Ingredient Intelligence

Pomelo vs. Grapefruit: What’s the Difference Between the Two?

published Jan 9, 2023
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Explainer graphic showing photo of a cut open Pomelo and a cut open grapefruit
Credit: Photos: Getty Images, Shutterstock

When you shop at the produce section at your grocery store, you’ll likely make a stop near the citrus fruit. Look past the more familiar lemons, limes, and oranges, and you might also see larger fruits like pomelos and grapefruits sitting next to each other. While you’ve probably had grapefruit juice or eaten grapefruit segments in a fruit salad, pomelos (sometimes spelled “pummelos”) are a little less familiar — especially in the United States. 

So what exactly is the difference between a pomelo and a grapefruit? The major differences between a pomelo and grapefruit lie in their size and color. Pomelos typically have a yellow to light green rind and are larger than grapefruits, which have a light orange to pink rind.

Read on to learn more about the differences between pomelos and grapefruits. Plus, find out how to use pomelos and grapefruits in the kitchen.

What’s the Difference Between a Pomelo and a Grapefruit?

There are many differences between pomelos and grapefruits, including size, color, and taste. 


For starters, pomelos are much larger than grapefruits. In fact, pomelos are the largest member of the citrus family. On average, pomelos can be anywhere between 7 to 10 inches in diameter. Grapefruits, on the other hand, are usually about 4 to 6 inches in diameter.

Color and Shape

Pomelos have yellow to light green rinds and an oval shape similar to an avocado. Grapefruits have light orange to pink rinds and have a much more rounded shape, similar to a softball.

Rind and Pulp

You’ll also notice more differences between pomelos and grapefruits once you slice into them. Pomelos have a very thick rind, especially compared with a grapefruit rind. The pulp of a pomelo, sometimes referred to as the “flesh,” is pale yellow or light pink. The inside of a grapefruit, however, is typically bright pink or red. 


In terms of flavor, pomelos and grapefruits both have similar sweet/tart flavors. However, pomelos tend to be a bit sweeter and more mild compared to grapefruits. Grapefruit has a very distinct bitterness to them that isn’t as strong in pomelo. 


Lastly, you might be curious about the origins of each of these citrus fruits. Unlike some citrus fruits like lemons, clementines, tangelos, and blood oranges, the pomelo is a non-hybrid citrus fruit that is considered an ancestor for many of the fruits we eat today. One of its descendants is the grapefruit, a hybrid fruit that is a cross between a pomelo and an orange.

Pomelos originate from southeastern Asia. Spanish trade brought the pomelo and orange to the Caribbean islands, where they were first crossed to create grapefruit.

How to Eat Pomelos and Grapefruits

Although pomelos and grapefruits have slight differences in their tastes, they can be prepared and eaten in similar ways.