39 Foods That Start With Y
When you think of words that start with Y, yellow is probably near the top of your list. When it comes to foods that start with Y, the same is often true! It’s interesting how being yellow can change the flavor, texture, or even fragrance of a food item.
Within this list of 39 foods that start with y, many of them, though not all, are yellow. How many have you heard of, let alone tasted for yourself?
39 Foods That Start With The Letter Y
The common Yabby is a freshwater crayfish native to the waters around Australia.
The crayfish are considered quite pretty, some of them with blue or green shells that are popular in freshwater aquariums. Of course, they’re also considered quite tasty to eat.
Yabbies are prepared simply by boiling them and serving plain or with condiments or mixed into salads or pasta sauces.
2. Yacon Root
Yacon is a type of daisy native to South America. They grow large tuberous roots that are harvested similar to jicama, or potatoes. The roots are crisp, juicy, and sweet, with a delicate floral flavor.
Yacon roots can be eaten raw or cooked, and are just as often roasted like a sweet potato as they are juiced, made into jam, or used as chips. They’re a very versatile vegetable.
3. Yali Pear
Yali pears are a type of Asian pear, with a dainty teardrop shape, narrow neck, and long stem. The thin green skin ripens to bright yellow with prominent russet pores dotting the surface.
The sweet white flesh has the dense, grainy texture characteristic of pears but this variety is noticeably softer than most other Asian pears. They bruise easily but, if eaten fresh from the tree, they’re delightfully sweet and juicy, with mild tartness and spiciness notes of cinnamon and vanilla.
Yamaimo is a type of Japanese yam that has made headlines for its slimy, slippery texture. It is a mountain-grown yam that can be cooked but is most frequently eaten raw.
When grated or finely julienned, the yam is chilled and added to salads or as a side dish. The slippery food is thought to help the rest of the meal slide down more easily.
When cooked, yamaimo is slightly sticky, often used to create an elastic-like texture in spongecakes. They have a very mild flavor and are usually used in recipes that have strong flavors in need of tempering.
5. Yama Udo
Yama udo looks like giant, asparagus-bamboo shoots that can grow up to 9 feet tall with a width of only 1 inch round. The shoot is a rich green color, with a violet base, and white streaks throughout. They also have bristles.
Yama udo shoots are always peeled before being eaten, and the inner white flesh is crispy and yet tender. The flavor is similar to celery or fennel, with notes of lemon and mild bitterness.
In Japanese cuisine, the shoots are often sauteed, grilled, or made into tempura.
6. Yampi Root
Yampi roots are the tuber of a tropical vine, cultivated mainly in the Caribbean but also found in South America.
The tubers are large, up to 8 inches long, and covered in rich brown skin with slightly lighter variegated stripes. The firm, moist flesh inside is a striking white color, unless it happens to be pink or purple.
When raw, the flesh is slippery, slimy, and potentially toxic. It is safe after being boiled, baked, or fried, and the root has a soft, flaky dry texture and mildly sweet flavor. They’re similar to a mild sweet potato.
Yams are often confused for sweet potatoes and, though the two tubers are similar, they are entirely different vegetables. True yams are mostly grown in West Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Yams have dark brown, bark-like skin, inconsistent in size and shape. Inside the flesh is most commonly a creamy tan color but can also be pink or purple.
Yams are slightly sweeter than conventional potatoes but nowhere near as sweet as sweet potatoes. They’re also much starchier, though they’re usually prepared very similar to standard potatoes.
8. Yardlong Beans
Also called asparagus beans, yardlong beans are named for their dramatic length, growing at least a yard long on average.
The subtropical bean can be eaten whole, including the pod, despite their large size, though they’re tastiest when young and immature. They taste very similar to conventional green beans and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Yautia is a tropical plant that is appreciated mainly for its edible root. It is cultivated in many Latin American countries and known by a variety of names, depending on the location.
The root is starchy and generally prepared much like a potato. Its often served in stew or soup or as a side dish, but it can also be ground with plantains to make a versatile puree or dough.
10. Yellow Beans
Yellow beans, or yellow wax beans, are ironically a variety of green beans that have a bright yellow edible pod and small, green seeds. They can be enjoyed the same way you might prepare traditional green beans.
They’re generally harvested when young to maintain a sweet, mellow flavor with mild nutty and grassy notes.
11. Yellow Bell Peppers
Yellow bell peppers are large sweet peppers with a mild flavor and crisp, juicy texture. As they’re growing, the peppers are green, but they riped to a bright, sunshine yellow.
They’re nearly identical in flavor to red or orange bell peppers. They can be eaten raw or cooked and can substitute for other types of sweet peppers seamlessly.
12. Yellow Dragon Fruit
Yellow dragon fruit isn’t as common or popular as the red varieties, but they are just as delicious. The fruit is very tropical in flavor, sweet, and floral with little to no acidity.
These fruits are the offspring of a specific variety of climbing cactus and they don’t typically grow as large as the more conventional red dragon fruits. The bright yellow scaly skin opens to reveal translucent white flesh dotted with tiny black seeds, similar in appearance to kiwi fruit.
13. Yellow Eggplant
Yellow eggplant looks very similar to summer squash or yellow squash, though it has the signature cap eggplant lovers will be familiar with. There can also be small, baby varieties that don’t grow larger than a circle, looking more like a yellow tomato.
Yellow eggplants are quite different from the traditional purple varieties. They have a crunchy texture, dense flesh, and surprisingly bitter taste. They are usually soaked and salted to remove some of the bitterness before being cooked. They’re popular in coconut-milk curry dishes.
14. Yellowfin Tuna
Yellowfin tuna, also known as ahi, are giant fish, growing up to 400 pounds with unique silvery scales and yellow-tipped pointy fins.
They’re a meaty fish, though lean, with bright red raw flesh that lightens to a grey-white color when cooked. They have a mild flavor that is not overly “fishy.”
Because they are large predatorial fish, they can contain high levels of mercury and should be consumed responsibly.
15. Yellowfoot Mushroom
Yellowfoot mushrooms are a variety of chanterelle that are obvious and easy to identify for their long golden yellow hollow stems and dainty, flat yellow cap. The gills are a slightly more tan color than the bright stem, and the base fades to white where it emerges from the ground.
Yellowfoot mushrooms have a fruity fragrance and a succulent umami flavor when cooked. They’re best prepared lightly sauteed, eaten as a solo side dish, or worked into a luxurious cream sauce.
16. Yellow Ghost Pepper
Ghost peppers are among the hottest peppers on earth and the yellow variety is no exception. They’re closest in relation to red ghost peppers and, in contrast to other yellow pepper varieties, yellow ghost peppers are natural not hybrids.
There is very little heat differential between yellow and red peppers, though some find the yellow to be slightly milder. Anything in the range of 1 million Scovilles is intensely hot and should be eaten with extreme caution.
17. Yellow Jalapeno
Jalapenos come in a wide variety of colors, but the yellow pepper is somewhat rare, especially in comparison to the traditional green variety. They are more of a product of careful breeding and selection rather than nature.
Yellow jalapenos tend to grow larger than other varieties, with a fruitier flavor and mild heat.
18. Yellow Knight Mushroom
Yellow Knight mushrooms are wild, potentially very dangerous mushrooms. They were foraged and consumed safely for generations but have also been linked to multiple cases of severe poisonings, sometimes even resulting in death.
The yellow-capped, yellow-gilled mushroom grows across North American and many parts of Europe, partial to pine forests. The risk seems to increase along with the excessive and continuous consumption of the mushroom.
Small amounts, infrequently enjoyed, may be considered safe, though it is certainly advisable to have a specialist prepare them safely for you.
19. Yellow Mombin
Yellow mombins are tropical fruits popular in Latin American countries, particularly in Brazil and the islands of the Caribbean. They are also called hog plums.
The fruits are small, growing to about 1.5” long, and shaped similar to a plum. They have yellow skin that matures to become leathery and wrinkled when the fruit is ripe. Each fruit has a single central pit or seed that is spiny and has a very high oil content.
The pulp is quite acidic and can be eaten fresh or used to make jam, jelly, or juice.
20. Yellow Onions
Yellow onions are a large variety, growing up to 4 inches around with a tapered top. The papery husk is a light yellow color that deepens to copper. Inside the layers are translucent white, crisp, and quite juicy.
When eaten raw, yellow onions are quite potently pungent, but they mellow out when they’re cooked, developing a sweet, nutty flavor. They are the most common onion to cook with worldwide.
21. Yellow Passion Fruit
Yellow passion fruits are a similar size and shape to a lemon, though more round. The thick skin is a pale yellow color with white or green spots. The rind is soft and easy to pull apart.
The flesh inside is juicy and pulpy. There is a myriad of small brown, edible seeds encased in the bright yellow-orange pulp. The fruit can be eaten either raw or cooked, with a sweet, tropical flavor balanced by a medium acidity level.
Compared to the more conventional purple passion fruit, the yellow variety is larger and more fragrant.
22. Yellow Potatoes
Yellow potatoes, or yellow creamer potatoes, are tiny baby potatoes usually harvested from Yukon Gold potatoes when they’re only about 1 inch big, though they can be collected from any variety of yellow potato.
They’re very smooth and uniform because they’re harvested so young, with pale tan thin skin and waxy, light yellow, dense flesh. When cooked they have a very soft, buttery texture and significantly less starch than their full-grown relatives.
23. Yellow Sapote
Also called eggfruit because the skin is the rich yellow color of fresh egg yolks, yellow sapotes are about the size and shape of an apricot. Inside, however, the texture is dry and flaky, and very sweet. The flavor of the fruit tastes oddly similar to pumpkin spice.
They can be eaten fresh from the tree or used in baking, popular in bread-like cakes and pies.
24. Yellow Squash
Yellow squash, also often called summer squash or yellow straightneck squash is a classic squash ready for harvest in the summer and very similar to zucchini. The bright yellow skin can be either smooth or slightly bumpy, and the flesh is a very pale yellow.
They are very mild in flavor and have a soft, melting texture, and be used as a colorful substitute for zucchini in any recipe.
25. Yellow Tomatoes
Yellow tomatoes are very similar to red slicer tomatoes, growing to be large, globe-shaped, and meaty.
They are typically sweeter and less acidic than their red relatives, and they may also have a grainier texture.
They can be prepared and used any way you would use a conventional red tomato, like a Beefsteak.
26. Yellow Transparent Apple
Yellow transparent apples are named for the very pale yellow skin and matching flesh. They are a soft, crumbly apple best suited for juicing or cooking with. They break down easily, whether in storage or in a pan.
You’ll want to consume your yellow transparent apples within a week of them being harvested or they are prone to spoiling.
They are an acidic variety, traditionally eaten with salt if served raw.
27. Yellow Walnut
Yellow walnut trees grow almost exclusively in Queensland Australia. The seeds, or nuts as we’re more used to calling them, can be extremely toxic when fresh and need to be handled with care.
It is highly unusual to find yellow walnuts for consumption but the indigenous communities have a specialized process for soaking and treating the nuts to leach out the toxins and then cooking them to be safe to eat.
We recommend sticking to English or Black walnuts.
28. Yellow Watermelon
Most people around the world are familiar with traditional watermelon. Bright red, juicy flesh inside a dark green, hard rind. Yellow watermelons lack the chemical lycopene that is responsible for the red color. Instead, yellow watermelons have bright yellow flesh inside the same dark green rind.
The flavor of yellow watermelon is nearly indistinguishable from its red relative, however, the nutritional profile is slightly different. The yellow variety has more beta-carotene, thought to be useful in protecting eye health.
A yongchak is a long, twisting bean grown throughout Southeast Asia. The pods can grow up to 18 inches long and are flat except for the bulges made by the seeds of mature beans.
If they’re harvested when they’re young, before the seeds are fully developed, the pods can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. They have a pungent flavor.
Once the seeds have matured, however, the pods are no longer edible. The seeds can be boiled or served in the pods to be eaten similar to edamame.
Yongchak beans have a very signature smell, sometimes compared to natural gas.
30. Yosemite Gold Mandarin
Also sometimes called a Tangerine, the Yosemite Gold mandarin is a large round citrus fruit with flattened ends. The skin is deep orange, thin, smooth, oily, and easy to peel.
The flesh is juicy and sweet with low acidity and a bright, citrus fragrance.
Youngberries are a variety of blackberries, most popular in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
The berries are very delicate and have a firm, solid core and few seeds. As with most blackberries, youngberries mature into a very deep purple that’s nearly black. While most blackberries are firm and retain their shape, youngberries are more similar to raspberries and will break down easily.
They tend to be slightly larger than conventional blackberries and surprisingly more flavorful. They are very juicy and sweet, often used for making jams and berry sauces.
Yuca is the long, tapered root of the Cassava plant. It is a staple food in much of South America. Similar in appearance to a sweet potato, these roots have darker brown, papery skin and starchy white flesh with a grainy texture.
They taste similar to sweet, nutty potatoes, though not as sweet as sweet potatoes. Yuca must be cooked before it’s eaten. Raw, this root can be toxic thanks to the presence of cyanide.
Tapioca starch is made from yuca roots.
33. Yucca Fruit
Yucca trees or shrubs grow throughout arid areas of the Caribbean and Americas. They’re often grown as ornamental plants but many species produce edible fruits and flowers.
The fruits, or buds, are roughly oval and grow to about 2 inches long. They’re best enjoyed when the skin is a rich green, bumpy and dimpled. The flesh inside is bright white and tender. They have a mild, refreshing flavor that is reminiscent of cucumber with a hint of citrus and soap
34. Yu Choy
Yu choy is a Chinese leafy green vegetable with thick stalks, multiple thinner branches, and a mass of deep green oval leaves. Some also develop bright yellow flowers that may appear as green florets if they don’t have time to bloom.
The stalk, branches, leaves, and flowers are all edible. The leaves have a flavor similar to spinach, though more bitter and with a hint of peppery spice. The stalks can be likened to broccoli stalks.
35. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes are one of the most popular varieties of potatoes in North America.
They’re medium in size with a relatively uniform oblong shape. The brown skin is thin and smooth. The flesh is pale gold, firm, and moist. When cooked, they have a creamy texture and rich, earthy flavor.
Yeolmu is a type of Korean radish. They are harvested when quite young so that the entire plant, from the taproot to the greens, can be enjoyed while they’re still tender.
Yeolmu radishes are commonly used to make yeolmu-kimchi, a type of Korean condiment similar to sauerkraut but made with the radish greens and taproot, along with green onions, garlic, and hot red peppers.
Yumberries grow in Asian countries, particularly south-central China. The trees produce small, red bulbs of fruit dotted with tiny white spikes. The flesh inside is a lighter color matching the skin and there is a single, large seed at the center.
Originally the yumberry was called Chinese bayberry but to make it more marketable to a wider audience it was renamed yumberry, in honor of its yummy flavor. These small, juicy fruits are perfectly balanced sweet and sour, tasting like a cross between pomegranates and cranberries.
Yurine is the bulb of the lily plant and is a popular ingredient in specialty Japanese cuisine.
The white bulb looks like a cross between a bulb of garlic and an artichoke, with flat, layer scales or petals rather than cloves. Each petal snaps away from the base easily and can be eaten raw or cooked.
The flavor and texture are very similar to water chestnuts: crisp, crunchy, and mild.
39. Yuzu Fruit
Yuzu is a grapefruit-sized, bumpy, round yellow or green citrus fruit with a very thick rind. It is a hybrid fruit, made from combining mandarin oranges with Ichang papedas.
They are very fragrant fruits, used mainly for their juice. The flavor is similar to grapefruit, though with noticeable mandarin notes. The fruit is rarely eaten fresh because it’s quite dry and sour, but it does make nice marmalade.