Family Health


Durian vs. Jackfruit: Taste Differences & Full Nutritional Comparison

Jackfruit growing on tree. Father and son picking exotic tropical fruits of Thailand and Malaysia. Man and child watching ripe jack fruit on organic farm in South East Asia. Travel with kids

Durian vs. Jackfruit: Taste Differences & Full Nutritional Comparison

Are durian and jackfruit the same? Both are large tropical fruits with distinctive spiky rinds, so it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, they are very different fruits in terms of nutritional value and taste. Additionally, people eat and use them in recipes differently. In this guide, let's compare the two and see how these popular fruits stack up.

Durian vs. Jackfruit: What is durian?

Native to Malaysia, Singapore, and Southeast Asia, durian trees can grow up to 165 feet tall. These tall tropical trees also produce durian, the unusual fruit weighing anywhere from two to seven pounds. Durian is most famous for its pungent smell. Some say that durian is the world's smelliest fruit. Singapore banned it from subways due to its smell. Additionally, some Asian markets refuse to allow vendors to sell it because of its overwhelming stench.

What does it smell like? Well, it depends on who you ask. Fans of durian liken it to a custard made of almonds with hints of caramel. Detractors describe durian as smelling like sewage, stale vomit, and rotten eggs. Anthony Bourdain, the beloved chef, described durian as a “pungent, runny cheese.” On the other hand, it is one of the most popular fruits in Asia, frequently used in desserts like custard, ice cream, and cakes.

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Durian vs. Jackfruit: What is jackfruit?

Native to India, jackfruit is a less divisive fruit. This large fruit is a relative of figs but can grow up to three feet and weigh as much as 100 pounds. Additionally, it takes three years to grow them due to their heaviness and large size. Jackfruit is the largest fruit in the world.

While the durian has a creamy custard-like texture, jackfruit is a juicy, rubbery sweet plant. Many compare the taste to a banana mixed with pineapple and mango. While the jackfruit also emits a strong odor, it is not as pungent or divisive as the durian. Since jackfruit is high in protein, unripe jackfruit is a popular meat substitute, a rarity for a fruit. Jackfruit appears in many candies, bread, and other desserts. Roasted or boiled jackfruit seeds are popular, too.

Jack fruits hanging in trees in a tropical fruit garden in Vietnam
Jackfruit grows up to three feet and weigh as much as 100 pounds.

©Pajam Khoshnam/Shutterstock.com

Durian vs. Jackfruit: How do they compare?

Let's take an in-depth look at these two fruits and see how they compare.

Durian (One Cup)Jackfruit (One Cup)
Calories357 calories155 calories
Fat Content13g1g
Health BenefitsLowers blood pressure, prebiotic, pain reliever, high in fiber & unsaturated fatsHigh in vitamin C, reduces inflammation, antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease
Table comparing the nutritional value of durian and jackfruit

Durian vs. Jackfruit: Durian's health benefits and nutritional content

If you can ignore the durian's smell and sharp, spiky appearance, it is a fruit with many health benefits. A cup of durian has a number of vitamins and minerals with high percentages of the recommended daily value (DV). These include vitamin C (80% of the DV), Thiamine (61% of the DV), and Vitamin B6 (38% of the DV). Additionally, this fruit contains high instances of copper and magnesium.

Durian's high antioxidant content lowers the chance of developing chronic diseases, cancers, and heart problems. However, it does have a higher caloric intake, particularly when compared to jackfruit. The good news is that most calories come from carbohydrates high in fiber. While thirteen grams of fat per serving seems high, consuming healthy fats from the durian fruit can help the body absorb fat. Finally, this fruit is high in potassium, zinc, folate, and phosphorus.

Moreover, durian appears in medicines worldwide because of its many health benefits. Its high folate content supports a healthy pregnancy. Its high Vitamin C content also eases pain while the fruit's prebiotics regulate digestion. Finally, it is an excellent fruit to prevent malnutrition, especially in older adults.

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Fresh durian milk served in disposable glass isolated on background top view taiwan food
Durian contains a number of nutrients and antioxidants that prevent malnutrition.

©Food Shop/Shutterstock.com

Durian vs. Jackfruit: Jackfruit's health benefits and nutritional content

The flavorful jackfruit is also bursting with protein and nutrients, contributing to its popularity in recent years. Jackfruit has far fewer calories than durian. Additionally, it contains three grams of protein per serving, while the average fruit has only up to one gram per serving. While jackfruit has fewer vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants than durian, it still has an impressive amount. The jackfruit offers similar health benefits for those unable to get past the durian's unique scent.

Additionally, jackfruit has a low glycemic index (GI) and may help blood sugar management. Its high protein content also prevents blood sugar levels from rising too quickly. Jackfruit contains high levels of carotenoids and flavanones, which are responsible for lowering inflammation in the body. Additionally, research suggests that jackfruit may prevent diabetes and heart disease. Finally, there is some evidence that eating jackfruit may slow down the skin's aging process.

Like durian, jackfruit appears in some medications. Traditional practitioners in India and Sri Lanka use jackfruit to treat conditions like asthma, ulcers, and intestinal issues. However, the medical community has not officially endorsed its use in these treatments.

Durian vs. Jackfruit: How to eat them

People eat durian and jackfruit in a variety of ways. Both fruits require the removal of their outer shells to reach the fruit underneath. Chefs use the sweet flesh of durian in many desserts. Jackfruit is popular with vegetarians and vegans because of its versatile cooking options. Let's take a more in-depth look.

Durian: Cutting it open

How do you eat durian? You must remove its spiky outer shell to reach the custard-like fruit inside. It's a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from its outer spikes. Additionally, this will also prevent your hands from absorbing the smell. Cut at least three to four inches into the top of the fruit using a large, sharp knife. Then, as you cut, you can pull apart the skin to reveal the edible portion. Once open, remove the fruit sections and the large, hard seeds. Some chefs roast or boil durian seeds.

Durian: Ways to eat it

Eating durian raw is perfectly acceptable. However, durian appears in many tasty desserts. A popular recipe is Laotian Sticky Rice, which contains coconut milk, durian, and rice. Some use durian to make ice cream. Yogurt and smoothies are popular uses of durian because of its creamy texture. While people most frequently use durian in desserts or eat it raw, it sometimes appears in curries.

Jackfruit: Cutting it open

Jackfruit is more versatile but can be more challenging to crack open because of the sticky glue-like sap it releases. It is a good idea to coat your knife and hands with oil, but do this with caution, as oil and knives can be a dangerous mix. You can also wear gloves to prevent the sap from sticking to your hands and arms. Be forewarned cutting open a jackfruit requires patience and will make a mess. Once you've opened it, remove the core with your knife and use your oiled (or gloved) hands to tear apart the fruit.

Jackfruit: Ways to eat it

It is best to eat a jackfruit fresh because that is when it is the most juicy. Like durian, it is a popular dessert option. Additionally, it appears in yogurt and smoothies.

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If cooking jackfruit, most people either boil or roast it. If you want to use jackfruit as a meat substitute, for instance, in this vegan carnitas recipe, you will probably need to boil it to soften the fruit. Additionally, you can purchase canned jackfruit in Asian groceries or online. The seeds are a delicacy, so you can roast and serve them too. Shaped like fava beans, the seeds taste like potatoes and chestnuts.

Cutting jackfruit, cross section view.
Jackfruit seeds are a delicacy in some parts of the world.

©John And Penny/Shutterstock.com

One Final Note

Durian and jackfruit are remarkable fruits that have become popular recently. It is easy to see why because both offer unusual nutritional benefits. However, they're not the same. While both fruits contain vitamins and nutrients, durian has higher calories and more fat content, whereas jackfruit has fewer calories and high protein content. Additionally, the unusual aroma of durian may put some off of it altogether. For adventurous foodies, however, both fruits offer a unique culinary experience while providing excellent nutrition.

While they may look fairly similar, durian and jackfruit are quite different. Let's explore a few of these differences:

  • The biggest difference between durian and jackfruit is the scent. Durian is known for its pungent scent, while jackfruit has a milder smell.
  • Durian is native to Malaysia, Singapore, and Southeast Asia, whereas jackfruit originated in India.
  • While both fruits offer health benefits, durian is slightly higher in calories and fat than jackfruit.
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