Passion Fruit

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on April 11, 2024
7 min read

Passion fruit is a tropical fruit that most often has purple or yellow skin. At first glance, you might mistake it for a small lemon or a plum. Slice it in half and you find crunchy seeds in juicy yellow pulp. The seeds and pulp are good to eat and have potential health benefits.

Passion fruit plant

This fruit, originally from Brazil and elsewhere in South America, grows on climbing passion flower vines in tropical regions, including Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii. Some varieties can grow in subtropical zones, such as central Florida and parts of California.

The passion fruit got its name because priests in the 1500s thought parts of the passion flower symbolized the "passion," or suffering and death, of Jesus.

Passion fruit flavor

Passion fruit tastes sweet and tart. The flavor can carry notes of mandarin, orange, and pineapple. The fruit has a distinct smell, which is often reproduced in bath products and candles.

Passion fruit comes in many varieties, with different advantages for growers and consumers. Here are some of the major categories. 

Purple passion fruit

These are generally the most common. They tend to be richer in aroma and flavor, with more juice than yellow varieties. Purple varieties include Black Knight, Red Rover, Purple Giant, and Kahuna.

Yellow passion fruit

Yellow passion fruit is generally larger than the purple varieties. They are best known for their pleasant-smelling juices. Yellow varieties include Brazilian Golden and Golden Giant.

Sweet granadilla

These varieties are usually yellow to orange, though they can be purple as well.

Other names for passion fruit

Passion fruit is also known as maracuyá or parcha (Spanish), grenadille or fruit de la passion (French), maracujá (Portuguese) and lilikoʻi (Hawaiian).

Also, varieties available in one area differ from those available in another. For example, in Florida, you might find purple varieties such as Possum Purple and Panama Red, along with yellow varieties such as Sweet Sunrise and Whitman Yellow.

Australia and Hawaii offer additional purple types such as Australian Purple, Red Flamenco, and Waimanalo Selection, and yellow types such as Kapoho Selection, Panama Gold, and Yee Selection.

Like other fruits, passion fruit is full of nutrition and offers a change of pace if you're used to a steady diet of apples, oranges, and bananas. Here's some of what you'll get.

Vitamin C. Passion fruit has plenty of this antioxidant. Your body uses it to make blood vessels, cartilage, muscles, and collagen, which keeps your skin looking young. It also helps your body heal, lowers inflammation, and protects your cells from damage. When you get enough vitamin C, it lowers your chances of getting colds and certain types of cancers.

Vitamin A. Passion fruit's pulp and crunchy seeds have 8% of the vitamin A you need every day. It's essential for healthy eyes and cells, reproduction, and immunity.

Fiber. Passion fruit has a lot of it. Fiber keeps your bowels healthy and moving, and it makes you feel fuller longer. It also lowers your cholesterol and your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer.

Other nutrients. Passion fruit also gives your body calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and folate. These help boost the health of your kidneys, nerves, muscles, and heart.

Passion fruit seed benefits

If you eat just the seeds, you'll get quite a few of the nutritional benefits, especially the fiber. They're also a good source of protein, minerals, and heart-healthy fats. Some research suggests compounds in the seeds may also help relax and widen blood vessels, adding to cardiovascular benefits.

One purple passion fruit has:

  • 17 calories
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 6%-7% of daily recommended vitamin C
  • 1%-2% of daily recommended vitamin A
  • 1.6%-3.6% of daily recommended iron
  • 1.8%-2.4% of daily recommended potassium

Passion fruit is usually safe to eat and good for you, but it's worth knowing about a couple of possible risks.

Passion fruit poisoning

The pulp contains a substance called cyanogenic glycoside -- a common natural toxin also found in cassava, apple seeds, apricot pits, almonds, and other plant foods. This chemical can cause cyanide poisoning in very high amounts. It’s highest in very young, unripe passion fruits. Once the fruit is ripe, it’s safe to eat.

Passion fruit allergy

Some people are allergic to the fruit. This is more likely if you’re allergic to latex.

People allergic to passion fruit or latex might also react to fruits such as:

Fresh passion fruit isn't available everywhere. But if you live in growing areas such as California, Florida, and Hawaii, you may find it in farmers' markets or organic markets when it's in season. Some producers sell fresh passion fruit online. Otherwise, you can find passion fruit as an ingredient in other products, such as fruit juices and ice cream, or in dried and frozen versions in many grocery stores.

When is passion fruit in season?

It depends on where they're grown. In Florida, most varieties produce fruit from spring to late fall or early winter. Some only produce fruit in summer. In California, passion fruit is harvested almost year round.

When is passion fruit ripe?

If you're growing your own, you'll know some varieties are ripe when they fall to the ground. You can then pick them up, wash them, and store them, for up to 2-3 weeks. Other varieties are picked when plump. While some people say passion fruit is best to eat when the skin wrinkles, others say it's best when plump and heavy, yet still firm. You want fruits that are fully colored, with dark purple, yellow, orange, or red skin. Avoid any with green spots.

If you've never used fresh passion fruit, you might not know what to do with it. Here are the basics.

How to clean passion fruit

Even though you don't eat the peel, it's always a good idea to wash it well, with water. Otherwise, when you cut into it, the knife could carry harmful bacteria from the peel to the flesh.

How to cut passion fruit

You don't have to peel passion fruit. Just cut it in half and scoop out the seedy pulp.

Ways to store it

In cool months, you can keep passion fruit at room temperature. When it's hot outside, put it in the fridge. It’ll last 2-3 weeks there. You can also freeze the pulp.


 Many people eat it raw, with a little cream and sugar or lime juice sprinkled on top. You can also:

  • Blend it with milk.
  • Add it to yogurt or salsa.
  • Mix it in a smoothie.
  • Strain out the seeds, boil down the juice, and use it to flavor ice cream, candy, cakes, pies, or cocktails.
  • Top white meat and fish with passion fruit sauce.
  • Make the seeded pulp into a jelly.

People around the world have their own favorite uses for passion fruit. In Colombia, it's used in esponjados, a flavored custard. Australians enjoy the pulp with meringue and whipped cream in a dessert called pavlova. Lilikoi butter is a Hawaiian favorite.

Passion fruit juice

You won't get much juice -- just a couple of tablespoons -- out of a single passion fruit. So, you might prefer to buy juice or frozen puree rather than do the work yourself. You can mix the puree with water and sugar to make juice. You'll want to experiment with how much sugar you need to balance the tartness of the fruit. Some people like to serve the juice over ice with mint leaves.

Passion fruit martini

This cocktail comes in several versions. You might try making one with passion fruit-flavored vodka, passion fruit juice, and syrup. Some recipes also add prosecco. Passion fruit liqueur and vanilla are other possible ingredients.

Passion fruit puree

You can buy puree or make your own if you have enough fresh passion fruit. For a cup of puree, you'll need six to eight small purple fruits or at least two larger yellow fruits. You can cut them in half, scoop out the pulp and seeds, and run everything through a blender. Then, push the puree through a strainer to remove the seeds. You can keep it in the fridge for a week, or freeze it. You can use the puree to make juice.

How many passion fruit can I eat in a day?

Ripe passion fruit is perfectly safe, so there's no safety limit. And because some varieties are quite small, you'd have to eat several of them to even count as a full serving of fruit. You might want to consider the fiber content since people who aren't used to eating a lot of fiber can get digestive upsets. Some people worry that eating a lot of fruit will overload them with sugar, but unless you are drinking juice, the sugar in fruit gets into your bloodstream more slowly than the sugar in sweet foods such as cookies and ice cream.

Passion fruit can be a part of a healthy diet, giving you vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients in a sweet, tart, colorful package. You might not find fresh passion fruit in your local stores and farmers' markets unless you live in one of the few growing areas in the U.S. But you can find dried, frozen, and pureed versions much more widely.

Is passion fruit a superfood?

There's no official definition for a superfood -- though you might say it's any food that packs a big nutritional punch in a few calories. Passion fruit is certainly a healthy food. One study found it was higher in beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols than other tropical fruits, including banana, litchi, mango, papaya, and pineapple.

Should you chew passion fruit seeds?

It's fine to chew the seeds. They're a good source of fiber.