Yuca vs Taro: Can You Spot Their Differences?

Some of you might get confused while choosing yuca vs taro since they have several things in common. If you are wondering how to distinguish them, take a closer look at this article. Then, let’s see if they can replace each other in your meal of choice. 

Quick Facts


  • Origin: Asia and parts of Africa
  • Appearance: similar shape to a sweet potato with brown bark-like skin
  • Nutrition: high in resistant starch, dietary calcium fiber, potassium
  • Cooking Methods: baking, steaming, boiling


  • Origin: Southeast Asia and India
  • Appearance: oblong shape; brown, pink, or purple color; hard bark-like skin
  • Nutrition: high in fiber, potassium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A
  • Cooking Methods: roasting, boiling, simmering, mashing, or frying

4 Key Differences: Yuca vs Taro

1. Origin

The yuca is a year-round crop known as “cassava” or “manioc” (not to be confused with “yucca”) and is a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is a starchy tuber with a nutty flavor native to South America and found in Asia and portions of Africa. 

Taro is the underground tuber of the Aracaea plant, native to the tropical areas of South India and South Asia. Its tub4ers can be harvested about 200 days after planting and when the leaves turn yellow and start to die. 

Both vegetables provide edible leaves and tubers; however, you have to always cook them before consuming them because they are poisonous when eaten raw.

2. Appearance

The yuca is similar in size and shape to a sweet potato and may weigh from one to several pounds. It is roughly 2 inches wide and 8 inches long, with brown, fibrous skin and an inner flesh that is pure white or cream in color and has a grainy texture. Its flowers grow at the top of the stem or the tip of the branch in white, green, yellow, or red-yellow.

Taro is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach a height of 3 to 6 feet. It has bright green, elongated, heart-shaped leaves that resemble elephant ears. It has spherical tubers about the size of a tennis ball, with brownish skin and hairs on the surface and flesh that is pinkish purple, beige, or white on the inside, depending on where it is grown.

3. Nutrition

Yuca is a calorie-rich food that can produce more calories per acre than cereal grain crops. This type of vegetable is high in carbs and Vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, etc.

The leaves, which may also be cooked or dried in the sun, contain up to 25% protein. Moreover, it contains resistant starch, which experts suggest can improve gut health by encouraging the growth of good bacteria. 

Taro root is an excellent source of nutritional fiber and beneficial carbs, which can enhance the operation of your digestive system. Its high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E aid in good vision, skin, and immune system function and may assist in removing free radicals.

Besides, taro is also high in manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and folate, which helps with metabolism, bone health, and blood coagulation. 

4. Cooking Methods

Yuca is prepared and consumed in various ways worldwide, with baking and boiling being the most prevalent techniques. It is fermented before being used in some locations. It definitely needs to be peeled before eating. 

Taro can be used in a variety of ways. To prepare it for many dishes, you may boil, roast, stir-fry, braise, fry, or bake it. Boil taro root leaves and use them like spinach to add more vitamins and antioxidants to your dish. 


Is consuming yuca and taro better than eating rice?

It depends on the purpose. For example, while taro has a higher concentration than rice of vitamins E and C, yuca has more vitamin C and folate than rice.

If you are trying to gain weight, rice is better for you because it contains more carbohydrates and proteins and is more calorie-rich. In contrast, if you want to lose weight, rice is unsuitable. 

What are the side effects of eating taro?

This type of vegetable contains calcium oxalate, a bitter chemical. Eating it raw can induce itching in the mouth and throat, but it’s perfectly safe to eat when cooked.

Although taro can help you with your digestion, it is not recommended for those with gastric problems since it can cause bloating.

Is taro good for weight loss?

Yes, it is. Taro root is an excellent source of nutritional fiber and beneficial carbs. It’s known as a resistant starch, can help you lose weight, and provides a boost to your digestive system. 

Can you eat yuca while pregnant?

A big no. If you’re pregnant (or even breastfeeding), it’s not a good idea to consume cassava daily. It may result in birth abnormalities and miscarriage.

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The post Yuca vs Taro: Can You Spot Their Differences? first appeared on Mama Say What?!

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