This creamy, tangy Papaya Seed Dressing is made with peppery ground papaya seeds and is wonderful drizzled over a simple salad of mixed greens or butter lettuce, sliced avocado, papaya, and red onion.

If you are looking for some other delicious homemade salad dressing recipes, be sure to try our Olive Garden Salad Dressing, Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing, and Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing.

An image of a glass jar with homemade papaya seed dressing and sliced papayas beside it.

When we were visiting Kauai this past spring, I noticed this papaya seed dressing at the luau we attended and was intrigued. I've never been a big fan of papaya, but I'm always willing to try new things, so I gave it a shot.

It was delicious and not at all what I was expecting it to be like. Turns out, papaya seeds have a strong, almost black peppercorn and mustard flavor to them, and they make a fantastic salad dressing.

So when we came home, I decided to make it for my American Eats series representing Hawaii since most of the papaya in the U.S. comes from Hawaii and this dressing is from the islands, as far as I can tell. 

Plus, it's a great salad for early summer and fall when papayas are in season, although you can pretty much obtain ripe papayas year round. With the warm weather we have been having, salads sound so good and refreshing. This is a great one with a zing from the sweet-tart papaya seed dressing. It even makes me like papaya, which I've never really enjoyed before.

An image of a salad with fresh papaya, red onion, avocado, and mixed greens, drizzled with Hawaiian papaya seed dressing.
An image of a jar of Hawaiian Papaya Seed Dressing made from scratch.

I like making small batches of salad dressing like this so that I have more variety for my salads, rather than filling up my fridge with bottled salad dressings.

An image of a salad of mixed greens, fresh papaya, sliced avocado, and red onion, dressed with a homemade papaya seed vinaigrette.

How to Prepare Papaya

If you, like me, haven't had much experience with papaya before, you prepare it just like you would a cantaloupe. 

Slice the whole thing in half lengthwise, then clean out the seeds with a spoon. Typically I would just toss them in the trash just like with canteloupe seeds, but now that I know better, I remove and reserve the seeds for this papaya seed salad dressing. 

Then you just use a sharp knife to remove the flesh of the fruit from the thick skin and slice it or chop it for serving.

Ingredients in Homemade Papaya Seed Dressing

  • rice vinegar
  • canola oil
  • sweet onion
  • honey
  • salt
  • dry mustard
  • fresh papaya seeds

How to Make Papaya Seed Dressing

  1. Blend the vinegar, oil, chopped onion, honey, salt, and mustard until smooth in a blender, then a the papaya seeds and pulse until they look like coarsely ground peppercorns.
  2. In a large bowl or on individual serving plates, combine the salad greens of your choice with thinly sliced red onions, avocado, and papaya. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss gently to coat. 
An image of papaya seed dressing being poured over a salad.
An image of a salad dressing with Hawaiian papaya seed dressing.

More Homemade Salad Dressings

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Papaya Seed Dressing

5 from 8 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
This creamy, tangy Papaya Seed Dressing is made with peppery ground papaya seeds and is wonderful drizzled over a simple salad of mixed greens or butter lettuce, sliced avocado, papaya, and red onion.  

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • cup rice vinegar
  • cup canola oil
  • ½ small sweet onion
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh papaya seeds

Salad

  • Mixed greens or washed and torn butter lettuce
  • Sliced papaya
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced avocado

Instructions
 

  • Blend the vinegar, oil, chopped onion, honey, salt, and mustard until smooth in a blender, then a the papaya seeds and pulse until they look like coarsely ground peppercorns.
  • In a large bowl or on individual serving plates, combine the salad greens of your choice with thinly sliced red onions, avocado, and papaya. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss gently to coat. 

Notes

Adapted from Sunset.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa • KansasKentuckyLouisiana • MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMontanaNew YorkOregonPuerto RicoSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTexasUtahWisconsin

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. I love making you dressing out of papaya seeds. The only substitutions I made with this recipe were the mustard seeds and The honey. Instead, are used agave nectar and jalapeños. Oh, I also used extra-virgin olive oil instead of canola oil. This is a perfect recipe. I love the lightness of theRice wine vinegar And the sweetness of the red onion.This vegan family will use this as a go to recipes from now on.
    Thank you for sharing

  2. Try marinating your chicken or fish in this overnight. Add sliced onions to the marinade the last 30 mins. Then cook chicken/fish and onions on the grill. I usually like serving this over a bun and making a sandwich with lettuce tomatoes and drizzling more dressing over my veggies. So ono! 

    Back home I used to just buy the dressing at the store but now that I moved to the states, I need to make my own 😭😭