Durian vs. Jackfruit – Similarities & Differences Explained

While most are likely to recognize apples, bananas, oranges, melons, and other commonly found fruits, there is a vast array of diverse and unique fruits waiting to be explored by those with a more daring palate.

Though they can be tough to find, durian and jackfruit are often at the top of people’s fruits-to-try lists, but what are they exactly?

Are durian and jackfruit the same? Durian and jackfruit are not the same. Both are large and spiky, but durian has thick, custard-like flesh and a distinctive odor, and jackfruit has fibrous, yellow flesh with a sweet, meaty flavor. Durian is often regarded as an acquired taste while jackfruit is more universally enjoyed.

In the following, we will explore the differences between durian and jackfruit, including their appearance, taste, nutritional value, and culinary uses.

Whether you’re a seasoned fruit lover or simply curious about these two iconic fruits, this article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of what sets them apart.

Key Takeaways:

  • Durian and jackfruit are two different tropical fruits that are often compared due to their similar appearance and origin in Southeast Asia.
  • Durian is larger and heavier than jackfruit with a spiky exterior and a strong, distinct aroma that is either loved or hated by those who try it.
  • Jackfruit is more elongated and has a bumpy exterior with a milder aroma that is often compared to a mix of banana, pineapple, and onion.
  • Durian is known for its sweet, custardy flesh and creamy texture, while jackfruit has a sweet and tropical flavor that is similar to a mix of banana, pineapple, and mango.
  • Durian is banned in some public places but is considered to be the “king of fruits.”
  • Jackfruit seeds are edible and can be boiled, roasted, or fried and eaten as a snack or used in a variety of dishes.

Durian vs. Jackfruit

Durian and jackfruit may be similar in several ways, but in reality, they aren’t even related.

Let’s take a look at their major differences so you’ll have a better idea of which one to try first.

Native Region & Classification

Durian is native to Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It belongs to the genus Durio and is classified as Durio zibethinus.

Jackfruit, on the other hand, is native to South Asia, specifically India and Bangladesh, and is also widely grown in Southeast Asia. It belongs to the genus Artocarpus and is classified as Artocarpus heterophyllus.

Tree Size and Appearance

Durian trees can grow over 160 feet tall. They have straight, cylindrical trunks covered in sharp spines. The leaves are large, glossy, and elliptical-shaped.

In contrast, jackfruit trees are smaller, growing up to 65 feet, and have a more spreading canopy. The trunk is shorter and covered in smooth gray bark, and the leaves are also large but have a more rounded shape.

Fruit Size and Appearance

Durian is a relatively small fruit, typically measuring around 6 to 8 inches in diameter and weighing 2 to 7 pounds. It has a distinctive spiky, greenish-brown exterior with sharp, triangular spikes.

The interior of durian fruit is filled with yellowish, custard-like flesh and large seeds.

Durian fruit cut into quarters.

In contrast, jackfruit is much larger, growing up to 35 inches in diameter and weighing up to 40 pounds or more. It has a rough, green exterior with blunt, knobby spikes.

The interior of jackfruit is filled with yellow, fibrous flesh and seeds slightly smaller than durian seeds.

An open jackfruit with seeds lying in front of it.

Fruit Smell

Durian is known for its strong, pungent odor that is often described as a mix of rotten onions, gym socks, garbage, and sweet custard. The odor is so strong that it is banned in many public places in Southeast Asia.

In contrast, jackfruit has a sweet, tropical aroma that is often compared to a blend of banana, pineapple, and mango, but it often has a twist of rotting onion odor to it, which many people find repulsive.

While both fruits have a strong aroma, the smell of durian is much more polarizing and can be overpowering to many people.

Fruit Taste and Texture

Durian has a creamy, texture often said to be like custard with a sweet, buttery flavor that is typically described as a combination of almond, caramel, and vanilla. It also has a slightly bitter aftertaste.

In contrast, jackfruit has a fibrous, chewy texture with a sweet, tropical flavor that is often compared to a blend of pineapple, mango, and banana.

When cooked, many people find jackfruit to be comparable to pulled pork, and it is sometimes used as a meat substitute in dishes.

The flavor is less intense than durian and is generally considered more pleasant to a wider range of palates.


Durian is higher in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, while jackfruit is higher in fiber and protein.

Specifically, 1 cup of durian contains approximately 357 calories, 13 grams of fat, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

The same amount of jackfruit contains approximately 157 calories, 2 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 2.6 grams of fiber, and 2.4 grams of protein.

Fat13 g2 g
Carbohydrates66 g38 g
Fiber9 g2.6 g
Protein4 g2.4 g

Durian is also higher in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron, while jackfruit is higher in vitamin A and magnesium.

Culinary Uses

Durian is often eaten raw or used in sweet desserts and pastries, such as ice cream, cakes, and candies.

The strong flavor and odor of durian can also be used to flavor savory dishes like curries and soups.

In some Southeast Asian countries, durian is even used as a substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes due to its rich and creamy texture.

Jackfruit, on the other hand, is a more versatile fruit that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

The fibrous texture of jackfruit makes it a popular vegetarian meat substitute, particularly in vegan barbecue dishes.

The fruit can also be used in curries, stews, and stir-fries. Ripe jackfruit is sweet and can be eaten on its own or used in desserts, while unripe jackfruit can be cooked and used in savory dishes.

Additionally, the seeds of the jackfruit can be roasted or boiled and eaten as a snack.

Common Questions About Durian and Jackfruit

A durian cut open to reveal the flesh and seeds lying in front of whole durians.

Is Durian Jackfruit?

No, durian is not jackfruit. Although they are both tropical fruits that originate from Southeast Asia and are similar in appearance, taste, and texture, they come from different tree species and belong to different plant families.

Durian belongs to the family Malvaceae and the genus Durio, while jackfruit belongs to the family Moraceae and the genus Artocarpus.

They also differ in their smell, nutritional value, and culinary uses.

Why Is Durian Banned?

Durian is not universally banned nor illegal, but it is restricted in some public places, such as hotels, airports, and public transportation, due to its strong and distinctive odor.

Some people consider the odor of durian to be extremely unpleasant or offensive, and it can linger for hours or even days.

Will Durian Trees Grow in the United States?

The durian tree is sensitive to cold temperatures and requires a warm and humid environment to thrive.

Therefore, durian trees can typically only be grown in the U.S. in Hawaii where the climate is suitable for tropical fruit cultivation.

Why Is Durian Fruit So Expensive?

Overall, the high cost of durian is mainly due to its limited availability and the high demand for this prized tropical fruit.

  • Durian trees take a long time to mature.
  • The trees are not as productive as other fruit trees.
  • Durian is a delicate fruit that requires careful handling and transportation.
  • The demand for durian is high in some countries, particularly in Southeast Asia.
  • Some varieties of durian are rare or difficult to find.

Is Jackfruit Stinky?

Jackfruit has a distinctive smell, particularly when it is ripe. Some people compare the smell of ripe jackfruit to a mix of banana, pineapple, and rotting onion, while others find it to be more pungent and unpleasant.

Is Jackfruit Sweet?

Jackfruit is a versatile fruit that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Ripe jackfruit has a sweet and tropical flavor, similar to a mix of banana, pineapple, and mango, thanks to the natural sugars it contains, such as fructose and sucrose.

However, unripe jackfruit is starchy and less sweet with a flavor and texture that is more similar to a vegetable than a fruit.

Is Durian a Fruit?

Durian is botanically classified as a fruit because it develops from the ovary of a flower and contains seeds.

While durian is often associated with its potent smell, it is a nutritious and delicious fruit that many people around the world enjoy.

Is Jackfruit a Fruit?

Jackfruit is botanically classified as a fruit because it develops from a flower’s ovary and has seeds.

Jackfruit has a distinctive taste and texture and is enjoyed both ripe and unripe in a variety of sweet and savory dishes.

Are Jackfruit Seeds Edible?

Yes, jackfruit seeds are edible. The seeds are typically oval or kidney-shaped and have a brown, hard outer shell.

Once the shell is removed, the seeds can be boiled, roasted, or fried and eaten as a snack or used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, and curries.

The seeds have a starchy texture and a mild, nutty flavor that pairs well with a range of seasonings and spices.

Why Is Durian the King of Fruits?

Durian is often referred to as the “king of fruits” because of its unique combination of flavor, texture, and aroma.

It is known for its sweet, custardy flesh that has a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

It also has a distinctive and strong aroma that can be described as either heavenly or revolting, depending on personal taste.

This unique combination of traits has made durian a prized and highly sought-after fruit in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.

Additionally, durian is considered to be a symbol of status and luxury, and its high price and limited availability have only added to its reputation as the “king of fruits.”

Final Thoughts

Durian and jackfruit are two distinct tropical fruits regardless of their similar origin and appearance.

While durian is known for its strong aroma and rich, creamy texture, jackfruit is celebrated for its mild sweetness and versatility in cooking.

Both fruits have their own devoted fans and are a beloved part of the culinary and cultural heritage of Southeast Asia and beyond.