Peaches Vs. Nectarines: Spotting The Differences


On account of their similarities, peaches and nectarines are often mistaken for one another. Though they share a close botanical relationship, the two fruits exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart. While the difference in texture is the most obvious, the flavour profiles, physical features, and nutritional profiles of peaches and nectarines differ widely. Gaining a better understanding of these fruits and their features is a good way of using and consuming them. Read on to find out how you can spot the differences between peaches and nectarines. 

Brief overview of peaches and nectarines

Very simply put, nectarines are very smooth, fuzz-less peaches. Their lack of fuzz is attributed to the expression of a recessive gene. Apart from this physical difference, peaches and nectarines are virtually identical to look at. Both fruits are large and appear in colours ranging from warmer yellows and pinks to lighter white. Nectarines and peaches are considered stone fruits, containing pits. These pits are protective structures for the embryo in the seed of the fruit, referred to as lignified endocarps. They are the innermost layer of the fruit formed on the ripened ovary. Based on the characteristics of the pits, peaches and nectarines can be divided into freestone and clingstone depending on how easy it is to separate the pit from the flash of the fruit. The pit characteristics also impact the flavour and taste of the fruits. 

Ever since peaches began to be cultivated in China, they have travelled far and wide. After modifications, the nectarine (named after nectar, the sweet liquid believed to be the food of the gods) also began to be consumed in different parts of the world. Peaches and nectarines are cultivated all around the world and can be put to a variety of uses. They are consumed both as fresh fruits and used in delicacies worldwide. 

Importance of distinguishing between the two

Knowing how to distinguish between peaches and nectarines is a skill that can help you be mindful while grocery shopping and using both fruits to the best of your abilities while cooking and otherwise. These are some of the main differences between peaches and nectarines that you might want to pay attention to. 

  • Texture differences:
    • Peaches and nectarines differ in terms of their textures since nectarines are like peaches genetically modified to be fuzz-free. 
  • Flavour palette:
    • Peaches and nectarines have mild differences in their flavours, making one a better candidate for certain culinary processes than the other. These differences can be in sweetness, tanginess, textures, etc. 
  • Nutritional nuances:
    • Despite their visual similarities, peaches and nectarines have different concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Knowing about these can help you consume them according to your dietary needs.
  • Grocery shopping:
    • You wouldn’t want to end up with a fuzzy peach when a recipe requires a smooth nectarine! Understanding the differences between these similar fruits will help you to shop for what you need. 

Characteristics of peaches and nectarines 

Peaches and nectarines differ in their characteristics. Though both fruits look quite similar, appearing in similar colours and sizes, they have noticeable differences in their taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Here’s a concise list of the differences between peaches and nectarines: 

The main identifiable difference between the fruits is the fuzziness of the peaches.
Peaches are fuzzy, with a soft and velvety texture of the skin. This fuzz is known as trichome indumentum Peaches are less dense than nectarines, with a softer texture Nectarines are smooth to the touch, with a shiny appearance Nectarines, due to smaller intercellular spaces are dense and firmer than peaches1 They are also slightly smaller than peaches 
Peaches and nectarines mostly come in similar colours. 
Peaches can come in colours ranging from white to yellow to dark red, with variations in tones, greenish-white, light yellow, orange-yellowish, and orange.2Nectarines come mostly in vivid red and orange colours, as well as yellow and white. The undertones of colours in a nectarine can tell you whether or not they are ripe. 
The taste of peaches and nectarines is determined by their ripeness and colour, as well as the tastebuds of the consumer. 
Peaches taste sweeter than nectarines overall. The peaches with yellow flesh are sour compared to the sweeter taste of white-fleshed peaches  Nectarines have a tangier flavour compared to the upfront sweetness of peaches 
Nutrient content 
Despite almost identical genetic makeup, peaches and nectarines have different concentrations of nutrients.
Peaches contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin K, even falling in the category of fruits with the top 27% sources of Vitamin C Peaches, like nectarines, contain minerals such as potassium, zinc, manganese, and calcium Peaches have a similar calorie content to nectarines, with 39 calories per 100g of fruit3 Nectarines are richer sources of Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, and folate compared to peachesThey are richer sources of minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and copper Nectarines are considered low-calorie foods like peaches, though with a slightly higher 44 calories per 100g of fruit3 
Use in cooking
Peaches and nectarines can act as substitutes for each other while cooking, according to personal preferences for flavours and textures. 
Peaches are softer than nectarines, explaining the preference for use in baking pies and cobblers. They are also available in canned, frozen, and juiced forms. Nectarines are firmer than peaches and hold their shape better, making them ideal for grilling. The smoother and thinner peels of nectarines and their tangry make them suitable for sauces and salsas. 
Seasonal Availability The peach season, along with other stonefruits like nectarines, apricots, and plums, starts in May and ends in September in the UK.  Freshly harvested peaches and nectarines are available in the northern hemisphere from April to September and in the southern hemisphere from November to March.1 The nectarine season in the UK is from May to September. Both fruits are also put into cold storage, greatly enhancing their availability throughout the year. 


Peaches and nectarines are almost identical genetically, except for the gene that makes peaches fuzzy and nectarines smooth. They share many similarities in their characteristics, such as the bright, summery hues of their skin, the nature of their pits, similar calorie and sugar contents, and benefits. 

Though fine substitutes for each other, the two fruits differ distinctly in appearances, textures, tastes, nutritional compositions, and ideal uses. Learning about these differences can transform the landscape of your diet, the delicacies in your kitchens, and of course, save an extra trip to the grocery store. 


What is the difference between a peach and a nectarine?

The main difference between nectarines and peaches is that peaches have soft, fuzzy skin, while nectarines are smooth. Though genetically identical, peaches and nectarines are different fruits with different textures, tastes, and nutritional values. 

Why do peaches and nectarines taste different?

Peaches and nectarines differ in their nutritional makeup and sugar content. Thus, peaches are sweet, while nectarines have a tangier sweetness. 

Which is healthier peach or nectarine?

Peaches and nectarines are both rich in different vitamins. Nectarines are better sources of Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, and folate, while peaches are among the richest sources of vitamin C. However, nectarines are richer in minerals compared to peaches.


  1. Lurie S, Crisosto CH. Chilling injury in peach and nectarine. Postharvest Biology and Technology [Internet]. 2005 Sep 1 [cited 2024 Jan 1];37(3):195–208. Available from:
  2. Byrne DH, Raseira MB, Bassi D, Piagnani MC, Gasic K, Reighard GL, Moreno MA, Pérez S. Peach. Fruit breeding. 2012:505-69. Available from: 
  3. Khachatrian E. FOODSTRUCT. 2023. Nectarine vs. Peach — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Anandita Balsavar

Bachelor of Arts, St. Joseph’s University, India

Anandita is a final-year student of Psychology and English with an interest in writing. With experience in content writing and more creative ventures, such as podcasting, she is building her skills in different forms of writing. She wants to develop research-oriented skills in psychology. Presently, Anandita is working at Klarity, focusing on writing about psychological conditions.

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