Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya Recipe

ube halaya or purple yam jam ala good shepherd
IMAGE Zoe del Rosario

Are you guilty of eating ube halaya straight from the jar? You're not alone! Ube halaya or purple yam jam is a delicious, thick, and addictive spread. It's called a "jam" because of the way it's made but really, it can be the key ingredient to many dessert recipes and even be dessert all on its own! 

What is Ube Halaya 

Ube halaya is a blended mixture made of ube also known as purple yam, sugar, fresh carabao milk, and a little butter to make it extra silky on your tongue. Ube is the main ingredient and contrary to what many think they know is ube, it's not a sweet potato or kamote

Ube looks like an uprooted tree root and has the appearance of bark. It's rough to the touch and even after brushing and washing off the mud and dirt, the skin is dark and actually very thin. Underneath this thin skin is the highly pigmented purple color of the ube. The kamote on the other hand has smooth skin that when brushed and washed off of the dirt, reveals dark purple-red skin. It's this color that many mistakenly assume is the purple of the ube

fresh ube
The ube has a rough bark-like skin that is similar to other yams.
Photo by Roselle Miranda
Recommended Videos

Ube is earthy in taste and so is commonly made into dishes that are highly flavorful, such as ginataang bilo bilo or halo halo or made into jam. One of the most popular (and delicious!) brands of ube halaya is from Baguio's Good Shepherd Convent. So when the sisters shared its recipes which included one for its iconic ube halaya, we had to try it out for ourselves (This is from the Good Shepherd's "The Good Food Book").


The result is a delicious ube halaya that leaves no doubt about why the sisters' recipe has become so beloved and popular. The recipe calls for fresh carabao milk and fresh butter. There are no artificial preservatives or food colorings added to get that gorgeous purple hue! The type of ube you use is really key to its bright purple color. 

With these ingredients, you can make a delicious version of Good Shepherd's ube halaya

How To Serve Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya 

This ube halaya is freshly made so it's fantastic on its own. No need to feel guilty about spooning this stuff straight from the jar because it really is that good! You can also use ube halaya as an ingredient for making ube desserts! This can ube cake, ube crinkles, ube brownies, or even a stunning and irresistible ube leche flan cake

How To Cook Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya 

cooked and mashed ube or purple yam from the Philippines
Cooked and mashed ube looks like this.
Photo by Roselle Miranda

Making ube halalya from scratch is deceptively intimidating. It's actually simple to make! What you do need to invest in is finding the most gorgeously-hued ube you can find (We got ours from a stall at a weekend market.) and time and effort. Carabao milk can be hard to find but it is available even in supermarkets, and so is real butter.

The first step involves prepping the ube, and you'll need to be prepared to stain your equipment. That's just the way ube is! Use disposable gloves if necessary to protect your hands. Once peeled, you can either boil or steam the ube. Boiling is faster but the purple color will leech into the water so what you can do to preserve its color is to simmer the water used to boil the ube until just a little amount is left over. You can add this liquid to your ube halaya mix since it will be simmered down further later. 


Then the ube is mashed, seasoned, cooked until thickened, and then served. It's actually very much like you would prepare mashed potatoes! The main difference is that instead of salt and ground pepper, it's sugar that is added to the mashed ube, the milk or cream is replaced by carabao milk, and you'll need just a little butter to make the jam extra rich and delicious! 

Tips to Make Delicious Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya 

Are you excited to make ube halaya? Here are all the prepping and cooking tips you need to make this delicious ube halaya recipe ala Good Shepherd at home: 

  • 1 Use the best ingredients you can find. 
  • 2 Be careful peeling the ube! The purple pigment is the most vibrant right under the thin skin! 
  • 3 Wear gloves when preparing the ube. The gorgeous purple pigment of ube stains! 
  • 4 Boil the ube until tender but reduce the liquid that leeched from the ube and add it to your dish. 
  • 5 Cook the ube halaya until thickened. Check for your desired consistency as you stir as it cooks.  

How To Store Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya 

Once cooked and ready to store, you'll want to transfer your freshly made ube halaya into a sanitized jar for the best storing results. A sanitized jar is simply a jar and its lid that's been boiled in water for at least 5 minutes to kill off any bacteria and other microorganisms that can make your ube halaya spoil. Transfer the ube halaya while still hot into the freshly sanitized jars and place the lid on top without screwing it on tightly. (The jar and lid will shrink as it cools so leave room for it to do that.) The residual heat will kill off any air-borne bacteria still in the jar. Set this aside until completely cool before screwing the lid on tightly and storing. 

Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya Recipe





Prep Time
30 mins 
Cooking Time
50 mins 
Ready In
1 hr 20 mins 
2 cups
Cooking Method
simmer and cook

Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya Ingredients

How to make Good Shepherd-Style Ube Halaya


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.

You have to be logged in to post a review.
Log In