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Rambutan vs Lychee – Similarities and Differences In These Cousin Fruits

Rambutan and Lychee are one of those fruits that people often confuse with each other as they look very similar. These fruits are very popular these days and are found in everything from ice cream to martinis. So, can you use these fruits interchangeably? No, you cannot. 

So what’s your stand in Rambutan vs Lychee?

To some extent, these two fruits are quite similar in appearance. They are similar in inner skin, method of eating, health benefits, and family. The difference exists in the origin, outer skin, taste, and size. 

So before deciding, let’s see all the details! 

Table of Content

Rambutan vs Lychee: The Similarities

Rambutan vs Lychee

People often ask us, Are Rambutan and Lychee the same? No, it’s not, but we are going to discuss their similarities.

Let’s discuss them.

Inner Skin:

At first glance, without their skin, Rambutan and Lychee are a lot harder to tell apart. They both have brown seeds at the center covered with creamy white flesh. They are quite similar in appearance to dragon fruit and longan as well.


After peeling away their outer skin, both Rambutan and Lychee are consumed in a similar way. They are either used in smoothies to add some extra sweetness or used as a complete snack. Moreover, Lychee cocktails are famous in many parts of the world. 

Health Benefits:

Since the palettes of these two fruits are identical, so is their nutritional content. Let’s compare Rambutan vs. lychee nutrition first. Rambutan and Lychee are high in vitamins (A, B, and C), minerals (especially potassium, magnesium, and manganese), and antioxidants. In terms of calories, fiber, and sugar content, among other things, these two fruits have a relatively comparable nutritional profile.

Rambutan offers huge health benefits. One rambutan benefit is that it reduces the risk of diabetes because there is less sugar in this tropical fruit. Furthermore, a Chinese study discovered that eating more of this fruit reduces the chance of inflammatory disease. Similarly, the antioxidants in the Rambutan can prevent the spread of cancer-causing cells. 

Other health benefits include improved bone health, fewer kidney stones, and improved heart health. So, those who ask us, “Is Rambutan good for health?” We answer with a big yes!

Moreover, the health benefits of Lychee in humans have yet to be thoroughly researched. Having said that, this fruit contains a lot of nutrients, so there is no doubt about the fact that it is healthy. Locals in Vietnam think Lychee helps in digestion, strengthening the immune system, and improving cardiovascular health.


Along with the longan fruit and the horse chestnut, Rambutan and Lychee are members of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae). That is why you can observe some of the similarities in them with your naked eye. 

Rambutan vs Lychee: The Differences

difference between rambutan and Lychee

For those who are wondering, what is the difference between a rambutan and Lychee? It is now time for you to gear up, take a pen, and start writing down how Rambutan is different from Lychee. 

Outer skin:

Want to know what Rambutan and Lychee look like? Both fruits have rough pinkish to shiny red skin, but Rambutan possesses flexible, electric orange and green hairs that Lychee does not. 

The biggest difference in appearance is the neon green and orangish hair-like prongs that run around the outer “shell.”

On the other hand, the Lychee’s outer skin is thin and bright red in color. It’s important to remember that the look of both Rambutan and Lychee starts to change from green to bright red as they mature. Both rambutan and lychee fruits are difficult to open until they are mature enough to consume.


Still thinking, does Rambutan taste like Lychee? No, Rambutan does not taste like Lychee as both have different tastes and levels of sweetness.

Rambutan is rich, creamy, and aromatic, similar to dragon fruit. It is mostly described as sweet with a hint of sourness. 

On the other hand, Lychee’s flesh is sharper and shiny, which looks even more beautiful on a hot day. Its white translucent flesh is not as sweet and creamy as the Rambutan. It has a crisper bite with hints of flora. Hence, those who live in hot regions consume drinks made of Lychee to enjoy the summer. 

However, the best way to enjoy them is still peeling and then eating them raw.


There is a major difference in the size of Rambutan and Lychee. Lychees are around half the size of rambutans, which are a few inches in size. 

We can say that Rambutan is a little smaller than a cricket ball, whereas Lychee is only one to two inches long on average. Go for such Lychee that is a little larger than an inch and has bright red flesh. Dull red or pinkish lychees are not ripe and are extremely sour in taste. 


Lychee and rambutan origin story is another difference between them. They are also considered as cousin fruits because they belong to the same family Sapindaceae (soapberry). However, Lychee is native to southern China that grows on the evergreen lychee tree (Litchi chinensis). 

Contrarily, Rambutan grows on the Nephelium lappaceum tree, native to tropical Southeast Asia and commonly farmed in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. 

These fruits have different requirements as well. Lychee trees require summer heat, humidity, rainfall, and somewhat acidic soils to produce top-quality fruits. Rambutan trees grow best on hilly terrain with good drainage capability and deep, clay foam or sandy, loamy soil. However, both require frost-free tropical climates. 

How to Eat Rambutan and Lychee

How to Eat Rambutan and Lychee

You can eat Rambutan and Lychee together since they have quite similar textures and flavors. The outer peel of both fruits is soft enough for you to peel them with your bare hands. If it is firm or solid, it means that the fruit is not ripe. 

The peeling becomes easy when the outer skin is a little firm (not much). Both fruits have a mild, adaptable flavor that makes them easy to combine with other tropical fruits like pear, banana, and apples, to make a fruit salad.

Making a Rambutan or Lychee smoothie with them is another way to enjoy it. You can add honey as well to enhance the taste. Those who don’t like to consume animal milk prefer oat milk in the smoothies. 

You can also make cocktail drinks with both Lychee and Rambutan. However, Lychee is commonly used as it is a little sour and acidic than Rambutan. 

Have Any Questions?

Rambutan vs lychee vs longan?

People also make a comparison between Rambutan, Lychee, and Longan. Longan is sweeter than the other two fruits. However, the hints and aura of the flora are less. Rambutan is the largest and creamier than the other two. Lychee is a bit more sour and crispier than the other two. You should include these three in your diet and enjoy a plethora of benefits. 

Are Lychee seeds edible?

No, you should not eat lychee seeds because they are inedible. According to some studies, lychee seeds are even toxic and may harm your health. Eating them will first cause stomach problems with vomiting and weakness as problematic symptoms. 

Can I Eat Rambutan seeds? 

No, rambutan seeds are not edible and fit for human consumption. However, some say that roasting the seeds makes them more edible and kills the potentially toxic elements. More scientific study is required on this subject to confirm or deny this. 

To Summarize

All-inclusive, People generally get confused between Rambutan and Lychee and often think that both are the same. However, there exist many differences and also some similarities between them, which we all described in this article so that you don’t have to write down Rambutan vs Lychee by visiting different sites. The family, health benefits, method of consumption, and inner skin are similar. However, the size, taste, and outer skin are different. We now hope that you won’t get confused between Rambutan and Lychee anymore!

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