Start your morning right with a delicious papaya bowl filled with creamy overnight oats. It’s bursting with tropical flavor, filled with wholesome ingredients, and is a refreshing way to kickstart your day!

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A papaya bowl filled with overnight oatmeal and topped with slices of fresh fruits and nuts.

Papaya season typically ranges from early summer through fall. Although you can get papayas all year round, this is the best time to get them when they’re in season. Not only will it be more cost-effective, but it will taste better when it can be picked closer to peak ripeness and not have to travel as far

Papayas are a tropical fruit similar to melons but with a creamier texture and a subtle sweetness. They make for an excellent snack or breakfast—perfect for busy mornings!

What Are Papaya Bowls?

If you’re not familiar with papaya bowls, they are essentially hollowed-out papaya halves that serve as a natural and edible bowl for holding a variety of delicious fillings! You might also see them referred to as papaya boats. 

They are often used as a base for creating healthy and colorful breakfast or dessert bowls, filled with ingredients like yogurt, granola, fruits, nuts, seeds, and even oats. Papaya bowls not only add a touch of tropical flair to your meal but also provide a nutritious and delicious way to enjoy your favorite breakfast foods.

Oh and did I mention it’s less clean up? Enjoy a bowl you can eat!

Papaya oats bowl with overnight oats and topped with fresh fruit.

Papaya health benefits

Papayas also offer a wide range of health benefits . They are good for digestion and often consumed as a way to reduce bloating. They contain the enzyme papain which is known to help with protein digestion.

Papaya is also full of nutrients boasting 157% of your daily value of vitamin C, 33% of your daily value for vitamin A, and 14% of your daily folate. It even has some Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids plus healthy antioxidants known as carotenoids which neutralize free radicals and can improve heart health.

Papaya is also a great breakfast for weight loss because it’s nutrient dense but not calorie dense. It’s high volume, but low in calories so it fills you up and keeps you full for longer with the extra fiber that the papaya provides.

How to Tell When Papaya is Ripe

You’ll want to make sure you use a ripe papaya for your papaya bowl.

You can tell when a papaya is ripe when the outside color is orange-red in color. Some green spots are okay but it should not be overly green. Its skin should also yield to gentle pressure much like an avocado does.

Papaya Bowl Filling Ingredients and Variations

Papaya bowls are really versatile! I prefer filling my papaya up with something to round it into a balanced and filling meal. That’s where overnight oats come into play. They’re the perfect addition to your papaya to add some protein and fat for a satiating breakfast that keeps you full for hours. Chia seed pudding or smoothie bowls are also good options for this. For something lighter, make overnight oats easily with water!

If you’re interested in the papaya oats, here’s what you’ll need for the oatmeal:

  • Rolled oats – Also known as old fashioned oats. These work best for overnight oats. Make sure they’re certified gluten-free if needed.
  • Unsweetened non-dairy milk – I like almond milk or soy milk, but oat milk or coconut milk work well too.
  • Chia seeds – These help thicken the overnight oats. Plus they add extra protein!
  • Maple syrup – To add a little sweetness. Or feel free to use sweetened milk and skip this.

Topping Ideas:

  • sliced bananas
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • kiwi 
  • peach
  • almonds or sunflower seeds
  • ground cinnamon

See the recipe card below for exact measurements and instructions.

Best Way to Prepare and Serve Papaya Bowls

Here’s a quick overview of the process. Check out the recipe card at the bottom for more details.

A halved papaya with the seeds still inside.
The papaya bowl filled with overnight oats and topped with fresh fruit.

Step 1: When ready to eat, wash your papaya well, then cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. The flesh is soft enough that  you can eat it directly out of the rind with a spoon.

Step 2: Squeeze a bit of lime juice over it for best flavor. The acidity enhances its natural flavors while eliminating the ‘odd’ scent that is often associated with it. Don’t let that scare you—papaya is refreshing and delicious when prepared right!

Step 3: Fill your papaya bowl up with your preferred filling and top with additional fruit, seeds, and nut butters. I prepared some overnight oats ahead of time but you can also use yogurt, chia pudding, or a smoothie bowl! See Papaya Bowl Filling Ingredients and Variations above for more ideas.

Tips

Once a papaya is ripe, place it in the refrigerator. Not only does this help preserve it for longer, but the flavor is best when cold.

Recipe FAQ’s

What does papaya taste like?

Papaya has a unique flavor profile that’s often described as sweet, tropical, and slightly musky. The taste can vary depending on the ripeness of the fruit, but generally, ripe papayas are sweet with hints of peach, mango, and citrus. Unripe papayas tend to be more firm and less sweet, with a slightly tangy or peppery flavor. Overall, papaya’s refreshing flavor makes it a popular choice for both sweet and savory dishes.

How to store papaya bowls?

To store papaya bowls, it’s best to keep the papaya in the refrigerator separated from the fillings. Place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to help maintain freshness and prevent them from absorbing any other flavors from the fridge. For the fillings, store them in an airtight container like a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

If you’ve already filled your papaya bowls with ingredients like yogurt or oats, store them in the fridge promptly and consume within a day or two for the best taste and texture. If you’re preparing the papaya bowls ahead of time, you can also freeze papaya for longer storage. Keep in mind that the texture may change slightly upon thawing.

More Papaya Bowl Filling Ideas

I love overnight oats so I have a ton of recipes on the site and any one of these would be delicious as the filling in these papaya bowls:

Papaya oatmeal in a halved papaya, topped with fresh berries, kiwi, bananas, and peaches.

If you’re looking for more healthy breakfast ideas the Health My Lifestyle Meal Planner is full of them! You can easily narrow down exactly what you’re looking for with the extensive filtering options, plan out your week in seconds or grab a pre-made plan, track your calories and goals, and more! Try it for free! Check out the Meal Planner here.

If you tried this papaya bowl recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

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A papaya bowl filled with overnight oatmeal and topped with slices of fresh fruits and nuts.

Papaya Bowl with Overnight Oats

5 from 5 votes
Author: Rachel
Papaya bowls are a delicious and fun way to eat papayas. Fill your papaya up with overnight oats and fresh fruit for a truly tasty and filling breakfast. It’s also easy to make and incredibly healthy!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 ripe papaya
  • lime juice

Overnight Oats:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave syrup

Toppings:

  • 1 banana sliced
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • ½ kiwi sliced
  • ½ peach sliced
  • handful of almonds
  • dash of ground cinnamon

Instructions 

Make overnight oats:

  • In a sealable container, whisk together all overnight oat ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to let the oats and chia seeds absorb the liquid and thicken.
    1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, 2 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Assemble your bowls:

  • Wash your papaya, then slice in half lengthwise (make sure you’ve chosen a ripe one – see discussion above for how to tell when it’s ripe).
    1 ripe papaya
  • Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard (fun fact: you can actually consume the seeds but they are bitter). Squeeze a little bit of lime juice over the papaya flesh. This helps enhance the flavors of the papaya.
    lime juice
  • Pour your prepared overnight oats into your papaya bowl and top with desired toppings.
    1 banana, ¼ cup blackberries, ½ kiwi, ½ peach, handful of almonds, dash of ground cinnamon

Notes

Nutrition Facts based off of unsweetened soy milk.
Want to keep the tropical theme? Make the overnight oats with coconut milk!

Nutrition

Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 1035mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 1833IU | Vitamin C: 124mg | Calcium: 317mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Want to eat healthier but don’t know where to start?Get a free customizable meal plan and stop the struggle!

These papaya oatmeal bowls were originally published July 13, 2020 and have been updated with additional tips and information on May 14, 2024.

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This sounds like such a healthy, delicious and fulfilling breakfast! Lots of tasty flavour here.