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Papaya Paste – A Natural Meat Tenderiser

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Papaya paste

Finished papaya paste should look like this.

Most Indian restaurants here in the UK don’t bother with papaya paste. Commercial meat tenderiser is used instead to ensure that their tandoori marinated meat is tender and delicious. Papaya paste is the more authentic way of doing it. It’s a natural meat tenderiser that can be used not only in Indian marinades but any style of marinade. There is very little flavour in the papaya paste but it does do a good job at tenderising meat.

By meat, I mean red meat. I rarely use this on white meat such as turkey or chicken. There’s no need.

You can make papaya paste up to three days before using it though I tend to make it on the same day I begin marinating my meat. It only takes seconds to prepare.

This is good to have on hand when preparing tandoori meat for the barbecue.

This makes enough to tenderise about one to two kilos of red meat such as lamb, beef, venison, horse or zebra. Try to find unripe green papayas for best results.

Making papaya paste

Start by getting rid of all the seeds in the centre.

Making papaya paste

The scoop out all the flesh.

Making papaya paste

Blend in a food processor until smooth with a little oil or water.

Making papaya paste

I recommend getting a good spice grinder. I use a Waring. Great for grinding spices and making pastes.

Yield: 1

Papaya Paste - A Natural Meat Tenderiser

Papaya Paste - A Natural Meat Tenderiser
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 large green papaya - skin and all.
  • 1 tablespoon (approx. water or vegetable oil)


  1. Slice the papaya in half.
  2. Remove all of the seeds from the centre.
  3. Chop it all up and place in a blender or small spice grinder and blend until smooth. You will probably need to add a drop of water or oil to assist with the blending.
  4. Cover tightly until ready to us.

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Worth a mention: I use a Waring spice grinder for grinding spices and preparing many different pastes. You can purchase one for yourself at Nisbets.


Thursday 16th of May 2019

Great article thanks. I use ripe papaya and works great. I buy water buffalo and it's usually not tender. I marinate for 2-2.5 hrs.

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 29th of May 2019

Great to hear Andy. Thank you. Dan


Monday 7th of May 2018

Dan how long do i let beef skirts marinate?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 8th of May 2018

Hi Ramon

If you are in the UK, skirt steak needs very little time. The meat is generally really good quality. The thing about papaya is it does too good of a job. I would leave it on for just a couple of hours.

Thanks, Dan

Imaji James

Saturday 20th of January 2018

How would you advice on the quantity to be used for effective result. Thanks

Dan Toombs

Monday 22nd of January 2018

Hi Imaji

Just a few tablespoons should do the job. You don't need a lot as it works really well.



Wednesday 14th of September 2016

Can you use the papaya mixture on the meat when you cook it or should we rinse it off ? Could it hurt us if we eat it ?

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 21st of September 2016

You can eat it. It does't have much flavour.

Thanks, Dan

khushrow mistry

Wednesday 17th of February 2016

I am a little confused. Do we use the inside pulp and green part (skin) or just the inside pulp.. Do we freeze the left over and if yes how long can it be stored. Please reply ASAP as I am planning to make beef bihari boti kebabs. Thanks


Thursday 8th of September 2016

You can use whole fruit with skin but remove the seeds. Yes you can freeze it for 2 to 3 months

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 24th of February 2016

Hi Khushrow

Just use the pulp. Not the skin. It can be frozen for about a month but for best results, use fresh.

Thanks Dan

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