Jackfruit is the most nutritious and delicious vegan meat replacement! This guide explains everything you need to know about jackfruit, how to cook it + 17 vegan jackfruit recipes that taste better than meat!
Jackfruit is easily my favorite vegan meat substitute because it tastes delicious and although it is canned, it’s definitely less processed than vegan sausages (but we do occasionally enjoy this vegan sausage peppers and rice skillet) or vegan burgers (my husband loves Beyond Burgers!).
I always recommend to new vegans or to vegans who are serving meat-eaters a meal to serve a jackfruit recipe because it tastes so much like meat! It helps new vegans to easily transition because they can still eat their favorite recipes while substituting jackfruit for meat, and it’s a great dish to serve non-vegans because it shows them how delicious vegan food can be!
If you’re not sure whether or not you want to try cooking with jackfruit, I encourage you to try it at least once so you can see what all the hype is about! I think you’ll truly be surprised by how delicious these recipes taste. In this vegan roundup you’ll find:
- BBQ Jackfruit Recipe
- Jackfruit Seed Recipe
- Green Jackfruit Recipe
- Sweet Jackfruit Recipes
- Vegan Jackfruit Pulled Pork Recipe
- Canned Jackfruit Recipes
- Jackfruit Taco Recipes
- Indian Jackfruit Recipes
- Instant pot Jackfruit Recipe
- Jackfruit Chili & Soup Recipes
- Keto Jackfruit Recipes
Since people always ask me for my favorite vegan jackfruit recipes, I thought it would be helpful to round up some of my favorite easy jackfruit recipes to share with you. Before we get to the recipes, let’s go over some of the most asked jackfruit questions!
What Does Jackfruit Meat Taste Like?
Jackfruit meat tastes like a mix of shredded chicken/pork and pineapple. It doesn’t have a super strong flavor on its own so it’s the perfect base to pick up the flavors that you’re cooking with. Once the jackfruit has been cooked it will shred and the texture is very similar to shredded animal meat.
Does Jackfruit Really Taste Like Pork?
I think that jackfruit tastes a lot like pork! Jackfruit doesn’t have a super strong flavor on its own but its texture is thick, chunky, and meaty! It shreds perfectly, just like pork or chicken does. I truly think that jackfruit is the best vegan replacement for pork.
What Can You Do With Jackfruit?
A better question would be, “what can’t you do with jackfruit?!” You can use unripe jackfruit for savory recipes and ripe jackfruit for sweet recipes, it’s so versatile! It’s also my favorite meat replacement for a reason. You can use unripe jackfruit in soup, stews, tacos, sandwiches, enchiladas, burritos, etc.! Any recipe that you would use meat you can use jackfruit instead.
What Are The Benefits of Eating Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a very nutritious option! It’s high in vitamin C, flavanones, and carotenoids, as well as being low in calories. Jackfruit also has a substantial amount (about 3 grams each) of fiber and protein per cup. If you’d like to learn more about jackfruit health benefits, read this nutrition breakdown.
What Does Jackfruit Look Like?
Ripe jackfruit that hasn’t been cut yet looks like a large dinosaur egg with bumps and small spikes all over it. Depending on how ripe the jackfruit is will determine its color which can range from green to yellow to brown. Unripe jackfruit that you buy in a can comes in the form of light-colored triangular chunks.
What’s the Difference Between Fresh and Canned Jackfruit?
Fresh and canned jackfruit are two very different ingredients. If you want to make a recipe that uses jackfruit as a vegan meat substitute then you must use unripe canned jackfruit in brine not syrup. Unripe jackfruit might also be labeled as green jackfruit or young jackfruit. Unripe jackfruit cans contain firm chunks of jackfruit in brine that, when cooked, will turn into a delicious, tender meat substitute. Make sure to rinse the jackfruit well to remove as much of the brine as possible.
If you find a fresh jackfruit at the store (it kind of looks like a large, spiky dinosaur egg) then that is what you can cut up and east like fresh fruit or use for a sweet recipe like smoothies or dessert. Don’t use the fresh jackfruit as a vegan meat substitute because it’s sweet and too soft.
Does It Matter Which Brand of Jackfruit You Use?
Yes, it does matter. Let me explain why. I tend to make a lot of canned jackfruit recipes because I prefer to use jackfruit as a vegan meat substitute over using fresh jackfruit for a sweet recipe.
I’ve tried multiple brands of tinned jackfruit in brine (not syrup) and my favorite brand of unripe jackfruit is Native Forest Organic Young Jackfruit (this post is not sponsored I just really love their product).
I’ve heard so many people say that they have to cut out the hard core of the jackfruit off or that they need to remove the seeds because they’re too large and unedible. I always wondered why I didn’t have to do this until I tried other brands of jackfruit.
The Native Forest jackfruit chunks already have the hard cores cut off and the seeds are small enough to eat. I also love that it’s organic.
My second favorite brand is Trader Joe’s Green Jackfruit in brine. The quality is really good but I wish it was organic. You can see what the can looks like here in my Trader Joe’s Vegan Grocery List.
Of course, any can of unripe/green/young jackfruit in brine will work as a vegan meat substitute but depending on which brand you use might require a few extra steps to prep the jackfruit before you cook it.
How to Cut Jackfruit
I know that it can be intimidating learning how to cut jackfruit because it’s such a large strange-looking fruit. It can be difficult to cut, very messy, and it requires multiple steps. I’ve never attempted it because I prefer to use jackfruit as a vegan meat substitute. However, if you’d like to attempt cutting a fresh jackfruit yourself, follow this guide.
Do You Need to Cook Jackfruit?
Yes, you definitely need to cook unripe jackfruit. Green jackfruit from the can is very hard and it needs to be cooked before eating it.
Can You Cook Ripe Jackfruit?
No, you shouldn’t cook ripe jackfruit. It will be very sweet and mushy and you can’t use it like that in savory recipes. The only time I would say that you should cook ripe jackfruit is if you’re baking it like in the upside down jackfruit recipe in the ripe jackfruit recipes section below.
Does Jackfruit Smell Bad?
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they think ripe jackfruit smells bad but I don’t think so. It must be one of those things like some people think cilantro tastes like soap. I think that unripe jackfruit doesn’t have any smell and ripe jackfruit smells fruity and sweet.
Is Jackfruit a Fruit or Vegetable?
Jackfruit is 100% a fruit, it’s not a vegetable.
What Can I Use Instead of Jackfruit?
Depending on what jackfruit dishes you’re trying to make there are plenty of vegan meat substitutes that you can use instead of jackfruit.
- Vegan jackfruit pulled pork recipe –> Use banana peels (try this recipe) or oyster mushrooms (try this recipe) instead.
- Pasta with jackfruit –> Use Gardein chicken strips instead.
- Soups or stews with jackfruit -> Use sliced vegan sausages (I recommend Field Roast or Beyond Meat sausages) or seitan instead.
- Tacos/burritos/enchiladas with jackfruit meat –> Use walnut quinoa vegan taco meat instead.
17 Plant Based Jackfruit Recipes
The following plant based recipes are all delicious and I hope you try a few of them! The jackfruit tacos make an appearance at least 1-2 times a month at our house and the jackfruit pulled pork recipe is what I make when we go to events or potlucks…it’s definitely a crowd pleaser! Also, I recently made the corned jackfruit for St. Patrick’s day and let me tell you, my husband licked his plate clean. It’s fantastic!
More Vegan Meat Substitute Recipes You’ll Love
Which recipe are you going to try first? If you try and love any of the jackfruit dishes, please post a picture of your meal on Instagram and tag @Stacey_Homemaker and use the #StaceyHomemaker so I can see your tasty creation!