What Does Kiwano Melon Taste Like?

Have you ever come across a fruit that looks like it’s from another planet? Meet the Kiwano Melon or Horned Melon.

It’s a vibrant, spiky fruit that hails from the Kalahari Desert in Africa, but it’s now grown in other parts of the world, including New Zealand and California.

The best time to enjoy a Kiwano Melon is when it’s fully ripe. You’ll know it’s ready when the skin turns orange. But what does it taste like? Well, it’s a bit of a mix with a flavor that’s reminiscent of cucumber, zucchini, and kiwi.

In this article, We’ll discuss what it tastes like and the best ways to eat it.

How Does Kiwano Melon Taste?

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter the taste of Kiwano Melon. Imagine biting into a refreshing cucumber on a hot summer day. Now, add a hint of zesty lime and the sweetness of a ripe banana. That’s the closest I can get to describing the taste of Kiwano Melon.

What Does Kiwano Melon Taste Like

The inside of the fruit is filled with a jelly-like substance, which is where the flavor resides. It’s mildly sweet, with a tang that’s more pronounced in the greener, less ripe fruits. The texture is a bit like passionfruit a lot of small seeds surrounded by the flavorful jelly.

A fully ripe Kiwano has a more pronounced sweetness, while a less ripe one can have a stronger tang. So, if you’re trying it for the first time, you might want to sample Kiwanos at different stages of ripeness to see which flavor profile you prefer.

Varieties of Kiwano Melon

While the Kiwano Melon is a unique fruit in itself, there are a few different varieties that you might come across:

  • African Horned Cucumber: This is the original variety native to Africa. It has a more pronounced tang compared to other varieties.
  • Golden Jelly Melon: This variety is known for its sweeter taste and golden-colored skin when ripe.
  • Silver Jelly Melon: Similar to the Golden Jelly Melon but with silver-grey skin. The taste is mildly sweet with a hint of tartness.

Kiwano Melon vs. Other Fruits

Let’s see how the Kiwano Melon stacks up against some other fruits in terms of taste:

  • Cucumber: Kiwano Melon has a similar refreshing quality but a sweeter and more complex flavor profile.
  • Zucchini: Both have a mild flavor, but Kiwano Melon is sweeter and has a unique tang.
  • Kiwi: Kiwano Melon is less tart than a kiwi, and its seeds are softer and easier to eat.
  • Passionfruit: Both have a tropical flavor and a similar texture with edible seeds, but Kiwano Melon is less tart.
  • Banana: Kiwano Melon is less sweet than a banana and has a more refreshing, cucumber-like taste.

Do Kiwano Melons Taste Good?

The taste of Kiwano Melons can be quite a surprise, especially if you’re trying them for the first time. Their unique flavor, which combines the freshness of cucumber with the sweetness of banana and a hint of citrus, is something that many people find enjoyable.

However, like any fruit, the taste of a Kiwano Melon can be influenced by its freshness and ripeness. A perfectly ripe Kiwano Melon, with its bright orange skin, offers a balance of sweetness and tanginess that is quite delightful.

On the other hand, a Kiwano that is not fully ripe can have a stronger tang and less sweetness, which might not be to everyone’s liking.

Eating a Kiwano Melon raw is the best way to appreciate its unique flavor. You can scoop out the jelly-like flesh and eat it straight from the fruit. Cooking a Kiwano Melon is uncommon, as heat can alter its flavor and texture. However, you can use it in cold dishes like salads or desserts, which adds a refreshing twist.

Freezing is another option for Kiwano Melons. You can freeze the flesh and eat it like a sorbet or use it in smoothies. However, keep in mind that freezing can slightly change the texture of the fruit.

What Does Kiwano Melon Look Like?

whole horned melon close-up

If you’re on the hunt for a Kiwano Melon at your local grocery store, it’s not a fruit you’ll easily miss. Its appearance is quite distinctive, and unlike any other fruit you might have seen.

The Kiwano Melon is oval-shaped, about the size of a large pear or small melon. Its most striking feature is its skin, which is bright orange when ripe and covered with spiky protrusions. These spikes give it the nickname “Horned Melon.”

When you cut open a Kiwano Melon, you’ll find a bright green, jelly-like flesh inside. This flesh is filled with small, edible seeds, similar to a cucumber or passionfruit. The contrast between the orange skin and green flesh makes it quite a sight!

When buying a Kiwano Melon, look for a vibrant orange color, indicating it’s ripe and ready to eat. The skin should be free from blemishes, and the spikes should be intact. If the skin has started to wrinkle, that means the fruit is past its prime.

So, next time you’re at the grocery store, keep an eye out for this exotic fruit. It’s not just a tasty treat but also a conversation starter!

Do Kiwano Melons Have Seeds?

kiwano melon seeds

Yes, Kiwano Melons do have seeds. When you slice open a Kiwano Melon, you’ll find its bright green, jelly-like flesh filled with small, edible seeds. These seeds are similar in size and texture to cucumbers or zucchinis.

The seeds of the Kiwano Melon are completely safe to eat. In fact, they’re part of the experience of eating this unique fruit. The flavorful jelly-like flesh surrounds the seeds, so you’ll hardly notice them as you enjoy the fruit.

However, if you prefer not to eat the seeds, you can scoop out the flesh and strain it to remove the seeds. But remember, much of the Kiwano’s unique flavor is in that jelly surrounding the seeds, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t lose too much of it in the process.

How To Make Kiwano Melon Taste Good

Here are some tips to make your Kiwano Melon eating experience even better:

  • Pick the right Kiwano: The taste of the Kiwano Melon can greatly depend on its ripeness. A ripe Kiwano is vibrant orange and feels slightly soft to the touch. A ripe Kiwano will have a sweeter and more flavorful taste.
  • Chill it: Kiwano Melon tastes best when it’s cold. Before you plan to eat it, put the Kiwano in the fridge for a few hours. The cool temperature enhances the refreshing qualities of the fruit.
  • Add salt: Just like with other melons, a small sprinkle of salt can enhance the sweetness of the Kiwano. Just remember, a little goes a long way!
  • Pair with citrus: The flavor of Kiwano Melon pairs well with citrus fruits like lemon or lime. Try squeezing lemon or lime juice over the Kiwano before you eat it. The tartness of the citrus will complement the sweet-tart flavor of the Kiwano.
  • Drizzle with honey: If you find the Kiwano Melon not sweet enough for your liking, try drizzling a little bit of honey over the flesh. The honey will add sweetness that can balance out the tartness of the fruit.

How To Use Kiwano Melon In Recipes And Side Dishes


  • Kiwano Melon Smoothie: Blend the pulp of the Kiwano with some yogurt, a banana, and a touch of honey. This smoothie is not only refreshing but also packed with nutrients. Remember to blend it until smooth to ensure the seeds are well incorporated.
  • Kiwano Melon Salad: Toss some Kiwano Melon cubes with other fruits like mango, pineapple, and strawberries. This fruit salad is a refreshing side dish that showcases the Kiwano’s unique flavor.
  • Kiwano Melon Sorbet: Mix the Kiwano pulp with some sugar and lemon juice. Freeze the mixture, and you have a homemade Kiwano Melon sorbet. It’s a delightful dessert that’s perfect for hot summer days.

Side Dishes

  • Kiwano Melon Salsa: Combine Kiwano pulp, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, cilantro, and lime. This Kiwano Melon salsa is a great accompaniment for grilled fish or chicken.
  • Kiwano Melon and Cucumber Salad: Mix Kiwano pulp with diced cucumber, feta cheese, and a simple vinaigrette. This salad is a refreshing side dish that pairs well with grilled meats.
  • Kiwano Melon Garnish: Use the Kiwano shell as a unique and edible garnish for seafood dishes. Fill the shell with the seafood and top with the Kiwano pulp. It’s a creative way to present your dishes and incorporate the Kiwano flavor.

Kiwana Melon FAQs

What is the best way to eat Kiwana melon?

The best way to eat Kiwano melon is by scooping out the jelly-like flesh and consuming it directly from the fruit. Chilling the Kiwano melon before eating is recommended for a more refreshing experience.

Can you eat the seeds of a horned melon?

Yes, the seeds of a Kiwano melon are edible. They are small and surrounded by flavorful jelly-like flesh. However, if preferred, the flesh can be strained to remove the seeds while retaining the fruit’s unique flavor.

About Justin Micheal

Hey, I’m Justin and the home cook behind Food Meets Flavor. I have a passion for cooking and making food delicious. So, I started this blog to help others understand what different types of food taste like and how to make everyday meals taste even better.