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If you’ve ever ended up with a large ripe papaya and wondered to yourself: “What should I make with it?” This is the answer. These papaya bars are buttery, soft and set into a silky smooth and fruity custard.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Papaya Bars
- Papaya puree – The fresh papaya puree that you want comes from a red papaya (not a green one!). You also want it to be very ripe. And then add it to a food processor and blend it until smooth. You want a very smooth puree for these bars.
- Eggs – This will help the custard filling set properly.
- Honey – I love honey in this dessert. It really accentuates the flavor of papaya.
- Lemon juice – Lemon gives a nice tartness to this recipe, similar to a lemon bar.
For the rest of the ingredients, please see the recipe index card.
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.
How to Make Papaya Bars
- 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.
- Bake the crust. Bake the packed course crumbs until the edges are set.
- 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.
- Bake the bars until set. And then you take them out of the oven and let cool to room temperature.
- Dust the top with powdered sugar. Now, make it snow! Dust liberally with powdered sugar and enjoy.
Tips and Tricks
- If you find a papaya that is much bigger in size than the 1.5 pounds recommended below, just puree the extra and freeze it. Thaw it in the fridge when you’re ready to use it.
Other Fruit-Based Desserts
- Meringues with Citrus Curd and Fruit
- Passionfruit Vanilla Layer Cake
- Rose Apple Pie
- Cranberry Thyme Gin and Tonic
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Papaya Bars Recipe
- 9-inch baking dish
- Rubber spatula
- Food processor
- 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.