No Ube Halaya? This Hack With Ube Flavoring Makes A Great Substitute

You might never know it's not made with real ube.

IMAGE Trixie Zabal-Mendoza

From ube cheese pandesal to ube cheesecakes, this vibrant tuber is a flavor that most Pinoys crave.

It's the main ingredient in many of the desserts and even bread that have popped up recently. Ube or purple yam is popular locally for good reason. This local jam is subtly sweet, buttery, and addictive. 

However, its popularity is also the reason why it is in short supply in your local groceries and online palengkes. If you're badly in need of your ube fix, we have a great ingredient swap that you can use as a fantastic substitute for ube halaya: Make a faux ube halaya using mashed kamote and ube food coloring and flavoring.  

The idea here is to mimic the texture and the flavor of real ube halaya without needing to hunt down the seasonal tuber. What's fantastic is that there are any number of tubers which can be a substitute for ube. You can use any of these starchy ingredients as a substitute: potatoes, kamote, kamoteng kahoy, and even mashed cauliflower for those who want a low carb alternative.


Our advice about the best ube substitute is the kamote.  

Once you've chosen your tuber, the real trick is mimicking its vibrant color and flavor. That's where the ube food coloring and flavoring come in. You'll need the color as well as the flavor to be mimicked since ube has a distinct flavor that's just not found in other root crops. 

To make a faux ube halaya using an ingredient swap, make the ube halaya like you normally would but using kamote and the ube coloring and flavoring. Use a separate purple food coloring and a clear ube flavoring if you can't find the combo bottle. Then use the faux ube halaya in your recipes as needed. 

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Genius? We think so, too! You can now make any ube halaya dessert any time. 



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Clubto 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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