What Does Durian Taste Like?

Durian is a fruit known more for its smell than for its taste. It’s been described as the worst smelling fruit in the world. It is commonly referred to as smelling like dirty gym socks, rotting flesh, and raw sewage.

So why would you want to eat this? Surprisingly, durian tastes nothing like fruit, and as long as you’ve chosen a proper ripe one, nothing like it smells.

Durian tastes rich, creamy, and bittersweet. It has hints of both caramel and vanilla, and sometimes even garlic and chives. Its dominant flavors are probably custard and flan.

Durian Ripeness

Similar to papaya, making sure your durian is properly ripe, is the key to getting a delicious, creamy fruit.

Underripe Durian

You don’t want an underripe durian. An underripe durian will be hard and tasteless.

And although some people will claim it doesn’t have a smell, it is possible that unripened durian still has an odor. The smell isn’t a great indicator to find unripe durian.

Overripe Durian

Now, it’s possible that you may actually prefer overripe durian, some people do.

Overripe durian comes along with an alcoholic bite, which some people enjoy. However, others have said that ‘bite’ tastes much like vinegar. To each their own.

While a ripe durian has a creamy consistency, an overripe durian will be more gooey than creamy.

Ripe Durian

This is where a majority of the people will enjoy their durian.

When ripe, durian will have a slightly less obnoxious smell. When sold in stores, the fruit is often kept frozen to help curb the aroma. The flavor should be sweet and taste like caramel.

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In terms of texture, you are looking for smooth and creamy. The best durians have the consistency of creamy cheesecake.

Types of Durians

Generally speaking, durians are split into two categories: bitter and sweet. Now, there are durians that fall into both, but commonly these two types are typical.

Let’s look at some of the common forms of durians and see how their tastes differ.

Mao Shan Wang

This durian is rich and bittersweet. It has a creamy texture and a strong aftertaste.


These durians also have a rich creamy texture. But they are somewhat less bitter and have a much milder aftertaste.

Golden Phoenix

A pungent aroma goes with its overly bitter taste. In fact, this durian is so bitter, it’s often mistaken for having gone bad.

Its texture is much less creamy and much more watery.


This durian is fairly similar to the Golden Phoenix. However, in addition to its overly bitter taste, it has a strong alcoholic aftertaste.

Red Prawn

Red prawns are bright reddish-orange. 

They are creamier, stickier, and sweeter than most other durians.

Green Bamboo

The green bamboo is another sweet durian.

Its texture is more buttery than creamy and some of the fruit is fairly fibrous.

Black Thorn

This durian is creamy, sweet, and tastes like custard. However, it is lighter and less rich.

In Conclusion

Durian is not an easy fruit to get your hands on. If you do want to try it, it might be hard to get a hold of.

However, if you do manage to find one, make sure it’s perfectly ripe. If you can overlook the odor, you could be blessed with a beautifully sweet, creamy custard-like fruit.