Papaya and Milk Smoothie (Refresco de Papaya)

Papaya Smoothie
Papaya Smoothie. Brian Hagiwara/Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 3 cups (1-2 servings)
Ratings (12)

This cold papaya and milk smoothie from the Dominican Republic will help keep you nice and cool on a hot day. It's so good, you can even serve it as dessert. Christopher Columbus didn't call papaya the "fruit of the angels" for nothing. The fruit's taste is similar to that of a mango, but not as tangy. Add some vanilla and crushed ice for a heavenly drink.  

What You'll Need

  • 1 ripe papaya
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime rind (freshly grated)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ice (crushed)
  • Garnish: Lime wedges

How to Make It

  1. Peel the papaya, then cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Coarsely chop the flesh.
  2. Place the papaya chunks and everything except the lime wedges into an electric blender or food processor.
  3. Mix on high speed for 20 to 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  4. Pour the smoothie into tall frosted glasses. Garnish with lime wedges, and serve at once.

Tips and variations 

  • Papayas are native to Central America, but they also thrive in Puerto Rico, Hawaii and other areas of the U.S. You can usually purchase them year-round, but they're at their best in early summer and in the fall. They can grow up to 20 inches long, but most of those you'll find for sale commercially are significantly smaller, about 7 inches. The flesh should be bright orange, but it may contain some yellow or pink depending on the papaya's degree of ripeness. 
  • Choose red/orange papayas if you'll be using them within 24 hours and refrigerate them until you're ready to fire up your blender. If they're still yellowish — even just in a few splotches here or there — they'll require a few days at room temperature to ripen sufficiently. The exact amount of time depends on how much yellow they show.
  • You don't actually have to remove the seeds before making your smoothies. They're edible and won't harm you, but they'll detract from the recipe because they have a somewhat bitter taste. Getting rid of them is worth the extra work. 
  • Add a sliced and peeled banana to the blender or food processor for an extra touch. In fact, you can add a bit of any favorite fruit to make this smoothie uniquely your own. 
  • You'll also be taking care of your health while you're cooling off with your smoothie. Papayas are high in both Vitamin A and Vitamin C thanks to their beta-carotene content. Both vitamins are antioxidants and support immune system health. Papayas also contain papain, an enzyme that aids digestion.