This easy Ube Halaya recipe makes a smooth, creamy, and rich purple yam jam that can be enjoyed as a dessert or snack. Serve it as it is or topped with 'latik' or grated cheese.
You might know it as Halayang Ube, Purple Yam Jam, or Ube Jam. Aside from being a sweet dessert or snack, you can also use it as a base when making other Purple Yam delicacies. Ube Ice cream, Ube Pandesal, Ube candies, Sapin-Sapin, Ube Champorado, and Ube cake to name some. It is also commonly used as a filling for Hopia and Buchi and as a topping for Halo-halo.
What is Ube Halaya?
Ube Halaya is a Filipino dessert made from purple yam or "Ube " as we call it. It is a variation of "Nilupak" which is a general term for starchy fruits or crops that are mashed or pounded and mixed with coconut milk and sugar.
It is usually served cold and usually topped with coconut curds or Latik or sometimes with grated cheese. A popular dessert offered to guests most specially during Christmas and New Year.
The recipe is actually really simple and so is the process. But I have to warn you though that it requires some muscle power and patience! But do not get discouraged because it is worth all the effort. And with new kitchen gadgets (special mention to my immersion blender) nowadays it can be a lot easier.
What is Ube?
Ube or purple yam is a starchy root crop with a mildly sweet, nutty, and vanilla-like taste. It grows in tropical countries and is abundant here in the Philippines. Known for its vivid violet to softer lavender hues, it is a key ingredient to many Asian treats!
If you are having difficulties in finding fresh Ube, you can always buy frozen ones in Asian markets. It also works well with this recipe.
How to choose Ube or Purple Yam?
- When you’re buying ube, try to pinch or scratch a bit of the skin off. The skin should be a very deep shade of purple.
- Get the ones that are firm with no wrinkles and soft spots, and without so many fine roots. This means they are fresher and newly dug.
- Choose medium to big ube that have a more regular shape, they are easier to peel.
Foxy Tips when making Ube Halaya Recipe
- Before peeling, scrub the dirt away using a brush and water.
- Better to use gloves while peeling and cutting so you won't stain your hands. Use a plastic cutting board or cover wooden boards with foil to avoid stains.
- The best way to peel Ube is by using your fruit or veggie peeler. Despite its tough-looking exterior, the skin is actually quite thin.
- Don't worry if your Ube is pale upon peeling, the color will deepen as it cooks. It is also normal for the freshly cut yam to have some (brownish) discoloration. If you want a really vivid color, you can add a few drops of Ube extract to your mixture.
- Use a pan with a thick bottom to prevent the mixture from burning.
- You have to constantly stir while cooking using a wooden spatula so you can scrape the bottom.
- Be careful of hot spits from the mixture when stirring.
- You can make these ahead of time! Just tightly cover the llanera with cling wrap and place it in the fridge. It will last for 3 to 5 days. If you want to keep them longer, place your Halaya in an airtight container and freeze for a month or two.
If you enjoyed this Ube Halaya recipe, try these too:
Ube Halaya Recipe (Purple Yam Jam)
- 1 pound purple yam - fresh or frozen, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 can (10 fl oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (13.5 fl oz) coconut milk
- 1 can (12.5 fl oz) evaporated milk
- ¾ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- Melt the butter in a wide, deep pan over medium heat. Add the purple yam and coconut milk. Bring it to a boil while stirring occasionally. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked yam mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to turn it into a fine puree.
- Return the yam mixture back to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Turn heat to medium-low and let it simmer while stirring regularly, for another 20-30 minutes or until it becomes very thick and heavy and pulls away from the side of the pan when stirring.
- Grease 2 -3 llanera generously with butter. Divide the Ube Halaya into the llanera and let it cool down to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until cold.
- Top with Latik or grated cheese before serving.
This recipe of Ube Halaya was originally published in November 2015. Updated in December 2020 to include new photos, more tips, and a recipe video.
God I love ube so much
So easy to make! Great recipe ⭐️ Though, I had to put it on high and keep mixing to make it very thick!
Thanks for sharing...
God bless us all!
Found some frozen grated ube so I made this last night. It's an easy enough recipe, and it's a keeper - thanks!
Glad to hear it, Nathalie.
Hi, is the grated frozen ube from Asian shop ok? Thanks.
Yes, that should also work fine.
Can I use ghee instead of butter?
Sure you can.
Why does your ube halaya have coconut milk?
Try it and you'll know and will never do it without again.
Jem ang says
Sooooooper yummmy!!! My 3yo and 6yo kids approved. And husband too🤣. Worth the stirring!😍😍
Thank you for this recipe!!
Happy to hear it, Jem.
Hi, wanting to try this recipe. But would you be able to tell me if there’s a substitute I can use for the coconut milk (allergies)? Thank you 🙂
You can just replace it with water or milk. Not the same but should though.
Tess Gabriel Leynes says
Thanks for sharing your recipes. The Ube Pandesal is always a hit. I wonder if you are making an Ube Bar recipe, something goey or fudgy?
Looking forward to get a response.
Again, thanks so much, and let’s keep on cooking and baking.
Stay safe and healthy always!
Ube bars sound a good idea...will look into it.
Michelle C says
I just made this and while it’s really simple, you weren’t kidding about how much muscle power is required to make it. I gave up stirring before it reached the “sticky and pulling away from the pan stage” but it’s a personal preference too. This reminds me of the Good Shepherd ube that you can get in Baguio! So smooth, tasty and not overly sweet 😊
Glad you like it, Michelle.
Bless Licuanan says
I've tried many of your recipes already and so far ALL OF THEM are "Patok na Patok sa Masa". Thank you so much! You are the best!
Anyway, I want to ask if I can use ube powder for this recipe? And what will be the measurement?
Hi Bless, thanks for your sweet comment. Yes, you can use powdered ube to make halaya. Dissolve 1 1/2 cup powdered ube in the coconut milk. Add the rest and simmer as usual.
Hi bebs! Is it possible to skip the blender part? 😬
Sure, but then you have to cook and stir it longer and maybe add more water until it breaks down and become smooth just like how it is done originally.
Fork in Progress says
If I'm using the halaya as the base for pie filling do I need to let it set first if it's just going to be melted again?
Hi Rachel, if it is freshly cooked then use it directly and it should set when the pie cools down.
I tried your recipe ube halaya it was a blockbuster hit with my kids 🙂 shared free taste to my pinoy opismayt and they love it too - taste like ube ice cream, thanks for sharing your recipe - first attempt for me.
Yaayy! That is great that it is such a winner and congrats on your successful first attempt on making ube halaya.
Princess Bissig-Gayo says
Hi kabayan, yesteday I did try this recipe and really turn it very delicious I just add more condense than put a half of sugar. I only like to know how many days can I eat it or in the fridge and its also possible to put in the freezer?
Regards from Switzerland😊😊😊
Hi Princess, you can store in the fridge and it could last for 7-10 days.
I have baked successfully your recipe, Spanish Bread. And, funny my all-American friend's blue eyes lit brightly as she found it so good. People here are nuts over anything sweet. am proposing if you can open an all-Philippine made e-store for hard-to-find native ingredients (i.e. ginamos for Iloilo Batchoy and native kitchen tools i.e. coconut meat's elastic spatula used by street vendors). I miss these and Amazon is not that worldwide. Luckily, I found a Vietnamese farm importing ube yam from his farm in Hawaii. Pricey but worth it. (Lunok!) Thank you for such a great blogsite.
I only used 450 g of yam. I forgot to add condensed milk. Can I still salvage my halaya by adding more raw yam and condensed.
Or better make crinkles out of it.
It's sitting inside the fridge for 5 days now. Could i freeze them to extend shelf life.
TIA and more power 🙂
Hi Mary, no need to add more raw yam, as long as you achieved the texture that you like since the liquids would evaporate while cooking. If you find it too bland then you may add condensed milk or even just sugar. But if you like it as is then keep it.
Yep. It’s halfway finished. Got compliments from my colleagues even if I didn’t put condensed milk. Could have tasted better with it though. There’s always a next time. I still have 1kg of yam sitting in the freezer. I brought it from Phils to Qatar. It’s our own harvest in Bulacan.
I have tried numerous recipes of yours Bebs. All are guaranteed with yummy results. Thanks so much
Could you pls include the Cheesecake Factory brown bread recipe. Cheers
That is great, Mary! I used to do same thing, bringing stuff from Phils to Germany and freezing them, lol! I will try to look for the recipe you asked for. 🙂
Glazel Pastorfide says
Hi Ms. Bebs! I sent a formal letter of request borrowing your leche flan and ube halaya photos through your email and facebook page for our tv program. I am hoping you can see it and hearing an affirmative response from you! Thank you! God bless.
HELLO BEBS. im so excited to make ur ube halaya but i dont have frozen ube ,, can i use ube on glass ? thank u so much for responce
Hi Jiamaila, I haven't tried (or even seen ube in a glass) but I can't see why not, so ho ahead! ?
Made this ube for the first time... love your recipe... it's delicious and very easy to make. Tweaked it a bit and omitted the granulated sugar ingredient as IMO the condensed milk already has sufficient sweetness content... thanks for sharing your recipe.
Hi po, do you have yema cake recipe? maraming salamat
This recipe is perfect! I tried it for the first time and it was a success and the best. My friends loved it. Thanks for sharing. I just added 1/2 tsp of purple powdered colouring to enhance it's colour.
Glad you like it, Lorraine!
This is by far the best recipe for halaya I've tried (and I've tried many) because it is very MILDLY sweet (as in the sugar does not overpower the ube). It is the only one I use for making Ube Ice Cream and have referenced it here (link) foodietriedandtested.blogspot.com/2013/07/ube-ice-cream.html?view=magazine
Thanks for the honest, beautiful and transparent blog!
Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook says
Hello, Bebs! So silly I haven't left a comment - this is perfectly delicious! Glad that I have found this recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Hahaha may I also ask what is Ilanera?
Llanera if the form/container commonly used in the Philippines but you may also put the purple yam jam in jars..
I would like to ask you how many grams does this recipe make up?
Unfortunately, I did not weigh it when it was done. Maybe next time.
May I also ask how many ml is the Ilanera that you used?
Hi Zynn, I cannot measure it since I gave them all away because we are moving back to the Philippines soon and we are disposing of some stuff. Sorry I cannot help.
Hi this looks great and I am determined to make it! What kind of cheese did you use for the topping?
Hi Donna, in this one I used Gouda. But if you can get hold of Kraft Eden cheese or Velveeta (processed cheese) that is what we normally use in the Philippines.
Hi Bebs an estimate should be about at least one kg, right.
Hmmm...difficult to say, remember that most of the liquids would have evaporated by the time you are done but yeah maybe more or less a kg.
I was afraid this will turn out to be too sweet but it was the perfect sweetness. Next time Ill add some food color. So yummy! I couldn't stop eating it while I was stirring and pouring into jars! Ha ha! Thanks so much!
Hi Diana, I too don't like it too sweet so the sugar in this recipe was already reduced like most of all the recipes in this blog. I know what you mean by not being able to stop eating this treat, the first time I made it, I think only half made it to the containers hahaha!
thanks for the sharing...i love ube halaya or any ube or violet in colour- foood or non food..anyways, thanks for sharing the recipe...putting cooconut milk is nice to taste but there are some who are allergic to it so its still fine even theres no coocnut milk. Tory, about the colour, yo can add ube falvoring Mccormich brancd..its like a vanilla flavour then when it comes to colour , try to add food colouring taht you use in making cakes..not a liquid one, a paste one..hope it will help..
Hi Martha, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! I truly appreciate it! ?
Helen samarita says
Can I omit the coconut milk when making ube yam:)thank you
Hi Helen, the coconut milk adds a flavor to it but if you prefer to leave it out, you may do so. Just replace it water.
Lynn Romero says
Hi Bebs, I tried to use Purple Yam instead of frozen ube to make this filling for my hopia and it turned out well. Also, because I am diabetic, I didn't use the condensed milk, instead I used an alternative sugar substitute (stevia). It was a good recipe.
Thanks Lynn and I am glad it all went well!☺
I recently discovered and love ube!!! Wanted to try making it and found the purple yams at the store (Asian produce section) and was so excited!! When I got home a couple of them were that gorgeous blue-y purpule color they should be, but others were less vibrant and more of a brownish purple inside. I grated them the night before to save time and placed in fridge (new mom of twins, just trying to take advantage of time when I have it)... but I think this was a mistake. The pretty blue-y color that had been left was all gone by the next morning - perhaps oxidized? My resultant product is this sort of sad mauve color... not exactly a showstopper. Any tips for me to keep the color at its peak? How to pick the best yams at the store... maybe can I treat grated yam with lemon to keep it vibrant? Any tips would be most welcome!!
Hi Tory, I am not an expert on purple yams and I haven't done it like you did, but I buy and use whole frozen purple yams and they seem to have retained their colors while frozen (I am not sure though if they added something to achieve this), so maybe freezing them after grating could work. Of course it is ideal to use them immediately after peeling or maybe you could boil them first unpeeled and you can store them in the fridge. (I will try to do these myself so I can give you more answers 🙂 )
As for the brownish purple yam...sounds weird to me so I would probably cut them out or not use them at all...and as for your resulting color, you could add some natural food coloring. Believe me, most of the photos you see of purple yam recipes with deep purple color are not all that natural... 😉
Thanks for sharing, I made this today and it was a success! Yummy!
I made this with frozen ube and it was delicious, not too sweet. Also took only approximately 60 minutes and not the hours and hours of stirring. Thanks!
Thanks for the nice comment Anne! 🙂
Nona Alejo says
For this ube halaya, can i use the purple yan known here in Canada or US? Because back home in the Philippines, kamote is different from the ube root crop that i buy in the market. I tried using the grated frozen ube but does not taste good. I am planning to buy and use the kamote (purple yam) i see in the grocery here in Edmonton, Alberta but i am not sure if it would be as good as this ube that you made. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I plan to try your Ukoy, ensaymada and this ube.
You are right, kamote and ube are not the same. Purple yam is what we know as Ube in the Philippines, Kamote is sweet potato. If they are selling purple yam then that should be the right one. Purple yam is usually darker in color (purple) also inside when cut.
Is it too sweet? Gusto ko sana yung mild lang.. i will try to make it. I made your maja blanca. My friends loved it
Hi Jam, I also like it only midly sweet so I usually look for and use recipes that use lesser sugar. You can of course still reduce the amount of condensed milk. Just remember, usually sa mga desserts or sweets, nababawasan ang tamis pagnaluluto 😉
I bet the Ube Halaya tastes as good as it looks. Is the frozen grated yam already boiled or is it still raw? Thanks!
Hi Eyk..thanks for dropping by! The frozen yam is raw and and I had to grate them myself..