What is yuzu syrup?

Yuzu syrup is a sweet and tart condiment made from the juice of yuzu citrus fruits. Yuzu is a type of East Asian citrus fruit that is prized for its fragrant aroma and unique flavor. The juice is extracted and combined with sugar or honey to make a concentrated, versatile syrup.

What does yuzu syrup taste like?

Yuzu syrup has a bright, tart, citrusy taste that is a bit sour and a bit sweet. It is often described as a cross between lemon, lime, grapefruit, and mandarin oranges. The flavor is complex, with notes of pine and honey. Yuzu syrup is not as sweet as traditional syrups, as it retains the signature yuzu tartness. It has an invigorating zing that enhances many foods and beverages.

What is yuzu syrup used for?

Yuzu syrup is very versatile and can be used to add flavor to many dishes and drinks. Here are some of the most common uses for yuzu syrup:

  • Cocktails – Yuzu syrup is excellent mixed into gin, vodka, or sake cocktails. Its citrusy flavor balances sweet and boozy flavors.
  • Tea and lemonade – Add a spoonful of yuzu syrup to green tea, black tea, or lemonade for extra citrus flavor.
  • Desserts – Use yuzu syrup to add tartness to cakes, custards, ice cream, and fruit desserts.
  • Sauces and dressings – Mix with soy sauce for a dip, or whisk into vinaigrettes.
  • Glazes for fish and poultry – Brush yuzu syrup onto salmon, chicken, or turkey before roasting.
  • Fruit salads – Drizzle over mixed fruits or citrus salads.
  • Yogurt and oatmeal toppings – Sweeten plain yogurt or overnight oats.

What does yuzu syrup pair well with?

Yuzu syrup complements and enhances a wide variety of foods and flavors. Here are some of the best pairings for yuzu syrup:

  • Seafood – Especially shellfish like shrimp, crab, and lobster
  • Chicken and pork
  • Vegetables – Potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage
  • Citrus fruits – Grapefruit, oranges, lemon
  • Tropical fruits – Pineapple, mango, papaya
  • Herbs – Mint, basil, thyme, oregano
  • Green tea or black tea
  • Gin, vodka, sake, and sparkling wine cocktails

Where does yuzu come from originally?

Yuzu originated in central China and Tibet, where it grew wild. It was introduced to Japan and Korea over 1,000 years ago and has become a beloved ingredient in East Asian cuisine. Today, yuzu is cultivated extensively in Japan and Korea for its juice, zest, and fragrant blossoms.

Is yuzu an orange?

No, yuzu is not a type of orange, though it resembles an orange in shape and size. Yuzu belongs to the citrus family Rutaceae along with oranges, lemons, and limes, but it is its own distinct species known as Citrus junos. While oranges originated in China, yuzu comes from central Asia and Tibet.

What does yuzu fruit taste like?

Fresh yuzu fruits have a taste that falls between a lemon, lime, and grapefruit with intense tartness and acidity. The flavor is complex, with floral, pine, and citrusy notes. When eaten fresh, the pulp and juice provide a mouth-puckering sourness, while the zest lends a concentrated aromatic citrus flavor. Yuzu fruits are rarely eaten alone but instead used sparingly to add acidity and fragrance to various Asian dishes, sauces, and confections.

What kind of citrus is yuzu?

Yuzu is a unique East Asian citrus fruit that is classified in the genus Citrus as Citrus junos. It is believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda, a wild citrus species native to China. Unlike common citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, yuzu is its own distinct citrus species with unique attributes. Though it resembles a small grapefruit in appearance, its flavor, aroma, and uses differ greatly from grapefruit.

How do you eat a yuzu?

There are a few ways to eat fresh yuzu fruit:

  • Eat the pulp and juice – You can halve or quarter the yuzu and eat the juicy pulp and seeds inside. The flavor is mouth-puckeringly tart and sour.
  • Grate the zest – Use a zester or microplane to grate the aromatic outer yellow peel. The zest has an intense citrus flavor perfect for spices.
  • Add to dishes – Mix a few teaspoons of juice or fine strips of zest into salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and desserts.
  • Infuse in tea or water – Lightly muddle yuzu wedges in hot water for fragrant citrus tea.
  • Candied yuzu peel – Boil peeled yuzu strips to remove bitterness then cook again with sugar to candy.

Yuzu is rarely eaten alone in large quantities. Its tart juice and zest are better used as accents in small amounts. Use this potent citrus fruit sparingly to add bright, fresh flavor.

What does yuzu juice taste like?

Freshly squeezed yuzu juice tastes intensely tart, like concentrated lemon or lime juice but more complex. The sourness is balanced by subtle floral and fruity notes. Yuzu juice has a higher acidity than other citrus fruits, providing tanginess and zest. It is very aromatic with a piney, honeyed citrus scent. The taste is quite sour and mouth-puckering on its own. When used in moderation, yuzu juice adds a bright pop of flavor and acidity to many Asian dishes.

Is yuzu healthier than lemon?

Yuzu and lemon have similar nutritional profiles and both provide benefits. However, yuzu has a few advantages that make it slightly healthier than lemon:

  • Higher vitamin C – Yuzu contains about two times more vitamin C per 100g than lemon.
  • More antioxidants – Yuzu has higher levels of antioxidant compounds like carotenoids, flavonoids, and limonoids.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Yuzu contains more anti-inflammatory compounds and has demonstrated anti-allergy activity.
  • Lower sugar content – Yuzu juice only contains 2.35g of sugar per 100ml compared to 2.5g in lemon juice.

Overall, yuzu is very low in calories and high in nutrients like vitamin C. Its antioxidant compounds offer anti-inflammatory benefits. So while both yuzu and lemon have advantages, yuzu edges out lemon slightly when it comes to nutritional value.

Is yuzu good for you?

Yes, yuzu is very healthy and good for you. Some key benefits of yuzu include:

  • High in Vitamin C – Yuzu is packed with immune-boosting vitamin C. One yuzu contains about 70-80mg vitamin C, two times more than a lemon.
  • Antioxidants – It provides antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids, and limonoids that reduce oxidative stress.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Yuzu oil and compounds in the peel have anti-inflammatory effects that may help relieve allergy symptoms.
  • Heart health – Animal studies show yuzu may improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood circulation.
  • Anticancer activity – Test tube studies have found yuzu extracts inhibit cancer cell growth and induce cancer cell death.
  • Skin health – Yuzu seed oil applied topically may improve skin elasticity, moisture, and antioxidant levels.

With all of these benefits packed into the tart citrus fruit, yuzu can be a nutritious addition to your diet. Moderately consuming yuzu or yuzu juice may help boost immunity, fight inflammation, and protect against disease.

Is yuzu acidic?

Yes, yuzu is a very acidic fruit. Its juice has a pH of about 2.2-2.4, which is even more acidic than lemon juice. The high acidity comes from citric acid and other organic acids like malic acid and oxalic acid present in yuzu. The tart, sour taste of fresh yuzu juice reflects its extremely high acid content. Yuzu zest also contains volatile acidic compounds. This pronounced acidity allows yuzu to impart a bright, tart flavor when used in small quantities in cooking.

Where can I buy yuzu fruit?

Fresh yuzu fruits can be difficult to find outside of Asia. Here are a few places you may be able to purchase them when in season:

  • Asian grocery stores – Some well-stocked Asian supermarkets, especially Japanese grocers, carry fresh yuzu November through January.
  • Specialty grocery stores – International grocery stores that sell exotic fruits sometimes carry yuzu.
  • Online – Various online retailers sell fresh yuzu imported from Japan during the winter months.
  • Farmers markets – You may find yuzu at farmers markets in areas with specialty citrus growers.

Dried yuzu peel and bottled yuzu juice are much more widely available year-round. When fresh yuzu is unavailable, juice or zest are the next best options for capturing the yuzu’s flavor in recipes and drinks.

Can you grow yuzu?

Yes, it is possible to grow yuzu trees yourself, either from seed or a nursery sapling. Here are some tips for growing yuzu at home:

  • Climate – Yuzu thrive in subtropical climates with cool winters and hot summers. They can tolerate some brief cold snaps but need winter protection below 25°F (-4°C).
  • Planting – Plant in well-draining soil in full to partial sun. Space trees at least 10 feet apart.
  • Care – Water regularly and fertilize in spring and summer. Prune to shape. Protect from hard freezes.
  • Maturity – Yuzu trees typically bear fruit 3-5 years after planting and reach peak production at 5-10 years.
  • Harvest – Fresh yuzu ripen on the tree from fall through winter. Harvest when fully yellow.

Growing yuzu at home can be rewarding but challenging. Make sure your climate is suitable and properly care for young trees until they mature. A protected courtyard location is best.

What is yuzu pepper?

Yuzu pepper (also called yuzu kosho) is a popular Japanese condiment made from yuzu zest, chili peppers, salt, and sometimes seeds, herbs, and vinegar. To make it, yuzu zest and chili peppers are combined into a chunky paste or sauce. Yuzu kosho provides a spicy, citrusy kick of flavor. It can be either red or green depending on the type of chili peppers used.

Some common uses for yuzu pepper include:

  • Mixed into dipping sauces and dressings
  • Spread onto fish, meat, or noodles
  • Added to soups, broths, and hot pots
  • Used as a rub or marinade for proteins
  • Stirred into rice dishes

Yuzu pepper paste can be found at Asian grocery stores or easily made at home by blending yuzu zest with chopped chili peppers, salt, and other ingredients to taste.

Can you substitute lemon for yuzu?

In a pinch, lemon juice and zest can be used as a substitute for yuzu, though the flavor will not be an exact match. Here is how to substitute them:

  • For 1 tablespoon yuzu juice, use 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • For 1 teaspoon grated yuzu zest, use 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
  • For yuzu kosho (yuzu pepper paste), use lemon zest in place of yuzu zest.
  • For yuzu vinegar, make your own by steeping lemon zest in vinegar.

When substituting lemon for yuzu, use a light hand as lemon has a more straightforward citrus flavor. Add a bit of lime zest or juice to help approximate yuzu’s complexity.

What does yuzu taste like?

Yuzu has a very distinctive taste that stands out from other citrus fruits. The flavor of yuzu is often described as:

  • Sour and tart, like concentrated lemon/lime juice
  • Zesty, with an intense, refreshing citrus aroma
  • Slightly floral, with overtones of mandarin orange and grapefruit
  • Subtly sweet, with notes of pineapple, pear, and honey
  • Tangy, mouth-puckeringly sharp when eaten fresh
  • Complex and nuanced, especially the fruit’s zest

Yuzu has an acidity and flavor punch far stronger than other citrus. A little bit of yuzu goes a long way to lend food and drinks bright, citrusy essence and aromatic tropical notes. The juice, zest, and entire fruit each impart slightly different but complementary yuzu tastes.


With its intensely tart, nuanced citrus flavor, yuzu is a treasured and versatile ingredient in East Asian cuisine. The juice, zest, and peel add vibrant acidity and fragrance to dishes, sauces, desserts and beverages. Though the fruit is rarely eaten plain, it is excellent when incorporated judiciously into recipes. Yuzu has also emerged as a healthy citrus thanks to its high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties. For cooks interested in innovative flavors, yuzu represents an exciting way to punch up citrus notes with its unique tropical yet tart taste.

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