How to Cook with Chayote

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2017

Chayote can be eaten both raw and cooked. Here's the best way(s) to prepare it.

Chayote—a fruit native to Mexico but now popular throughout Latin America and Asia—is a pale green, bumpy-skinned, pear-shaped member of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), which makes it a relative of melons, pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash.

This fruit can be eaten both raw and cooked. We like it cut thin and cooked lightly—sautéed, stir-fried, or even stewed. When we swapped it for some of the squash in our recipe for Sautéed Summer Squash with Parsley and Garlic, it shed a bit of moisture, as did the summer squash. But it retained a pleasant underlying crispness that the summer squash lost. We also like chayote raw in salads and salsas, where its jícama-like crunch really shines. It can be pickled (using vinegar or a brine) or simply tossed with sugar and salt (use 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt for one 12-ounce chayote) and left to sit for about 10 minutes before eating.

To prep chayote for cooking, peel and discard the leathery rind and then cut it lengthwise into quarters. Use a paring knife to remove the hard central seed before slicing or cubing.