Tropical Papaya Boats

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Papaya Boats with delicious summer toppings for a gluten-free vegan snack

Ah, summertime. The perfect season to forgo bowls and use fruit instead. Let’s do this!

Halved papayas for making easy Papaya Boats

Have you ever tried a papaya?

My first time was when we vacationed in Bali and it seemed to be the star of most fruit platters. The flavor was a little unique at first and I couldn’t decide if I loved it or hated it. I’m kind of a watermelon and cantaloupe kind of girl, but I must admit this juicy, tropical fruit is growing on me.

Papaya Boats filled with various toppings for a healthy gluten-free vegan snack

Not only is papaya sweet, juicy and tender, it’s also super healthy! Serious bonus.

Papaya is packed with Vitamins A, C, and K, and it also boasts plenty of fiber, potassium, and folate. If the health perks still don’t win you over, try cantaloupe instead! It works beautifully in this recipe as well.

Papaya and cantaloupe halves filled with yogurt, banana ice cream, and fruit for a summer treat

This recipe may be my simplest yet! I don’t know where the concept originates from, but it’s essentially a fruit bowl of goodness.

Simply halve your papaya or cantaloupe, scoop out the seeds, and top with whatever you can round up!

Banana ice cream
Coconut yogurt
Chia seeds
Hemp seeds
Slivered almonds

These are so versatile you can easily adjust your fixings to suit your tastes.

If you give this recipe a try, let us know by leaving a comment and rating it! And be sure to show us by taking a picture and tagging it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We love seeing what you come up with. Cheers!

Using a spoon to eat a refreshing Papaya Boat for a simple gluten-free vegan breakfast
Papaya Boats with fresh fruit and yogurt for a simple healthy breakfast

Tropical Papaya Boats

Tropical papaya boats with loads of topping options! Load your fruit with coconut yogurt or banana ice cream and go to town with fruit, seeds, and nuts! A healthy, plant-based breakfast or snack.
Author Minimalist Baker
Fresh Papaya Boats loaded with toppings for a healthy summer breakfast
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 (generous serving)
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? Best when fresh


  • 1 ripe papaya or cantaloupe (halved, seeds removed)
  • 1 cup banana ice cream or flavored dairy-free yogurt (I love blueberry coconut yogurt from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 medium kiwi (skin removed and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup cherries (pitted and halved)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2-3 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • Granola (see all of my granola recipes)


  • To make banana ice cream (instead of using dairy-free yogurt), add 2 (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) ripe, previously sliced and frozen bananas to a blender or food processor and blend on low until a creamy ice cream consistency is reached. Scrape down sides as needed, and add a splash of almond milk if it has trouble blending.
  • To assemble papaya (or cantaloupe) boats, simply fill the hollow centers with desired amounts of banana ice cream or coconut yogurt, fruit, nuts, and seeds!
  • Enjoy immediately – best when fresh.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with toppings.

Nutrition (1 of 1 servings)

Serving: 1 generous servings Calories: 486 Carbohydrates: 79 g Protein: 13.8 g Fat: 16 g Saturated Fat: 4.3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 34 mg Fiber: 13 g Sugar: 49 g

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My Rating:

  1. Ella says

    So excited to make this! This would work with banana / passion fruit or blueberry/ cherry SOY yoghurt? Thank you in advance

  2. Nathalia says

    Hi! I was looking for some cool papaya pictures to use in a project and saw this (Like wow, amazing) picture and wondered who the author was, or if it had copyrights. I guess you took it, so is it free to use o do you manage any type of permission?

  3. Melissa @ HLB Specialties says

    Oh wow! Love love love the papaya boat images! And the yoghurt looks so creamy, beautiful! We tried something similar with our Organic Papayas and I have to admit, yours looks better. :)

  4. Lane | Modern Granola says

    This looks amazing! So refreshing! I first tried papaya on a cruise, and it was amaaazing! But I’ve tried it since, and I think the fruit had gone bad, because it was disgusting. How do you tell it a papaya is ready to eat?
    xx Lane

  5. Lian says

    I hope to find fresh tropical papayas nearby because I can’t wait to enjoy these colorful refreshing treat. Can’t wait to have it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Nelly Arboleda says

      I grew-up having only cut-up papaya for break-fast every day as I dislike coffee or bread.. South-american papayas are huge, maybe 25cm. long, enough to fill-up 4 people for breakfast.
      In some hot countries like Venezuela and Colombia, we must have fruit juice with our lunch. The juice is done like a kind of smoothy, by putting fresh cut-up fruit and milk in the blender, shake it, add some ice and keep shaking until is very smooth and very chilled. Papaya juice is very favorite and com
      mun. Papaya grows in hot weather. Depends where it comes from, is the color inside which varies from peal yellow to the very sweet very redish-yellow from the Caribean . In Canada we get papayas from Mexico ,the Caribean and from Hawaii. The papayas from Hawaii are very small, come green and you have to put it to ripen in a warm spot.Papayas are very delicate, with a very fine and thin skin.
      This delicios fruit is very rich in fiber good for the digestion and help with constipation.

  6. Sarah | Well and Full says

    I love how they’re called “boats”! It makes me think of summer and tropical islands :)

  7. Laura Olinger says

    I like my papaya the way it’s served in Honduras (and other countries, I believe) with a spritz of lime juice. Adding other toppings can only take it to the next level.

  8. Jane says

    I LOVE papaya! My go-to breakfast, snack, dessert is chopped up ripe papaya, pineapple and mango sprinkled with a heavy dose of coconut flakes. Not the small ones but the shaving-like coconut. To make it more of a dessert I add a whipped topping. My husband grunts and groans (in a good way!) when he eats this. I never seen him inhale fruit like that before!

    The next time I will just chop up pineapple and mango and put that in the papaya boat!

    Thanks Dana! I enjoy getting emails from you.

  9. Arman @ thebigmansworld says

    This is taking advantage of all the Summer goodness here- Yum! I’m not a huge fan of papaya on it’s own but pimped up- I’m a fan!

  10. Vegan Donkey says

    This is so creative! I hope to make this, or some derivative, later this week — figs are in season where I am now and I bet they would be delicious with papaya or another fruit!

  11. Cassie says

    Geeeeeee, I’m in the works of making a papaya boat recipe YouTube video! :D lol JK you didn’t really steal my idea–but I think you’ve done a better job than me! :)

  12. Michele @ Two Raspberries says

    such a great idea! I love FUN food! ;-) so summer-y I love it! and I love all the toppings for extra flavor and texture!!!!

  13. Kelly says

    Those look like the perfect summer treat! Papaya brings back great memories of vacationing in Hawaii!
    XO, Kelly

  14. Susanne says

    Hi! I have followed your blog for ages and never even posted a comment.. I call it internet shyness.. But here goes: Love the posts, pictures, recipes and all! Beautiful work! Greetings from the Netherlands, Susanne

  15. Fran says

    Hi there,
    I like the new colors and finally the search box it’s easy ti find!!!
    You are inspirational ! can I say ” inspirational”, I mean does it actually mean what I want to say? Never mind, it’s a compliment !
    Beautiful recipe as usual, but I have a question for you.
    I have a Canon 650D at the moment but soon (hopefully!) I will move to a canon full- frame DSRL, yuhhhuuu! I am tempted to buy a wide angle but not really sure which one is best for food photography.
    I was thinking about the Canon ef 28mm f 1.8 usm or the 35mm, but I’m not quite sure which one is easier to use and which one is best for food photography. I have a 50mm 1.4 and a macro 60mm 2.8 at the moment and I need a good lens to shoot from above!
    Thanks for your help!
    I love your blog, your food photography school, your pics.. Thanks for everything you do to help peopole like me that just started !

  16. christina @ but i'm hungry says

    Love this idea, and love papaya! Who needs banana splits when you could have something this beautiful and delicious-looking?!

  17. Annaliese says

    I was JUST looking at papaya today…shoulda grabbed a few! Next time…!! I also love cantaloupe/musk melon (but still don’t know the difference to this day…ha!), but always have room in my heart for more fruit!! Great summertime idea :)

  18. Kalee@ The Crowded Table says

    What a beautiful recipe! Looking at your pics makes me want to go on vacation somewhere tropical! :)

  19. Eve @ Baking the Day says

    I have never tried fresh papaya – only in bought smoothies, but I am sure I will love the flavour. This is such a clever idea for summer, especially with the cooling banana ice-cream.

  20. Leah M @ love me, feed me says

    The first time I tried papaya I hated it and I kept accidentally eating it thinking it was mango and I hated it more and more each time, but it’s grown on me. And this makes me want to get one so bad!

    Love your little changes on here! It looks so good! Simple and fresh!

  21. Sam @ Pancakewarriors says

    this sounds so interesting. I haven’t had papaya before but that’s on my list of summer fruits to try! Love how beautful these are

  22. Alexa [] says

    I’ve never had fresh papaya, but this looks too delicious NOT to try it! I love stuffing cantaloupe with yogurt/granola, so I’m betting that I’ll love the papaya version just the same!

    P.S. I’m loving the site beautification!