WATCH: How To Use Ube To Make Delicious Desserts

Learn how to use fresh ube or purple yam in recipes.

If you’re one of those people who will never get tired of eating dessert made with ube or purple yam, you know that there are so many ways to use it.

If you have never tried to use fresh ube in your recipes, you really should. The difference in the fresh tuber compared to the processed ube halaya is amazing. Try finding a source for fresh ube. It can be from your suki at the nearby palengke or an online produce grocer! Either way, fresh ube can mean the difference between an ordinary dessert and one that’s truly a delight to see and eat. 

Photo by Pijarn Jangsawang form PxHere

1 Choose a dark-skinned ube tuber.

Ube has a thin bark-like peel and if you scratch beneath it, you will see that it’s so dark purple, it’s almost black. (Purple sweet potatoes are not ube.) That’s a good sign. The darker the peel, the brighter the purple color. 

Photo by Riell Santos

2 Peel it thinly but thoroughly.

Ube’s gorgeous purple has a big disadvantage: that pretty color stains! So if you don’t want to walk around with discolored patches on your hands, wear gloves if necessary when peeling it. When you do start peeling, we highly suggest you use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel as thinly as possible. This way, you maintain as much of the coloring as possible into your desserts. 

However, you will want to cook it right away. Ube, once peeled, will oxidize or turn dark so it’s best to not wait and either use or cook it immediately.

3 To cook ube: steam or boil ube chunks.

For the best results, steam ube until tender. By steaming it, none of the natural purple dye will leech into the water. However, if you do want to boil it instead, you can treat it like potatoes but we suggest you use less water. This way, any purple color that leeches in the water is concentrated and you can even add this boiled purple water back into your dessert if necessary as a natural purple food coloring. 


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Photo by Riell Santos

4 Make it into ube jam before using it.

If you look at recipes, you most like will see that you need to use ube halaya. This is the common ingredient in many recipes, so if that’s the case, it’s best to make some delicious ube jam first before using it in the recipe. If you don’t ‘have the time to make ube halaya, the next best thing you can do is cook and mash the ube and use that.  

5 Add purple flavoring and food coloring cautiously.

Not all ube are the same. Some are paler than others, and that’s not always a bad thing. The paler ube will give your dessert a lovely lavender hue instead of that vibrant purple. This is perfectly fine for those who don’t like using food coloring, but if you need it to be that bright color, you can use ube flavoring and coloring. However, use it in moderation for a brighter color because it can turn your food bluer than you intended.


How much of an ube fan are you? 



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!

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