How to Prepare Yuca Root


Properly spelled yuca root, this is commonly confused with the similarly named yucca, which has inedible roots. Even markets and recipes interchange the spelling of the names. Yuca root also goes by the names cassava, tapioca and manioc. Originating from Brazil, two main types exist for human consumption: sweet (Manihot dulcis), sold in markets in the United States, and bitter (Manihot esculenta). Both types have toxins in them when raw, but with proper cooking, you can render the sweet variety safe to eat. Only prepare sweet yuca for consumption if grown in your own garden without pesticides or herbicides, or purchased from a store. Bitter yuca must undergo a long commercial process before the toxins in it become neutralized. Through this extensive processing, most bitter yuca becomes flour after a commercial processing. Only harvest what you will need as the yuca root has a short shelf life of just a few days.

Step 1

Harvest your yuca root at least eight months after planting by pulling at the stem to remove the root from the ground.

Step 2

Cut off the stem and scrub the root with soap and water.

Step 3

Peel the thick skin off the yuca root with a knife or vegetable peeler.

Step 4

Slice the yuca root into discs or matchsticks.

Step 5

Boil the slices until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 6

Rinse off the boiled slices with cold water.

Step 7

Optionally deep fry the cooked slices like French fries, or serve boiled in your favorite recipe.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never eat raw yuca of either the sweet or bitter varieties as both contain toxic compounds in their raw states.

Things You'll Need

  • Yuca root
  • Paring knife or vegetable peeler


  • Chow: Cooking with Yuca
  • Chow: Yuca Root
  • Perdue: Cassava

Who Can Help

  • Publix: Carribean Fish With Buttery Yucca
  • FoodNetwork: Yucca Recipes
Keywords: cassava, yucca root, manioc

About this Author

Athena Hessong began her freelance writing career in 2004. She draws upon experiences and knowledge gained from teaching all high school subjects for seven years. Hessong earned a Bachelor's in Arts in history from the University of Houston and is a current member of the Society of Professional Journalists.