Papaya Ice Cream

Papaya ice cream inside papaya half

Getty Images / Elizabeth Watt

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Total: 37 mins
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
314 Calories
20g Fat
32g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 314
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 13g 63%
Cholesterol 111mg 37%
Sodium 42mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 4g
Calcium 65mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Papaya and lime lend a tropical flavor to this rich ice cream. It's a delicious dessert that will take you on a beach vacation without having to leave home.

Make sure you select ripe papayas; otherwise, the ice cream will have no flavor and will not be as sweet as it should be without adding additional sugar.

If your papaya has skin that is turning from green to yellow, but mostly yellow, and if you can press your thumb into the flesh, it's ripe.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Whisk together sugar, eggs, and cream in a heavy saucepan.

  3. Cook over low heat, while stirring, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil.

  4. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.

  5. Place the papaya into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or use a heavy-duty blender.

  6. Remove the zest from the lime using a grater, then juice the lime. Add the zest and juice to the papaya and process it into a puree.

  7. Add papaya puree to the thickened lukewarm cream, stirring to thoroughly combine.

  8. Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's manual.

  9. Enjoy.

Cooking With Papaya

Papaya can be eaten green or ripe. When ripe, the fruit is usually peeled, seeded, sliced, and eaten raw in salads, marinades, chutneys, smoothies, and desserts. Unripe papaya is eaten raw as in this green papaya salad or cooked and used in stews, jams, and conserves and in many Asian, Thai, Caribbean, and Indian dishes. Even young papaya leaves can be steamed and eaten like spinach. The black seeds have a sharp, spicy taste and are completely edible. They can be ground and used as a substitute for black pepper. Everything but the skin is edible on this versatile fruit. 

Beware the Non-Jelling Gelatin Factor

If you read the box of a dessert gelatin mix, you'll notice that certain fruits like papaya, pineapple, kiwi, mango, and others are not recommended for mixing in. That's because they contain a special enzyme that will probably prevent the gelatin from solidifying or result in a soft set.

In the case of papayas, the enzyme is called papain, which is known to break down the collagen of protein-rich gelatin. That is why the juices of these fruits are often used to marinate tough cuts of meat to tenderize them.

A way to get around this dilemma is to heat the fruit through boiling or steaming to inactivate the enzyme and then add the gelatin to the hot fruit. Using canned fruit, which has been heated in the canning process, is another workaround.

A Little Papaya History

Papaya is native to the tropical Americas including southern Mexico and central and northern South America. The trees were brought into the Caribbean and eventually Europe and the Pacific islands. Today, the U.S. states of Hawaii, Florida, Texas, and California commercially produce papaya.