I grew up eating mango, but not really thinking of it as an ingredient. My dad sometimes made avocado-mango salad, but mostly I ate the tangy, stringy tropical fruit out of hand, carefully cutting off the sides and spooning out the flesh and (my favorite part) gnawing on the pit to get every last bite.
And don't get me wrong—that's still a pretty great way to eat mangoes. But since then, I've grown to realize that they have a world of uses in the kitchen. With their intense sweetness and melting texture, mangoes are especially well suited to blended drinks and creamy desserts, but can be right at home in savory dishes, too. Whether in a mezcal cocktail, a rich lassi, or a frosty sorbet, mango can lend any dish a refreshing and exotic touch.
Mains and Sides Fruity Black Rice Salad With Cilantro, Avocado, and Pepitas in Chili-Orange Vinaigrette
Grain salads are often dismissed as boring health foods, and, sadly, some of them are. But there's no reason they can't be delicious. This black rice salad is packed with summer flavors and colors and contrasting textures—avocado, mango, and orange segments make it sweet and creamy, while cilantro and red onion provide freshness and balance.
Coconut Rice Porridge
This simple, filling brunch dish is inspired by a type of porridge popular in the Caribbean. Naturally vegan, it's rich with coconut milk, while cardamom gives it spicy, floral notes and cubed mango lightens it up.
Guacamole With Jicama and Mango
Just because we love a simple, traditional guacamole doesn't mean we're strict purists. Avocado is a natural backdrop for all sorts of flavors and textures, and it pairs especially well with mango and crunchy jicama.
Avocado Toast With Mango, Chili Powder, and Mint
The tartness of mango is great for cutting through the richness of luscious avocado, but of course the acidity of the mango depends on how ripe it is. If you have super ripe mangoes, you may want to add a touch more lemon juice to this avocado toast construction to ameliorate some of the sweetness. Chili powder is a relatively common accent for mangoes, and it adds a bit of (necessary) heat, and the mint's herbal bitterness rounds out the full spectrum of flavors.
Drinks Jewel of Oaxaca
Fresh mango can be a little tart if it's not quite ripe, but throwing it on the grill caramelizes and brings out its natural sugars. The mix of charred and sweet flavors perfectly balances a spicy ancho chili syrup and smoky mezcal in this earthy cocktail.
Get the recipe for Jewel of Oaxaca »
Mango-Ginger Cocktail With Cilantro
If a slightly green mango can be a little too tangy, an overripe one might get cloyingly sweet. In this drink, the fruit's sugar is tamed with spicy ginger, tart lemon, and bright cilantro. You can use blanco tequila, but it's even better with reposado—we love the spirit's oaky flavor when paired with mango.
Vegan Kumquat Creamsicle Smoothie
The secret to making a creamy smoothie without using dairy is cashews. Here, they serve as a base for a vegan Creamsicle smoothie—a grown-up Orange Julius, if you will, where the oranges are replaced with puckeringly tart kumquats. The result is a complex citrus flavor that's offset by sweet frozen mango.
Get the recipe for Vegan Kumquat Creamsicle Smoothie »
Avocado, Mango, and Pineapple Smoothie
Avocados are another great option for adding creaminess to a dairy-free smoothie, which is why you may notice blended avocado concoctions on the drinks menu at Vietnamese restaurants. We like the subtle flavor of a plain avocado smoothie, but it also works wonders as a base for a tropical mango- and pineapple-infused drink.
Canned Kesar mango purée makes this mango lassi a year-round drink, rather than one you can only enjoy when mangoes are in season. A little bit of nutty palm sugar gives the lassi a lift, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice amplifies the acidity.
Easy Mango-Blackberry Smoothie
Smoothies are generally a quick route to a nutritious breakfast, but this three-ingredient version is particularly fast and easy—all you need is tangy kefir, ripe mango, and frozen blackberries.
Tropical Green Juice
A refreshing blend of tropical flavors, this simple green juice can both cool you off and mentally transport you to climes more pleasant than that of your currently sweltering city. The sweet-tart mix of pineapple, mango, and lime more than offsets the fresh spinach that makes this drink a nutritional powerhouse.
Desserts Thai Coconut Sticky Rice With Mango (Khao Niao Mamuang)
This classic Thai dessert is as simple as it is addictive (that is, very). Glutinous sticky rice gets cooked and then doused with savory and sweet coconut milk, which it drinks up readily. Then the rice is served alongside slice of ripe mango, and the whole thing gets doused with sweetened coconut milk that's been thickened with a corn starch slurry.
Mango Lassi Frozen Yogurt
Real frozen yogurt bears almost no resemblance to the stuff you'll find at trendy chains—it's rich, tart, and absolutely delicious. Mango lassi served as the inspiration for this recipe, but we add lime juice and zest to perk it up. Try a sprinkle of cardamom, too, for extra sophistication.
Literally all you need to make this delightful and dairy-free mango sorbet is mango puree, sugar, lime juice, and salt. Mix it all together and chill it thoroughly, then give it a ride in the ice cream maker. When it's done, its texture will be rich and creamy enough to verge on ice cream territory.
Mango Mousse Pie
Seedless and low on pulp, mangoes yield ultra-smooth purees that are perfect for making mousse. The flavor of the egg whites typically used to make mousse doesn't always play well with fruit, so this recipe ditches them. Instead, the pie's lightness comes from whipped cream, with gelatin added for stability.
Thai-Inspired Coconut-Pandan Rice Pudding With Fresh Mango
Thai-style sweet coconut sticky rice, while delicious, is a pain to make at home using traditional methods. Here, we've simplified the process by replacing fussy, glutinous long-grain rice with a jasmine variety and incorporating a stovetop technique. The resulting texture is more like that of a Western rice pudding, but the flavors of coconut, Ataulfo mango, and fragrant pandan are pure Thai.
Lime Possets With Mint and Mango Fruit Salad
Usually eggs, gelatin, or starch is called for to thicken a pudding; possets, however, are thickened with nothing but citrus juice. Using lime juice gives your possets a tropical brightness that pairs perfectly with a simple fruit salad of mango and mint.
Tropical Pineapple, Mango, and Coconut Fools
A classic British fool consists of stewed fruit combined with a creamy custard. Whipped cream fortified with Greek yogurt is a lighter alternative that makes it a great dessert for a hot summer day, especially when the fruit involved is a mix of fresh pineapple and mango.
Coconut Mango Upside Down Cake
Upside down cakes are most closely associated with pineapple, but that's hardly the only fruit that works in them. Drenched in butter and brown sugar, mango caramelizes beautifully when baked into an upside down cake.
Mango Icebox Cake
This no-bake cake combines retro inspirations with modern flair. Mango, both diced and pureed, is incorporated into an Italian meringue enriched with mascarpone cheese. Cardamom and lime juice add a pleasant kick.