Dulce de Papaya con Jengibre y Cúrcuma (Candied Green Papaya with Ginger & Turmeric)

Papaya is one of the most common fruits grown in Puerto Rico. Here, the unripe fruit is candied, transforming it into a dessert that is often served with queso de país, a soft white farmer's cheese. The slices are traditionally prepared over an open fire, but we've translated the recipe for an indoor kitchen. Soaking the papaya in a baking soda solution prevents it from falling apart when cooked. The leftover spiced syrup is delicious added to cocktails or drizzled over ice cream. Read more about this recipe.

Dulce de Papaya con Jengibre y Cúrcuma (Candied Green Papaya with Ginger & Turmeric)
Photo: Jenny Huang
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins


  • 5 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda

  • 1 ½ pounds green (unripe) papaya (see Tip), halved, seeded and thinly sliced

  • 5 cups packed brown sugar

  • cup sliced peeled fresh ginger

  • ¼ cup sliced peeled fresh turmeric or 4 teaspoons dried

  • 4 whole star anise

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest


  1. Combine water and baking soda in a large bowl. Add papaya and soak for about 30 minutes.

  2. Thoroughly rinse the papaya. Place in a large pot and add brown sugar, ginger, turmeric, star anise and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is syrupy and the papaya is dark and slightly translucent, about 45 minutes.

  3. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (Reserve the syrup for another use, if desired.) Spread the papaya on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


Parchment or wax paper


Papaya is a large tropical fruit that can be eaten in both its unripe and ripe state. Unripe papaya, called green papaya, has a mild flavor and a denser flesh that can be sliced or shredded.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

126 Calories
32g Carbs
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 126
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 30g
Vitamin A 432IU 9%
Sodium 100mg 4%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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