Start With Fresh, Ripe Peaches
Start with fresh, ripe peaches. They should feel heavy for their size, have a bit of give near the stem (or stem end), and they should smell like peaches. If you're not confident in your ability to choose a ripe peach, see How to Buy Peaches.
The focus here is peeling whole peaches, and it's the best way to peel more than a single peach or two. If, however, you only have one or two peaches to peel, peel them after you pit and slice them. See how in How to Slice Peaches.
If you have more than a couple of peaches to peel, the first thing to do is to bring a pot of water to a boil. If you have a pot large enough to hold all the peaches, use it; if not, you can easily work in batches, so no need to worry.
Why do you need boiling water? You're going to be blanching the peaches—briefly dunking them in boiling water, which is going to separate the peel from the fruit underneath, making the job of removing that peel super easy.
Score the Bottom of Each Peach
While the water is coming to a boil, use a sharp paring knife to make a small "x" through the skin at the base of each peach. You are simply scoring the skin here, so keep the cuts shallow.
You'll also want to prepare a large bowl of ice water, so after the peaches have their hot bath you can cool them down right away.
Blanch the Peaches
Blanching peaches loosens their skin and makes them super easy to peel. The heat helps separate the skin from the peaches so the peels slip off, rather than being needed to be cut off.
Put the peaches in the boiling water, making sure they are entirely submerged. Blanch them for 40 seconds. If the peaches are slightly under-ripe, allow them to remain in the hot water a little longer—up to a full minute—it will help loosen the peel a bit more, as well as improve their flavor. For more, see How to Blanch.
Put the Peaches In an Ice Bath
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the blanched peaches to the bowl of ice water. Leave them to cool, about 1 minute. Drain the peaches and pat them dry.
Slip Skins Off Peaches
Slip the skin off the peaches using your fingers to simply pick and pull the peel off or a paring knife to scrape it off a bit if you prefer. After blanching, the peel really will come off just that easily.
This peeled peach is ready to pit and/or slice (see How to Slice Peaches for specific directions, if you like).
Eat peeled peaches on their own, with ice cream or whipped cream, serve the over thick Greek-style yogurt, or add them to bowls of cereal or fruit salads. They are also delicious in a Homemade Peach Pie.
Have tons of peaches at hand? See how easy it is to freeze peaches to enjoy later in the year!