Acai berries are a trendy “superfood” harvested from acai palm trees grown in the Amazon rainforest.
Dishes that feature acai — like acai bowls — are popping up on menus at smoothie shops and cafes throughout the United States.
If you’ve never tried it, you might be wondering what acai tastes like and which foods to pair with it. Keep reading to find out!
Many people describe acai’s flavor as a cross between blackberries and dark chocolate. In other words, it tastes fruity and tangy, but also earthy and bitter.
Fresh acai berries are difficult to find in the United States, so most people enjoy frozen acai puree or acai juice instead.
If you’ve never tried acai before, you may have one of these commonly asked questions:
Is acai sweet or sour?
Acai fruit is slightly sour and has a hint of sweetness. However, most people describe acai as bitter, rather than sweet or sour.
Is acai acidic?
Does acai taste like blueberries?
Acai and blueberries both have a deep purple color, but compared to blueberries, acai is less sweet and more bitter. Acai has a berry-like flavor, but it tastes more like blackberries than blueberries.
Does acai taste like chocolate?
Acai has a hint of dark chocolate flavor, which can be described as earthy and bitter with undertones of roasted nuts and coffee.
However, acai isn’t very sweet, unlike most chocolate bars that have added sugars.
Does acai taste like ice cream?
On its own, acai doesn’t really taste like ice cream at all.
Acai bowls, on the other hand, are blended with fruit and have a sweet taste and smooth, creamy texture, similar to ice cream or sorbet.
They consist of frozen acai pulp blended with other fruits and sometimes milk or yogurt, then topped with more fruit, granola, nuts, and seeds.
Does acai taste bad?
Acai can be an acquired taste for some people, especially those who are expecting it to be as sweet as other fruits.
To counteract some of acai’s bitterness and help your taste buds adjust, try adding honey, maple syrup, banana, or other sweeter fruits to acai bowls and smoothies.
What does acai powder taste like?
Acai powder has a faint berry-like flavor and a hint of tartness. When mixed into other foods, it’s a bit milder than acai puree.
Because all of the water has been removed, acai powder is perfect for use in baked goods, like cakes, cookies, and muffins.
It can also be substituted for frozen acai pulp in acai bowls and smoothies, although you might need to add some extra ice or frozen fruit.
What does acai juice taste like?
Acai juice is bitter, tart, and a little sweet. Most brands add some sweetener to counteract the bitterness, along with preservatives like citric acid.
Many people use acai juice as a supplement, taking just a couple of tablespoons every day. It can also be added to drinks, smoothies, salad dressings, and sauces.
What do acai bowls taste like?
Acai smoothie bowls taste a lot like fruit smoothies, but the flavor really depends on what other ingredients you include.
Overall, they have a more complex flavor than your average smoothie, mainly due to the bitterness from the acai.
What foods pair with acai?
Because of its unique flavor, acai pairs with some foods better than others. We’ve listed some of the most common pairings below.
One of the most popular ways to use acai is in fruit smoothies. Fresh fruit complements acai’s tangy flavor in the best way while providing some natural sugars to balance out the bitterness. Tropical fruits (or other sweet fruits) pair particularly well.
Try including some of the following fruits in your next acai bowl or delicious smoothie:
- Dragon fruit
Acai’s bitter, earthy taste pairs perfectly with chocolate and cocoa beans, while adding a nice acidic tang.
Blend cocoa powder into acai bowls and smoothies, or add some acai powder to deepen the flavor of chocolate cookies or brownies.
3. Peanut butter
It might sound like an unconventional pairing, but peanut butter and acai are a match made in heaven. Acai’s bitter, fruity flavor goes well with the savoriness of the peanut butter.
Drizzle over acai bowls, or blend a couple of tablespoons into a smoothie. You can also add some acai powder to peanut butter-flavored baked goods. If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing acai with other nut butters as well!
Shredded coconut complements the fruitiness of acai and brings a refreshing, tropical flavor to acai bowls and smoothies.
Try using coconut milk or coconut water instead of the traditional juice or water when you blend the ingredients for your next acai bowl or sprinkle some shredded coconut on top of the finished product.
Oatmeal’s mild flavor makes it a blank slate for just about any other food, and acai is no exception — it adds a nice fruity kick to this popular breakfast dish.
Swirl some acai pulp or powdered acai into your morning bowl of oatmeal for a sweet-and-sour flavor boost.
Acai is also perfect for salads — its fruity sweetness offsets the bitterness of salad greens like kale and arugula.
Add a splash of acai juice to your favorite vinaigrette, or whisk in a tablespoon of thawed acai pulp. It pairs better with oil and vinegar rather than creamy dressings.
Traditionally, acai has also been used in savory dishes that include meat. Acai’s combination of bitter, sweet, and sour flavors complements red meat and poultry, especially.
Try including some acai juice, pulp, or powder in meat marinades and sauces. Check out this delicious acai-based barbecue sauce recipe.
The taste of acai is often described as a cross between blackberries and dark chocolate. It tastes tart and fruity, but also earthy and bitter.
Acai berries pair well with sweet and savory foods alike. Use them in acai bowls, smoothies, baked goods, salad dressings, and meat marinades.
If you haven’t tried acai yet, this is your nudge to include this popular fruit in one of your meals this week!
Want to learn more about acai?
Check out our in-depth post:
Acai Berries: History, Nutrition, & Uses
Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today. Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.