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3 Ways to Tell if A Mango is Ripe

Mango (Mangifera indica) is known as the “King of Fruits,” a tropical fruit that is delicious whether eaten alone, as a juice, or in some of your favorite dishes.

It’s a stone fruit, so it has a large seed in the center.

If you’ve never eaten a mango before, you might not know how to tell if it’s ripe.

Fortunately, there are a few indicators you can look for to determine the ripeness of your mango, such as the smell, appearance, and texture of the fruit.

1. Appearance

A round shape is superior to a flat appearance for most mango varieties (1).

There are some differences between mango varieties to be aware of, including:

  • Ataulfo mango has a flattened oval shape
  • Francis mango is oblong and has S-shape
  • Haden mango is round to oval
  • Keitt mango is a large, oval-shaped variety
  • Kent mango has a large oval-shape
  • Tommy Atkins mango is oval or oblong
  • Alphonse mango has an oblong shape
  • Edward mango can have both round and oblong shapes
  • Kesar mango usually has a round shape
  • Manila mango has a notably skinny appearance.
  • The Palmer mango has an oblong appearance.

One way to tell if a mango is ripe is to check around the stem. The flesh and skin around the stem should be plump and round.

That being said, the stem end of a mango will be fairly flat before it ripens. When the mango has finished developing and is ripe, the inside should be so plump that the stem end rises slightly rather than remaining flat.

In addition, a mango’s red hue shows how much sun exposure it has received.

The color of a ripe mango varies according to mango variety.

You should never rely on color to determine the ripeness of a mango, but if you want to use color as a backup indicator, you must first understand how certain varieties are supposed to look once ripe, including:

  • Ataulfo mango has a deep yellow color when it has ripen
  • Francis mango has a blend of green and yellow when ripe
  • Haden mango changes color from green to yellow once ripen
  • Keitt mango remains green even once it becomes ripe.
  • Kent mango remains mostly dark green and has yellow dots once ripen
  • Tommy Atkins mango stay yellow-green, develop a deep red blush when ripe
  • Alphonse mango has a yellow to purple skin when ripe
  • Edward mango has pink and yellow skin when ripe
  • Kesar mango remains green with a yellow hue once ripen
  • The Manila mango has a combination of orange-yellow, pink hue when ripe
  • Palmer mango can vary in color, often purple, red, yellow when ripe

However, depending on the variety, a mango without speckles may still be ripe.

Spots should not be used as the sole indicator.

Some mango cultivars, such as the Kent mango, can develop yellow spots rather than brown spots.

2. Smell

Smell the mango all the way around and near the stem. You will get a better sense of the smell of the fruit there.

If the fruit has a strong, fruity, sweet aroma, it is likely to be fully ripe. The aroma should remind you of the flavor of a mango.

If you sniff the mango near its stem and detect a strong bitter odor, the mango has overripened or spoiled. When compared to other fruits, the mango has a very high sugar content.

These fruits will ferment naturally as they deteriorate. However, it also means that the mango has become far too ripe. It will almost certainly taste as sour as it smells.

3. Touch

A ripe mango often leaves an indent when you apply light pressure. A mango that does not yield to pressure or that feels as hard as a rock is not ripe enough to eat.

The mango should not be squishy. When you apply light pressure to the mango, your fingers will pierce it, showing that it is overripe.

To avoid bruising the fruit, press with your palm rather than your fingertips. Take the mango and place it in the palm of your hand.

Close your hand around the fruit and press the ball of your palm against it. Rub your fingertips lightly over the mango’s surface.

Often, a ripe mango will have a few wrinkles somewhere on the skin. Note that the absence of wrinkles does not signify that the mango is unripe.

If deep wrinkles cover much of the mango’s surface, it’s probably overripe. The Ataulfo mango is famous for developing wrinkles as it ripens.

Other varieties may develop light wrinkles that are difficult to detect, whereas others may remain smooth even after ripening.

Feel the weight of the mango in your hand as you pick it up. A ripe mango will feel heavier than an unripe mango because it is larger.

How To Ripen Mangoes?

Put the mango in a brown paper bag or wrap it in newspaper. While not strictly necessary, placing the fruit in a bag will help speed up the ripening process.

As fruit ripens, it naturally produces ethylene gas. The presence of ethylene causes the mango to ripen further, and the brown paper bag traps the ethylene produced by the ripening mango.

Similarly, you can also put an apple or banana with your mango.

Fruits such as apples and bananas produce high levels of ethylene, which can speed up the process even more.

Place the mango at room temperature for ripening.

Depending on how unripe the mango is when you start, this can take anywhere from 2 to 7 days. Unripe mangoes should not be refrigerated.

Cold temperatures significantly slow the ripening process, and an unripe mango will most likely spoil in the refrigerator before it ripens.

Once the mango is ripe, place it in the refrigerator. A ripe mango should be consumed right away or stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

If you leave a ripe mango on the counter at room temperature for a day, it will probably go bad.


A visual inspection will reveal whether a mango is ripe.

While ripe mangos have a brighter color, color alone does not show whether a mango is ripe enough to eat.

This varies depending on the varieties, ranging from green to a rich reddish orange or yellow.

Wrap your mangos in newspaper or store them near apples or bananas, which produce ethylene, the ripening gas, to help them ripen faster.

Naeem Durrani BSc
I am a retired pharmacist, nutritionist, and food system expert. My interests include medical research and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to transform their lives.


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