Pitaya! Dragon Fruit! Whatever you call it, this tropical fruit can be mysterious. Let’s take a look at how to cut dragon fruit, and how to eat dragon fruit. We’ll also go over dragon taste, fruit varieties, and nutrition and benefits. 

A close up photo of half a pink dragon fruit cut into balls and served inside the skin.

At the local farmers market last week I noticed the most beautiful tropical fruit display. As usual, I picked up some avocados, passion fruit and dragon fruit for the kids. 

While you’re here, you might also be interested in How to Cut a Pineapple, How to Eat a Kumquat, and How to Perfectly Cut an Avocado. Check out all our favorite Exotic Fruits here

A whole red pitaya fruit sits on a white kitchen counter.

What is Pitaya Fruit? 

Dragon fruit has a soft dragon-like spikes on the outside, and soft, juicy fruit with seeds on the inside. It grows on a climbing cactus called hylocereus, that grows in tropical climates. 

Indigenous to Central America, pitaya has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. It’s now available all over the world, and easier than ever to find, as it is sold fresh, frozen, and even in powdered form. It’s referred to by several names including strawberry pear, dragon fruit, and pitaya. 

A large pile of pink pitaya dragon fruit with yellow skin and pink flesh at a farmers market.

Pitaya (dragon fruit) display at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market.

What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like? 

Dragon fruit has a very mild flavor that has been described as a tropical pear. It has a soft, sweet, yet crunchy (because of the seeds) interior, which is reminiscent of kiwi. Different varieties of dragon fruit taste different. My favorite is yellow dragon fruit, which I find to be sweeter and more flavorful. 

Types of Dragon Fruit

There are several varieties of dragon fruit, and you may not know what’s inside until you cut one open. Let’s look at the most common varieties. 

Half of a yellow and half of a red dragon fruit pitaya fruit cut into cubes and served in the skins.

Red Dragon Fruit 

Dragon fruit (pitaya) with red skin can have either red, pink, or white flesh. However, it doesn’t have much flavor. It’s great for adding to tropical smoothies that have flavorful ingredients like pineapple and mango. The white flesh variety is the most common and the least sweet. 

Pink Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit with pink skin (pictured at the top of this article) and light purple flesh is sometimes labeled as “American Beauty” in stores. It also has a mildly sweet flavor similar to the red pitaya. 

Close up photograph of half a yellow dragon fruit with white flesh and black seeds cut into cubes.

Yellow Dragon Fruit

Yellow dragon fruit has yellow skin with a white interior with slightly larger black seeds. It’s sweeter than the red varieties, but harder to find. I find the yellow fruit to be the tastiest. 

A colorful tropical fruit salad in a glass bowl. This fruit salad is made with red dragon fruit, yellow dragon fruit, mango, kiwi, raspberries, and oranges.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit 

You can eat dragon fruit plain, like any other fruit. However, it has a very mild flavor, and I personally prefer it with a little lime juice squeezed over. 

Beautiful photo of a bright pink pitaya smoothie bowl topped with raspberries, and coconut shreds.

Pitaya Bowl

How to Cut Dragon Fruit

A dragon fruit with pink flesh cut in half lengthwise on a cutting board.

Step 1: Cut in Half

Wash and dry your dragon fruit and cut it in half lengthwise. It may have tough bits at the bottom that need to be removed first. 

The skin is peeled off of a pink dragon fruit.

Step 2: Peel the Dragon Fruit

Turn the fruit cut-side-down and peel the skin off. Alternatively, use a spoon to scoop the flesh out. 

A pink dragon fruit is cut into slices on a wooden cutting board.

Step 3: Cut 

Cut the peeled dragon fruit into slices or cubes. 

Dragon Fruit Benefits

Pitaya fruit is a good source of energy. It’s low calorie, fat free, and provides important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Some studies also suggest it may support gut health. 

  • Fiber. This high fiber fruit has 5 grams of fiber in a 5 oz. serving, which is 18% of the DV (daily value).  
  • Magnesium. 42 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 10% of the DV. 
  • Vitamin C. 9 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 10% of the DV. 
  • Potassium. 290 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 6% of the DV. 
  • Iron. 1 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 6% of the DV. 

Yield: 1 dragon fruit

How to Cut Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes

Pitaya, or Dragon Fruit, is a beautiful tropical fruit that's mild and sweet with crunchy seeds. It tastes like a cross between a pear and kiwi. Here is how to cut and eat it.

Half a dragon fruit filled with cut dragon fruit balls.

Ingredients

  • 1 dragon fruit

Instructions

  1. Wash your dragon fruit.
  2. Cut in half lengthwise.
  3. Place cut-side-down and peel off the skin. Alternatively, you can use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin.
  4. Cut into slices with a knife. Keep as slices, or cut into cubes.
  5. Store cut dragon fruit in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze cubes for up to 3 months.

Notes

To make dragon fruit balls, cut the dragon fruit in half lengthwise, but don't remove the skin. Use a melon baller to make balls of fruit and use in a tropical fruit salad, cocktails, or place back into the dragon fruit skin.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit

Enjoy dragon fruit flesh straight from the skin, or add to salads, fruit salads, smoothies, pitaya bowls, juices, and cocktails/mocktails.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1/2 fruit
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 31Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/benefits-dragon-fruit#1