Chayotes are related to summer squash, but with a single edible seed. They’re found in most parts of the world.

The chayote is a member of the gourd family and native to , but now found around the world. The pear-shaped vegetable features deep ridges from top to bottom. Color will range from light green to white. A single large seed near the top is edible, although some think it is an acquired taste.

Usually peeled and cooked in some fashion, the chayote bears strong zucchini overtones. It is prepared many ways, including steaming, baking, boiling, roasting, pickling, and sautéing.


Depending on the region, chayote is recognized by other names: mirliton, brione (West Indies), chocho, christophene (), custard marrow, vegetable pear, mango squash, pepinello, and chouchoute ().

Two types are readily available: smooth-skinned and prickly.

Buying Tips

Look for small fruits with firm, but not hard, skin.

Storage Tips

Chayotes will sprout quickly at room temperature. Keep refrigerated, lightly wrapped in plastic, up to four weeks. Freeze after blanching (trim ends, dice, remove seed, and boil for 2 minutes).

Usage Tips

Chayotes have a firmer texture than other squash types and require a longer cooking time. This makes them ideal for stuffing.

Young fruits can be used instead of water chestnuts. They’re often eaten raw in salads as well and can be marinated first.

The skin releases an irritating sap, which dissipates during cooking. When peeling, hold under running water or wear surgical gloves. Use a grater for the surface and a paring knife for the deep grooves. As an alternative, bake first, then scoop out the meat.

Try one of our favorite chayote recipes:

Creamed Chayote Soup
Sauteed Chayote
Louisiana-Style Chayote