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Written by Ripe London on May 3, 2024

How to Eat Lychees Fruit

At Ripe London, we love a ripe lychee. They're a unique fruit that you don't come across that much. A perfectly ripe lychee is unlike anything else. But, because they're so different, it's normal to have some questions about how to eat lychees fruit, as well as what they are and how they can be used. Let's dive into the world of lychees and how they can be eaten!

How to Eat Lychees Fruit

Lychee fruit can look a bit odd, halfway between a grape and a walnut. The sweet fruit flesh underneath is easy enough to get to if you simply peel the skin off - or you can slice it in half and remove the pit with a sharp knife!

The hard outer husk is almost like a bumpy skin, with a reddish-pink colour. But under this tough skin is some delicious and juicy flesh. To get to this fruity white flesh, all you need is to gently peel and eat. If you have some tasty ripe lychee fruit, the skin should peel off like an orange - just gently squeeze or pierce it with your nail.

A wicker bowl of fresh, ripe, red lychees

Order your lychees here!

Other Common Questions About Fresh Lychees

Now we know how to peel lychee, but that's not the end of the questions. Here's some of the most frequently asked questions we get about lychee fruit, all in one easy to read place!

What is Lychee Fruit?

Lychee fruits are the fruits of the Litchi chinensis tree. Lychee trees produce the lychee fruit, which are also called litchi - or the alligator strawberry. They're a tall, evergreen tree and part of the oddly-named soapberry family of plants.

Native to South China, Malaysia, and northern Vietnam, lychee fruit is now grown across the entirety of South and Southeast Asia. With juicy flesh under the tough outer skin, this white flesh also hides the lychee seed in the middle.

Is Lychee Fruit Good For You?

Lychee is a tropical fruit that has a whole host of potential health benefits.

Just one cup of fresh lychee can give you a majority of your daily vitamin C requirement. They also contain B vitamins, as well as minerals like potassium (good for muscle and nerve function) and magnesium (for improved mood and sleep).

A 2015 study (NIH) found that lychee fruit flesh also contains plant compounds called proanthocyanidins, which can have health benefits including antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. They're also thought to be good for the heart, in case you weren't already convinced to try out some lychee.

What Does a Lychee Taste Like?

Lychee fruit has a unique taste. It's usually compared to fruits like strawberry, watermelon, and pear - but with notes of citrus and rose water. The texture is said to be similar to a firm grape.

Unlike citrus fruits, which come in different forms with similar characteristics and tastes (some people think lime just tastes like a more concentrated orange), lychee is one of a kind. The other soapberry fruits include horse chestnuts, maples, rambutans, and ackees - so there's nothing familiar in the UK to compare it to. You really have to try lychee for yourself!

How Many Lychees Should I Eat a Day?

Like with all fresh fruit, and even savoury dishes, there has to be a limit. Eating around 8-12 lychee fruits a day is the sweet spot to getting those health benefits and enjoying that unique flavour profile.

Eating too many lychee fruits can increase your blood sugar levels, and they have a high amount of potassium. This can be an issue for diabetics, or those with kidney disease, as potassium overdose can be deadly. Obviously, you'd have to eat a lot of lychee in order for this to happen - but moderation is key anyway.

Can You Eat Lychee in Fruit Salads?

Of course you can! Fruit salad is great because it's so versatile and, as long as you pick fruits and other ingredients that go well together, there's not a wrong option. Mix some chopped lychees with grapes and strawberries - and maybe add some lemon or lime juice to play on those citrusy notes that lychee has!

Can I Eat Lychee Seeds?

The lychee seed is actually mildly toxic. This is because they contain two toxins (methylene cyclopropyl acetic acid and hypoglycin A, if you're a science nerd). These are slightly poisonous and can cause dangerously low blood sugar - so dangerous that you can fall into a coma or develop brain damage (The Lancet).

So no, you cannot eat the large seed inside lychee fruit. But don't worry - you'd have to eat a lot of seeds to get sick, and the rest of the fruit is perfectly safe and absolutely delicious. If there was any risk, they wouldn't be available to buy!

Do You Eat the Whole Lychee?

Even though they might remind you of grapes or berries, you should treat lychees more like citrus fruits or apricots. Neither the outside husk nor the seed are edible, so be sure to peel and eat only the white flesh.

Are Fresh Lychees the Best?

Fresh lychees are the best for eating, and fresh lychee tends to get imported into the UK during late spring into the summer. Canned lychees (while this is a convenient way to store lychees when they aren't in season) usually lose their floral, fruity flavour - so fresh lychees are typically the best for taste.

Can I Cook Lychee?

Lychees are almost the perfect fruit for desserts, because they have a flavour profile that's varied and versatile. But, with the slightly citrusy flavour, they can be used in sweet and sour dishes - such as a stir fry!

The Best Lychee Fruit Smoothie Recipe

You might lose the distinct lychee fruit flavour if you simply add them into a smoothie with other ingredients (we all know how bananas can overtake almost any flavour in a smoothie). You could add some canned lychee to your morning smoothie - but here's a lychee smoothie recipe that means you can get the most out of these special little fruits:


  • 10-12 peeled lychees
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt (or vanilla ice cream, for a lychee milkshake)
  • 1/2 cup chilled water (or milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or mint) extract
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • Optional: a pinch of salt

From there, all you really need to do is blend and serve chilled. You can obviously modify this recipe to your liking, but we think this will really bring out the original lychee flavour!

A Lychee Martini? Really?

Yep, you can even make your own lychee martini! Perfect for a romantic night in, here's how it's done.


  • 50ml vodka
  • 25ml lychee syrup (from canned lychees)
  • 2 tsp dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Optional: 1 lychee (also from the can)

Now you just have to pour the vodka, liqueur, vermouth, and syrup into a cocktail mixer. Fill it up with the ice and stir (or shake) until the mixer feels cold to the touch. Strain into a glass, garnish with half a lychee, and boom! You've got a delicious lychee martini - just remember to drink responsibly.

Eat Better With Ripe: Lychee and Other Tropical Fruits

And there we go! Now you're an expert on how to eat lychee (just peel and eat), and have hopefully found the perfect way to enjoy lychees in your diet!

If you've got a hankering for lychee fruit (for whatever reason...), Ripe London has you covered. We've got fresh lychees and other tropical fruits waiting to be delivered straight to your doorstep or workplace.

Fancy some dragon fruit, guava, or a handful of rambutan? Or just some classic apples, bananas, and pears? All of our produce is fresh and local, so hasn't sat around in cold storage - you won't have to wait for your lychees to ripen.

Shop now, or order one of our office fruit boxes, to get delicious lychee fruit handed directly to you!

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