I've got a bunch of papaya seeds left over from a ripe fresh papaya and I'm trying to work out what I can do with them.

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Pic from Livestrong

Researching this comes up with precisely two types of page:

  • Hundreds of dubious articles claiming miraculous health benefits (I'm skeptical, but good to know they're edible)
  • Hundreds of recipes for salad dressing, based on putting them cold in vinegar. I'm not especially interested in salad dressing, but if the vinegar does anything interesting to the seeds that could be used in other ways, that would be good to know about

What effect if any does cooking them have? Are they edible cooked? Are there any particular ways of heating them or ingredients to cook them with that bring out or modify their flavour in any notable way?

Cold, they're kinda tangy, sharp, bitter, not unlike peppercorns but more bitter and maybe slightly citrus-y. They seem to get more bitter the longer they're off the fruit - after two days in the fridge my stash became obscenely bitter, just one seed and I could still taste the bitterness 5 minutes later.

Or any other methods of preparation? Does steeping in vinegar do anything interesting? Or any other liquids? Crushing, freezing? Anything?

  • I always personally found them inedibly bitter.
    – Jay
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:04
  • 1
    They seem to get more bitter the longer they're left - the ones I took straight off the fruit were okay, quite bitter but tolerable, but after a couple of days in the fridge they're awful, I tried one just now and they all went straight in the bin Jan 20, 2016 at 21:39
  • Are these the black ones from a ripe papaya, or these from an unripe one that look like styrofoam crumbles? Jan 20, 2016 at 22:30
  • @rackandboneman Ripe - they're black in a greyish moist casing, kinda like frog's eggs except the black part is much bigger. This is the closest pic I can find: img.aws.livestrongcdn.com/ls-1200x630/cme/cme_public_images/… Jan 20, 2016 at 22:41
  • 2
    I can't answer what heat does to the seeds, but I know that the seeds can be used in cooking. I met a guy in Brazil who told me about drying and grinding the seeds to use as a spice. Apparently, the ground seeds can be used on all sorts of food, sort of like black pepper. The dried and ground seeds can also be used as a meat tenderizer. So, they have uses, but I wouldn't want to simply cook and eat a bunch of papaya seeds.
    – mrog
    Feb 8, 2016 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


Clear answer: Nothing interesting food wise. I have lived in Asia between papaya trees for 10 years, and I have never seen them used. I tried drying them, brining, in vinegar, nope. They are inedible. Just like the papaya leaves. The only use is producing more papayas,


Wash them to remove all the orange fruit bits, then dry them thoroughly on a cookie sheet in the sun. Store as is, use by grinding to a powder that can be used like black pepper. Key ingredient in Hawaiian papaya seed dressing!

  • 1
    Welcome treefrog - General health and diet issues are off-topic here, so I removed that portion of your answer. If you have time, take the tour cooking.stackexchange.com/tour and see what this site is all about.
    – Debbie M.
    Jun 1, 2017 at 15:05
  • Link is dead, goes to a spam site. I'm hesitant to try to replace it since I never saw the original. Apr 10 at 2:38

First, my 4 papaya trees are grown in volcanic ash fertilizer called AZOMITE. It makes ANY produce taste twice as good, and is fully nutritious. I simply dried the seeds at 200 degrees for a few hours with the intention of grinding and using on salad. They didn't last that long. we ate them all.

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