What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like? [Plus, What Are The Different Types]

The dragon fruit is typically grown in Southeast Asia or Latin America, making it an exotic treat. When you first see it, you notice the remarkable shape, which is highly mystical and bursting with many colors. The scale-like skin on the outside is what gave it the name.

You might have seen these on a restaurant’s menu or at the supermarket and want to know more about it. I know how frustrating it can be to want to try something new and worry you aren’t going to like it.

Dragon fruit tastes slightly sweet like a mild kiwi. It has a tropical flavor that isn’t overwhelming.

Below I’ll go more in-depth into the taste of dragon fruit, or pitaya, as well as the different varieties that are available.

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dragon fruits in a pile with one sliced open showing white inside flesh

Describing the Flavor of a Dragon Fruit

It is somewhat difficult to describe a dragon fruit’s flavor. It’s got a mildly sweet taste, which is delicate on the tongue and similar to that of an unripe pear. The texture of the fruit is creamy, firm, crisp to the bite, and juicy. Unlike many tropical fruit options, there is rarely an aroma from the dragon fruit.

There are hundreds of tiny seeds throughout the fruit, giving you a chia-style crunch. It’s safe to eat the seeds as you do in a kiwi. The dragon fruit’s skin is not edible, so you should remove it before eating it. This is easy to do, so you aren’t going to spend a long time preparing your fruity treat.

The fruit itself is amazing, but the flavor is slightly disappointing because you expect something mind-shattering from its appearance. There is never an explosion of flavor, but you don’t get that with a pear or apple, either.

Different Varieties of Dragon Fruit

Most people don’t realize there are multiple dragon fruit varieties. These include:

  1. White-fleshed Pitaya – This version has red skin with white flesh. It’s the most common option found in markets and stores, so it’s probably what you are going to eat. The skin is considered red but is really pinkish with bits of green all over it. These are the leaves that haven’t sprouted yet and aren’t going to. When you cut into it, the flesh is brilliantly white so that the seeds are seen. Of the many varieties out there, this one is quite bland.
  2. Red-fleshed Pitaya – When you buy a red-fleshed pitaya, you see that it looks quite similar to the white-fleshed version. Once you slice it open, you get a magenta or crimson red color on the inside. I think that this option has a complex flavor profile when compared to the white version. There’s a touch of acidity here, too. Please be careful when preparing it, as the red juice can stain your skin and clothing.
  3. Yellow Pitaya – Yellow dragon fruit is very rare to find in a store or market. If you see them, grab what you can! They have yellow skin with white flesh and spiky thorns. You don’t see those because they are removed before you buy this, which is part of the reason stores rarely carry them. This variety has a lot of flavor and is sweeter with a pleasant scent.

What Part Of A Dragon Fruit Do You Eat?

Many vegetables and fruits have membranes, skin, stalks, and leaves that aren’t edible. The dragon fruit has a thinner skin and you can eat the seeds. That makes it a great option for those who want more bang for their buck.

You don’t require any special tools to slice a dragon fruit. Just cut it in half from top to bottom and scoop out the flesh. Every part of the inside can be removed and eaten. If you prefer, peel away the skin like you might a banana.

Dragon fruit is pretty to look at with the vibrant and contrasting colors. Leave them on the table as an edible centerpiece. You can use the skins once they’re removed as mini dishes to hold ice cream and savory dishes!

Dragon fruit has more fiber than other fruits and is high in magnesium, vitamin A, and calcium. It’s perfect for vegans because it can be hard to get these nutrients without dairy or meat at times. 

How Do You Choose And Store A Dragon Fruit?

When selecting dragon fruit, make sure it’s firm with a little give if you squeeze it gently. If you find that it’s hard, you can buy it and let it ripen a few days first. The skin should be bright and vibrant without shriveled stems or brown spots.

Once you buy the fruit and get it home, you can leave it on the counter or kitchen table for about three days. Cut dragon fruit can last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

If you want to wait to consume them, put the dragon fruit in a sealed plastic bag in your vegetable drawer of the fridge for up to three weeks. They should be in their natural form with the skin on until you are ready to eat them.

Ways To Eat Dragon Fruit

  • Most people prefer to eat it raw on its own. Slice your fruit in half and scoop the insides out with a spoon. You can use chili powder or black pepper to bring out some of the flavors here.
  • Chop up the fruit into bite-sized cubes and add it to your fruit salad, along with pineapple, melon, and whatever else you like.
  • Make dragon fruit juice or add it to a non-dairy smoothie for a nutritional beverage meal. Check out my dragon fruit chia pudding smoothie recipe.
  • Use it to make sorbet or a fruity ice cream (made with non-dairy milk products) for a sweet treat.
  • Consider making jam, jelly, chutney, or preserves with it.
  • Grate the flesh into your muffins or cakes to add a gentle hint of tropical flavor.

Final Thoughts

If you’re like me, the thought of trying dragon fruit is scary. It looks so hard to prepare and use, which turns off a lot of first-timers. Many people like it once they get past the appearance.

Dragon fruit adds a lot of fun to a dish and looks great on the table. It’s surprisingly mild tropical flavor tastes a lot like kiwi fruit but less intense. It’s a great beginner tropical fruit since it’s so easy to open and eat without much preparation.

What did you think about dragon fruit’s taste? Was it as intense as you were hoping?

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Stephanie Mantilla

Plant-Based Diet & Vegan Lifestyle Expert

Stephanie is the founder of Plant Prosperous, a plant-based vegan living, and parenting blog. She has been eating a plant-based diet for over 24 years along with a B.S. in Biology & Environmental Science. She also has over 14 years of experience working in the environmental and conservation sectors. Stephanie is currently raising her son on a plant-based diet and hopes to help others who are wanting to do the same. You can read more about her here.

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