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

4.86 from 21 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
      Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
      Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!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

      Recipe Rating

    • Reply Julia June 21, 2020 at 9:48 am

      3 stars
      I agree with Elizabeth. The filling turned out to be good but the crust is just pressed flour. I think it should be 1 cup of butter not 1/4.

    • Reply Elizabeth May 30, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      4 stars
      These were so good! I cut the sugar down to 1/4 cup because our papaya was super ripe and increased the flour to 1/4 cup. The filling was perfect. However, the crust was a little weird. I followed the recipe exactly but it seemed very “floury” when I put into the dish and the brown sugar never really melted after cooking. I’d probably use white sugar next time and decrease the amount of flour a bit?

    • Reply Angela April 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      This looks delicious. Is it actually .5 pound of papaya which makes 3/4 cup? Just seem to be very little papaya puree. Thank you

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

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

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

      5 stars
      Made these and they were delicious!

    • 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 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 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 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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