Ube Halaya Recipe

Homemade ube halaya! So much better than store-bought. Smooth, creamy, and lusciously rich. Perfect as a dessert, topping for halo-halo, or as an ingredient for your favorite ube-based recipes.

Purple spread made of purple yam or purple sweet potato

Ube Halaya (Ube Jam)

This ube halaya recipe is inspired by Baguio’s Good Shepherd’s Ube Jam. If you’re lucky enough (like me hehehe) to have tried it, I say high-five! It’s so so good, don’t you agree?

I have tried many many versions of ube halaya and nothing came close to it–sweet, creamy, and most important of all made of fresh ube! I guess that’s the secret.

How do I know it’s fresh? Well, it is only sold every morning at the Baguio market. When you hold the jar, it’s still warm and that’s how you know it’s freshly made.

The jam sells so fast that if you go there late, you might miss it and end up having to wait for the new batch.

The next morning.

Ube Halaya made of purple yam or sweet purple potato

Ingredients

Here are the key ingredients to make ube halaya.

  • Purple yam or purple sweet potato – use interchangeably. Note that color may differ i.e. deepness of the purple color
  • Coconut Milk – is the second most important ingredient in this recipe. Its nutty aroma is what gives “ube halaya” that distinct flavor.
  • Evaporated Milk – gives the jam a rich caramel and nutty flavor
  • Condensed Milk – is the main sweetener. This can be substituted with sugar but I highly recommend just using this.
  • Salt – balances the sweetness of the jam.
  • Butter – gives the jam a smooth consistency.

I’d like to point out that I did not use any food color in this recipe. I was lucky enough to find a sweet purple potato with such a beautiful deep purple color.

How to Make It

It’s so easy! Here’s how:

1. Boil and mash

step-by-step process on how to make ube halaya jam.
  • Begin by boiling the purple sweet potatoes or ube until they reach a tender consistency. Once softened, mash them into a smooth texture, and blend them with milk, coconut milk, and condensed milk for the next step of the recipe
  • Use just enough water to boil with the purple yam/purple sweet potato. It doesn’t have to be covered. Using too much liquid may dilute the color. You can also steam it but I find boiling to be a much faster cooking method.
  • For a smooth and creamy consistency, use a blender or food processor to incorporate the ingredients.

2. Cook the ube mixture

step-by-step process on how to cook ube halaya or ube jam.
  • Cook until thick and smooth – Pour the ube and milk mixture into a wide deep pot and cook over medium-low heat.
  • Stir frequently and use medium heat–note that the operative word is “frequently”. Meaning not constantly. You can take a break for a minute or two. Don’t hurt your arms 🙂 The goal is to prevent the jam from sticking to the pan. Patience is the key here.
  • Taste and add ube flavor or ube extract as needed.
Cooking Ube Halaya in a pot

Using Ube Extract for Homemade Ube Halaya

Using ube extract for ube halaya can improve the overall flavor and aroma of the jam. This is optional and I recommend using it sparingly.

Ube Halaya with Bread and butter

How to Use Ube Halaya

There are many uses of ube halaya aside from it being a jam. During Christmas, we Filipinos enjoy it as a dessert. I personally like it freshly made and warm while others enjoy it cold as a topping for halo-halo.

Weird as it may sound, many Filipinos also enjoy it with grated cheese. I only learned about this flavor combo quite recently. I was skeptical at first but after tasting it, I understood. It’s the flavor contrast that makes it work. BASTA, MASARAP! 🙂

Ube Cheese Pandesal Recipe
Ube Cheese Pandesal with Ube Halaya Filling

In modern times, this purple jam has evolved into becoming a popular ingredient for many ube-based recipes. I have personally used it to make the internet sensation ube cheese pandesal. It can also be used to make ube cake and cookies (recipe coming soon!) and many many more!

Watch this space. More Ube recipes are coming, hopefully, sooner!

Storage and Shelf-life

Store ube halaya in an airtight container, best to use a glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 5 days and 1 month in the freezer. Use a freezer-safe plastic container if freezing. Divide into smaller amounts.

Frequently asked questions

What is Ube?

Ube is a type of purple yam. It is a root crop native to the Philippines; grown and cultivated in other parts of the world. Note that it is definitely not the same as sweet purple potato.
To know more about ube, please visit this site and this site. They are the only ones I found with the exact photo and best description of ube.

What is the best substitute for Ube?

The best substitute for purple yam that I have personally used time and time again is purple sweet potato. It’s much more accessible than ube purple yam.

Watch the Ube Halaya Recipe Video

More Ube Recipes you need to try…

Purple spread made of purple yam or purple sweet potato

Ube Halaya Recipe

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Smooth, creamy, and lusciously rich ube halaya. Perfect as a dessert, topping for halo-halo, or as an ingredient for your favorite ube-based recipes. So much better than store-bought.
Servings15 servings
preparation time10 minutes
Total cooking time30 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 16 oz ube purple yam or sweet purple potato (see note 1)
  • 1 cup water for boiling
  • ¾ cup condensed milk
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar (optional, use brown or white)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup butter (unsalted)
  • ½ tsp ube extract (optional, see note 2)

Instructions

  • Peel ube or sweet purple potato. Cut into chunks, about an inch thick. Place in a pot. Add water and cover with lid. Boil over medium heat until a fork inserted in the middle goes in easily with almost no resistance. Carefully drain out all of the water.
  • Transfer to bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add coconut milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. Stir until combined. For an even smoother consistency, you can blend the mixture in a food processer or blender. Taste, add sugar if preferred.
  • Add the ube mixture and simmer until it becomes thick and smooth. Stir frequently to prevent the halaya from sticking to the pan. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Add salt, butter and ube extract, if using. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer to a heat-proof jar with lid. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  1. Ube – Use fresh ube purple yam or fresh sweet purple potato or purple Okinawan sweet potato. Note: that this recipe has not been tested with frozen or powdered ube.
  2. Ube extract can be added to boost the aroma of the jam. This is optional. If using, start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more base on preference.
  3. Consistency – as the jam cools down, the consistency will get thicker.
  4. Storage and Shelf-life – store in an airtight container, best to use a glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 5 days and 1 month in the freezer. Use a freezer-safe plastic container if freezing. Divide into smaller amounts if preferred.
  5. Nutrition:  around 2 tablespoons per serving–impossible to be measure accurately. Please just use this as a guide.
Jump to Video
Author : Mella
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : Filipino
Keyword : good shepherd’s ube jam, halayang ube, ube halaya recipe
Nutrition Facts
Ube Halaya Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
174
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
11
g
17
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
24
mg
8
%
Sodium
 
125
mg
5
%
Potassium
 
245
mg
7
%
Carbohydrates
 
16
g
5
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
11
g
12
%
Protein
 
3
g
6
%
Vitamin A
 
251
IU
5
%
Vitamin C
 
7
mg
8
%
Calcium
 
74
mg
7
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag @rivertenkitchen or leave a comment below!

Originally published in May 2021. Updated on Nov 2023.

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