How to Tell If a Papaya is Ripe

The papaya is a tropical fruit that is healthy and sweet, but knowing how to tell if one is ripe can be challenging.


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You Will Need

  • Keen senses
  • Papayas
  • Paper bag (optional)
  • Apple or banana (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Observe the papaya's color

    Look at the color of the papaya. Papayas are picked when they are still green and hard to minimize potential bruising during shipping. Buy a papaya when it is half green and half yellow. It will further ripen at home at room temperature and will be ready to eat when it is predominantly yellow.

  2. Papayas will ripen more quickly when put in a paper bag with ethylene-producing fruits, such as apples or bananas.

  3. Step 2

    Note the stem end

    Examine the end where the stalk was. The papaya will ripen well if there is a yellow ring, but if the ring is green, it won't ripen.

  4. Step 3

    Examine the papaya's skin

    Examine the papaya's skin. Wrinkled skin will not affect the taste of the papaya, but sunken areas or bruises indicate rough handling during transit.

  5. Step 4

    Press the papaya

    Press on the papaya with your fingers. A ripe papaya should be soft and retain slight indentations, but a papaya that isn't ripe will be hard. If it is too soft and mushy, it's overripe.

  6. Step 5

    Smell the papaya

    Smell the papaya. A ripe papaya will smell faintly sweet. If the papaya has no scent, it isn't ripe yet. But if it has a strong, sweet odor, it's overripe.

  7. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. to commercially produce papayas.