One of the fun things about cooking is combining flavors to create a wholesome dish. Sometimes, you get to combine ingredients and flavors that don’t seem like they should go together. Yeah, this sounds a bit strange. But let’s consider meat and fruit. You might recall some classic dishes, such as turkey with cranberry sauce, lemon pepper chicken, and more. These familiar meat and fruit pairings are delicious, yet the idea of using both fruit and meal in the same dish is undoubtedly a little controversial. You might know that someone who cannot forgive the crime of putting pineapples and ham on pizza.

However, don’t fret over that. Intuitively, you might not consider meat and fruit to be perfect flavor companions, but you will find that their sweet and salty relationship does work: fruit adds a sweetness or even tartness to the salty meat. The main challenge with fruit and meat is finding the right combinations. When the right types of fruit and meat are paired with each other, this extra contrasting dimension enhances the flavor and appeal of the dish. Let’s dive into more delightful ways in which meat and fruit go perfectly with each other. 


rice, vegetable, chicken, meat, pork, sauce, pepper
Rachel Dickey

Chicken is a good match for flavors like apples, apricots, bananas, citrus, cranberries, currants, grapes, mangoes, peaches, pears, pomegranates, prunes, and raisins. Some popular stir-fry chicken pairings are with mango, pineapple, or orange. In roasted chicken, apple, lemon, or pomegranate is a delight. When you are feeling something different other than some plum sauce with your chicken or raspberries in your chicken salad, try out this healthy lemon chicken dish.


sandwich, bread, lettuce, cheese, tomato, toast, meat, ham, bacon, grilled cheese sandwich
Kiara Lee

Turkey goes well with a similar wide range of fresh and dried fruits that complement chicken, so please also see chicken section. When you are somewhat craving your classic turkey with cranberry sauce dish, why not give this White Cheddar, Apple, and Turkey Caesar Sandwich a try too.


vegetable, beef, meat, potato, sauce
Catherine Kinney

Pork plays well with fruits like apples, apricots, cranberries, currants, dried cherries, dried figs, mangoes, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, quince, and strawberries. Pork comes in many forms and when paired with fruit, the combinations are endless. Examples are pork chops with apples or pomegranate and pork loin with oranges. And from prosciutto with melon or persimmons to baked ham with pear, you will find something for everyone. If you are feeling adventurous, make some Balsamic-Marinated Pork Chops and Grilled Peaches to impress yourself and your party guests. 


The stronger taste of duck is made to pair with fruits like apricots, blueberries, cherries, citrus varieties, cranberries, currants, dates, figs, grapes, mangoes, pears, peaches, prunes, pomegranates. Duck Breast with Berry Sauce is such a mouth-watering duck dish with rich fruit flavors. 


Hearty lamb is enhanced by the bold fruit flavors, such as apricots, cranberries, dates, figs, pomegranates, prunes, and raisins. Tempt your taste buds with this Lamb and Apricot recipe.


Veal is meat from young calves. The more delicate flavor of veal pairs nicely with apples, cantaloupes, figs, grapes, lemons, limes, melons, and oranges. Make and serve this Veal Roast With Grapes for a tender and flavorful experience.


The strong taste of beef is friendly to sweeter fruits, such as apricots, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, pineapple, plums, and prunes. Citrus and the more acidic fruits are less suitable. So grill some Pineapple Beef Pops, and you are definitely in for a sweet and savory treat.

With the innate sweetness from the fruit lending the meat a tasty flavor, these two food groups, meat and fruit, may not seem to be the likeliest pair. But when fruits are correctly paired with various types of red and white meat, don’t underestimate this synergy that adds more color, flavor, acidity, sweetness, lightness, and nutrients to the dish. It’s always a complex bite filled with surprises.