Guava Chameleon: Comparing Varieties

Guavas have a bigger family than you might expect. From the broad “white” and “red” categories to popular outliers like strawberry and lemon guava, there are culinary distinctions between varieties that you should be aware of. Follow along as we explore the differences below.

Red Guava

A true icon of tropical fruit, red guavas are highly sought after due to their intensely sweet flavor. Along with their light pink to dark red hues, most varieties in this family are low in acidity and highly aromatic. It’s important to note that red guavas have a higher moisture content that white guavas, making them excellent options for jams and purees.

White Guava 

Subtly is the name of the game when it comes to white guavas. In general, varieties in this family have a mild sweetness and slightly-firm texture, but can occasionally have added layers of tartness or acidity. With that in mind, white guavas are generally best used as a complimentary ingredient.

Strawberry Guava

An offshoot of standard guava, strawberry guava is aptly named for its strong berry flavor. Texture wise, this variety is fairly creamy, making it a great option for baking. You shouldn’t have a hard time locating strawberry guava at your local market either, just be on the lookout for it’s pronounced, often-wrinkly, red skin and smaller size.

Lemon Guava

Closely related to strawberry guava, this variety is also referred to cattley guava throughout the U.S. Yellow in both skin and flesh, lemon guavas are slightly bigger than their strawberry cousins. As you would expect, their flavor and aroma both contain strong citrus notes.


One of the rarer varieties of guava, detwiler has the distinction of being the only “true” yellow skinned guava. First cultivated in Southern California, detwilers are best thought of as transitional fruits between “red” and “white” guavas as their flavor, texture, and size all lie somewhere between the two.