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We Tried Every Popular Method for Pitting Peaches. Here’s What We Found.

Our favorite method works for nectarines, plums, and apricots, too.
By Published Aug. 19, 2022

When the farmers' market teems with peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots in late summer, there’s one question on everyone’s minds: What’s the best way to get the pit out of a stone fruit?

TikTok has recently supplied an unconventional answer: needle-nose pliers. The method involves opening the pliers and plunging them into the fruit on opposite sides of the stem to grab, twist, and extract the pit.

While this pliers technique has generated plenty of buzz on social media, and a quick test proved that the method worked, we wondered if this is truly the easiest way to extract a stone fruit’s pit. How many people really have clean pliers available in their kitchen the moment a peach needs pitting? Could we find a method that was just as effective but didn’t require any speciality equipment? With these questions in mind, I stockpiled pounds of stone fruit in the test kitchen and set out to find the quickest, cleanest way to pit them.

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Four Methods for Pitting Stone Fruit

I gathered a variety of stone fruit—peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots—and pitted each using the following four methods. 

The pliers hack: extracting the pit by inserting needle-nose pliers around the stem and pulling the pit out

Slicing on the seam: slicing the fruit vertically (from stem to bottom) and pulling the pit out of one side

The equator cut: the tried-and-true Cook’s Illustrated method of slicing the fruit around the equator and twisting the halves in opposite directions to release the pit

The chopstick push: another unconventional trick that involves inserting a chopstick into one end of the fruit and pushing the pit out through the other side 

The Best Method for Pitting Stone Fruit

After testing every method on every fruit, I found that determining the best method depended on the intended use for the fruit.

To make jam, many methods work equally well. If you want to keep your fruit whole, or if you want beautiful clean cuts, such as for a fruit salad, certain methods won’t work at all. Here is a summary of my findings.

Now that you can pit your stone fruit without fear, one final note on these summer treats: They must be fully ripe before they are put in the refrigerator. Unripe stone fruit that is refrigerated will not ripen any further, and will only turn mealy and disappointing. So ripen your stone fruits on the counter, remove those pits carefully, and enjoy these summer days while they last.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.