I first discovered the exotic dragon fruit while I was living in Asia. I was fascinated by the strange deep pinkish-red skin and green scales.
When you cut the fruit open, you will find white flesh and red flesh varieties, and all over, there are tiny black edible seeds (these reminded me of chia seeds).
The taste isn’t easy to describe if you haven’t had a dragon fruit yourself, but here goes:
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
Dragon fruit has a very subtle flavor, whether you eat the white-flesh, red-skinned, bright pink flesh, red-skinned, or the yellow-skinned, white-fleshed dragon fruit. All in all, dragon fruit tastes like a much lighter version of kiwi, pear, and watermelon combined, and the tiny black edible seeds add a bit of a nutty flavor. Ripe pink flesh and yellow skin dragon fruit have more taste than the bland white flesh, red-skinned fruit.
Varieties of Dragon Fruit and What They Taste Like
Dragon fruit is also called strawberry pear or pitaya (or pitahaya). It comes in three varieties:
White Flesh Dragon Fruit(pitaya blanca)
Has magenta-reddish skin and green scales or leaves that resemble flames.
Magenta Flesh Dragon Fruit(pitaya roja)
Has the same color skin and scales as white flesh dragon fruit.
Yellow dragon fruit (pitaya amarilla)
Has yellow skin, almost resembling a small, strange pineapple, and white flesh.
All three varieties have tiny black seeds you can eat with the flesh.
But, don’t eat a dragon fruit’s skin. Once you’ve made a cut, you can usually peel this off if the fruit is ripe.
Taste Profile of the Dragon Fruit Varieties
Is there a taste difference between the three types of dragon fruit?
Yes, there are, but the taste differences are quite subtle. The white flesh strawberry pear is the blandest of the dragon fruits. Even when it is ripe, it doesn’t taste like much.
The bright magenta flesh dragon fruit has a more complex flavor profile. It is sweeter with a touch of acidity.
If you concentrate, you can taste a combination of pear, subtle kiwi, and watermelon. The chia-like seeds add a nutty flavor.
Now for the yellow dragon fruit. This variety of dragon fruit has the most flavor. It is much sweeter, and it smells really nice too.
If you expect an explosion of flavor, you’ll be disappointed. Like with a pear, the taste of dragon fruit – no matter which variety is on your plate – is subtle.
Can You Eat a Whole Dragon Fruit? Looking at the Edible Parts
The whole of a dragon fruit is not edible.
You can’t eat the skin or the leafy scales on the skin. When you’ve got a dragon fruit, just cut it in half, and using a spoon, scoop out the flesh.
The other way is to cut off the top part where the stalk would be and make a small cut down the flesh. Then with your hands, you just peel the skin off.
The edible parts of a dragon fruit are the white or magenta-colored flesh and the many chia-like seeds you see in the flesh.
When Is a Dragon Fruit Ripe
To tell when dragon fruit is ripe, start by picking up the fruit. If it feels heavier in relation to its size, then you know it’s ripe and sweet.
For the pink-skinned varieties, the skin should be a consistent pink all over with no bruises. When you lightly press against the skin, it should give a little.
Also, check at the tips of the leaves or scales. These should be yellowish or brownish and dry.
This indicates that the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten.
If the strawberry pear feels firm, then it is under-ripe. And should you cut one open and taste, it will be very bland, tasting almost like nothing.
However, you may notice a slight acidic, under-ripe taste.
How to Make Dragon Fruit Taste Better
Since dragon fruit has a subtle flavor, you may want to try and make it taste, well, nicer and more flavorful.
To “enhance” the flavor of dragon fruit, you can:
- Make a smoothie. With the dragon fruit, you can add berries and bananas, as well as yogurt, milk, or plant-based milk, and some sweetener.
- Drizzle some honey over your fruit. This sweetens the fruit, and it is yummy, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
- Mix it with some yogurt. Adding cut dragon fruit to plain Greek yogurt adds texture to the creaminess of the yogurt. You can add some nuts to the mix and make a smoothie bowl.
- Fruit kebab, anyone? To add flavor to your dragon fruit, cut some dragon fruit in cubes, and together with cubes of mango and pineapple, thread these onto a wooden skewer. Grill the skewers and sprinkle them with some sugar.
- Add it to your green garden salad. It might sound strange, but many folks add fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, grapes, orange segments, and more, to their salads for a touch of sweetness or acidity. Cubing dragon fruit and adding it to your salad makes every bite exciting.
More Tips on Eating Dragon Fruit
A few other things you can do to make eating dragon fruit fun:
- Make a jam, preserve, chutney, or jell-O.
- Puree the fruit. With apple and pear, make a Margherita.
- Make fruity ice cream.
- Make a fruit salad by mixing the dragon fruit with other fruits.
- Eat dragon fruit on its own, but add either some black pepper or chili powder.
- Make a sweet fruit salsa with the dragon fruit.
Frequently Asked Questions about What Dragon Fruit Tastes Like
Is dragon fruit good for you?
Eating dragon fruit is healthy because it has a host of benefits. It is high in antioxidants, like betacyanin, phenolic acid, and flavonoids, and vitamin C. Naturally fat-free, dragon fruit is high in fiber, helps lower your blood sugar, is a good source of prebiotics, and it can improve your iron levels.
Is dragon fruit a citrus?
Dragon fruit is not a citrus. Originating from Central America, dragon fruit is a tropical fruit. It belongs to the Cactaceae family.
The Final Dragon
Even though dragon fruit is quite subtle in flavor, no matter which variety you eat, it should be eaten when the fruit is ripe. Underripe fruit doesn’t taste like much, so it’s best to wait until it is ripe.
The strawberry pear is a superfood, so it comes with a lot of health benefits. Personally, I like to add this to my smoothie or yogurt.