Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit and 9 Sweet Ways to Use It

March 29, 2014

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: We’re getting steamy in our kitchens with passion fruit.

Everything You Need to Know About Passion Fruit, from Food52

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Springtime: The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and love is in the air. E.E. Cummings's words help evoke the feeling: “sweet spring is your/ time is my time is our / time for springtime is lovetime / and viva sweet love,” and what better fruit to capture that sentiment than passion fruit? But when you cut open a passion fruit, you’re met with a yellow gelatinous seed-studded pulp puddle -- visually not the most attractive fruit -- and you might be left questioning this fruit’s aphrodisiacal properties.

Smart thought, because passion fruit is not named for its ability to incite desire, but rather for the religious, and decidedly less romantic, Passion. Like dragon fruit, passion fruit’s plant has a showy flower, the elements of which happened to remind Spanish missionaries of the Passion and crucifixion of Christ. The origins of its name might not be filled with ardor, but luckily the fruit’s heady aroma and sweet-tart taste will quickly have you falling head over heels for the fruit anyway.

More: Fill your home with showy spring flowers, and arrange them like a professional. 

If you've never tried a passion fruit before, Steven Raichlen’s description in Miami Spice captures it well: “Passion fruit flesh has the tartness of lime juice, the sweetness of honey, the fragrance of jasmine, and a perfumed flavor reminiscent of guava, lychee, and pineapple.” Like mangoes, different growing locations and seasons mean that you should be able to find passion fruit close to year-round.

Choose fruit that feels heavy in your hand. The rind will either be a deep yellow or dark purple, and it’s okay if the fruit looks tired and slumped. The heart might not have wrinkles, but it’s okay (and even preferable) if your passion fruit does. If you buy one when the skin is still smooth, let it sit at room temperature for a few days. Ripe fruits can be refrigerated for a week or two, or you can scoop out the pulp and freeze it in ice cube trays for later use.

How to Use It
Passion fruit will win your heart in sweet treats like caramelspudding, or a trifle. Perk up your toast with tangerine passion fruit marmalade, or go for macarons with passion fruit buttercream. Try eating passion fruit pulp straight up with a spoon, or scoop it over ice cream. Special diet? We've got you covered with these gluten-free passion fruit muffins or this dairy-free tropical cream cake

Let us know your favorite way to enjoy passion fruit in the comments! 

Photos by James Ransom 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • DebV.
  • Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
    Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
  • HalfPint
  • Sipa
  • Brad Jennings
    Brad Jennings
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


DebV. December 21, 2014
I was introduced to passion fruit while on vacation with my husband and mother- in-law in Madeira, Portugal. They have a soda that's wonderful! While there I had it in puddings, and also just cut in half and eaten with a spoon. Recently I found a syrup made with it to mix in soda. Goya makes a frozen , seedless pulp I learned to make into a curd! Amazing little fruits..kinda ugly on the inside but HEAVEN on the palate! DebV.
Joy H. March 31, 2014
Passion fruit is pretty much my all time favorite fruit! I've incorporated passion fruit pulp into marshamallows ( and caramels (
HalfPint March 31, 2014
My sister accidentally has passionfruit growing in her backyard; she's not sure how it got there. It is wonderful on a pavlova.
Sipa March 30, 2014
Perhaps my favorite fruit. When I visited my brother in Australia I gorged on them.
Brad J. March 30, 2014
Our pastry chef does an amazing passionfruit sorbet...I could eat a whole 1/6th pan
witloof March 30, 2014
I adore passionfruit and will often splurge on them when I find them in the market. My only method of enjoying them is to cut them in half and slurp.
Panfusine March 29, 2014
My mother used to make a fruit juice with it, simply extract the pulp, discard the seeds, sweeten with honey, add seltzer & ice.
melted_snowball March 29, 2014
I like them the most in cocktails. The juice is tart, but makes a great ingredient in mojitos and daiquiris.
Sekkyo March 29, 2014
Those Lilikoi don't appear to be ready yet! Yes, wrinkles are important. I just wish I didn't have to pay $2 per fruit to enjoy them here in California. :(