Custard apple vs. Atemoya: Are they the same?

Custard apples and atemoyas are two popular tropical fruits that are often confused with each other. 

While they may look similar on the outside, there are some critical differences between these fruits. 

This article will compare custard apples and atemoyas to help you understand their differences and similarities.

What are Custard Apples?

Custard apples are a tropical fruit botanically known as Annona reticulata. They are called different names in different cultures, which brings confusion when trying to refer to a fruit.

Custard apple goes by many names. It is known as Cuban chirimoya in Cuba, Bullock’s heart, ox heart, and Anonna in Colombia.

Custard apple vs. Atemoya
Custard apple ‘San Pablo’ from Lara Farms

They are usually round or heart-shaped and have smooth, dark red to brown skin. 

The flesh of the custard apple is creamy and sweet and is often used in desserts.

What are Atemoyas?

Atemoyas are a hybrid fruit that is botanically known as Annona x Atemoya. It is a cross between a sugar apple (Annona squamosa)  and a cherimoya (Annona cherimola). 

They have a similar shape but bumpy, green to pink skin compared to custard apples (Annona reticulata).

Atemoya vs custard apple
‘Lisa’ and ‘Geffner’ Atemoya fruits.

The flesh of the atemoya is white and creamy, with a sweet and slightly tart flavor.

Differences between Custard Apples and Atemoyas

  1. Appearance: Custard apples are brown to red and atemoya is green or pink with bumps.
  2. Size: Atemoyas are generally larger than custard apples. But some custard apples are can get large as well.
  3. Flavor: Atemoyas have a slightly tart flavor, while custard apples are sweeter.
  4. Texture: The flesh of atemoyas can be chewy while smooth, while custard apples are creamy, sweet and custardy. 

Similarities between Custard Apples and Atemoyas

  1. Appearance: Both fruits are Annonas and part of the Annonaceae fruit family.
  2. Creamy flesh: The flesh of both fruits is creamy and sweet.
  3. Nutritional value: Both fruits are good sources of vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Which is Healthier: Custard Apples or Atemoyas?

Both custard apples and atemoyas have similar nutritional profiles, with each fruit providing a good source of vitamins and dietary fiber. However, atemoyas may have a slight advantage in their antioxidant content, as they contain a higher level of vitamin C than custard apples.

Garden Florida with a ‘San pablo’ custard apple fruit cut in half.

What does the custard apple leaf look like?

  • Custard apple leaves are generally medium to large, with an average length of about 10-20 cm and a width of 5-10 cm.
  • The leaves are slender with a pointed tip and a slightly rounded base.
  • The leaves have a glossy, dark green color on the upper surface, while the lower surface is a lighter shade of green.
  • The veins on the leaves are prominent and arranged in an alternating pattern along the stem.
Custard apple Annona reticulata leaves
Custard apple (Annona reticulata) leaf.

What does the atemoya leaf look like?

  • Atemoya leaves are relatively large, with an average size of about 10-15 cm in length and 5-10 cm in width.
  • They are generally oval or elliptical, with a pointed tip and a slightly rounded base.
  • Atemoya leaves are typically smooth and slightly leathery, with a wavy margin or edge.
'Lisa' atemoya leaves
‘Lisa’ atemoya leaves.

What does the custard apple tree look like?

  • The custard apple tree is a large, tropical evergreen tree that can grow up to 10 meters tall.
  • It has a spreading canopy of dark green leaves that are glossy and slightly leathery.
Custard apple fruits forming
Baby custard apple fruits. Source: Facebook.

What does the atemoya tree look like?

  • The atemoya tree is also a tropical evergreen tree, but it is smaller than the custard apple tree and typically grows up to 8 meters tall.
  • It has a relatively small canopy of large dark green leaves that are smooth and slightly leathery to the touch.
Baby atemoya fruits forming
Baby ‘Lisa’ atemoya fruits forming.

Varieties of atemoya

Some popular atemoya varieties that are grown are

  • Geffner
  • Lisa
  • Priestly
  • Page
  • Phet Pak Chong
  • Dream
  • 47-18 or Temolyata
  • African pride or AP
  • Pinks mammoth

Varieties of custard apple

Some popular varieties of custard apples (Annona reticulata) that are commonly grafted are

  1. San Pablo
  2. Fernandez

FAQs about Custard Apples and Atemoyas

Q: Can you eat the seeds of custard apples and atemoyas?

A: No, the seeds of both fruits are not edible and should be discarded.

Q: Can custard apples and atemoyas be used in cooking?

A: Both fruits can be used in desserts and other recipes such as smoothies or ice cream.

Q: Are custard apples and atemoyas easy to find in the United States?

A: It may be difficult to find fresh custard apples and atemoyas in the United States, but they are sometimes available from select fruit markets such as Pinellas Park in Clearwater.

Q: Which fruit tree is easier to grow, custard apple or atemoya?

A: In general, both trees require the exact requirements to grow and are both easy to grow and fruit.


Custard apples and atemoyas may look similar, but they are two distinct tropical fruits with some key differences in flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Both fruits are delicious and can be used in a variety of recipes, so why not try them both and see which one you prefer?

Recent Articles

Table of Contents