Muskmelon vs Cantaloupe: Differences Explained

Muskmelon and cantaloupe are the same fruit since they both have netted skin with a sweet flavor. Muskmelon is a specie belonging to the gourd family.

At the same time, cantaloupe refers to two varieties of muskmelon, which differ slightly in flavor and appearance but share a similar set of nutrients and health benefits. Both terms are used interchangeably and have a slight difference between them.

Muskmelon vs Cantaloupe

Muskmelon vs Cantaloupe

Muskmelon (Cucumis melo) is a term for a species from the gourd family. It has different varieties, including canary, honeydew, Santa Claus melon, Persian melon, and Cantaloupe. So, generally, cantaloupe is muskmelon, but not the other way around.

However, irrespective of what you call your melon, they both have a sweet taste and stiff, netted skin. Moreover, Cantaloupe is among the most common types of melon and is the most commercialized representative of the muskmelon family.

Key Differences Between Muskmelon and Cantaloupe

There are many differences between muskmelon and Cantaloupe. Below are the main ones.

VarietyIncludes cantaloupe and other types of melonNorth American cantaloupe and European cantaloupe
ColorVariesGreen skin turns yellow when ripe
North American cantaloupe and European cantaloupe.
FleshOrange, yellow, and green fleshOrange flesh


Muskmelon is a fruit category with two cantaloupe varieties, North American and European. By their appearance, you can easily tell the difference between North American cantaloupe and European cantaloupe. North American cantaloupe has tan skin and green rind with a net-like texture to the skin.

European cantaloupe, on the other hand, has light green skin with darker green stripes. Inside, it looks just like North American cantaloupe. Both have peach-colored fruit with a seed cavity in the center.

Honeydew melon has smooth tan skin with green flesh inside. Persian melon is longer and more skinny, less spherical, and is yellow on the outside but peach inside, like cantaloupes. It may have spots or stripes.

The Santa Claus melon is slightly oblong, colored green, and striped on the outside like a watermelon. Inside, the flesh is pale cream or pale yellow. Generally, all these melons have seeds in the center.


The muskmelon family often comes with netted skin, with versatile colors from beige and yellow to green shade. North American cantaloupe often has a beige web covering its green skin. This green skin tends to go yellow when the fruit is ripe, but sometimes it does not.

Since some new types have been developed to prevent discoloration, some cantaloupe remains green when itʼs fully matures – such as the Savor variety. On the other hand, European cantaloupes are also green and yellow, but the netted web is sometimes not included. Instead, they have green vertical lines on the rind.

They are also smaller in appearance compared to other muskmelons. Muskmelon comes in various flesh colors, from orange to green, from pale to dark. It also offers more options in textures, including soft, stiff, or even crunchy.

Cantaloupe flesh is only present in orange shades with a tender texture. However, this melon often contains a higher water ratio in its flesh.


Since muskmelon contains several fruit varieties, let’s look at what each tastes like. The flavor of North American cantaloupes is more subtle than the flavor of European cantaloupes, and European cantaloupes are also sweeter than North American cantaloupes.

Honeydew melon tastes a lot like a cantaloupe, except honeydew is sweeter and doesnʼt contain that musky element that cantaloupes do. Persian melons are sweet, like honey, and Santa Claus melons are sweet with an earthy element and taste similar to a Crenshaw melon.

The European Cantaloupe is closer to the taste of muskmelon; they both have a sweet taste with higher glycemic. The North American version is less sweet and more subtle, so it is more suitable for dietaries.


Muskmelon often gives a musk-like odor. In contrast, Cantaloupe gives a blossom, fragrant smell but is less musky than other types. However, the European Cantaloupe is more distinct from the rest, with a specific cantaloupe smell.


As mentioned above, Cantaloupe is a member of the muskmelon family. However, there are various cantaloupe variants with 2 main types: the North American ones, known as Cucumis melo reticulatus, and the European version – Cucumis melo cantalupensis.

As the name suggests, you can consider the European version a “true” Cantaloupe. Therefore, for the remaining part of this comparison, we would refer to both types of Cantaloupe for a more detailed look.

Nutritional Facts

In comparison, 1 cup of Cantaloupe contains 2gr fibers and 13gr carbs, while honeydew – another representative of muskmelons, has 1gr fibers and 15gr carbs. The striking differences come from the number of vitamins.

Cantaloupe provides 64% vitamin C and 29% vitamin A based on the daily recommended intake. In contrast, honeydew offers 34% vitamin C and only 2% vitamin A in the same perspective.

Health Benefits

Cantaloupe is among the most nutritious members of the muskmelon family. Both Cantaloupe and muskmelon are low in calories and carbs and have high fibers as well as Vitamin K – major nourishment that promote your tolerance of Vitamin D. Therefore, they both are efficient in helping you control weight.

Muskmelons have an impressive amount of antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, choline, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, and superoxide dismutase. Furthermore, these melons contain a high water level, which can keep you hydrated and boost your metabolism.

However, whether you aim to lose weight or improve your immune system, opt for Cantaloupe since it has a higher amount of Vitamin C and lower calories. Lastly, it also does a better job against aging thanks to its significant amount of Vitamin A.


Overconsumption of muskmelon has been associated with loose stools and gas issues. On the other hand, Cantaloupe is more likely to be contaminated by listeria, a bacteria that can cause listeriosis. The symptoms include; fever, diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, muscle pain, and digestive issues.

It is also an excellent source of potassium. However, excess potassium can lead to hyperkalemia, which harms the kidneys and the heart.

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