Lucuma: a delicious superfruit that’s good for your gut & skin. But how do you use? Get recipes and food ideas in this post.
- Written by Genevieve Howland
- Updated on December 09, 2019
Lucuma, lucmo, or eggfruit. No matter what you call it, one thing remains the same: This tropical fruit is the superfood du jour. With its bright color, unique taste, and versatility, lucuma is the food on everyone’s tongue, figuratively and literally.
Never heard of it? We’ll explain everything you need to know, including:
- What exactly it is
- The health benefits of lucuma
- Where to buy the superfood
- What it tastes like
- Plus, how to use lucuma
What is Lucuma?
Lucuma, pronounced loo-koo-ma, is a fruit native to Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. (source) It’s long been a staple food to people in the valleys of the Andes, but it’s still pretty new in other areas of the world.
Because of its smooth green skin and vibrant orange flesh, it looks a lot like an avocado and a mango had a baby. Once cut open, the flesh holds even more surprises. The texture mirrors a hardboiled egg yolk—creamy but dry, and a little crumbly.
Though it can be enjoyed fresh and eaten as is, it’s more commonly used as a flavoring for yogurt, ice cream, desserts, milkshakes, and juice. (More on that below!)
What Are the Health Benefits of Lucuma?
The bad news? Although many tout lucuma’s calcium content, you’d have to eat abnormally large quantities to get a significant amount of the important nutrient. A closer look at the nutrient breakdown of both fresh and powdered lucuma reveal it’s not nearly as concentrated a source as you may be led to believe.
The good news? Lucuma is a plant-based food loaded with a variety of macro and micronutrients, plus phytochemicals, that support optimal health. Let’s unpack the many health benefits:
As a potent source of carbohydrates, the fruit provides our bodies with the energy it needs to thrive. It also gets bonus points for being a good source of fiber. All that fiber slows digestion and absorption of energy-yielding carbohydrates, leading to more stable blood sugar levels (source).
Promotes gut health
Another added benefit of the fruit’s fiber content is improved bowel regularity and gut health. Fiber prevents and relieves constipation, while also providing the needed fuel for the good bacteria in our GI systems. By supporting a balanced gut microbiome, it also promotes overall metabolic and immune health.
Provides skin beautifying antioxidants
The fruit’s lovely orange hue is due to its beta-carotene content, a form of vitamin A that can give your skin a rosy tone. In a 2017 study, eating beta-carotene-rich fruits and vegetables was associated with more visible red, yellow, and orange undertones in facial skin—a factor that increased participants’ perceived attractiveness. Beta-carotene also dampens inflammation and oxidative stress, reducing the risk of the development of chronic diseases.
Improves wound healing
In a 2010 study, researchers investigated the use of lucuma nut oil for wound healing. The in-vitro results how that the fruit’s oil has possible wound healing properties.
Regulates blood pressure
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential, the fruit could be beneficial for high blood pressure and diabetes management. In one in vitro study, lucuma extract inhibited the action of alpha-glucosidase, one of the enzymes responsible for breaking down carbohydrates. By inhibiting that enzyme, the fruit’s extract may prevent blood sugar spikes.
Where to Buy Lucuma
Unfortunately, the fruit itself doesn’t have a long shelf life and doesn’t travel well, so it’s nearly impossible to find it in the U.S.
Your best bet is to eat lucuma in:
What Does Lucuma Powder Taste Like?
In short, delicious! Think sweet, with a hint of maple and caramel.
The fruit is—and the powder it creates—is often described as a hybrid of pumpkin, sweet potato, and butterscotch with a hint of apricot.
How Do You Use Lucuma Powder?
The great thing about lucuma powder is that its uses are practically infinite. You’re limited only by your imagination. The ideas, links, and recipes below will give you a great starting place, but have fun trying out your own combinations!
As a sugar substitute in baking
Thanks to its sweet taste, the powder can be used as a sugar substitute in baking. Warning though: Unlike sugar, lucuma powder is not hydrophilic (meaning water-loving or moisture-attracting). If your batter seems thick and dry, you may need to add more moisture. Add a tablespoon of your moist ingredient (milk, water, yogurt, applesauce, mashed bananas, etc.) at a time until your batter has a smoother consistency.
As a sweetener for homemade popsicles
Typically used as a flavoring agent for ice cream, the fruit is an excellent way to add a new twist to frozen treats, like homemade popsicles. To make your own, add a few tablespoons of lucuma powder to your favorite recipe. It tastes especially great with coconut, banana, or even cantaloupe.
As a sweetener for smoothies
Lucuma powder really shines as a smoothie add-in. Add it to any tried-and-true smoothie recipe, or give this CocoNana Smoothie a try.
As an additive to nut milk
Give your nut or seed milk a subtle butterscotch flavor by stirring in a tablespoon or two of lucuma powder. You can even make your own almond milk.
In energy balls
Add 3-5 tablespoons of lucuma powder (depending how strong you want the lucuma taste to be) to an energy ball recipe to give the snack extra nutrients and flavor.
In hot chocolate, coffee, latte, or matcha
Elevate your go-to hot drink by stirring lucuma powder into it, or try this hormone-balancing hot chocolate.
In homemade ice cream
Lucuma ice cream is big in Peru! No trips to Peru scheduled in the near future? No worries. You can make your own at home. Head to this ice cream recipe to learn how.
In homemade soups
For a warm and savory take on the fruit, add it to pureed or non-dairy creamy soups, like this butternut squash soup.
Lucuma adds variety and flavor to oats and other types of hot cereal.
In chia seed pudding
If you love butterscotch pudding, you’ll love lucuma powder added to chia seed pudding. Just stir in a couple of tablespoons and enjoy.
Though it’s a common yogurt flavor in other countries, it isn’t something you’ll find in U.S. grocery stores. You can mimic the flavor by adding a tablespoon of lucuma powder to your favorite plain yogurt.
How About You?
Have you tried lucuma or lucuma powder? What’s your favorite way to prepare it? Share with us in the comments below.