How to Open a Pomegranate (Easy and No Mess!)

~ If you’ve never attempted this before, you might be wondering how to open a pomegranate to get to those prized, jewel-like arils inside. Don’t worry! Our tried-and-true method is super quick and easy (and virtually mess-free, too)! ~

A cut pomegranate, opened like a flower to reveal the arils, with a knife and additional pomegranates in the background.

Wondering how to open a pomegranate? 

Yeah – I’ve been there, too.

I mean, it’s sort of a strange fruit, filled with all those tiny little scarlet dots (aka arils), which are actually the only part you eat. 

No doubt, if you’ve never tackled one before, it can seem a bit daunting. 

Like my son said to me one time, “Anyone attempting to open a pomegranate, who hasn’t done it before, definitely wouldn’t have any idea how to attack the beast.” Haha – so true!

But – I promise! – it’s not one bit hard at all. This is actually a really easy beast to wrangle. And soooo worth it!

The only tool you need is a sharp knife, plus maybe a cutting board.

And it truly only takes a couple of minutes, start to finish!

How to Open a Pomegranate (Step by Step)

Our tried-and-true method is basically just 4 easy steps:

(1) Cut around the blossom and remove it.

(2) Make shallow, vertical cuts (just through the outer skin) down from the blossom area.

(3) Beginning at the hole from the missing blossom, gently pull the pomegranate apart into sections.

(4) Pluck out the delicious arils … and enjoy!

That’s it! So easy! 

For the uninitiated, let me break it down into a bit more detail, step-by-step.

One note first, though: Before you begin, you may want to protect your counter or cutting board with a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. If you cut your pomegranate properly, there really shouldn’t be any problem with juice going all over the place. All of the fruit’s juice is contained inside the arils, so if you don’t cut into the arils, the process should be mess-free. But still, if this is your first try, you may want to play it safe, just to be sure.

Ok. Ready? Now here’s the in-depth version of those 4 easy steps …

How to Cut a Pomegranate

Step (1)  Using a sharp knife, carefully cut around the blossom at one end. It’s the end that sort of looks like a dried-out crown. (The other end is the stem, where the pomegranate used to be attached to the tree.)

Showing how to cut a pomegranate, beginning by cutting around the blossom end with a sharp knife.

Remove the blossom to create a hole.

Collage of two photos showing how to cut out and remove the blossom end of the pomegranate.

BTW – I’ve seen other websites that tell you to slice off the entire top of the fruit, rather than just carving out the blossom.

But, if you use that method, you run the risk of cutting too far into the fruit, and actually cutting into some of the arils. If you do that, you’ve got a bigger mess on your hands and have also wasted some of the precious arils – which is why I prefer to carve out just the blossom instead of hacking off the whole top.

Step (2)  Next, find the ridges that run vertically down the pomegranate. Feel those slight bumps? Cut between those bumps (in the “valleys”), running the knife vertically down from the hole where you removed the blossom.

Hand holding the fruit with a knife cutting a pomegranate with vertical slits down from the hole where the blossom was removed.

The key here is not to cut too deeply. You really want to keep the cuts shallow, scoring just through the outer skin – without puncturing any arils below.

How to Peel a Pomegranate

Once you’ve removed the blossom and scored between the ridges, all you have to do to reveal those treasured arils is to pull the sections apart.

Step (3)  Gently put your thumbs into the hole where the blossom used to be.

Two hands showing how to open a pomegranate along the vertical cut lines.

From there, you can easily separate the pomegranate into several sections, along the lines you scored with your knife.

How to Seed a Pomegranate

Step (4)  Now that you’ve cut the pomegranate open and gently pulled it apart, you can pluck out the gorgeous arils.

They easily come loose, and if you’re careful, you shouldn’t have any problem at all with messy juice, since none of the arils should be cut or broken open.

Closeup of a cut pomegranate that's been opened to reveal the arils inside.

I just pop out however many arils I need, picking out any little bits of the white pith that come out, too.

The “Water Method”

Some people like to pop the arils out over a bowl of water. This allows the arils to fall to the bottom of the water, and the white pith to float to the top.

And, some people take the water idea a step further and actually submerge the entire pomegranate in the water as they pick out the arils. If you’re really messy or working extra-fast, holding the pomegranate under the water will ensure that if you do happen to break open an aril and squirt a bit of juice, the juice will stay in the water and not squirt to stain your clothes.

Honestly, though, I don’t bother with the water. It’s just not necessary, and I usually don’t want my arils all wet before using them in a recipe, anyway.

Totally up to you, though, if you decide to use the water or not.

Storing the Pomegranate Arils

After you’ve removed the arils, you can store them in the fridge for several days.

Or, if you know that you don’t need all of the arils right away, I suggest simply leaving any extra arils still attached inside the fruit. Once you’ve taken out all the arils you need, close up the pomegranate sections around the remaining arils, put the fruit in a zipper bag, and refrigerate the extra arils for later (mmmmmm … like for snacking!).

Other Methods for Cutting a Pomegranate

Oh, sure – I’ve tried other methods. Specifically, like the one that says to cut the pomegranate in half at the equator and then hold it upside down while you bash on it to jostle loose the arils.

A pomegranate cut horizontally in half, with a bowl full of arils in the background.

What a mess that was!

Maybe my hands are just too small, but I found it difficult to grip the pomegranate properly, and only a few arils came loose (flying out all over the counter).

Plus, since slicing the pomegranate clear through also cut some of the juicy arils open, each time I bashed on it, staining red juice went flying everywhere, too.

Not my favorite!

I quickly went right back to doing it my old way. My method is basically what I’d originally learned to do from an article I found on Delish, and it works beautifully for me, every single time!

Can You Buy Pomegranate Arils, Already Peeled?

Yep!

The alternative to deseeding your own pomegranate is to let someone else do the prep work for you, so you don’t have to deal with cutting a pomegranate at all.

You can simply buy the pre-packaged cups of arils you sometimes find in the grocery store’s produce department. It’s an awesome shortcut, for sure!

A little glass bowl filled with pomegranate arils, with a couple of pomegranates in the background, one that has been cut open.

But there are a couple downsides to that.

  1. It’s pricey. Whole pomegranates definitely aren’t cheap, but those little containers of arils are even more expensive. 
  2. They also simply don’t keep as long as a whole pomegranate. I’ve actually had pre-packaged cups of arils go bad before the expiration date. Even once I’ve cut open a pomegranate, I feel like the unused arils last longer than if I’d purchased them in one of those little cups. As I mentioned above, if I haven’t used all the arils, I usually leave the rest, still attached to the peel, and sort of close the pomegranate back up and store it in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the fridge.

So, now that you’ve successfully got all those pretty pomegranate arils staring at you, what do you do with ’em?

Oh, friends, there are so many options!

How to Eat a Pomegranate

Pomegranate arils can be eaten plain, straight out of the fruit. Or they can be refrigerated for several days. They’re also terrific:

  • sprinkled in salads
  • as a topping on oatmeal
  • layered with Greek yogurt, granola, and other fruits in a parfait

Or, try them in one of our pomegranate recipes!

Can You Eat Pomegranate Seeds?

You sure can – pomegranate seeds are edible.

I used to think that the juicy, red arils basically were the pomegranate seeds – that they’re the same thing. 

But, technically, as the Pomegranate Council explains, the pomegranate seeds are the tiny crunchy bits safely encased inside each aril.

You just eat the teeny little seeds right along with the arils.

I’ve seen a few websites that suggest you can spit out the seeds if you want to, although I can’t really imagine doing that. Totally unnecessary. The seeds add a bit of texture and are so small they’re no bother at all!

I’ve been eating pomegranates practically every night this holiday season (no kidding!). I really love them!

And now that you know how easy it is to open a pomegranate and snag those wonderful, juicy little arils for yourself, I hope you’ll be able to enjoy this winter treat all season long, too!

16 thoughts on “How to Open a Pomegranate (Easy and No Mess!)”

    • Definitely give it another try, April! Whole pomegranates last so much longer than the little purchased cups of arils, and are usually more cost-effective, too. And honestly, once I figured put how to open a pomegranate properly, it’s actually kinda fun – and it really is pretty much mess-free. ~Shelley

      Reply
    • Oh my goodness, Claudia, you’ve absolutely got to give pomegranates a try! They’re fantastic! And truly, if you just follow the easy steps for how to open a pomegranate without the mess, they’re not scary at all! If you’re really hesitant, though, buy one of the little prepared cups of pomegranate arils to enjoy. Then, the next time, you can go all in and buy a whole pomegranate to open yourself. It’s actually fun, and I find that whole pomegranates last sooooo much longer than the purchased cups of arils. Whatever you do … just try them!! They’re so yummy and absolutely to good to miss! ~Shelley

      Reply
    • Awww – lucky you! I didn’t really fall in love with pomegranates until a few years ago, and now I’m honestly kind of addicted! I was a bit hesitant to buy whole ones until I’d worked with them a couple times and realized how easy they actually are to open (and how much longer whole pomegranates keep in the fridge). Glad you enjoyed the tips. Happy holidays, Allyson! ~Shelley

      Reply

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Published on
Updated on August 1, 2021