What Does Taro Taste Like?

While many people are familiar with taro from its inclusion in bubble tea, taro is actually a root vegetable. Several of the most popular bubble tea shops in New York boast taro tea as a best seller. The bright purple beverage is taking the world by storm, so what do you need to know about it?

Taro has a sweet and somewhat nutty flavor. For the most part, taro tastes like a sweet potato. In addition to its popularity in bubble tea, taro is often used in place of potatoes.

In addition, taro is a beautiful lavender color inside, which makes your meals not only taste good but look good as well.

Sweet and Savory

Taro is one of those foods that does both sweet and savory dishes well. You can use it as a potato substitute and have a starchy dish. Or, you can make the aforementioned bubble tea or taro pudding.


You might be wondering how a starchy root vegetable ends up in a sweet bubble milk tea. Usually, taro milk bubble tea is made from taro powder. And alas, most of the purple from that powder comes from food coloring.

But, taro’s naturally sweet and nutty flavors are a hit with boba tea drinkers. In this form, the taro also has notes of vanilla and makes for a creamy texture.


And almost as if by magic, taro can also be a standout in savory dishes as well. Dim sum, fried rice, and curry are all popular. Taro also makes for a wonderful side dish when deep-fried.

One of the good things about taro is its potato-like texture. It has the ability to soak up the flavors of whatever is in your dish.

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Taro’s smell will change slightly depending on what it is being used for and how it is being prepared.

When in a boba tea, taro mostly smells sweet with heavy notes of vanilla. 

If you roast or fry your taro root, you’ll mostly smell a nutty flavor. However,  you may also get hints of a peppery or cinnamon-like smell.


It’s tempting to assume that taro has a similar texture to a sweet potato or a baking potato. However, that’s only half right.

When roasted or fried taro does have a texture very similar to potatoes, it is a root vegetable after all. However, when steamed or simmered, it becomes soft and almost custard-like. It’s thick and somewhat creamy.

Taro Vs Ube

So naturally, this begs the question, are taro and ube, the other purple root vegetables the same?

Well, they’re similar. Ube is actually a sweet potato and a bright purple one at that! However, it’s sweeter than taro and used more so in desserts.

Taro is Not Just for Bubble Tea

If your only prior experience with taro was in bubble tea, you might have been surprised to learn taro’s origins.

From creamy, sweet, and vanilla in bubble tea to savory in rice and curries, taro is not only pretty but pretty versatile.