What Does Lychee Taste Like?

I remember first trying fresh lychee at a local farmer’s market. The vendor had a small basket of these exotic fruits, their red, bumpy skin contrasting with the other fruits. It was odd to see, so I bought a few to try at home.

The taste of lychee is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, with a hint of tartness that adds a refreshing note. The flavor is often compared to a combination of pear and grape with a touch of rose, but it’s unique and something you need to experience for yourself.

In this article, we’ll explore the taste of lychee and how it can be used in your everyday cooking.

How Does Lychee Taste?

If you’ve never tasted lychee before, you’re in for a treat. The taste of lychee is a beautiful balance of sweetness, tartness, and with a hint of floral notes that make it truly unique.

What Does Lychee Taste Like

When you bite into a ripe lychee, you’ll first notice its juicy texture, followed by a burst of flavor that’s hard to compare to any other fruit. It’s a refreshing and invigorating experience that leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

Types Of Lychee

There are several types of lychee, and while they all share a similar flavor profile, there are subtle differences:

  • Brewster: This variety is sweet with a slight tartness and is one of the most commonly found types in the United States.
  • Mauritius: Known for its high juice content, the Mauritius lychee is incredibly sweet and slightly less tart than the Brewster.
  • Sweet Cliff: As the name suggests, this variety is particularly sweet with almost no tartness, making it a favorite for those with a sweet tooth.

Comparing Lychee With Other Fruits

Lychee has a unique taste, but it can be compared to a few other fruits to give you an idea:

  • Grapes: Lychee and grapes share a similar sweetness, but lychee has a more floral and aromatic flavor.
  • Pears: The sweetness of lychee is similar to that of ripe pear, but lychee has a more tropical and exotic flavor.
  • Raspberries: While raspberries are more tart, they share a similar refreshing quality with lychees.

Does Lychee Taste Good?

The taste of lychee is generally well-liked due to its sweet and slightly tart flavor. You’ll likely enjoy lychee if you’re a fan of sweet fruits with a hint of tartness, like raspberries or grapes. The floral notes add a unique touch, making the fruit even more appealing.

However, the taste of lychee can vary depending on its freshness and ripeness. Perfectly ripe lychee is sweet and juicy, but an overripe or underripe one can be less enjoyable. Overripe lychees can become mushy and overly sweet, while underripe ones can be hard and tart.

Freezing lychee can also affect its taste. While frozen lychees can be a refreshing treat, freezing can slightly alter the texture and taste. The fruit can become less juicy, and the flavor can be a bit muted compared to fresh lychee.

What Does Lychee Look Like?

When you’re shopping for lychee, there are a few things to look out for.

what does lychee look like

Fresh lychee is small, roughly the size of a golf ball. It has rough, bumpy skin that’s bright red when ripe. The skin is inedible, but beneath it, you’ll find the edible flesh, a translucent white.

When buying lychee, look for fruits that have a vibrant red color. This is a good indication that the fruit is ripe. The skin should be bumpy but not broken. Avoid fruits with brown spots or those that feel too soft; these are signs of overripeness.

When peeling lychee, the flesh should be juicy and firm. In the center of the flesh, you’ll find a large, brown seed that is not edible. So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t hesitate to pick up some lychees and give them a try!

Do Lychee Have Seeds?

Yes, lychee fruits do have seeds. Each lychee contains a single, large seed in the center. The seed is dark brown, shiny, and quite hard.

It’s important to note that while the flesh of the lychee is edible and delicious, the seed is not.

The seed of the lychee is not only inedible but can also be potentially harmful if consumed. So, when you’re enjoying lychee, make sure to discard the seed. If you’re serving lychee to children or guests, removing the seeds beforehand is a good idea to avoid any risk.

How To Make Lychee Taste Good

While lychee is delicious on its own, there are a few ways you can enhance its flavor without necessarily adding it to recipes:

  • Choose the right lychees: The taste of lychee can greatly depend on its freshness and ripeness. Choose lychees that have a vibrant red color and feel slightly firm to the touch.
  • Chill them: Lychees taste great when they’re chilled. Pop them in the fridge before you eat them for a refreshing treat.
  • Pair with other fruits: Lychee pairs well with other fruits. Try serving it in a fruit salad with some mango, kiwi, and strawberries.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of lime juice: The lime’s tartness can enhance the lychee’s sweet flavor.
  • Try them with a bit of salt: It might sound strange, but a tiny pinch of salt can actually bring out the sweetness of the lychee.

How To Use Lychee In Recipes And Side Dishes

Lychees sweet and slightly tart flavor can add a unique touch to both sweet and savory recipes. Here are some popular ways to use lychee in your cooking:


  • Lychee Sorbet: This refreshing dessert is perfect for hot summer days. Simply puree fresh lychees, add some sugar and lemon juice, and mix in an ice cream maker. The result is a light and flavorful sorbet showcasing lychee’s unique taste.
  • Lychee Salsa: Try adding diced lychees for a tropical twist on classic salsa. The sweetness of the lychees pairs well with the tomatoes’ tanginess and the jalapenos’ heat. Serve it with tortilla chips or as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.
  • Lychee Smoothie: Blend lychees with some yogurt, a banana, and a splash of orange juice for a delicious and nutritious smoothie. The lychee adds a unique flavor, making this smoothie stand out from the usual fruit smoothies.

Side Dishes:

  • Lychee Salad: Add peeled and pitted lychees to your favorite salad for a sweet and juicy addition. They pair well with mixed greens, goat cheese, and a light vinaigrette.
  • Lychee and Prosciutto Skewers: This is a simple and elegant appetizer. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around a lychee and skewer it with a toothpick. The salty prosciutto and sweet lychee make for a delicious combination.
  • Lychee Chutney: This sweet and tangy condiment can be served with grilled meats or cheese. Simmer lychees with some apple cider vinegar, sugar, and spices until it thickens into a chutney. The lychees give it a unique and delicious flavor.

Lychee FAQs

Can you eat lychee skin?

No, the skin of the lychee is not edible. It’s rough and bumpy and should be peeled off to reveal the juicy, edible flesh inside.

What fruit is lychee most similar to in taste?

Lychee has a unique taste, but it’s often compared to a combination of pear and grape with a touch of rose.

Why does some lychee taste like soap?

If your lychee tastes like soap, it could be because it’s overripe. Overripe lychees can develop a slightly off flavor. Always choose vibrant red lychees and slightly firm to the touch for the best taste.

My Tasty Thoughts

Lychee is a fruit that’s definitely worth trying. Its unique flavor, a blend of sweetness and tartness with a hint of floral notes, can add a refreshing twist to your fruit salads, desserts, and even savory dishes.

However, lychee might not be readily available in all grocery stores, especially since it has to be imported. It’s also a bit more labor-intensive to prepare than other fruits, as you have to peel off the skin and remove the seed. But don’t let that deter you.

The taste of a fresh, ripe lychee is worth the effort. So, if you come across lychees in your local grocery store or farmer’s market, don’t hesitate to give them a try!

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.