Oh how I love dehydrating papaya!
I actually don’t really like it fresh, but when you dry it, you can make delicious dried candy chunks and a versatile powder that adds a pop of nutrition to any dish.
There are several different ways you can preserve it, so let’s dig in.
How to Dehydrate Papaya in a Dehydrator
Start with ripe papaya and wash the fruit. Cut in half and remove the seeds. Peel the papaya and then slice into thin slices, about 1/4 of an inch thickness.
The papaya fruit will be fairly juicy. You can soak the fruit with ascorbic acid to prevent discoloration although this is not required.
Drain the fruit and then place in single layers on the dehydrator trays.
If drying fresh papaya in the dehydrator, dehydrate at 130 degrees for eight hours. This may take longer if you have larger pieces of papaya.
Check the fruit periodically and remove when pieces are dry to the touch. Store in airtight containers.
How to Make Dried Papaya in the Oven
You can make dried papaya in the oven if desired. This method may be more challenging as it’s easier to burn the papaya but can be used when you don’t have a dehydrator.
Papaya slices should be thin. Place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath.
Set the oven as low as possible, preferably 150 degrees or lower.
If you want dried sweet papaya, brush the slices with a sugar water solution before drying.
How to Dehydrate Papaya in an Air Fryer
Start with the same methods of preparing the papaya for drying.
Many air fryers have a dehydrator setting.
Place the slices or chunks of papaya in the dehydrator basket and set the temperature to 130. It will take about four hours for the process to complete.
How to Dry Papaya Naturally in the Sun
This is probably the longest method but it’s fairly easy to do. Once you have your papaya cut into strips, place on cooling trays and then place in a warm spot with direct sunlight.
It may take several days for the papaya to dry complete. Rotate the trays and bring inside at night.
You may want to use netting or other materials to keep bugs and pests away from the papaya as it dries.
How to Make Dried Papaya Candy
Many people who enjoy papaya like to make their own dried papaya candy. This can be done with papaya pieces or papaya chunks.
The process if fairly simple:
Make a simple sugar and water solution. Dip the papaya slices into the sugar solution and then allow the excess to drip off.
Place the papaya in the dehydrator or use the desired method to dry the papaya.
The sugar solution should be coating the papaya and it will form a crystalized shell.
You can also make papaya fruit leather if desired.
This is typically done by pureeing fresh papaya and then spreading on dehydrator trays. These are special inserts that are solid to contain liquid like these:
The dehydrator tray should not have any holes or openings.
Spread only a thin layer of the papaya as too thick of a layer will extend the drying time.
Dry until the papaya reaches the desired consistency- similar to a fruit rollup. Cut the fruit leather into strips and then store in a cool, dry place.
What to Do with Dried Papaya
There’s no limit to what you can do with dried papaya. It can be enjoyed on its own as a snack.
With a mildly sweet flavor, many people enjoy keeping it in their cabinets as a sweet treat. It also makes a great addition to your homemade trail mix.
Chop finely and add with nuts and other ingredients for an energized mix!
Baked goods are a great way to use your dried papaya.
It pairs well with coconut and many people like to make sweet breads or cupcakes with coconut and dried papaya.
Chop up the dried papaya for the best results.
Finally, papaya can be added as a topping to a variety of dishes. Add to puddings for a flavor burst or fresh salads.
A little papaya goes a long way and the dried version is great when you don’t have fresh available.
For more inspiration, check out my favorite dried papaya recipes.
How to Turn Dried Papaya into Delicious Dehydrated Papaya Powder (+ Ways to Use It!)
Papaya that’s dried can be used as-is but some people prefer to turn their dried papaya into powder.
This is an option although it involves extra steps.
Once the papaya has been dried, place it in a blender or food processor. Pulse the papaya until it reaches a powder consistency.
The powder should be dry so make sure that the papaya is completely dried before grinding. Even a coffee grinder can be used if it’s clean.
After you have the powder, store in glass or plastic container away from any moisture source. Some people may even add desiccant packs as moisture will spoil the powder rapidly.
The powder can be used in a few unique ways. You can add a scoop of the powder to smoothies and other drinks for a burst of flavor.
It can also be added to baked goods in the place of dried fruit. You won’t have chunks but you’ll get the flavor that you want.
Many people also will add the powder to frostings and glazes. It will give the frosting a bright color and the signature papaya flavor as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is dried papaya as good as fresh?
While most people have a preference for dried or fresh papaya, the taste of both is fairly similar. You may notice some differences in texture and consistency.
As far as nutrition goes, the benefits of dried papaya are much the same as fresh, since it’s just the water content that is lost in the drying process.
Does dried papaya have a lot of sugar?
Not necessarily. Dried papaya has the water removed so it contains a higher sugar content naturally. If dried without adding sugar, the difference is fairly minimal.
Can you dehydrate papaya seeds?
Yes, I actually have a separate post about making dried papaya seeds here. They can also be roasted or ground. They have a nutty flavor and many people like to add them to dishes to give them a crunch.
I’m a foodie that’s slightly obsessed with drying fruits, veggies, beans, and more – especially from my own garden! It started as a hobby but became a “must” when my family fell on hard times, and my dried food stash sustained us. Now I’m always experimenting with different techniques and recipes and sharing them here!