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A List of the Most Sour Fruits

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True fruit lovers often do not discriminate regarding the kind of fruits they buy and eat. This is because all fruits are nourishing, unique in taste and shape, and healthy. However, not all fruits are created equal and can be divided into numerous categories if we want to. But for starters, it’s safe to say there are at least two categories available that will usually split people into two camps: sour and sweet fruits.

cut citrus fruits on a cutting board
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Sour fruits have an entirely different composition that gives them that strong and distinguishable taste among all fruits. Of course, sourness can also indicate fruits that have gone bad or are in the process of going bad. This is why it’s best to know which fruits are sour by nature, so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when you actually begin consuming them. In the same line of thought, not all sour fruits are created equal either – some are mildly sour, while others are so sour they will make your lips pucker. So what are the most sour fruits? Let’s see what the sourest fruits are and what makes each unique regarding health benefits and uses. Read the list of sour fruits we’ve prepared below, see which one you’ve tasted so far and which one sparks your interest the most:

All products featured on the site are independently selected by the editor of Antioxidant Fruits, Jenny Dean. However, we may earn an affiliate commission when you buy something through our links. You can read our full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

1. Lemon/Lime

sliced lime with a glass
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Lemons and limes are in the same category since they share many similarities. For example, they are both small, round-oval in shape, and share most of their health benefits.

a photo of sliced lemon on a wooden board
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.


Health Benefits

Both lemons and limes are powerful antioxidant fruits and boast an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals, making them powerful aids for the immune system. They will also keep you looking and feeling young since these exact antioxidants help fight the body’s natural cellular aging process.

These fruit types are acidic and sour, but their colors differ. Lemons are typically a bright yellow, while limes are green. Another essential difference is that although both are sour, lemons tend to lean towards the sweeter palate. At the same time, limes have a hint of bitterness to them. As a result, limes are actually the most sour fruit in the world.


Due to their strong taste, both lemons and limes can be found in foods and drinks. They’re both quite versatile, and there are many ways to benefit from what they have to bring to the table in terms of taste and nutrition:

  • Regardless of what part of the fruit you use, both lemons and limes can turn things around taste-wise regarding cocktails, desserts, salads, or non-alcoholic beverages.
  • We’re talking about squeezed lemon or lime juice which is just as often encountered as using the rind or peel in a wide variety of prepared goods in the kitchen. Juices from both fruits can flavor salad dressings, marinades, or sauces.
  • What’s interesting is that the high acidity they contain makes limes and lemons great fruits for killing bacteria, which is why you can find many surface cleaners and bleaches with such extracts.
  • Lemons and limes are also great in aromatherapy since they can enhance a person’s mental state.

2. Guava

sliced guava fruit
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Guava is another fruit that rightfully earned its place in this list, describing the sourest fruits. There are several species of guava fruit, and depending on which one you choose, you can get it in either a round or oval shape. It’s about 4-12 cm (1.6 to 4.7 in) long and edible in its entirety.

The rind of guava fruit is, in fact, even richer in vitamin C than an entire orange. The seeds are also completely edible, even though some may be a bit tougher.

Health Benefits

Guava is genuinely a superfruit as it is packed with vitamins and minerals. The most essential mentions here are vitamin C, which makes guava a notable antioxidant fruit; manganese, a mineral that helps the body better absorb other crucial nutrients from the food we eat; and folate, which helps promote fertility, among other tremendous health benefits.

In fact, guava contains about the same amount of potassium as a banana, and this mineral helps regulate blood pressure levels.


  • You’ll find that guavas are often used in teas that are very effective with abdominal pains and watery stools.
  • Guava is also excellent in jams or fruit pastes, which can be eaten as such, folded into pastries, or added to meat and toasts.
  • Raw guava is also significant in its raw form as an addition to several recipes. You can add it to salads or blend it into a delicious smoothie.

3. Tart Cherries

tart Sweet cherry.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Although similar in many aspects to regular cherries, tart cherries are unique. Let’s look at what makes them unique and so famous worldwide.


Health Benefits

Myriad health benefits are offered by these fruits, making them truly special. First, they improve the quality and length of your sleep – for this, Montmorency cherries are the most effective.

Tart cherries are also great in helping the body recover after intense physical exercise. For example, muscle soreness is considerably alleviated when drinking Montmorency cherry juice. In addition, the state of your gut is critical to your overall well-being, and the same Montmorency cherries promote crucial gut health.

Tart cherries are great at improving cholesterol and lowering triglycerides, improving your heart’s health.


  • You’ll often find these cherries in baked desserts such as pies, tarts, and cakes.
  • Tart cherries also make an excellent ingredient for cooling and nutritious juices.
  • Jams are also a great way to fully benefit from the wonders of tart cherries.

4. Gooseberries

gooseberries on a wooden bowl
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Gooseberries are easily distinguishable from other fruits since they are small and weigh around 3-6 grams each. Their colors can vary greatly – you can find them in green, pink, yellow-white, dark purple, or red. Depending on their type, you can find them on the sweeter side or touch, the more sour range.

Health Benefits

Gooseberries are another type of antioxidant superfruits since they boast antioxidants such as anthocyanins, flavonols, and organic and aromatic acids. They may also help control blood sugar levels while also promoting heart health. Additionally, gooseberries may also have antioxidant and anticancer properties.


  • Their particular taste makes gooseberries a great addition to baked desserts such as cakes, pies, and tarts.
  • Gooseberry compotes, jams, and chutneys are delicious and easy to prepare.
  • You can also lightly grill gooseberries, which will reduce their tartness, as experts chefs say.
  • Another way to enjoy your gooseberries is to add them as a garnish to the main dish. They will improve the taste, add a bit of variety and make for a creative-looking addition.

5. Cranberries

Cranberries on a bowl
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Cranberries have also made it on the sour fruit examples list and are very popular fruits worldwide. They’re small, round, hard, and red; you can easily recognize them anywhere. Their taste is somewhere between bitter and sour.

Health Benefits

  • Cranberries are incredibly high in antioxidants, which makes them very potent for the human immune system.
  • They are excellent in preventing and treating urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Cranberries also play an essential role in decreasing blood pressure and preventing certain types of cancer.
  • The powerful combination of vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin E, manganese, and copper makes these small fruits crucial in maintaining and supporting immune system health.


  • There are plenty of cranberry recipes out there. Still, some of the most popular include tarts, cakes, muffins, cheesecakes, brownies, and pies – endless dessert possibilities.
  • Cranberries can also be added to salads or to granolas.
  • Cranberry juice also makes for a refreshing and very nutritious drink.
  • These fruits are also terrific when turned into sauces that can be later added to main dishes.
  • Cranberries are also food when dried up or used in their powdered form

6. Tamarind

Ripe tamarind fruit, leaves and some tamarind seeds on wooden table.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Tamarind is more exotic on this list of sour fruits since it’s a tropical fruit, and the tree produces bean-like pods with seeds clothed in a fibrous pulp. When the fruit is young, the pulp is green and sour and gradually sweetens as the fruit matures.

Health Benefits

  • Tamarind is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, making this fruit crucial in maintaining a healthy immune system. The antioxidants it contains may also boost heart health.
  • This fruit has a rich combination of minerals and vitamins to keep any immune system sturdy and healthy. We’re talking about calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. There are also traces of selenium, copper, vitamins C and K, folate, and vitamin B – truly one of nature’s superfruits.
  • Tamarind may also have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial effects. As antibiotic resistance is increasing nowadays, scientists have started looking at plants such as tamarind to help fight bacteria successfully.
  • As it is very high in sugar, people with diabetes may need to consult a physician before consuming tamarind.


  • The simplest way to eat tamarind is to eat the fruit straight from the pods.
  • Tamarind is excellent as chutney – it will make for an aromatic and functional spice to be added to your regular dishes.
  • You can prepare tamarind paste from the pods and use it in your cooking process. Making tamarind syrup is also a valid option; it will significantly add to your flavorful meals.

7. Green Mango

Raw Green Organic Kiett Mangoes Ready to Eat
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Green mango is another sour fruit that easily deserves its place on this list. It’s, in fact, an unripe mango, and it’s frequently used as a replacement for lime in Thai dishes. When picking one, make sure to choose the hardest one. Depending on the cultivar, your green mango may vary in shape and size.

Health Benefits

  • Treats digestive problems, as it effectively stimulates the secretion of digestive juices – green mango treats constipation, acidity, heartburn, nausea, and morning sickness.
  • Green mango also promotes liver health and treats several liver-related ailments. Its rich B6 vitamin composition also promotes heart health.
  • Its powerful combo of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals makes green mango a tremendous superfruit that can quickly boost your immune system when eaten regularly.
  • A freshly squeezed green mango is excellent at protecting your body from the sizzling heat while preventing dehydration. It does this by correcting any possible mineral imbalance in the body.


  • Green mangoes are great in fruit salads, especially when combined with sweeter fruits.
  • Raw mangoes also make for a great chutney that can later be added to main dishes.
  • Green mangoes also make the perfect ingredient for refreshing and nutritious drinks, especially in the summertime, when they also help fight dehydration.

8. Green Apples 

one sliced green apple with other apples
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Green apples are some of the world’s most popular fruits, and they’re beloved by children and adults just as much. They are very similar to the more classic red apples, but they are sour in taste.

Health Benefits

  • Green apples increase the body’s metabolism due to their high-fiber content. It’s the same fiber content that will help optimize the digestive process and clear it of toxic elements.
  • Their low-fat content ensures better blood flow in the body, which can prevent a wide variety of heart conditions.
  • Green apples also boast a good amount of vitamin K, which makes them great aids in better healing blood clots.
  • These apples are also very rich in antioxidants. Eating them regularly will keep you looking and feeling fresh throughout the years.


  • Green apples are incredibly versatile and can be used in various ways. They have just enough sweetness to be excellent in baked goods such as cobblers, pies, and tarts – the sky is the limit.
  • They can also easily be used raw as an addition to your morning muesli or leafy salads.
  • You can also use your green apples to turn them into refreshing drinks or cider.
  • Green apples also do well as sauces, jams, and chutneys.
  • These apples also have good applicability externally in skin and hair treatments.

9. Star Fruit

star fruit slices
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Star fruit, or carambola as it is otherwise known, is another tropical fruit that made it on the list of the sourest fruits. The cross-section of this fruit closely resembles a star, making it one of the most different fruits in the world. This fruit is widespread throughout the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.

Health Benefits

  • The star fruit is not only aesthetically pleasing but also incredibly healthy. Carambola has a powerful combination of minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, vitamin C, vitamin B5, protein, and fiber.
  • Carambola is an excellent source of antioxidants, which makes it a great aid in fighting free radicals and their harmful aging effects on the human body.
  • Although more studies are needed, the information shows this fruit may hold significant promise in preventing liver cancer or reducing fatty liver risk.


  • Due to their exciting and fun appearance, star fruit makes for a great drink garnish. It will do just fine on the rim of your cocktail while also livening up any party.
  • You can bake star fruits and turn them into chips – children will love them.
  • You can easily use the star fruit in its raw form and add it to salads.
  • Lightly cook the carambola and add it to any dish you may plan for the day.

10. Japanese Umeboshi Fruit

Umeboshi , Japanese traditional food salt plums or pickled plums
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Umeboshi, those wrinkled, salty-sour plums beloved in Japan, are more than just a quirky snack. They’re a cultural icon, a historical symbol of resilience, and a nutritional powerhouse packed with potential health benefits and diverse culinary uses. Let’s delve into the two sides of this remarkable fruit:

Health Benefits:

  • Digestive Delights: Umeboshi are renowned for aiding digestion. Their citric acid stimulates saliva production, while lactic acid from fermentation promotes the growth of good bacteria. This powerful combo can ease indigestion, nausea, and even hangovers!
  • Immunity Booster: Umeboshi are brimming with antioxidants, particularly polyphenols, which help combat free radicals and boost the immune system. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, further strengthening your defenses against illness.
  • Energy Enhancer: Feeling sluggish? Umeboshi’s citric acid and salt can help activate your body’s energy-producing mechanisms, giving you a natural pick-me-up. Samurai warriors used them historically for this very reason!
  • Liver Protector: Recent research suggests that umeboshi’s antioxidants and other bioactive compounds may help protect liver function and promote detoxification.
  • Other Potential Benefits: Some studies suggest umeboshi may help regulate blood pressure, prevent cavities, and offer anti-inflammatory benefits. However, more research is needed in these areas.


  • On Their Own: Traditionally, umeboshi are enjoyed whole, often with rice or as a palate cleanser. Their intense flavor can be overwhelming for some, so start with a small piece and work your way up!
  • In Savory Dishes: Umeboshi paste adds a salty-sour punch to sauces, dressings, marinades, and stir-fries. It’s a delicious way to add umami depth to vegetarian dishes.
  • Rice Companions: Omusubi, Japanese rice balls, often feature a whole or chopped umeboshi for a tangy surprise with every bite. Umeboshi Chazuke, a comforting dish of rice with green tea and a whole umeboshi, is a classic comfort food.
  • Sweet Surprises: Surprisingly, umeboshi finds its way into some desserts! Umeboshi jams and candies offer a unique sweet-tart experience.

While generally safe for most, umeboshi are high in sodium, so moderation is key. Consult your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions before consuming large amounts.


These are only ten of the sourest fruits out there, and the list can go on. These sour fruits are not only popular but also extremely healthy and versatile in that they can be used in myriad ways, both in food and drinks. Some are too sour to be consumed raw, as many people will find, and others offer just enough zing to make things exciting and tickle the palate.

What is the sourest food in the world?

Determining the absolute sourest food in the world can be tricky, as sourness is subjective and depends on individual taste buds and tolerance. However, here are some strong contenders:

Naturally Sour:
 These Japanese pickled plums are incredibly sour, often described as puckeringly tart and salty. Their intense sourness comes from lactic acid fermentation and high citric acid content.
Lemon juice: Straight lemon juice is a classic sour punch with a high citric acid concentration that delivers a sharp, clean sourness.
Unripe fruits: Many unripe fruits like mangoes, guavas, and gooseberries boast intense sourness due to their unripe acids.
Sour cherries and cranberries: These tart fruits pack a concentrated sourness that can make your face pucker.

Sour Candy:
: These infamous candies are known for their extreme sourness that can numb the tongue and trigger a puckering reflex. The sourness comes from citric and malic acids, sometimes combined with tartaric acid.
Toxic Waste: Like Warheads, these candies deliver a powerful sour punch that challenges even the most tolerant tasters.
Sour belts and straws: These chewy and crunchy treats often get intense sourness from a coating of citric acid on the surface.

Other Contenders:
: This Middle Eastern spice, made from ground berries, has a sour and astringent flavor that can be quite intense.
Sorrel: This leafy green vegetable has a distinct lemony sourness and is often used in soups and stews.
Kefir: This fermented milk drink has a tangy and slightly sour flavor due to the presence of lactic acid bacteria.

Ultimately, the “sourest food” is up to your own taste and your ability to handle sourness. If you’re looking for a sour challenge, any of the contenders listed above is sure to pucker your lips and make your taste buds sing (or scream)!

What’s your experience with sour fruits? How have you integrated them into your regular diet? Please share in the section below, so more readers can become accustomed to the benefits of sour fruits.

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Monday 11th of September 2023

What about bilimbi? I've tried them before and they're actually even more sour than lime or lemon

Mike Hunt

Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

This is a list of made by someone that grew up in Ohio lol.

Silas Andrew Digga

Monday 4th of April 2022

Thank you so much! There is also this sour fruit tree without leaves here with me but I can't see it photo here. Green at young but yellow when matured. Small and round


Tuesday 8th of August 2023

@Silas Andrew Digga, I don’t know the English name of it but I know what u talking about we had that tree too use to put it in vinegar

Dawn Schmidt

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Nice! Nice! Nice! Yes! Amen & Amen! Good info! :) Dawn Cierelli


Tuesday 16th of November 2021

What about pineapples? They're pretty sour.

Jennifer Dean

Friday 19th of November 2021

Subjectively, they could be added to your own particular list.