Difference Between Grapefruit and Pomelo

Main Difference – Grapefruit vs Pomelo

Grapefruit and pomelo belong to the family of citrus. In spite of their many similarities, these grapefruit and pomelo have some important differences. Nutritionally, all citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. However, grapefruit is derived from a different plant known as Citrus × paradisi whereas pomelo is derived from Citrus maxima; Pomelo is also considered as the biggest fruit in the citrus family. This is the main difference between grapefruit and pomelo. The purpose of this article is to highlight the difference between grapefruit and pomelo.

What is Grapefruit

The orange is a hybrid variety between sweet orange (C. sinesis) and pomelo  (C. maxima). The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus, perennial, flowering plant, with a normal height of 5-6 m. It is originated in Barbados. China is the top producer in the world. Grapefruits usually range from four to six inches in diameter, and they have both seed and seedless fruits as well as pink and white varieties. Compared to other oranges, it is easy to remove the skin or peel of grapefruits and readily separate into individual sections. It is generally peeled and in consumed fresh form. The fresh fruit is also used in marmalade, salads, desserts and main serving dishes. Furthermore, fresh juice and frozen juice concentrates are also prepared using grapefruits.Difference Between Grapefruit and Pomelo

What is Pomelo

This giant citrus pomelo fruit is native to Malaysia. Malaysia is also the top pumelo producer in the world. However, it is also cultivated in South Asian countries like Sri Lanka and India as well as in western countries in California and Israel. Nowadays, most of the pomelo varieties are hybrid or cross breeds, and a large pomelo is the biggest fruit of all citrus. Its peel is very thick but soft and easy to peel away. Depending on the cultivar, the resulting fruit flesh is light yellow to coral pink, and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from spicy-sweet to tangy and tart. Pomelo is also considered as the ancestor of the grapefruit.Main Difference - Grapefruit vs Pomelo

Difference Between Grapefruit and Pomelo

Grapefruit and pomelo may have substantially different sensory properties and applications. These differences may include,


Grapefruit: Grapefruit is originated in Barbados.

Pomelo: Pomelo is originated in South and Southeast Asia.

Scientific Classification


  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: × paradise
  • Binomial name: Citrus × paradisi


  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: maxima
  • Binomial name: Citrus maxima Merr.


Grapefruit: Grapefruit is a hybrid variety between sweet orange (C. Sinensis) and pomelo or shaddock (C. maxima).

Pomelo: Pomelo is a natural or non-hybrid citrus fruit.

Peel Color

Grapefruit: The peel is yellow-orange in color.

Pumelo: Unripe fruit is pale green and turns yellow during ripening.

Nature of Peel

Grapefruit: Grapefruit has a soft and thin peel compared to pumelo. Ripe fruit peel is a deep orange color with a smooth and glossy appearance.

Pomelo: Pomelo has a soft and very thick peel compared to grapefruit. Also, the peel is a pebbly-skinned nature.  

Color of Fruit Flesh

Grapefruit: Grapefruit flesh has different colors depending on the cultivars such as white, pink and red pulps.

Pomelo: Pomelo flesh has different colors depending on the cultivars such as sweet white or pink or red flesh.

Size of Fruit

Grapefruit: Grapefruit is smaller than pomelo.

Pomelo: Pomelo is larger than grapefruit. It is a large citrus fruit, 15–25 centimeters in diameter and  1–2 kilograms in weight.


Grapefruit: Grapefruit has sweet flavor, and its acidity is somewhat low compared to other standards oranges

Pomelo: Pomelo has a tart, tangy and sweet flavor.


Grapefruit: Grapefruit is mainly used as a snack/fruits after main meal.

Pomelo: Pomelo is mainly used as a snack/fruits after main meal. It is also used for fresh juice, frozen juice concentrate, canning, marmalade, toffees and fruit salad preparation purposes. In addition to the fruit, the peel is used as a spice for cooking and wine production.

Alternative Names

Grapefruit: Grapefruit has no any alternative names.

Pumelo: This is also known as pomelo, pomello, pummelo, pommelo, pamplemousse, jabong (Hawaii), shaddick, or shaddock.Difference Between Grapefruit and Pomelo-infographic


Hodgson, Richard Willard (1967). Chapter 4: Horticultural Varieties of Citrus. The Citrus Industry (Revised edition) (University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences). Retrieved February 14, 2009.

Nicolosi, E., Deng, Z. N., Gentile, A., La Malfa, S., Continella, G. and Tribulato, E. (2000). Citrus phylogeny and genetic origin of important species as investigated by molecular markers. TAG Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 100(8): 1155–1166.

Lee HS (May 2000) Objective measurement of red grapefruit juice color. J. Agric. Food Chem. 48 (5): 1507–11.

Armando C, Maythe S, Beatriz NP (1997) Antioxidant activity of grapefruit seed extract on vegetable oils. J Sci Food Agric. 77 (4): 463–7.

Image Courtesy:

“Pomelo” (CC BY-SA 3.0)  via Commons Wikimedia

“Sliced pink grapefruit” by Citrus_paradisi_(Grapefruit,_pink).jpg: א (Aleph)derivative work: — raeky – Citrus_paradisi_(Grapefruit,_pink).jpg, (CC-BY-SA 2.5) via Common Wikimedia 

About the Author: Geesha

Geeshani has a BSc (Hons) degree in Food Science and Technology and Master's degree in Food and Nutrition. She is currently a PhD Student at the Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology. Sharing what she learned is a passion of hers and enjoys writing.