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How to Supreme an Orange (and Other Citrus Fruits!)

Learn how to supreme an orange with this simple tutorial! In this post, I’m sharing the best way to segment an orange, and how to remove the white pith and skin! Plus, learning simple knife skills, like supreme cuts, will enhance the look of your citrus dishes. It’s the best way to cut oranges!

photo of orange segments in different colors

What Is Supreming?

“Supreming” is a fancy way of saying you’re going to peel and cut an orange into segments.

In addition to looking pretty, supreming is an easy way to remove both the peel and the bitter pith very quickly. The pith is the white tissue between the flesh and the skin. You may have seen oranges served this way in fancy restaurants, but it is a great skill for the home cook, too.

The pith of an orange is safe to eat. However, it can sometimes taste bitter or get stuck in your teeth. Therefore, removing it from the outside of an orange prior to segmenting it makes for a nicer presentation when preparing fruit salads or other dishes. You’ll be left fancy looking, perfect wedge slices of orange.

Knowing how to segment an orange comes in handy for so many recipes!

In this post, I’ll walk you through the basics of supreming an orange and will share some of my favorite recipes using orange segments!

Equipment to Supreme an Orange

Supreming oranges requires minimal equipment, but for best results I recommend having the following on hand:

  • Chef’s knife: You’ll want a sharpened chef’s knife. Do NOT use a serrated knife, because that won’t yield the same, clean results.
  • Paring knife: Makes segmenting the orange much easier since a chef’s knife is too big to do so.
  • Cutting board: Use one that hasn’t been cross contaminated with onion or garlic, because you don’t want those flavors to transfer. I typically have one cutting board dedicated solely to cutting fruit, as the smell of garlic in particular can remain embedded in cutting boards for weeks.

Tip: If you don’t keep a knife sharpener in your kitchen, now’s the time to invest in one! They’re inexpensive, but crucial to keeping your knives sharp for jobs like this.

different types of oranges on a cutting board to cut into segments

What Types of Oranges are There?

There are many different types of oranges you can use when practicing this skill, and many of them are easy to find in regular grocery stores.

For a variety of colors and sizes you might like to choose a combination of different orange varieties use when supreming citrus

There are: blood oranges, cara cara oranges, navel orange, mandarin, tangelo, valencia, and tangerine to name a few.

How to Supreme an Orange

Even if you’ve never heard the term “supreme” before, I assure you it’s very easy to learn how to cut orange slices with a little practice.

Here’s how I like to supreme an orange:

  1. The first step to supreme citrus is to slice the very top and bottom of the orange off using a sharp knife. You’ll be removing more skin than flesh when you cut off the ends of the fruit.
  2. Stand the bottom of the orange upright on one of the cut ends.
  3. Place your chef’s knife at the top of the orange, between the flesh and the skin.
  4. Work the knife down to the base, curving around the contour of the fruit to remove the rest of the peel. The goal is to remove the white pith and outer skin without shaving off any of the orange flesh.
  5. There will be a small bit of membrane that divides each segment. Use a paring knife (or another smooth, small knife) to slice along the inner membranes of the orange and cut out the segments.
  6. Discard the chewy membrane.

The above is simply a quick summary of this tutorial. Check out the free printable card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

step by step images to segment an orange (how to supreme an orange)

How to Use Orange Segments

These beautifully cut oranges wedges can be used in a variety of ways:

  • I like to supreme oranges when adding to a fruit salad.
  • They make a great snack as is.
  • These beautiful orange segments look great on green salads.
  • Orange supremes also make great garnishes on desserts or drinks.

What Other Fruits Can Be Supremed?

You can use this supreming technique with any citrus fruit. Lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, and more…they can all be supremed, or cut into segments.

How to Store Orange Segments

You can either enjoy the orange segments right away as a snack or in a salad, or you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Citrus segments will last up to four days in the refrigerator when you store them properly.

Can You Freeze Segmented Oranges?

Technically, you can freeze an orange that has been supremed into segments. But, I don’t recommend it. Oranges, and other citrus fruits, have high water content. When you freeze oranges, the texture will change dramatically once they’re thawed.

The only time I recommend freezing supremed oranges is when you have cut those oranges for use in recipes like smoothies. The texture won’t matter then, because the fruit will be blended.

woman supreming an orange (cutting an orange into segments)

Tips for Segmenting an Orange

  • Don’t hold the orange in your palm while peeling: Some tutorials tell you to remove the peel from the orange while holding it in your hand. I don’t advise doing that as a sharp paring knife can quickly and unexpectedly cut through the orange and injure your hand!
  • If any pith remains: If there’s any pith left after removing the skin from the orange, simply run your knife back over the white part to remove.
  • Don’t remove any flesh: It takes practice, but minimal juice and flesh should be lost when segmenting an orange. If you accidentally removed too much of the orange itself, try again!
  • Save the orange skin: Once you’ve cut the citrus supremes, if desired, save the orange skin for drying and turning into potpourri. Dried orange peel smell amazing. Or, zest it beforehand to add to a recipe.

Recipes Using Orange Segments

Now that you know how to supreme an orange and segment it, you’re ready to start snacking! Or, try adding the orange segments to one of the following recipes. 

More Kitchen Tips and Tricks: 

Another great way to use up any orange you have lying around is to make orange curd. Spread it atop toast or muffins, dollop it onto your morning bowl of yogurt, or use it for baking! 

Chocolate curls are easy to make, and they add a touch of elegance to any cake, cupcake, trifle, or cheesecake! In this post, I’ve provided step-by-step instructions on how to make chocolate curls.

Freezing cranberries is a great way to take advantage of winter’s offerings year-round! This post will show you how to freeze cranberries, answer questions about freezing and thawing cranberries, and shares some of my favorite recipes to use frozen cranberries. 

Homemade pumpkin puree can be used in many sweet and savory recipes and lets you enjoy pumpkin season year-round! In this post, I’m sharing 5 ways to make pumpkin puree from scratch as well as how to store, freeze, thaw, and use it.

In this post, I walk you through how to freeze butter and how to defrost it. Plus, I answer other FAQs about freezing butter. 

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overhead shot of segmented oranges

How to Supreme an Orange

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Learn how to supreme an orange with this simple tutorial! In this post, you'll learn the best way to segment an orange, and how to remove the white pith and skin!

Ingredients

  • 1 Orange

Instructions

  1. Slice the very top and bottom off the orange. You’ll be removing more skin than flesh. 
  2. Stand orange upright on one of the cut ends. 
  3. Place your chef’s knife at the top of the orange, between the flesh and the skin.
  4. Work the knife down to the base, curving around the flesh. The goal is to remove the white pith and outer skin without shaving off any of the orange flesh. 
  5. Use a paring knife (or another smooth, small knife) to slice along the inner membranes of the orange and cut out the segments.  

Notes

    Tips for Segmenting an Orange

  • Don’t hold the orange in your palm while peeling: Some tutorials tell you to remove the peel from the orange while holding it in your hand. I don’t advise doing that as a sharp paring knife can quickly and unexpectedly cut through the orange and injure your hand!

If any pith remains: If there’s any pith left after removing the skin from the orange, simply run your knife back over it to remove.

  • Don’t remove any flesh: It takes practice, but minimal juice and flesh should be lost when segmenting an orange. If you accidentally removed too much of the orange itself, try again!
  • Save the orange skin: Once you’ve cut the citrus supremes, if desired, save the orange skin for drying and turning into potpourri. Or, zest it beforehand to add to a recipe.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 1 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 69Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 3gSugar 12gProtein 1g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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Try this Tutorial at Home!

Next time you’re planning to cut oranges, give supreming a try! When you try it, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and give the tutorial a review for others to see.

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Photography: photos taken in this post are by Rachael from Set the Table.

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