Appalachian Pawpaw Muffins

Pawpaw fruit with dates make a very  unique muffin.
Appalachian Pawpaw Muffins

Appalachian Pawpaw Muffins

By Sue Lau | Palatable  Pastime

It’s Muffin Monday again and for September I am really excited as I came across some Appalachian Pawpaws which we have a lot of  in Ohio and decided to try my  hand  at using the fruit in muffins.
Pawpaw Fruit

Around the world  pawpaws can be different things- sometimes people  think  of it as a papaya. But that isn’t the kind of fruit I am referring to here. Pawpaws actually resemble a kidney-bean shaped ataulfo mango, but the similarity ends on the outside. Inside, instead of the huge center pit of the mango, or the core of tiny seeds like a papaya,  the pawpaw has a series of bean-shaped seeds that resemble lima/butter beans or fava beans. They can make extracting the pulp interesting,   but the end result is worth it.
Pawpaw Fruit
Now pawpaws don’t ripen very well off the tree, so  growers generally collect them from the ground. And the ripe pawpaw is a bit ugly, having dark marks on it- so if you go  to choose your pawpaws, don’t go for the pretty ones. The uglier the better.
Pawpaw Muffins
As fruit ripening go, test your pawpaws for give the way you would an avocado. They should be ever-so-slightly soft. In fact, the fruit inside is quite like an avocado- creamy and smooth like custard. But just like avocados, pawpaws don’t  last very long but will keep in the fridge a few days. If you need to hold the fruit longer, extract the ripe fruit pulp and freeze. It tends to  oxidize quickly,  as avocados do so freeze that right  away if you do. That doesn’t affect the taste at all.

The flavor is remarkable- it has that hint of banana,  but not just banana- it tastes like a banana dessert, also with hints of vanilla and a touch of something citrus. It’s so good- hopefully you won’t gobble up all  your fruit before you get it into the muffin batter. But I can imagine whoever first found this fruit to have been in love with it, perhaps easier to eat out of hand than getting the seeds out for baking, I picture them sitting around beneath a pawpaw tree,  spitting seeds out like a kid with a slice of watermelon.
Pawpaw Fruit
They can be a bit hard to find- I doubt you will find them in a store. They are available in Ohio, throughout Appalachia down towards Florida, and probably a few other places. If you don’t know a grower, you will probably have better luck at a farm market. I got mine at a grocer at Findlay Market in Cincinnati  (Madison’s Market). They occasionally get produce in from specialty growers, such as Morel mushrooms in the spring,  and etc.

I hope you get a chance to try these! Bill wanted to keep them all for himself. And he was right in thinking so. Thay are that good.
Pawpaw Muffins

Appalachian Pawpaw Muffins

  • Servings: 18
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Pawpaw Muffins

  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons cooled melted butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup pawpaw pulp, mashed
  • 1/2 cup  chopped  pitted dates


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Use a paring knife to peel the  pawpaws, then  remove the seeds and discard.
  3. Mash pulp with a fork if needed.
  4. Whisk  together the eggs, butter, buttermilk and vanilla.
  5. Sift together the dry ingredients and add those  gradually,  stirring until you  have a  smooth batter.
  6. Stir  in  pawpaw pulp and dates.
  7. Place batter 2/3 full  in  greased muffin tins  or use cupcake liners.
  8. Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes or until  a toothpick inserted into a muffin can  be  removed without wet batter.
  9. Cool 10  minutes in  the  pan, then turn out muffins to finish cooling  on a wire  rack.

From  the kitchen of

Pawpaw Muffins

16 responses

  1. I love your description of the paw paw flavors, Sue. What a wonderful fruit! I looked them up just now and they do look remarkably like a mango on the outside. Did you take a photo of the inside? I’d love to see it.

  2. Ohhhhhh!!! I love these muffins! We have a bag of paw paws in the fridge right now. They are coming into season here and WNY and really hard to find. I only know one place at a farmers market to get them and it’s for such a short time. My husband planted three trees in our yard, so we are hoping to get some in a few years. Pinning this!!

    • Glad you liked them! I’ll try to get even more recipes up when I can find more pawpaws. I wish I had a tree!

  3. Just made these! So good, will try next time with maple syrup as above, great sub. I got mine at a farm stand in southern Connecticut. First time trying them but apparently they are very popular because there were a lot of people there who were waiting and had come just for the pawpaws.

    • Glad you liked them. I got some more pawpaw pulp this year that is frozen and tucked it in the freezer to play with when I get time so hopefully will have a few more recipes posting before long. The flavor of the fruit is incredible!

  4. Thank you for sharing, what a wonderful recipe! I added some chopped pistachios and subbed in some maple syrup and reduced the sugar amount. I also filled them with strawberry jam.

  5. Our dozen trees are seven years old now, purchased from Sparta, NC. Gathered our first fruit, puréed and froze, late summer. Making first muffins on our first snow day. We became intrigued attending a Paw Paw Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Now we have a mature patch of our own! Thanks for the delicious recipe.

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