This bright and flavorful papaya salsa is a blend of juicy papaya, avocado, red onion and cilantro, all tossed together and seasoned with lime juice. Papaya salsa is perfect when served as a dip for chips, or a topping for tacos or grilled chicken.
Papaya is delicious in both sweet and savory applications. Some of my favorite ways to use this tropical fruit is with just a spoon and a squeeze of lime juice, in fruit salads and in this simple, yet satisfying salsa. I actually have a whole post all about papayas!
My family LOVES chips and salsa, especially when we’re enjoying taco night! It’s also a super popular appetizer option for parties and gatherings. Change things up and swap out the traditional tomato based salsa for this fresh papaya salsa. It’s bright, colorful and so easy to make!
How to Choose a Papaya
Red papayas have a long spherical shape, and are usually about 5-20 inches long.
When a papaya is ripe, the skin will turn from green to a combination of yellow, orange, and/or redish pink.
They will ripen at room temperature, so if you buy a green papaya (which is often how you find them at the store), just leave it on the counter and in a few days, you will notice the color will change and they will become tender.
For this recipe, you’ll want to use a papaya that is still quite firm, so that it will hold shape in the salsa and not become too mushy.
Ideally when you press the outside of the papaya you want it to have little give – so not too hard, but not too mushy either. The feel we’re looking for is similar to a ripe avocado, it should have a little indentation when gently pushed.
How to Cut Papaya for Salsa
To cut your papaya into smaller pieces for this salsa recipe, start by peeling the papaya with a serrated vegetable peeler or pairing knife. Once it has been sliced open, scoop out the seeds and cut the flesh into small chunks.
How Do You Make Papaya Salsa?
This recipe starts with small cubes of fresh papaya, which are combined with avocado, red onion, cilantro and lime juice. Add salt and pepper and stir everything together. Taste and add more salt as needed, then cover the bowl until you’re ready to serve the salsa.
- Make sure to finely dice your fruit and vegetables so that the salsa can be easily scooped up with chips.
- This recipe works best with fresh papaya. Frozen papaya will make the salsa too watery.
- This salsa is great served with tortilla chips, over fish or grilled chicken, or as a topping for shrimp tacos.
Papaya Salsa Variations
This salsa is wonderful as-is, but there are many different ingredients you can add to customize it to your preference.
- Fruit: Add in another fruit with the papaya, such as mango, pineapple, strawberries, kiwi or oranges.
- Spice: I love to add a diced jalapeño for a little heat! If you add a diced jalapeño, keep in mind that removing the seeds and ribs removes almost all of the heat. If you prefer a spicier salsa, you can add some of the seeds or ribs to the mix.
- Herbs: Cilantro is a classic salsa ingredient, but you can use green onions if you prefer.
- Add-ins: For a little extra color and texture, add some diced red bell pepper or tomato.
How Long Does Papaya Salsa Keep?
I find that papaya salsa is best when it’s consumed within 24 hours of being made. However, it will last in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
You cannot go wrong with salsa, and this tropical version is one of my all time favorite snacks!
Papaya Salsa with Avocado
- 1 ripe papaya, seeded and cut into small cubes
- 1 avocado, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 large handful cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix together.
- Test for seasoning, adjust if needed, and enjoy!