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Last updated: October 26, 2022
A list with 15 red fruits from around the world. Delicious and unique fruits with beautiful red skin that will appeal to many.
One of the reasons I enjoy eating red fruits is that they often have pretty strong flavors. But I also love buying those brightly-colored fruits because they are great for decorating dinner tables.
And why should you be eating more red fruits? For one, they’re loaded with carotenoids, which are antioxidants that support better health. And two, they are just too pretty to resist!
Top 15 Red Fruits
In no particular order, here are 15 red fruits. Some you may have never seen or heard of before, and others will look very familiar.
1. Red Apple
It’s hard to think about red fruits without instantly picturing a perfect red apple with a little green leaf. Sure, these fruits come in a variety of colors, from green to gold to mottled. But the Red Delicious and its many red cousins will always be the quintessential apple to most.
These beautiful, colorful fruits are all part of the rose family, something that is more obvious if you’ve seen an apple flower in bloom. They are native to Central Asia but are now cultivated throughout the world.
The first apples to be brought to North America came in the form of seeds the Puritans packed with them. It is worth noting that the continent does host its own native apple (the crab apple), which is a different species and not nearly as sweet. But, for the record, these tart fruits also come in shades of red.
Lychee is a small, light red fruit with a rind similar in texture to the jackfruit. Inside, the plump white flesh encases a large, smooth seed. These trees are native to Asia, where they have a deep significance to local cultures.
The flavor of the lychee is mildly sweet, with notes of grape, pear, and rose. The pulp is often dried, which helps concentrate the sweetness and makes it taste more acidic.
Lychee is most often eaten fresh, though it can be made into jam or dried and used in confections. Oddly, considering its popularity, this fruit is toxic, especially in its unripe form.
If a lychee had a bad hair day, it would look a lot like a rambutan. This closely related fruit is another popular food in Asian cultures and is used in many of the same ways.
Where the lychee and rambutan really differ is in the fine tentacle-like “hairs” growing off the rind. The skin of the fruit is a deep red, while these hairs can be green, yellow, or red depending on the variety and ripeness.
Inside that alien shell, you’ll find white flesh with a similar texture to a peeled grape. It is slightly less sweet than a lychee, but has a similar sweet-sour flavor and floral undertones.
You can always count on cranberries to bring a little holiday color to the Thanksgiving table every year.
These bright red berries are close relatives of the blueberry and huckleberry. They are native to both Europe and North America, where they grow plentifully in acid bogs.
Raw cranberries have an extremely tart flavor and are very hard, which is why these fruits are almost always cooked and mixed with sugar. Cranberry sauces and jellies are very popular, as are cranberry baked goods and dried, sweetened “craisins”.
5. Red Grape
Grapes are another popular fruit that comes in a variety of colors. Yellow and black grapes are both popular, but red grapes are still king, especially when it comes to making red wines!
Wine grapes, such as merlot and pinot noir, have thick, bitter skin and do not make for a great snack. Red table grapes, like Crimson Seedless and Red Globe, are much sweeter with thin skin and a lot of juice.
Grapes are native to the Middle East and have been cultivated there for nearly 8,000 years. Today, grapes are grown on every continent except Antarctica.
Lingonberries are small, plump, red berries native to the northern latitudes of North America, Europe, and Russia. As you can tell from the pictures, they are very similar to cranberries.
They are cultivated and commercially available in some regions, but in most places where they’re commonly consumed, they’re wild foraged.
With a tart flavor similar to choke cherries or cranberries, these red berries are best prepared with sugar or syrup, or made into a jam. One of the most common ways of consuming them in their native lands is to simply mash the berries with sugar and keep them in a container at room temperature, where they’ll stay good for an extended period.
Cherries come in a variety of colors, from yellow to deep crimson. But it is the red shades that are most popular. Sweet cherries, Rainiers, and Bings are some of the easiest cultivators to find in the store.
Like plums and peaches, cherries are stone fruits, or drupes, which means they have a large pit in the center. Like most other drupes, cherries do not ripen after being picked. This means they are typically only available during seasonal periods, making them all the more sought after.
8. Red Pear
Like the closely related apple, pears come in various colors, from yellow to green and rouge. But some varieties, like the Starkrimson, Red Bartlett, and Red d’Anjou, ripen to a red finish.
Pears are native to Europe and Asia but are cultivated widely throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Today, there are about 3,000 pear varieties. They range from deeply sweet and syrupy to tangy with a hint of spice.
Often eaten fresh, pears also make a great addition to fruit salads, roasted with fall veggies, or paired with stinky cheese.
9. Red Plum
Plums are available in a variety of red hues, from light pink to deep reddish-purple. You can even find yellow plums if you know where to look. The flesh inside these fruits is less variable and is typically yellow with or without a reddish tint.
Like other stone fruits, plums must be ripened on the tree. When ready, they’ll be slightly soft and smell sweet and fruity. The flavor ranges from tangy to deeply sweet with aromatic undertones.
Different varieties of plums are native to different regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere. However, most plums found in the supermarket are cultivators that descended from stock native to China.
If you’re looking for a ruby red fruit that is impressively difficult to eat and contains a surprising lack of edible flesh, then let me introduce you to the pomegranate. This distant relative of the apple has a rosy red shell and brilliantly bright red pulp.
This bright and tasty pulp encapsulates small, crunchy seeds that need to be separated from the pithy compartments inside the fruit before they can be eaten. But all that work is generally worth it. The flavor of the pomegranate is impressively refreshing, with a deep sweetness perfectly offset by a puckering tartness.
While the flavor is worth the work for many, it is the rich antioxidant load that entices most to this hard-won treat. To get the benefits of the fruit without the work, you can opt for prepared juices. Pomegranate is also used as a tart topper for salads and parfaits, and added to drinks for a splash of color.
Strawberries may be the most popular red fruit. These bright red berries are the second most sold fruit in the US, trailing behind only the banana. But that doesn’t mean you know everything about this sweet, juicy, seed-covered treat.
For one, did you know that all garden strawberries are actually a hybrid of the North American mountain strawberry and the Chilean beach strawberry? These two hard-to-cultivate and not-so-delicious berry plants were crossed to create the plump, easy-to-grow strawberries we know today.
Another little-known fact about strawberries is that these red beauties are part of the rose family, just like apples, pears, plums, raspberries, and cherries. Who knew so many of the red fruits we love are related to one of the most well-known red flowers on earth?
The reddish-pink aggregate fruit we call a raspberry refers to the berry produced by several closely related species. These plants grow throughout the northern hemisphere and are cultivated in the highest numbers in Russia, Europe, and North America.
Unlike the closely related blackberry, the center of a raspberry is hollow, giving it a softer texture and making it much more fragile.
Their mild flavor ranges from slightly sweet to slightly tangy and makes a great base or addition to jams. Raspberries are also popular in fruit salads, as a yogurt or pancake topper, and as a filling for sweet treats.
13. Red Mombin
About the size and color of a Roma tomato, red mombins are a fruit rarely seen or used outside the tropical forests of Central America where they grow. Other varieties ripen to yellow, blackish-red, and greenish-red. All grow on species of the jocote tree.
The jocote is closely related to the cashew tree. Like cashew fruit, the mombin has only a thin layer of edible fruit surrounding a large pit. This flesh is incredibly sweet when ripe and often eaten raw. Alternatively, the fruits can be prepared by boiling them to create a sweet “honey”.
Unripe red mombin, which is quite tart and acidic, is often prepared with hot chilis or mashed and added to hot sauces.
14. Rose Apple
Rose apples aren’t related to apples or roses but do look somewhat like a pear (which is related to both!). It has a thicker, waxier skin than a pear and a unique puckered blossom end that gives it a distinct bell-shaped appearance.
These tropical fruits grow on trees in and around Indonesia. The crisp red cultivators are less sweet than the pale pink and dark red varieties, which are deeply sweet with fruity, floral undertones.
The rose apple, which is also commonly called “water apple”, is often eaten raw and intact with the core removed. It can also be sliced and added to salads, lightly sauteed, or pickled.
Chokecherries are large shrubby trees native to North America. They produce perfumy-smelling clusters of white flowers that go on to bare deep red or bright red fruits about the size of a pea.
As the name suggests, these fruits are not so sweet. In fact, a combination of tart and astringent flavors makes them almost inedible. Unless you know how to prepare them.
The key to eating chokecherries is to make them into jam or jelly. Cooking them eliminates the astringent properties, while adding a decent amount of sugar helps mellow the tartness. This preparation also eliminates the hard pit in the center. A good thing, considering the pits are toxic.