Pitaya Vs Acai – What’s The Difference?

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Pitaya and acai berries are two popular fruits used for breakfast bowls and smoothies, but which one you should get if you have to choose between pitaya and acai bowls? Which one is sweeter and which one is healthier?

What are the differences between pitaya and acai? Pitaya and acai are tropical fruits packed with antioxidants. Both are extremely good for your health and can be used in similar ways, but pitaya and acai are very different in terms of their appearance, texture, and flavor. 

In this article, we have compared pitaya and acai berries to find out all the differences and similarities between these two tropical fruits. 

What Is Pitaya?

Chopped pitaya

Pitaya, popularly known as dragon fruit, pitahaya, and strawberry pear, is a tropical plant coming from the Americas. Later, the fruit became widely popular in Asia. 

Pitaya grows on vining trees which are a type of cactus. Interestingly enough, dragon fruit flowers open only at night and last only one night. 

Pitaya grows quite easily in warm environments as well as in greenhouses. Thanks to this, pitaya is now cultivated in various countries, including the US, Peru, Mexico, Australia, Vietnam, etc.  

The unique appearance of pitaya is what makes it stand out among all fruits. This fruit looks like it has dragon scales. Hence the name dragon fruit. Pitaya is good on its own as well as in drinks, desserts, and smoothies. 

What Are Acai Berries?

Acai berries

Acai berries are a well-known superfood. The popularity of these Brazilian berries has been growing in recent years as numerous studies prove the benefits of these dark berries for one’s overall health and well-being. 

An interesting fact about acai berries is that they are not really berries. Because these berries contain a single pit and not multiple small seeds, they may be considered drupes, like apricots, peaches, and plums. Acai berries grow on acai palm trees. 

Acai berries go bad very quickly. If you don’t leave in regions where these berries grow, you may never be able to buy fresh acai berries. Luckily, these berries come in multiple other shelf-stable forms. 

Pitaya Vs Acai – What Are The Differences?

Taking a short look at these two fruits is enough to understand that they are very different. But as we compared all aspects of pitaya and acai berries, it turned out that there are a few similarities between these two fruits. 


Pitaya and acai are two tropical fruits. Pitaya is native to Mexico and Central America while acai berries come from a very special region in South America – the Amazon River basin. 

Unlike pitaya which grows on a type of cactus tree, acai berries grow on palm trees. These trees grow well only in humid environments which is why the cultivation of these berries is limited to a few countries, including Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. 

Pitaya trees, as we have noted earlier, can be easily grown in various parts of the world and even in greenhouses. 


Pitaya and acai berries look extremely different. 

Pitaya is one of the prettiest-looking fruits. This fruit has an oval to oblong shape somewhat similar to an artichoke. Pitayas are typically 14 inches long and around 9 inches wide. 

Pitayas look very dramatic thanks to their scales and the vibrant skin that looks like leather. The scales overlap each other and have green tips that make pitayas look even more spectacular. 

Depending on the variety, the color of the pitaya skin may range from bright pink to deep red. It may even be yellow. Red-skinned pitaya with green-tipped scales is the most common pitaya variety.

Compared to pitaya, acai berries look very simple. These are 1-inch round dark purple fruits with yellow flesh. Acai berries also have a pit. 


Depending on the variety, pitayas can be sweet or sour. Sweet pitayas are the most commonly cultivated and sold variety of this tropical fruit. 

Yellow pitaya

You can come across three types of sweet pitayas. 

White-fleshed pitaya is the pitaya variety commonly known as dragon fruit. The skin of these pitayas is pink while the inside is white.

There is also the red-fleshed pitaya with redskin and red flesh. Yellow pitaya has bright yellow skin and white flesh. 

There are different types of acai berries too. Black (purple) acai berry is the most popular acai berry variety. Other types of acai berries include white acai berry, sword acai, acai chumbinho, white acai, etc. 

Black acai berry is the most popular acai variety as it is also the healthiest and best-tasting one. 


Pitaya is a mildly sweet fruit that tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear. You shouldn’t expect this fruit to taste very sweet.  

The level of sweetness of pitaya depends on the variety. Some pitaya varieties may also be slightly tart. Yellow dragon fruit is said to be the sweetest pitaya variety. 

Acai berries in their pure form taste very different from pitaya. These dark berries are earthy and tart. They are not as sweet as other commonly eaten berries. 

If you have never eaten raw acai berries, imagine the flavor of blackberries with a hint of unsweetened chocolate. 

Which Tastes Better: Pitaya Or Acai?

As you can see, pitaya and acai berries taste very different. You should try both to find out which one you like better. 

Pitaya is sweeter than acai berries. If you like your fruit to be sweet and you are choosing between these two, go with pitaya. But if you don’t mind a little tartness, you will enjoy acai berries too. 

When eating acai berries, you can pair them with other fruits for sweetness, 


Pitaya has a very unique texture. The flesh of ripe pitaya is neither too hard nor too soft. It’s creamy like a ripe avocado with a little bit of crunch from the seeds. If your dragon fruit is too soft and mushy, then it is overripe. 

The skin of pitaya is quite thick and leathery. You can easily peel it off if you cut the fruit into four parts. The skin of pitaya is safe to eat though it is tough when it’s raw. 

Fresh acai berries are rather tough. If you want to eat acai berries raw, you will need to soak the berries first to soften them. The flesh of acai berries is yellow and feels granular. There is also a large seed in the center of each berry. 

So, when it comes to the texture of fresh pitaya and acai berries, eating pitaya is certainly a more enjoyable experience. 

With this said, when blended, both fruits have a smooth texture and make a perfect base for healthy and delicious bowls. 

Can You Eat Pitaya And Acai Berry Seeds?

Once you cut open a dragon fruit, you see many tiny black seeds all throughout the flesh. These seeds look like kiwi seeds. They are completely safe to eat. Dragon fruit seeds are also pleasantly crunchy like kiwifruit seeds. 

Unlike pitaya seeds, the seeds of acai berries are inedible and should be removed. 


Dragon fruit is now grown in different parts of the world. It is not surprising that fresh pitaya can be bought in supermarkets in different countries. 

Another reason why pitaya is widely available is that it has a thick skin that protects it during transportation and from pests too. 

Like most fruits, pitaya is also available in frozen form. You can also get pitaya chips. These are thin slices of dried pitaya that can be an excellent snack if they don’t contain added sugar. 

Unlike pitaya, acai berries are almost always sold frozen. This is done for our own good as there are so many healthy fats in acai berries that they turn rancid very quickly. To preserve the nutritional value and flavor of acai, the berries are frozen as soon as they are picked.

As the seeds of acai berries should be removed, frozen acai is available in a pureed form.

As fresh acai berries can’t be transported from one country to another in a good state, suppliers often choose to dry them. Dried acai berries are very shelf-stable. 

Pitaya and acai berries are also available in powdered form. Acai powder is more popular than pitaya powder. While both are healthy, fresh pitaya is easier to come by and many people choose to enjoy this fruit in its fresh form. 

Nutrition And Health Benefits

Pitaya and acai are both extremely healthy and we do recommend you incorporate them into your diet. Let’s compare the nutrition facts and health benefits of these two fruits. 


Pitaya and acai are both high in antioxidants and can protect your body against the damage of free radicals. 

The powerful antioxidants in pitaya include flavanoids and betalains while the notable antioxidant in acai berries is anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are responsible for the dark color of acai berries. 


Pitaya and acai berries are both quite low in calories. A 100-gram serving of these fruits contains 60 and 70 calories accordingly. This makes them perfect for your morning bowls as you can load them with your favorite healthy toppings without worrying too much about the calories. 

Thanks to its low-calorie content, fresh pitaya is also an amazing snack. 

Vitamins And Minerals

Both tropical fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals. Pitaya and acai are both high in vitamins A and C. 

As for minerals, pitaya is a good source of magnesium and iron. Acai berries contain traces of different minerals, including potassium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, and copper. 

Pitaya and acai are rich sources of calcium. A hundred gram serving of each of these fruits contains around 19 mg of calcium. 


Unlike pitaya, acai berries contain fat. A 100-gram serving of frozen acai puree contains around 5 grams of fat. But these are healthy fats that improve heart health and reduce bad cholesterol levels. 


If you want to improve your digestion, eat fresh pitaya. Pitaya contains a higher amount of fiber than acai berries especially when the latter is in the form of a frozen puree. 


A 100-gram serving of pitaya contains almost three times as many carbs as the same amount of acai berries. If you are trying to consume fewer carbs, you should choose acai bowls over pitaya bowls. 

Health Benefits

Based on their nutritional value, here are the potential health benefits pitaya and acai share. 

  • Healthier heart 
  • Improved bone health thanks to the high calcium content
  • Possible anti-cancer effects
  • Healthier skin
  • Improved digestion
100 gramsPitayaAcai Berries (Frozen)
Calories60 70
Fat 0 grams5 grams 
Carbohydrates13 grams 4 grams
Protein1.2 grams2 grams 
Fiber3 grams 2 grams 
Sodium0 mg7 mg
Cholesterol 0 mg0 mg


As you already know, fresh acai berries are highly perishable. But if you somehow manage to get them, use them as soon as possible. 

Unlike acai, pitaya can be kept in the fridge for up to 14 days. You can also leave your dragon fruit on the counter where it will last 2 to 3 days. 

Frozen pitaya chunks and acai puree should be stored in the freezer. The shelf life of these frozen products is quite long. 

Acai and pitaya powders are the most shelf-stable form of these two very healthy fruits. So long as you keep these powders in airtight containers and away from light and humidity, they will last at least a year. 


Pitaya is generally eaten raw. You just cut the fruit in half and remove the flesh with a spoon. The dragon scales only look tough. In reality, they are very easy to cut through. And the flesh comes out quite easily too. 

Aside from eating fresh pitaya as a snack, you can also use it to make sweet and savory salads and salsas as well as grill pitayas. 

Unlike pitaya, fresh acai berries are not as versatile as you will have to spend time to soften the berries and remove the pits. 

Frozen acai and pitaya (frozen or fresh) can be used in similar ways.

Here are some ways to enjoy both acai and pitaya:

  • Smoothies. One of the easiest and most delicious ways to use both acai and pitaya is to make smoothies. You can create endless flavor combinations using these fruits. 
  • Bowls. Pitaya and acai can be used to make healthy and delicious bowls. To make a pitaya bowl, blend frozen pitaya with your favorite fruits and add your favorite toppings. For an acai bowl, blend frozen acai puree with other berries and banana until you achieve a smooth texture, and serve with the toppings of your choice. 
  • Ice cream. You can make homemade ice cream using frozen acai. Simply blend it with frozen bananas and sweeten the mixture with your favorite syrup. You can do the same with frozen pitaya. 

As for acai and pitaya powders, their uses are pretty much the same. You can use these nutrient-packed powders to make smoothies, puddings, various drinks, yogurts, etc. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the battle of these two bowls, you have to decide between the two considering your flavor preferences. Pitaya is naturally higher in sugar. You can skip the sweeteners with it. 

Both pitaya and acai bowls are extremely healthy. But this is true only if you choose healthy toppings. 

Some of the best toppings for pitaya and acai bowls are sugar-free granola, coconut flakes, berries, other fresh fruits, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.

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