Candied Papaya in Syrup

31 Jul

Dulce de Lechoza, Dulce de Papaya or Candied Papaya Syrup, however you prefer to call it, is a very typical Puerto Rican dessert.

When I used to belong to Mili’s cooking team at the Yoga Center, I needed to come up with different desserts for our menus all the times, because if not, Mili would resort to her trusted papaya dessert each and every time.

It got to a point that I kinda shunned dulce de papaya because I was so fed up with it… but now that Mili doesn’t make it so often, I miss it. I asked her for the recipe… because I wanted to learn how to make it.

I want to thank Jesiel, my long-time friend and author of Sweet Journey of Inspiration, for so graciously lending me the use of her photo of her dulce de papaya.  Jesiel is a former advertising professional and currently is a pastry chef working as a food stylist in Paris, France. We met working together, and even though our professional paths have somewhat diverted, we always stay in touch and connected in more ways than you’ll ever think.

Jesiel’s recipe and Mili’s recipe were very similar indeed. The biggest difference is that Mili’s recipe she stopped using baking soda because we were informed it is not that good for you to cook with it. I will get more info on the WHY for you guys soon… promise.

In the meantime, enjoy the flavors of Puerto Rico…


Photo courtesy of Sweet Journey of Inspiration


 1 large green papaya, but that’s showing signs that it’ll start ripening soon
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tbs whole cloves
2 cups brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla powder


  1. Cut papaya in half and clean the inside from all membranes and seeds.
  2. Slice it thinly, in about ¼ inch think and about 2 inches wide. Place in a large bowl. Cover the papaya slices with filtered water and let it rest for about 2 hours.
  3. After the 2 hours have passed, drain the papayas and place in a large pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar, vanilla and about ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the syrup is boiling too aggressively, turn down the heat. You sure do not want that hot sugar to boil over. Experience is speaking to you here…
  4. Remove from the heat and let it rest until room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator in a sealed container.


This candied papaya in syrup is best eaten cold and with a nice slice of cheddar cheese or queso del país.


16 Responses to “Candied Papaya in Syrup”

  1. pattiecordova July 31, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    I’m not a big fan of papaya, but my kids are and I’m sure they would love this dessert!

  2. Ashley Pena July 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Not a papaya fan but this I might like!

  3. nina July 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    this looks so tasty! i’m not a huge fan of papaya, but this sounds delis! i will def have to try making some for my mom, she loves papayas!! 🙂

  4. The Duo Dishes July 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Why does it sit in water for a couple of hours? Very interested to find out. This would be a nice sweet dessert to have with short cake too.

    • KarmaFree Cooking July 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      To be honest… not sure. I think it’s to wash away some of the “mancha” or sap/stickiness the fruit has as it’s still mostly green/unripened.

  5. Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ July 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    We have something very similar pero con grapefruit! Sooo good. Imma have to try it with papaya– my mom’s favorite fruit.

  6. Maria July 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    This looks so yummy! I will have to try this recipe for a light brunch I’m having next week. Thank you!!

  7. Cherrie July 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    not a huge papaya fan but that def does look tasty

  8. karen July 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    MMM sounds and looks delicious, I love papaya with lime and sugar but I think I should try this one!
    Thanks for sharing =)

    Trendy Feeling

  9. bohemianbabushka July 31, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    ::sigh:: Wish I could get good tropical fruit Up North in The South, would sooooo make this!


  10. Sujeiry August 1, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    I’ve actually never had papaya before. Odd, I know! But the ingredients for this look yummy.

  11. Alejandra August 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    …. this looks amazing! and simple enough of a dessert for me to make! yipee, cant wait to make this at home 🙂

  12. Isabel Garcia (@IsabelGarciaIG) August 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    I’ve never tasted candied papaya. I’m sure it tastes delicious! My family enjoys eating the fresh fruit though. 🙂

  13. sybaritica August 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Oooh nice… we just happen to have Papaya in the fridge with no ideas so far 🙂

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