What Does Chayote Squash Taste Like and How to Eat it?

For any home cook curious about chayote squash, this guide is the perfect introduction. Discover what chayote squash is, its benefits, flavor, and how it’s eaten around the world.

Fresh chayote squash (aka vegetable pear)

Chayote is one of those unique vegetables that seems to cross seasons. Its flavor reminds you of summer produce, but it’s at its best in the cooler months of the year.

That makes it a great seasonal veggie to use when you’ve grown tired of winter squashes and root vegetables, and want to whip up a summer favorite. There are tons of delicious ways to cook it!

But unless you’re from a region that uses chayote squash regularly, approaching the odd-shaped squash might be a little intimidating.

In this guide, I want to share exactly what chayote squash is with my readers, and why exploring it in your cooking is a great idea.

What is Chayote?

Whether you’ve seen it called chayote, mirliton, choko, or even the vegetable pear, each name is referring to the same pear-shaped, green, ridged squash. It grows around the world in many tropical or subtropical climates.

It develops during the warm months of the year, ripening on vines until it’s ready to harvest from fall through early spring. There are many types, but in the US you’re most likely to find the variety that’s pale green with a few ridges running along the sides.

Inside the edible skin is a crisp, white flesh and one large seed which is also edible. It’s a staple ingredient in many Mexican, Asian, and Indian cuisines.


Chayote squash can be traced back to native Aztecs and Mayans. So it’s not surprising that it’s still such an important ingredient in regions of Mexico and Central America today.

As explorers traveled around the world, it eventually made its way into Asia, Australia, and Africa, where it could thrive in regions similar to its native environment.

Halved chayote squash

What does Chayote Taste Like?

Chayote has a unique flavor that tastes very similar to a raw summer squash, but with crisp, moist notes of cucumber and a subtle sweetness.

The skin is edible but slightly tougher so many opt to peel it off. It’s perfectly safe to eat the seed too, which is soft and tender, rather than crunchy.

Health Benefits

Aside from the light, versatile flavor and easy-to-cook nature, there are actually health benefits to eating chayote. It’s a fibrous, low-calorie food that’s high in Vitamin C and folate.

The essential vitamins and minerals are believed to support a healthy heart, digestion, and weight. Adding it to your diet is a choice you can feel good about!

There are some medicines like aspirin or others targeted at cardiovascular health that can interact with large consumption of chayote, so it’s worth a conversation with a professional if that’s you.

How to Eat Chayote

With flavor and health benefits behind it, you’re probably wondering how to cook and eat chayote. Well, I have good news – there’s no wrong way.

It can be eaten raw just like summer squash. In fact, it can be used in all the same ways a summer squash can. That makes it an ideal fall and winter replacement for those summer recipes you’re longing for!

What is chayote squash (mirliton)

It’s often used in Asian stir fries and soups, cooked into stews with dal in Indian cuisine, and makes its way into countless Mexican recipes from soups and stews to salads and pickled garnishes.

There really are a huge number of chayote squash recipes out there. You can try stewing, sauteing, roasting, pickling, grilling or stuffing it – each can draw out different qualities that make it a great-tasting veggie.

Where to Buy Chayote Squash

If you’re intrigued and ready to give cooking chayote a try, then the next step is finding it. You may have good luck at farmer’s markets if you live near Latin American countries or warm US regions like Florida.

It’s also commonly available at Mexican or Asian markets, and even a lot of mainstream grocery stores during certain times of the year.

I hope that after reading this you’re both inspired and confident about bringing chayote squash into your kitchen. It’s a fun and versatile vegetable that can adapt to a wide range of flavors and preparations from around the world.

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