Papaya Bars


Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

There’s this grocery store I only half like and it rhymes with Schrader Joe’s. I love their flowers, variety of cheeses and cheap bottles of booze, but man do they make me mad sometimes. I went in there bright and early a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were carrying green papayas. I happily bought one, attempted to make this salad, only to be stalled when I cut into the dang “green papaya” to learn that it was in fact a red papaya. So, there I was “stuck” with this beautiful papaya that had no home, no future. I adopted it and remembered that I had been wanting to make lemon bars without the lemon part.

I have issues with lemon desserts. I’ve divulged this info before, I think. Every so often I love it but lemon bars are usually not my thing. They usually just result in me making a less than pleasing face. Pucker central, USA.

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

I’ve actually been seeing lots of papaya in smoothies and I want to do this! I’m thinking a thick papaya, banana, coconut situation sounds uh-mazing. Or even a papaya lassi with cardamom and a dash of nutmeg.

Their color, flavor and texture is all a win. I paired 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 made for a killer combo.

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

Papaya Bars

Yield: 9 bars

Papaya Bars


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup very cold unsalted butter, diced
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon 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)
  • Topping:
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  • Equipment: 8 x 8 baking dish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the baking dish by buttering it, placing a piece of parchment on the bottom of the dish and then flouring it. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Run a sharp knife along the sides and gently lift the parchment
  6. *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.

Papaya Bars // A Cozy Kitchen

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  • 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 Jas@AbsolutelyJas 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?

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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 Laura@bakinginpyjamas 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!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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!!!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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


    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

    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!

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