucked out of the way and use your knuckles as a guide for each slice.

Your first cut will be to remove the end of the orange. Every cut after that will give you a round orange slice. Make these as thin or thick as you’d like.

If you’ll be using an orange slice to garnish a glass, make a cut from the center to the edge of a slice so that it can sit on the rim of a glass.

Half Moons

There are two options to make half-moons. One is to simply make round slices and then split them in half.

But, my preferred method is to first split the whole orange in half from top to bottom. This will give the orange a flat surface, which makes it more stable and safe to cut.

Place the orange halves cut side down and make slices just like you would with the full round slices above. Making this shorter cut through only half an orange also makes it easier to get even and consistent slices. 

3. Supréme or Segment

Orange wedges

Orange suprémes are similar to wedges except without any membrane, pith, or zest. With this method, your yield will be slightly lower, and it involves more effort and knife skill. But, the end result is pure, juicy orange flesh in all its glory.

Orange supémes are often the best choice in salads when you don’t want the chewy membrane to compete with other very tender vegetables and fruits.

For the same reason, suprémes are a great option for small children and toddler-led weaning. It makes the orange much easier to chew so that children are less likely to choke.

Start with a clean orange on its side on your cutting board.

Hold the orange in place and remove one end. Rotate the orange and remove the other. You want to remove the ends so that you expose the orange flesh, but no more.

Stand the orange up on one of the now-flat ends.

Hold the orange in place with one hand and use the knife to remove the orange peel, following the curve of the orange from top to bottom.

Rotate the orange slightly, and repeat until all of the skin has been removed. The goal is to remove all of the zest and pith while removing as little of the orange flesh as possible.

Now, take your naked orange and cup it in your non-dominant hand.

Then, use a sharp knife and carefully make a cut following the membrane between each segment of orange. Each cut should meet at the core of the orange, releasing a segment after every two cuts.

As you get better at this, you’ll be left with less and less orange flesh attached to the peel and core. But you can always get a little extra orange juice by squeezing the core and membranes after making all of your cuts.

4. Wheels

Person peels an orange

Orange wheels are another good option for platters, salads, or snacking. Consider it a compromise between wedges, slices, and suprémes. You’ll still end up with some orange membrane intact, but with less effort and a higher yield compared to suprémes.

Start by peeling the orange with your knife, just like you would if you were making segments.

Once the orange is fully peeled, lay it on its side on your cutting board.

Then, hold the orange in place and make slices as thick or thin as you’d like.

How To Store Cut Oranges

Any prepped and cut oranges that aren’t eaten immediately should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. And ideally eaten within 3 days.

Any jar or Tupperware will do, but working in restaurants has made me partial to plastic delis for most food prep storage. They’re perfectly stackable, inexpensive, and all share one size lid, what more could you ask for!

Tools For The Job

The only tools you’ll need for orange prep are a sharp knife and a cutting board. 

Almost any knife will do, but I’ve found that a petty (aka utility) knife is the ideal candidate. They’re small and nimble like a paring knife, but with a longer blade that can handle larger fruit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Section An Orange?

Remove both ends of the orange, then stand it on one of the cut ends. Peel the orange by cutting away the skin, following the curve of the orange so you don’t remove any flesh. Then, hold the orange in your hand and cut out each segment, following the membrane between each piece.

How Do You Cut An Orange For An Old Fashioned?

Most commonly, an Old Fashioned will contain a wide piece of orange zest, which can be made using a vegetable peeler. But, some variations will also use an orange slice or small orange wedge.

How Should You Cut Oranges For Kids?

Orange segments are best for very small children since they won’t choke on any membrane that wasn’t properly chewed and broken down. Orange wedges are great for older kids because they are fast and easy to prepare.

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how to cut an orange

How To Cut An Orange

  • Author: William Mack
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 orange


Learn how to prep and cut oranges for beverages, snacks, and everything in between.


  • Oranges, 1 each


Before making any type of cut, rinse your oranges thoroughly under running water.

For Wedges:

  1. Hold the orange in place on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut it in half vertically, going through the stem and blossom end.
  2. Place each half cut-side down on your board and cut each piece in half lengthwise.
  3. Stop there, or cut each quarter in half again for more manageable wedges.

For Slices:

  1. Hold your orange horizontally on your cutting board and use a sharp knife to remove one end.
  2. Continue to make slices through your orange using your non-dominant hand as a guide to determine how thick or thin each slice will be.

For Suprémes:

  1. Hold the orange on its side and cut off the top and bottom deep enough to expose the orange flesh.
  2. Stand the orange up on one of the flat sides and remove the skin and pith by cutting from top to bottom, following the shape of the orange.
  3. After all of the skin and pith is removed, hold the orange in your hand and make shallow cuts between each orange segment. Follow the membrane between each segment to remove the orange flesh.
  4. Squeeze the remaining core and membranes to extract extra orange juice.

For Wheels:

  1. Trim and peel the orange like you would in steps 1 & 2 for suprémes above.
  2. Lay your peeled orange on its side on your cutting board.
  3. Use your non-dominant hand to hold it in place and use your knuckles as a guide to make orange slices that are as thick or thin as you’d like.


  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Knife Skills
  • Cuisine: Any

Keywords: How to cut an orange

About the author

William is a classically trained chef, who spent years cooking in top NYC restaurants before bringing his talents home to Colorado. Now a stay-at-home dad, William has brought his passion for professional cooking home, where he continues to cook and bake for his wife and daughter.