31 Days of Vegetables

Our Best Jicama Recipes, Ideas, and Tips

updated Aug 30, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

If you’re going to take a challenge to eat 31 vegetables in 31 days, I really hope one of those veggies is jicama: the most crunchy, refreshing, satisfying vegetable that more people should know. Are you in the jicama club? If not, let’s get you started. Find out more about this refreshing root vegetable, how to cook it, where to find it, and ways to eat it. Here are some fresh, fun ideas for you (hello, smoky jicama fries!).

What Is Jicama and What Does It Taste Like?

Jicama is a very crisp, refreshing root vegetable most frequently eaten raw. I like to compare it to a non-sweet apple — a little watery and neutral in taste but so crunchy. It can be a little nutty; some people compare it to a water chestnut with that refreshing, crunchy, juicy crispness. Cara Mangini, author of The Vegetable Butcher told us: “I hear it all the time when customers bite into jicama. ‘Why don’t I eat jicama more?'”

How to Pronounce “Jicama”

“Jicama” is a Spanish word that has its roots back in Nahuatl, the historical Aztec language of central Mexico. The emphasis is on the first syllable: HICK-uh-muh (for a more Anglicized pronunciation) or HEE-kuh-muh (for a more accurate Spanish pronunciation).

Credit: Coco Morante

How to Eat Jicama

The best way to eat jicama is just to peel it and cut it into matchsticks then eat it raw. It’s very good when refrigerated for a little extra coolness too. A classic way to eat it is to dip the matchsticks in lime juice, chili powder, and salt. Here is more advice from Cara Mangini on great ways to eat jicama.

  • Jicama is so much better than carrot sticks: Jicama sticks can stand up to carrot sticks any day — excellent on their own, or with a dip or vinaigrette.
  • Jicama is great in slaw: Cut jicama into thin strips or matchsticks and make a slaw with shredded red cabbage, carrots, and avocado.
  • Put jicama in spring or summer rolls: Tuck jicama matchsticks into fresh spring rolls.
  • Stir-fry jicama: Its flesh stays crisp when cooked briefly, adding a refreshing crunch to any stir-fry. Try it with broccoli, garlic, ginger, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds or cashews.

The Best Dipping Powders for Jicama

The classic, most delicious way is to dip crunchy jicama in chili and lime. Here are a few chili-lime seasonings we think could be perfect.

Jicama Nutrition (and Is Jicama Low-Carb or Keto?)

Jicama, like other root vegetables, is a relatively high-fiber and low-carb vegetable. Here are the simple facts about its nutrition. In 100 grams of jicama there are the following:

  • About 9 grams of carbohydrates.
  • About 5 grams of fiber (that’s 20% of your daily recommended intake!).
  • About 4 grams of net carbs, which is relatively low (it’s similar to broccoli, and way lower than potatoes, to compare).

The keto and low-carb eating practices rely on eating lower amounts of net carbs (carbs minus the fiber). Depending on one’s carb budget, jicama can be a refreshing and satisfying way to eat nutritiously while following this eating practice.

Where to Find Jicama

If you want to try jicama, look for it in your grocery store with the other root vegetables. Sometimes it is in the cooler with the fennel and bok choy, too. It’s a large, round light-brown vegetable with a thick skin. It usually weighs between one and three pounds at the supermarket (although they can get bigger).

How to Store Jicama

Store uncut jicama at room temperature in a cool, dark place. Store any chopped jicama in the refrigerator. It will not brown but may get a little gooey or slimy after a couple of days in the fridge.

How to Peel and Cut Jicama

Jicama has a thick skin that needs to be peeled. Cara Mangini recommends not using a vegetable peeler, however; it won’t be strong enough to get through the tough skin. Instead, stand the vegetable on a cutting board and use a chef’s knife to carefully cut away the tough outer skin.

She says: “Cut a thin slice from the top and bottom of the jicama to create a flat surface on each end. Rest the jicama on its broadest cut end. Working from top to bottom and following the curve of the jicama, slide your knife under the skin to peel it. You can use a vegetable peeler to peel any tough, fibrous underlying flesh that remains.”

After this you can slice the jicama and cut each slice into thick or thin sticks for dipping and crunching.

Credit: Joe Lingeman
Smoky Jicama Fries

The Best Ways to Cook Jicama

If you’re going to actually cook jicama, there are two ways we love to cook it.

Our Top 10 Jicama (and Jicama Dip!) Recipes

Want to eat more jicama? Check out these recipes, including a splendidly crunchy and cool vegetarian taco salad. But the best way to eat jicama is crispy, crunchy, and raw. So we threw in a few dips to keep you crunching.

What’s your favorite recipe or use for jicama? Any favorite way to cook it?

31 Days of Vegetables: How to fall in love with vegetables in 31 days.How many of these splendid veg have you eaten this month? Take a look at the whole list and take our July challenge to eat every single one!