Edible Succulents: 7 Delicious Succulents You Can Eat

Most of us would know about succulents and their uniqueness as a plant. Aside from needing little water and their ability to purify the air. However, could they benefit us in more ways? Specifically, can we eat them? Are succulents edible?

Some succulents are edible with some of them being able to provide more nutritional and medicinal value than just filling our hunger. Some plants are said to be able to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, while some can reduce coughing. These succulents may be eaten raw or cooked.

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not succulents are edible. We’ll look at how succulents taste before venturing into some edible succulents and how you can prepare them for your meals.

What Are Succulents?

Succulents are commonly recognized by their thick, fleshy leaves that store water. With over 10,000 varieties they can be seen in many places, especially in arid and dry regions. They are extremely popular plants that come in a range of shapes, sizes, and even colors.

Succulents are easy to take care of because they do not require much water or sunlight to thrive. They are usually planted in soil that drains well and in places that get bright light. These factors make succulents popular as house plants. 

Succulents are also popular in landscaping. They can grow in places that do not get much water and can be used in rock gardens, as ground cover, or in mixed borders. 

They can also be used to make living walls, called green walls or vertical gardens, and are used more and more by architects and interior designers. 

The opuntia, or prickly pear, is edible

Are Succulents Edible?

Some succulents are edible and have been a staple food in diets across many cultures. Succulents can ward off hunger and provide nutritional and medicinal value to human beings. Some succulents even taste like fruits, sweet and refreshing.

As much as succulents can be thorny and menacing-looking, if you cut into them you will notice a thick flesh that oozes juicy goodness. If you actually start to think if succulents are edible, you are not alone. 

Many succulents are edible, and they have been a staple in diets of many different cultures around the world. Mexicans are known to turn Opuntia cactus into dishes such as Nopales. At the same time, dragon fruit is popular as fruits and juices in Mesoamerica and Southeast Asia. 

Succulents also help to stave off hunger and can help humans survive drought in places such as the desert and other arid environments. You might be surprised to know that they are also behind Tequila, the agave plant used to make the drink is a succulent plant.

In fact, some succulents are known to provide not just sustenance but also nutritional and medicinal value to us. For example, Aloe Vera is known for its ability to heal wounds and, when eaten, may present anticancer and antidiabetic benefits. [source]

However, not all succulent plants are edible. You may also want to know how to prepare succulents to make them palatable.

How To Prepare And Eat Succulents?

Succulents may be eaten raw once the outer thorns and/or skin are removed. Some may require heat preparation, such as boiling or grilling. Some preparations can add succulents to salads or smoothie blends. 

Generally, succulents are valued for their rich juices that can add flavor to any dish. Some people also enjoy the soft, jelly-like texture of succulents. It is also common to see succulents as part of a smoothie blend for a natural, rich-tasting deathly drink.

Many common succulents are popular as food all over the world, such as:


Imagine a cowboy movie scene. Two men are facing off for a shootdown. There are dry winds, and a cactus stands tall as the backdrop. Chances are that the cactus is a Saguaro.

The Saguaro cactus produces pinkish-green fruits that contain bright red, mildly sweet pulp. The fruit also contains small black seeds that add a nutty flavor. This fruit is rich in vitamin B12, fiber, and vitamin C.

To prepare the saguaro fruit, chop the fruit pulp into cubes, and add to your salads. You can also bake them up into biscuits. You can also blend them in your smoothie for some natural red color and mild sweetness.

Ferocactus (Barrel Cactus)

You’ll find a lot of Ferocactus in the American Southwest. It has large, hard spines that may not give you an idea that you can actually eat it. 

However, they are a staple in the diets of many Native American tribes. They enjoy eating the flowers and the yellow fruit that looks like a mini pineapple. Its thick flesh may also serve as emergency food and hydration in the desert.

The fruit has a slimy pulp with edible black seeds. Pick the fruit apart and eat it raw. The tart taste may remind you of lemon and kiwifruit. The flesh may not be very palatable, but eat it if you are ever lost in a desert.

The ferocactus (or barrel cactus) is edible and tastes similar to lemons

Salicornia (Sea Beans)

Salicornia may not grow in the desert but on salt marshes and beaches with a lot of sand. Salicornia may look like asparagus, except it carries a brighter green color at the base, with a reddish-orange tip. 

This succulent is high in protein, calcium, iron, and iodine. As a result, Salicornia is becoming popular in gourmet restaurants, and chefs are using them more and more. 

Salicornia can be eaten raw or pan-fried, similar to asparagus. Salicornia from beaches may be salty. A quick blanch should remove that though. 

Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)

If you have visited tropical Southeast Asia, you may have enjoyed dragon fruits, fruit cuts, or smoothies. However, not many know that dragon fruits come from a cactus. 

Dragon fruit is from a night-blooming cactus known as the ‘Queen Of The Night.’ There are many variants of dragon fruit, a farmed commodity in Mesoamerica and Southeast Asia. Some variants have pale white flesh, while some have bright purple pulp. The fruit tastes mildly sweet, with a texture similar to that of the kiwi fruit.

To enjoy dragon fruit, pick up some, cut it in half, scoop up the flesh, and enjoy. You can also add the fruit to smoothies or some fruit salads.

The dragon fruit (or pitaya) is edible


Opuntia has flat, oval leaves and grows natively in the Southwest USA and Mexico. Opuntia is commonly used as a dish in Mexico. In fact, you may have eaten some Opuntia if you have bitten into some Nopales. 

The flesh has a mild, neutral flavor similar to green beans. The fruits are called Prickly Pear and have a taste that may remind you of bubblegum or watermelon. 

Opuntia leaves are commonly boiled, grilled, and then chopped into cubes before being added to salsas, salads, and tacos. The fruits are commonly peeled and eaten immediately or juiced. 


If you need something leafier instead of fleshy, give Purslane a try. It is both a vegetable and also an annual weed. Bite into them, and you may think it tastes like watercress, so you can immediately see their potential in salads. 

Purslane is rich in antioxidants and has a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids than other major greens. You may also add some of the older stems to stir fry for crunchy bites. The older stems usually can hold up to the heat.


Probably one of the most well-known succulents, aloe can do more than treat burns or help heal wounds. Eat them and enjoy the benefits it brings to your body, such as vitamin B1, B2, C, E, and much more. 

To enjoy the fruit, remove the outer leaf by cutting it in half and scooping out the flesh. Add them to drinks and smoothies, or chop them up for your salads or puddings. 

Aloe Vera is edible and can cure a number of aliments

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