does jackfruit smell bad

If you’re wondering, “Does jackfruit smell bad?” you are in the right place. When you see a delicious fresh-fruit platter, you usually want to dive nose-deep into it.

Inhale all of the lovely aromas coming off before popping them in your mouth and enjoying every bite.

But for some rare fruits, their pungent stench is something to fear. And the thought of biting down on them can be difficult.

Durian is perhaps the worst offender for a fresh fruit that smells bad. But what about jackfruit?

Does jackfruit smell bad like durian? Or is it more like other fruits with a sweet smell?

Jackfruit does smell bad, often described as being sickeningly sweet with a side of the rotting onion. While durian is known to be the worst smelling fruit, jackfruit is somewhat similar and smells bad to most people.

Key topics:

  • What is Jackfruit?
  • Does Jackfruit Smell Bad?
  • What Can Jackfruit Be Used For?
  • Does Jackfruit Smell as Bad as Durian?

What Is Jackfruit?

Some fruits are well-known and found in many places from corner stores to movies and advertisements.

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It’s hard to step into any grocery store in the United States without seeing an apple or an orange.

what is a jack fruit

Then there’s jackfruit. While popular in many Asian countries, it is less widely known in other areas.

And its appearance, look, taste, and smell can all be foreign.

Jackfruit is a unique fruit to be aware of. It is giant and comes from the largest fruit tree in the world.

The fruit can weigh up to 80 pounds (36 kilograms) and be 36 inches (91 cm) long. And the tree can grow up to 50 feet tall.

The exterior skin is somewhat bumpy, but can also be described as pebble-covered or a network of raised bulges. It has a yellowish color and the skin itself is not edible.

Once cut open, a fleshy interior is full of smaller morsels of individual fruit-covered sections intermixed with stringy fibers.

They surround a central, smooth core. The fruit is dense and not very juicy.

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Does Jackfruit Smell Bad?

smells bad

The smell that comes off of jackfruit is not necessarily terrible itself, but it is a strange combination that most people say smells bad.

Why does jackfruit smell so bad? Mainly because of two features: one sweet and one savory.

Let’s dive into the details of both sides.

Overly Sweet

Unlike some terrible rotting smells, jackfruit’s primary smell is sweet. But it’s the overpowering type of sweet.

Like a strong bubble gum scent mixed with cotton candy or whatever overly sweet thing, you can imagine. This is why some people think jackfruit smells somewhat pleasant.

If you like incredibly sweet things, maybe you’ll find the smell of jackfruit as a lovely sweet aroma in your nostrils. 

Like so many things in life, beauty is in the eye (or nose) of the beholder.

A Pinch of Savory

The sweet smell coming off of jackfruit is paired with a hint of savory.

And that can throw you off. It’s not that often you’ll throw a bit of garlic onto a sweet treat, but that’s a bit like what jackfruit is.

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pinch of savory

Some people smell the savory side of jackfruit as something much worse.

While there’s no doubt durian holds the title for the stinkiest fruit, jackfruit has been described as having a smell similar to rotting onions or composting trash.

You might find that why jackfruit smells so bad is because of this savory side, which might not be so savory after all.

Onion isn’t so bad, but rotting onion mixed with bubble gum might be a little much.

Tip: If you aren’t familiar with jackfruit’s smell, try to go in with an open mind. You might find that it isn’t as unpleasant as some people say.

What Can Jackfruit Be Used For?

jackfruit used for

Although jackfruit has a strong smell, it has a somewhat bland flavor. Because of this, jackfruit might surprise you as it works well in dishes that you commonly wouldn’t use fruit.

Jackfruit does a great job of soaking up flavors from herbs, spices, and other flavor-enhancing ingredients.

It can be used as a side dish full of flavor. But it is also commonly used as a meat substitute.

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Popular Dishes

One popular dish made from jackfruit is a pulled pork replacement. It has a somewhat similar texture to pulled pork and can be seasoned to have the barbecue flavor that traditionally comes with it.

You can find it as a vegetarian replacement in sandwiches, tacos, and salads. It is also the central ingredient in a dish called Chakra Thoran.

That combines jackfruit with coconut and is from Kerala, a coastal state in India where jackfruit trees are common.

Tip: Check out other Indian dishes for amazing jackfruit uses.

Nutritional Value

the nutritional value

You’d think that since jackfruit can act as a meat substitute, it might be high in calories or have poor nutritional value. But you’d be wrong.

Jackfruit is light in calories, at just 95 calories per cup, and it is also packed with protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Unlike other fruits, it’s low in carbs and sugars.

Does Jackfruit Smell as Bad as Durian?

Some people think that durian and jackfruit are the same fruit, but that’s not right.

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While both have an off-putting smell, they come from different trees and do not smell the same.

Note: Jackfruit is closely related to figs and mulberries (from family Morocae) while durian is in the same family as mallows (Malvaceae).

Size Difference

The appearance of these two popular fruits is similar, but not identical.

They mostly hail from Asia and many people would be able to distinguish the two from a long distance.

size difference jackfruit durian

To an untrained eye, however, they might look similar. And that’s probably led to a lot of confusion around the two.

Both have an oblong shape, yet durian tends to be smaller and more round than jackfruit.

Durian is often the size of a large squash or small pumpkin, also similar in size to large mangos, coconuts, and other tropical fruits.

Jackfruit is massive. Sure, some large durian fruits can be the size of small jackfruit, but in general, jackfruit is a much larger fruit that outsizes pumpkins, squashes, and almost any other fruit.

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The Skin of Jackfruit Compared to Durian

Once again, the skin of these two fruits might lead some people to wonder if they smell the same.

But even though they have a somewhat similar appearance, they’re also quite distinct.

Durian’s skin is covered in spike-like structures that can, and will, perforate the skin.

The name durian comes from the Malaysian word for thorn, showing just how sharp these cutter structures are.

Note: Not something you play catch with.

Jackfruit, on the other hand, is full of small bumps. They’re equivalent to round pebbles scattered across the skin.

Smell Difference

a smell difference

If you wonder, “Why does jackfruit smell so bad?”, you should probably stay far away from durian. Its smell is of rotting flesh. Downright putrid and foul.

Jackfruit’s smell is mostly overly sweet, with a twist of rotting onion or fermentation-like odor.

There’s just no comparison. Durian is downright awful, while jackfruit can have a somewhat charming side.

Tip: Jackfruit and durian have some restrictions through public transit, and you should make sure you can travel with any durian or jackfruit before showing up with some in hand (or luggage).

Jackfruit versus Durian

  • Size: Durian is large, but jackfruit is downright massive
  • Skin: Durian is covered in spikes/thorns, while jackfruit skin is more pebble-like
  • Smell: Durian comes off as putrid, and jackfruit is sweet with a hint of onion
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Wrap-Up on These Stinky Fruits

So does jackfruit smell bad? Yeah, it does. But it’s almost a sweet sort of bad, with a kick of something underlying that you might find disgusting.

Or you might find it endearing. To most, it’s like mixing bubble gum with an onion.

Jackfruit works great as a meat substitute, especially mimicking pulled pork. It can also do well in other dishes with lots of herbs or spices.

Just make sure to check with any restrictions before traveling with jackfruit. It is banned from transportation on some public trains, buses, and planes.