How to peel a peach without a knife: perfect results the easy way

The perfectly peeled peach.

Wonderfully smooth flesh. No nicks, no gouges… no skin.

And no knife.

Do you know how to peel a peach without a knife – and get absolutely perfect results?

How to peel a peach without a knife via @kingarthurflour

Here’s a clue: you won’t find yourself in hot water, but your peaches will!

How to peel a peach without a knife via @kingarthurflour

1. To peel a peach without a knife, start with fully ripe peaches.

This peeling method works poorly with the super-hard peaches you often get at the grocery store. Choose peaches that are firm, yet yield a bit when you press them with your finger; this is a sign the peaches are actually ripe (and will taste good) – something you can’t judge by their color alone.

Also, while you can certainly peel over-ripe, mushy peaches using this method, you’ll probably lose a lot of flesh along with the skin – just as you would when peeling with a paring knife.

Test one peach first, to see if your peaches are ripe enough to slip their skins in boiling water.

Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil.

How to peel a peach without a knife via @kingarthurflour

2. Test one peach first.

You want to to make sure your peaches are ripe enough to slip their skins in boiling water.

Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Gently lower the peach into the boiling water. Leave it there for 30 seconds. Not 30 seconds once it starts boiling again; just 30 seconds.

Use a spoon to remove the peach from the hot water, and plunge it into an ice water bath.

How to peel a peach without a knife-5

After 10 seconds or so, grab the peach, and pinch a piece of skin to get started; then simply peel. The skin will slip off easily. If it doesn’t, peel peaches the normal way, with a knife; they’re not ripe enough for this method.

Warning: naked peaches are slippery. Do this over the sink, or someplace where it won’t matter if the peach goes squirting out of your hands.

How to peel a peach without a knife via @kingarthurflour

3. Place peaches into a saucepan of gently boiling water.

Once you’ve peeled a single peach to make sure it’s ripe enough to easily shed its skin using this method, boil as many at a time as can fit into your saucepan.

How to peel a peach without a knife via @kingarthurflour

4. And that’s how to peel a peach without a knife!

Go forth and bake cobbler. Or crisp, or crumble, or pie.

Muffins? Scones? Shortcake? We offer nearly 50 different recipes using peaches. Check ’em out!

Oh, and remember – step… away… from… the knife.

Except when you’re slicing/dicing the peeled peaches, which is easily accomplished as follows: use a knife to score the peaches all over, pressing into the flesh to the pit. Once the peach is criss-crossed with a crosshatch of lines, gently squeeze it; the pit will separate from the flesh, and the flesh will fall into chunks along your score lines.

Does this method work with other fruits? Well, it does with tomatoes and nectarines, and I’d assume it does with plums; but anything harder, or with a thicker skin? I think not.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Debs

    I saw this on your blog last summer & it was a total game changer. I used to hate using peaches; now I love to!

    Thanks again!

  2. Steph Schulman

    This is bringing back memories from 1979 of canning peaches for an entire summer with my aunt in Birmingham. Haven’t eaten one since!

  3. Dawn

    Yes, boil for a few seconds, then ice water and thennnnnnn….put on a pair of regular kitchen rubber gloves and just sssllliddde the skin right off…???sssooooo easy…also works great on beets,too!!! You,re welcome!!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We don’t typically use pectin on peaches before freezing them. Instead, we freeze the peaches in slices or quarters (peeled, if desired) on a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they’ve hardened, we collect them and store them in a ziplock bag for a few months. Then when you go to use them in a recipe, you can add the right amount of thickener based on how you’d like to use them. If you’re making jam, you might need to use pectin, but if you’re making a peach pie for example, you might want to use Pie Filling Enhancer or all-purpose flour. We hope this helps make your next bake peachy perfect! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Most definitely, Sue. You can spread the chunks of peaches out onto a sheet pan or a large plate and freeze the peaches in a single layer until they’ve hardened, about 1 hour. Then you can collect the chunks and store them in a ziplock bag until you’re ready to use them. They’ll taste practically like they just came off the tree once they’ve thawed. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Jayne

    This worked great! Started to peel them, but with thumb arthritis, I figured this would save me! Thanks!!

  5. PBJ

    Tip to remove peach pit…after blanching and cooling peaches and before peeling, cut peach in half, then twist each half in opposite directions.

  6. Deborah Faria

    OK, so here’s a question for peach peeling. Mine are coming off my tree so no chemicals to wash away only the fuzz. I did the blanching method, but there are some that the skins won’t give. Any thoughts? I guess I can peel them with a paring knife or what about leaving the skins on in a pie – will it be horrible?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It will most definitely not be horrible if you leave some of the skins on your home-grown peaches. Some bakers even choose to do that purposefully to add another flavor and texture element to their baked goods. You’re welcome to use a pairing knife to remove any stubborn skins, or simply leave them on and see how you like the result. We think it will be peachy-perfect! Kye@KAF

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