Papaya Bars


These Papaya Bars are a silky smooth custard using fresh papaya fruit on a bed of short bread crust. Perfect for picnics or summer-y get togethers.

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

There’s this grocery store I only half like and it rhymes with Schrader Joe’s. The flowers, variety of cheeses and cheap bottles of booze, but man do they make me mad sometimes. Usually, I like to go shopping bright and early. On this particular day, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were carrying green papayas. I happily bought one, attempted to make this salad, only to discover when I cut into the dang “green papaya” that it was in fact a red papaya. So, there I was: “stuck” with this beautiful papaya that had no home, no future. I like to make the best of things and had remembered that I want to make lemon bars without the lemon part.

Generally, I have issues with lemon desserts. I’ve divulged this info before, I think. Every now and again, I do love them. Usually though, lemon bars are not my thing. They mostly leave me with a less than pleasing face. Pucker central, USA.

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

What are Papaya Bars?

Papaya bars are modeled after lemon bars. There is a base of shortbread crust that is salty and buttery. The crust is topped with a tropical custard made with papaya puree.

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

As I have been seeing lots of papaya in smoothies lately, I wanted to try to do this! I’m thinking a thick papaya, banana, coconut situation sounds uh-mazing. Or better yet, a papaya lassi with cardamom and a dash of nutmeg.

The color, flavor and texture is all a win. I pair this papaya with a few tablespoons of wildflower honey, which I picked up on the side of the road in Ojai a few weeks ago–it makes for a killer combo.

How to Make Papaya Bars

  1. Make the crust. This is the easiest part of the recipe. You pulse together flour, sugar, salt and butter until it resembles a course meal. Press the course crumbs into the baking dish.
  2. Bake the crust. Bake the packed course crumbs until the edges are set.
  3. Make the filling. Whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Then whisk in the papaya puree, eggs, lemon juice and honey. Pour the filling on top of the hot crust.
  4. Bake the bars until set. And then you take them out of the oven and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Dust the top with powdered sugar. Now, make it snow! Dust liberally with powdered sugar and enjoy.

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

Papaya Bars Recipe

5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serving Size: 9
Calories: 86kcal
These Papaya Bars are a silky smooth custard using fresh papaya fruit on a bed of short bread crust. Perfect for picnics or summer-y get togethers.



  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup very cold unsalted butter, diced


  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • *3/4 cup red papaya puree, from a red papaya that weighed: 1.5 pounds
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons good-flavored honey, I used wildflower


  • Powdered sugar, optional

Equipment: 9-inch baking dish


    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare this 9-inch baking dish by buttering it, placing a piece of parchment on the bottom of the dish and then flouring it. Set aside.
    • To the jar of a food processor, add the flour, salt and dark brown sugar. Pulse until combined. Add the cubes of butter and then pulse once more until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with a few larger chunks throughout. Transfer the butter and flour mixture to the prepared baking dish and press firmly so the layer is even. Place in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, and until the edges are set.
    • Meanwhile, let's make the filling! To medium bowl, add the sugar, flour and salt, and mix. Whisk in the papaya puree, eggs, lemon juice and honey. The filling should appear glossy and smooth.
    • Pour the filling over the hot crust and transfer back to the oven for a remaining 20-25 minutes. You'll know the papaya bars are done when the filling appears set. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack until it reaches room temperature.
    • Run a sharp knife along the sides and gently lift the parchment

    *To make papaya puree, peel and deseed the papaya. Cut the papaya into chunks and add to the jar of a food processor. Pulse until the papaya is completely smooth.


      How to Store this Recipe: 
      These keep in the fridge for up to one week in an airtight container.
      9-inch baking dish | Whisk | Silicon Spatula
      Keywordbest lemon bars, easy dessert recipe, papaya recipe, shortbread, tropical fruit
      Nutrition Facts
      Papaya Bars Recipe
      Amount Per Serving
      Calories 86 Calories from Fat 9
      % Daily Value*
      Fat 1g2%
      Saturated Fat 1g6%
      Sodium 130mg6%
      Potassium 11mg0%
      Carbohydrates 20g7%
      Fiber 1g4%
      Sugar 11g12%
      Protein 1g2%
      Vitamin C 1mg1%
      Calcium 2mg0%
      Iron 1mg6%
      * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
      Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

      Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

      If you make these Papaya Bars, let me know on Instagram.

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      Leave a Reply

    • Reply Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe June 19, 2013 at 12:41 am

      These are probably some of the best bars I’ve ever seen. I’m not a huge papaya-lover but, trust me, you completely got me with these bars. They look wonderful and oh, so delicious! Hope my grocery store has some red papayas…fingers crossed!

      xo, Elisa

    • Reply Carina June 19, 2013 at 1:48 am

      Ohh I love papaya!


    • Reply rhia halili June 19, 2013 at 2:39 am

      So yummy! I think I can make this one! We have papaya here in the Philippines! Thank you for this great recipe! 🙂

    • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar June 19, 2013 at 4:09 am

      These are super cool!!! LOVE this idea!

    • Reply [email protected] June 19, 2013 at 4:21 am

      I too adore papaya (I also love lemon-anything though!), but cannot stand it’s larger, more orange, pungent, strange cousin paw-paw despite their remarkably similar flavour. I have no idea why. These look delicious!

    • Reply Marie @ Little Kitchie June 19, 2013 at 4:38 am

      When life gives you red papaya…

      These bars look awesome! You definitely gave that papaya a good home. 🙂

    • Reply Tieghan June 19, 2013 at 5:11 am

      Whoa! I would have never thought to make something like these, but they sound incredible and look even better! I love their orange color!

    • Reply Nina June 19, 2013 at 6:01 am

      Oh my goodness. Papayas are my favorite fruit, and I would have never thought to use them this way. I’m way too excited to try this recipe out.

    • Reply Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking June 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

      I love lemon bars but I agree sometimes you never know how puckery they are going to be. I have to try this recipe. It is so pretty!

    • Reply Jasmine June 19, 2013 at 8:38 am

      I really, really want to make these but there’s a typo in the recipe. Is it 3/4 cup papaya purée? I need to know cause I’m DYING to make these!

    • Reply Belinda @themoonblushbaker June 19, 2013 at 9:21 am

      oh I another fruit bar! I can not wait to try this . My mother is big fan of Papaya as it reminds her of home. Fantastic!

    • Reply brooklynite June 19, 2013 at 9:24 am

      these look so unique! how does one make papaya puree – just chunks of peeled papaya thrown into a blender until smooth?

      • Reply Adrianna Adarme June 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        Yes! I added chances to a food processor and pureed them until the mixture was smooth. Let me add a little bit above in the recipe on how to do this. Thanks!

    • Reply Allie @ 6000 Miles June 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Yumm these caught my eye immediately – what a great way to switch things up from the lemon square! They will be a HIT at summer BBQs :).

    • Reply [email protected] June 19, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Yum, my mouth is watering.

    • Reply Noelle (@singerinkitchen) June 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

      What the what? Yes please! You are genius!

    • Reply sandra June 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      these look so beautiful – the color is like a sunset.

    • Reply Stacey June 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      I was out-of-my-mind excited when San Antonio got a Schmader Schmoe’s this last year. I, too, love their flowers, cheeses, and boozes. Also, coconut body butter. But every time I get talked into something that a Schmader Schmoe’s employee raves is “fantastic” or “life-changing”, I’m always disappointed! I’m not a picky person either. Womp womp. The three buck chuck more than makes up for it.

    • Reply Jayne June 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      Papaya bars! We get papayas here by the loads (being in Southeast Asia and all). I’ve gotta try this out. Papayas now are real sweet.

    • Reply lynn @ the actor's diet June 19, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      I saw that papaya too – now I wish I had bought one…

    • Reply Erika June 20, 2013 at 5:15 am

      These are just lovely and that beautiful orange color, sprinkled with powdered sugar looks amazing!

    • Reply Lindsey June 20, 2013 at 7:40 am

      never would have thought to make a papaya bar! how clever. that orange color is so beautiful.

    • Reply Katie @ Blonde Ambition June 20, 2013 at 10:34 am

      I’m totally a lemon bar lover, but I love this unique twist!

    • Reply GROCERY LIST XXI | Wit & Vinegar June 22, 2013 at 12:30 am

      […] never had papaya. At least I don’t think I have. But these papaya bars from Adrianna. I mean, hello mr. popular at any BBQ or summer shindig I bring these to. (via A Cozy […]

    • Reply Jamie @lifelovelemons June 22, 2013 at 3:10 am

      what a gorgeous color! Love the idea of papaya, so different!

    • Reply Dana June 24, 2013 at 11:28 am


      Papaya is one of those fruits that I just want to eat and eat and eat until it is all gone. (Not such a good idea…)

      These look amazing!

    • Reply Food to Fitness October 17, 2013 at 5:39 am

      These look delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply Mary Beth January 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Hey Adrianna,

      1/4 cup of butter = 1/2 stick

      🙂 Mary Beth

      • Reply Brian October 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        Drats! Wish I’d scrolled beforehand. Was wondering why my crust was cooking so badly!!

    • Reply Jessica Noelle March 27, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      OMG THANK YOU. I’ve been trying to figure out a papaya dessert to make for my fiance on his birthday. I’ve been through cookies- nothing. Cakes- nothing. THIS IS PERFECT because I want papaya, but it’s such a strong taste that I want some crust in it too for him to balance it out, not that he’s even gonna think about it when he eats them lmao. The only question I have is that how far can I make this in advance? Will they keep in the fridge for 1 or 2 days? I’ll have so much to cook on his birthday that if these could be ready in advance so I can just pull them out, it would be great lol. Thanks again!

      • Reply Adrianna Adarme March 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm

        Oh yes absolutely. They’re a good make-ahead dessert. I’d say the night before would be great. Just be sure to wrap the bars in plastic wrap so the crust doesn’t dry out.

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    • Reply Amanda June 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      I live in Brooklyn in a West Indies neighborhood. I was craving something sweet, but have been trying to cut back on bad sugar lately, so I decided “I’ll just walk down to the corner produce store and get some fruit.”

      Well, I love Papaya, and of course they always have an abundance of it, but without paying much attention, I grabbed a papaya half that was wayyy too ripe for eating plain. What to do?

      Thank goodness your post came up near the top of my search. I had all the ingredients (including the wildflower honey) and just enough time to make it before bed. So much for cutting out the extra sugar tonight, but I will say these were excellent!!!

      • Reply Adrianna Adarme June 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm

        Oh man, this makes me so happy. Totally serendipitous!

    • Reply Claire August 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Can I make this but with peaches? (which is what I have on hand)

    • Reply Claire August 24, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Nope, I tried it with peaches and that does not work :/

    • Reply Deborah September 20, 2014 at 11:40 am

      I made my crust gluten free, by taking 1/4 cup of each coconut flour, almond flour, and gluten frre all purpose flour…..the rest of the recipe I left alone They came out fantastically delicious.

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    • Reply hannah grayboff July 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      5 stars

      Thank you so much for this recipe! Delicious, I find it even more delicious on Day 2. I added passionfruit to the papaya and love the taste. This recipe is now saved on my phone for those times we have no internet in CR!

    • Reply Bee October 2, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      5 stars
      I made these because my baby turns out is allergic to papaya so I had a huge bag of papaya purée in the freezer. These were delicious but a touch too sweet so next time i would reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup. Also I couldn’t cut these bars nicely, the filling was soft so it would rough up the edges – any ideas to fix this for my next batch? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply Natalie Melamed March 23, 2019 at 2:45 am

      We let our papaya get too ripe and my husband wanted me to jist toss oura ( i mean less than $1 but i saw it as an opportunity)/i will def be trying this out!

    • Reply Jessica L April 22, 2019 at 6:40 pm

      5 stars
      Made these and they were delicious!

    • Reply Donna September 24, 2019 at 1:41 am

      5 stars
      What are the measurements and cooking time if i wanted to make a 13×9 inch pan? This is the second time I am making them. We had some very ripe papaya on our tree! I have so much puree that i need/want to make a bigger pan!

    • Reply Rex Fermier October 13, 2019 at 8:52 am

      5 stars
      Question: What’s the difference between a green and red papaya?

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