Prickly Pear vs Dragon Fruit: The Prickly Truth

Woman drinking a dragonfruit smoothie

Don’t want to read the whole post?
Let’s settle the prickly pear vs dragon fruit debate for you. While both are succulent members of the cactus family, they are not the same; the prickly pear offers a burst of sweet and juicy flavor, while the dragon fruit delights with a more subtle sweetness.


Be beauty. Be plant-based!

As a former Registered Nurse and avid plant-muncher, I’m in love with how simple plant-based foods make it easy to be beautiful.

You’ll also love:
How to Store Dragon Fruit: Do’s and Don’ts
Embracing Your Inner Goddess With A Plant-Based Lifestyle

When comparing ‘Prickly Pear vs. Dragon Fruit’ a world of flavour and vibrant colour immediately comes to mind. These two exotic fruits, each boasting its own allure, have garnered attention in kitchens and beauty routines alike. But what’s the real story behind these tantalising treats? Imagine the intrigue of a prickly pear meeting the drama of a dragon fruit at a tropical fruit party!

Are Dragonfruit and Prickly Pear the Same?

Let’s unravel the mystery surrounding these edible fruits. First off: are dragon fruit and prickly pear fruit one and the same type of fruit? Quite simply, no. Each of them brings a distinctive dance of flavours and aesthetics to the table. Though both quench our cravings with their juiciness and belong to the enchanting realm of cacti, they are separate stars in the cactus family. 

Prickly Pear vs Dragon Fruit: How to Tell Between Them

Dragon fruit, with its vibrant pink skin and black seeds patterning inside, often plays the star role n any recipe. 

White dragonfruit

In contrast, the oval-shaped prickly pear fruit showcases a colour palette ranging from lively green to rich red or deep purple, truly embracing its versatile nature.

prickly pear vs dragon fruit - prickly pear
Have you read?
Raspberry vs Strawberry: Which Berry Is Best?

Prickly Pear vs Dragon Fruit: Taste Comparison 

The taste of prickly pear has often been compared to a mix of watermelon and bubblegum.

Dragon fruit, on the other hand, offers a gentler sweetness, echoing hints of pear or kiwi. And just to clarify any terminological confusions: the term “cactus fruit” often points directly to cactus pear or prickly pear cactus fruit. Such fruits, including the famed Peruvian apple cactus, stand as edible testimonies of the diverse cactus plants that grace our planet.

Picking Perfection

Navigating the grocery aisles is akin to a delightful dance, one where your quest for flavour and freshness sets the rhythm. When setting your sights on ripe prickly pears, let your senses take the lead. Begin with a soft touch; if it’s firm but gives slightly under pressure, you’re on the right track. As for colour, the green prickly pear should boast a consistent, radiant hue. But if you’re in pursuit of maturity, richer, deeper colours beckon. Hold it close and let its fragrance envelop you; a hint of sweetness suggests a taste adventure awaits.

prickly pear vs dragon fruit - choosing fresh fruit

Switching over to dragon fruit, this tropical sensation comes in different colours, but each demands discerning eyes and gentle hands. A bright red skin is often a telltale sign of its luscious red or white flesh inside, but beware of excessive blotches or brown spots. While a handful might hint at its natural ageing process, too many can indicate its best days are behind. 

When you gently press, think of checking a ripe kiwi; a slight give is perfect. As for its skin, seek out a luminance and uniformity in its hue. Once you’ve got these markers checked off, prepare to dive into the taste of dragon fruit, a unique experience that pairs sweetness with a subtle tropical zing.

Beauty and Health: Prickly Pear vs Dragonfruit

These fruits are more than just tasty; they’re great for our overall well-being, including our inner and outer glow.

Prickly pear stands out, not merely for its juicy and sweet flavours but for its outstanding nutritional value. Its juice, rich in vitamin C, is celebrated for its hydrating abilities. Imagine each sip nourishing your skin with a rejuvenating touch.

On the flip side, dragon fruit, with its tropical roots, brings along a treasure trove of health benefits. Loaded with dietary fibre and potent antioxidants which are renowned for revitalising the skin, and giving it that fresh and youthful appearance. Plus, the abundance of vitamin C further amplifies its rejuvenating properties. By weaving these fruits into your daily menu, you’re not just indulging your palate but also boosting your health from the core, ensuring your skin radiates a luminescence reflective of their inherent vibrancy.

You’ll also love:
Eating More to Weigh Less: Fruitful Freedom

Gastronomic Adventures from Your Kitchen

Armed with knowledge and newfound appreciation for these fresh fruits, it’s time to embark on a culinary journey right in the heart of your home. Imagine beginning your morning with a revitalising smoothie, blending the rich flesh of prickly pear, a hint of its juice, chunks of dragon fruit (often termed ‘strawberry pear’ due to its vibrant hue and texture), and a generous pour of coconut water. The result? A rejuvenating concoction that promises a splendid start to your day.

But why stop at smoothies? Your fruit salads could use a colourful and flavourful infusion from these exotic treats. The combination of the subtle sweetness of dragon fruit with the distinct taste of prickly pear elevates any fruit mix. For dessert aficionados, a creamy dragon fruit sorbet or a spread of prickly pear jam on toast are a treat. The culinary possibilities are boundless! Each recipe offers a stage for the unique tastes of prickly pear and dragon fruit to shine.

prickly pear vs dragon fruit - prickly pear jam

In the vibrant tapestry of nature’s offerings, the prickly pear and dragon fruit stand out not just as gastronomic delights but as ambassadors of health and beauty. By embracing the sweet taste of these nutritious fruits, you’re gifting yourself moments of pure, edible joy and a touch of nature’s magic. And in the journey of life, filled with its ebb and flow, it’s these little choices — a slice of dragon fruit here, a sip of prickly pear juice there — that contribute to brighter days and luminous nights. So, the next time you find yourself at a crossroads in the fruit aisle, remember this dance of flavours and choose to indulge in the symphony of taste and beauty. Cheers to a life sprinkled with fruity adventures!

FAQ: Prickly Pear vs Dragonfruit

Where do prickly pear and dragon fruit originally come from?

Prickly pear, also known by one of its common names, ‘tuna fruit’, is native to the regions of Central America and South America. On the other hand, while dragon fruit has become popular in various parts of the world, it also has roots in Central and South America.

How should I store these fruits for optimal freshness?

Both prickly pear and dragon fruit can be stored at room temperature until they reach desired ripeness. Once ripe, it’s best to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prolong their freshness.

I’ve heard of ‘white flesh’ dragon fruit. Are there other varieties?

Yes! Dragon fruit, or pitaya, comes in different varieties. The most common ones found in grocery stores have either white flesh with black seeds or a bright red flesh with black seeds. Both varieties are encased in a unique, spiky skin.

Is the prickly pear the only edible cacti species?

While the prickly pear is a delicious fruit and is widely consumed, it isn’t the only edible member of the cacti species. Many cacti produce edible fruits, and some even have edible pads. It’s always good to familiarise oneself with the specific cactus type before consumption.

Why is the prickly pear also called ‘tuna fruit’?

‘Tuna’ is one of the common names for the prickly pear, especially in regions of Central and South America. The term ‘tuna’ in this context shouldn’t be confused with the fish; it’s a reference to the fruit of certain cacti species.

I’ve seen yellow fruit resembling prickly pear. Is it the same?

The prickly pear comes in a variety of colours, including green, red, and yellow. The yellow fruit you’re seeing is likely another variety of the prickly pear, still packed with the same nutritious fruit benefits.

How can I handle prickly pears without getting pricked?

When handling prickly pears, it’s essential to use thick gloves. Even if the spines are removed in the grocery stores, tiny, hair-like prickles can remain and easily embed in the skin. Using gloves ensures a pain-free experience with this delicious fruit.