How to Open a Pomegranate Without Making a Mess in Your Kitchen

Tackle the tricky (but tasty) pomegranate with ease by following these pro tips on how to open them—and what to do with those juicy arils.

With fresh pomegranates in season for a short time every year (October through January), I always jump at the opportunity to buy a few whenever they start appearing in grocery stores. The ruby-red juicy pomegranate arils (which is what the garnet-colored seed coverings are called) are sweet, tart, and full of nutritional benefits. They're packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. If you've avoided buying pomegranates in the past due to fear of opening them and making a mess, you're not alone. But once you've cut a pomegranate, you'll quickly realize the process isn't as intimidating as it may seem. Read on to learn how to open a pomegranate so you can reap the delicious benefits of the red fruit all season long.

How to Cut a Pomegranate

According to the folks at POM Wonderful (and the pros in our Test Kitchen), this is the best way to cut a pomegranate.

hands holding knife cutting into pomegranate
Courtesy of POM Wonderful

Step 1: Cut and Score the Pomegranate

Using a sharp knife ($16, Target), cut off the top of the pomegranate approximately ½-inch from the crown. Once you remove the top, you'll find four to six sections of the pomegranate divided by a white membrane (pith) are visible. Score the skin (rind) along each section, being careful not to cut into the fruit.

removing pomegranate seeds with water
Peter Krumhardt

Step 2: Peel the Pomegranate Skin

Gently pull the pomegranate apart over a bowl of cool water. Allow the pomegranate sections to lay in the water.

draining pomegranate seeds with a sieve
Peter Krumhardt

Step 3: Remove and Separate the Pomegranate Seeds

While underwater, gently pry the arils loose using your thumbs. The plump, juicy pomegranate seeds will sink to the bottom. Scoop away the white membrane (pith) that floats to the top using a slotted spoon. Drain the water and your fresh pomegranate seeds are ready to eat.

Test Kitchen Tip: While you're trying to keep the pomegranate arils intact, the bright red juice can stain. If you do happen to get some of the juice on any work surfaces, clean immediately with warm, soapy water. Also, consider wearing an apron or work shirt to protect clothing..

How to Tell if a Pomegranate Is Ripe

Look for pomegranates that feel heavy with firm, taut skin. No need to look for the perfect red pomegranate peel, as it can still have beautiful, juicy arils inside.

How to Eat a Pomegranate

The fun, easy way to enjoy a pomegranate is simply snacking on those little juicy arils (yes, you can eat the whole pomegranate seed). Try tossing them on a salad or turning the arils into a dessert sauce. Think outside of the box by trying our pomegranate recipes using the seeds in pot roast, rice dishes, and more sweet-tart desserts.

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