10 Best Substitutes For Papaya


Tropical fruits are perfect to eat on their own or to add in many ways in cooking. There are many options that you can choose from to add to your drinks, baking goods, sweet and savory dishes.

Papaya is one of those tropical fruits which is native to Mexico. There are 2 types and they differ a bit. The taste is somewhere between the taste of pumpkins and watermelons, with a sweet and mellow taste.

The green variety has a crunchier texture than the other type of papaya. Everything about it is so unique and you can eat it raw or cooked.

Add papaya as part of fruit dishes or use it with chicken, seafood salads. You can combine it with cinnamon or honey and you can use it to make a nice side dish. However, since it may be harder to find papaya, is there a way that you can replace it? Can I replace papaya? Of course!

The best papaya substitutes include pineapple, pear, mango, apple, cantaloupe, butternut squash, peach, canned papaya, carrot, and zucchini.

Read on to find out more about these substitutes and what you can use for tinola if you have no papaya and for tenderizing the meat.

Best Papaya Substitutes

Papaya can be tricky to replace due to its taste, texture, and appearance, but no need to worry since here we have the best 10 replacements. Check below and choose what fits best in your recipe.

1. Pineapple

Pineapple Juice

The crunchy texture and sweet taste are what make this fruit similar to papaya. It may be a bit more acidic than papaya but you can add it in most of the recipes that require papaya.

You can also replace green papaya with pineapple.

2. Pear

Forelle pears

Pears will also help you out when you don’t have papaya.

It’s a common fruit and you can find it easier at the grocery store. They contain a lot of fiber, vitamins and help people who have high sugar.

Pears don’t have the orange colors of papaya, so they can fit perfectly in your cooking. 

3. Mango


Another tropical fruit that reminds of papaya and can replace it in many ways is mango. It will fit well in many sweet and savory dishes and will do its job perfectly.

Make fruit salads, or add them to most of the recipes that need papaya. 

4. Apple

Pink lady apples

Easily found and very common in our fruit basket are apples. They can replace papaya even though apples are not tropical fruit.

They are healthy and contain a lot of fiber. The sweetness and freshness of these fruits are what makes them suitable for many recipes, even savory and sweet dishes.

Note the texture and flavors since it’s not the same and keep close to the original recipe. 

5. Cantaloupe


Something that can come close to the taste of papaya and replace it is cantaloupe. It is suitable for many recipes since the taste will be very similar.

The color may be a bit off. But don’t fret! You can still replace papaya with cantaloupe in most of the recipes and create something incredible.  

6. Butternut squash

Butternut Squash

If you like it, you’ll find out that butternut squash works well as a replacement for papaya. You can use it raw or cooked whichever works for your recipe

It has a sweet taste and similar color to papaya. The only concern is that butternut squash can only be found during autumn or winter. Use most recipes and make something amazing. 

7. Peach

Papaya can be replaced by peaches and even nectarines.

They have a mellow sweet taste and can be added to many different recipes. They are less acidic and the taste is not that strong, but you can still make the swap and add a bit more if you feel like it.

The colors are the same which is perfect for many recipes. 

8. Canned papaya

If you don’t have any fresh papaya, then the canned ones are considered as an option.

Even though fresh is always better, sometimes these canned ones are also suitable in many ways. They are still healthy with many vitamins and minerals and will provide similar results. 

9. Carrot


If you are replacing green papaya, carrots can be taken into consideration.

You can add them to many different dishes, as the colors are similar and slight sweetness is provided. The texture is different but you can add it in most recipes. 

10. Zucchini


Green papayas and basically any papaya can be replaced by zucchini.

The sweet-bitter taste is similar which is good for most of the recipes that require papaya. Prepare the zucchini before use and add them to your recipe. 

Papaya Substitutes For Tinola

Tinola is a soup that includes many flavourful ingredients such as garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. Also in the mixture, there is green papaya.

The sweetness and freshness that the papaya offers make this dish even yummier. However, if you are out of papaya you can add the following ingredients instead.

1. Chayote

This is suitable in many ways and it is also known as a vegetable pear. The closest that you can get to the taste and texture of the papaya is to add chayote. 

2. Cucumber

You might find it weird for a cucumber to replace papaya, but it will be great in many different ways. Just remove the seeds and chop the cucumber into slices. This way you’ll make something new and delicious. 

Papaya Alternative For Tenderizing Meat

Papaya is used to make the meat more tender before cooking but if you don’t have any and you need something for your meat you can use some of the next ingredients.

1. Pineapple juice

If you use pineapple juice, you’ll get similar results and the meat will be perfect. All you have to do is get rid of the rind, put the pineapple in a blender, and pulp the juice all over the meat.

Leave it for 1-2 hours in the fridge depending on how much tenderizing the meat needs. 

2. Citrus fruits

If you have lemons, orange or lime you can replace the papaya. 

Related Questions

What can I use instead of papaya?

Pineapple will be one of the best replacements. The taste and texture are similar; you can also add it to the tender meat. 

What is the closest fruit to papaya?

The closest that you can get by replacing papaya is to use mango or peaches. This way you’ll get similar results. 

What tastes similar to papaya?

You can use cantaloupe for a more exotic taste similar to papaya. It is not very sweet, so you can add it to many different recipes.

What can I substitute for green papaya?

You can use shredded kohlrabi or carrots for green papaya. You’ll obtain a very similar taste and crunchiness.

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