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What Is Ube And What Does It Taste Like?

The world is full of interesting things. From creatures to cultures, and even food. There’s so much out there to discover. Many cultures across the globe make use of all manner of exciting ingredients in their local cuisine that are otherwise entirely unknown in the Western world.

Whenever they do reach the Western world, they very often spread very quickly in popularity, and you’ve likely spotted them popping up all over in all sorts of recipes. 


One of the most popular ingredients that are beginning to pop up in lots of exciting recipes and dishes is Ube. But what actually is Ube? What does it look like? What does it taste like?

And where did it come from? There are so many questions surrounding this strange but also very delicious ingredient, and we have no doubt some of these questions are cycling around your mind right now, otherwise, why else would you be here?

Want to finally get some answers as to what exactly ube is, and what it tastes like? You’ve come to just the right place! Join us below!

What Is Ube?

Ube is actually a form of yam! However, unlike our usual idea of what a yam typically looks like, an ube is instead a deep and intense purple color, deep within its brown skin. Its purple color is likely the reason why it has become so popular in so many modern recipes.

The intense purple color draws the eye to any dish it is added to and makes it look all the more appetizing. 

What Does Ube Taste Like?

As well as looking pretty darn cool, ube also has a very interesting taste. Many who have tried it tend to describe it as having a slightly creamy taste that is pleasant to the tongue, and makes it extremely easy to eat.

Some people have also noted that it has distinct nutty flavors, with some even being able to taste hints of coconut. You can also closely compare it to a standard yam that you have tasted, as it is similarly sweet.

Ube can be used in lots of recipes, thanks to its creamy and slightly sweet taste. Some recipes include tasty stews, curries, and even cakes and doughnuts! It is a versatile ingredient that tastes incredible, and makes any dish it is added to look just as incredible! 

Where Do Ube Come From? 

Now you’re probably wondering where Ube comes from, right? Surely with such a strange and vibrant color, surely it must come from some alien planet! Well, it actually, very much originates on Earth, within Southeast Asia, most commonly in the Philippines. 

However, even though ube originated in the Philippines, it is used within a massive range of dishes across Asia, such as in India. 

RELATED: Ube Vs Taro (What is The Difference?)

How Do Ube Need To Be Cooked? 

Found in the native of South East Asia, Ube is traditionally cooked like potatoes and has the same texture. It is heated until soft and should be thoroughly cooked. 

The Ube preparation can be done in numerous forms, such as boiling, baking, mashed, or fried. 

A sweet and nutty flavor also comes with a hint of vanilla. 

What Dishes Make Use Of Ube?

There are so many different dishes that make use of ube as an ingredient, to create amazing tastes and textures. Some of these you may even find for sale in local restaurants or grocery stores, and many you can make yourself.

If you want to experience ube for the first time, we strongly recommend trying something like ube doughnuts or ube loaf. Ube doughnuts make full use of the sweet and creamy taste of ube in a familiar form.

Ube loaf can be made nice and soft, with plenty of purple ube marbled throughout, so that every bite of ube loaf can get you in touch with those amazing and unique flavors. 

Ube can also be added to salads and stews, easy and simple dishes that make easy use of the ingredient.

Are Ube And Taro Same? 

While both root vegetables are famous for their purple color, they might cover visual differences. Taro is not purple but has brown-grayish skin with white flesh. When the root is processed, it gets a light purple color, not as rich as the ube. 

Taro’s slight sweetness gives savory dishes and desserts a starchy texture, almost chalky. 

Ube, the purple yam gives a vibrant appearance to the dishes. With sweet and gentle flavor, it comes in a powdered form giving a gorgeous look to the recipe. 

Taro is incredible when raw and gives an exceptional taste and attractive color. Ube gives an ice cream flavor and is much sweeter than taro. You can make desserts with ube that turn out delicious in flavor.

Can You grow Ube?

Certainly! Though you should make sure to follow every step of the process. Growing ube can be quite a challenge, as it needs the perfect environmental conditions and plenty of care.

What Is Ube And What Does It Taste Like

Growing your own ube can, however, be very rewarding, and the time and effort needed to grow it can prove worthwhile, once you begin to see results. 

You should aim to grow your ube in a controlled indoor environment so that you can keep a close measure over the temperature, and so that you can monitor exactly how much water it receives, and how often. 

Once your ube has grown, you can then use it in all manner of dishes, to make full use of it. Fruit and vegetables taste a million times better if you know that you’ve played a hand in growing them!

Benefits Of Eating Ube

  • It helps improve Immunity
  • It is essential for the growth and development of children
  • Manages Diabetes
  • Good for reproduction
  • Natural source of Vitamin A
  • Excellent source of antioxidants and contains Anti-cancer agents
  • Treats Asthma naturally 
  • It helps in digestion, treats constipation, and improves bowel movement

What Are The Side Effects Of Ube?

Ube helps with blood circulation as it comes with vitamins A and C. There are many benefits of eating Ube, but it also comes with some side effects. 

Some people experience side effects such as nausea and headache when taken in excess. 

In addition, the beta carotene present in the Ube is beneficial for pregnant women but taken in excess can be harmful to the fetus. 

RELATED: 12 Japanese Inspired Sides To Serve With Sushi

How Do You Clean Ube Before Eating? 

Soak the yam in cold water for a few minutes and wash away the mud and rough skin. To remove the bark-like skin, you need to peel off the outer skin of Ube properly. 

Once Ube is cooked, the outer skin needs to be peeled off. Then, you can grate, mash, or slice it as per your preference. 

Is Eating Ube Poisonous? 

Ube or purple yam is a plant protein with many health benefits when eaten cooked.

However, it might be toxic when consumed in a raw form.  

Some people might have an allergic reaction to Ube or purple yam. 

It comes with the toxin named – Dioscorides that triggers nervous system symptoms. When eaten raw, it is poisonous and leads to worsening health conditions. 

Nutritional Value For Ube 

Protein1 gm
Fat0 gm
Carbohydrates27 gm
Sodium10 mg
Vitamin C12 mg
Fiber4 g

Quick Table: Ube Recipes

RecipeCalories Per ServingTotal Preparation Time
Ube Brownie Recipes2211 hour
Ube Halaya190.450 minutes
Ube Crinkle Cookies25030 minutes

1. Ube Brownie Recipes

Ube extract is one of the efficient ways to create ube-flavored desserts without adding other extracts. Adding anything might provide a distinct ube taste and vibrant purple flavor. 

A perfect balance between the fudgy and cakey ube brownies is a thing to try. With bright and vibrant colors, this help catches everyone’s eye at your next get-together. 

The chocolate and butter add richness and density to the recipe, making it an addicting flavor. 

Complement each other’s flavors as the semi-sweet taste makes the brownie super delicious. 

Pop in the oven and let the brownie set for a duration to cut, serve and enjoy! 

Calories: 221 per serving

Preparation Time: 1 hour

2. Ube Halaya

Get some nutty, creamy, and earthy flavor! Are you obsessed with these Ube Halaya?

Make yourself crave for Ube and start it all. Add sugar, coconut milk, butter, and a lot of arm powder with flavorful ingredients to give yourself a treat! 

With a different twist to the classic Halaya, there is no better thing than this flavorful and crunchy treat! 

The traditional dessert with purple beauties is made with ube, coconut milk, sugar, and water. 

Mild in comparison, the consistency between pudding and jam takes impressive yet minimal effort. 

Calories: 190.4 per serving

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

RELATED: Nigiri vs Sashimi: What’s the Difference?

3. Ube Crinkle Cookies

The Crinkle Cookies are super soft, slightly chewy, and give an addictive flavor! 

It is packed with a sweet and nutty flavor, and the freshly baked cookie rolled in sugar powder gives the right balance of chewy and soft consistency. 

The simple instructions for dry and wet ingredients emphasize an easy-to-follow recipe. 

The ube version is modern and gives an easy yet delicious flavor. Ube tastes like other yams that give a sweet and nutty vanilla flavor and ranges from light to a vibrant purple center. 

You can also freeze extra batches to enjoy them later! 

Calories: 250 per serving

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Let’s Finish Up

So now you know why Ube has proven to be such a sudden success in the west, and why it is so popular! Ube certainly looks unique, thanks to its intense purple color, and it tastes just as good as it looks. 

Ube boasts a refreshing and simple creamy taste that is full of nutty notes, which makes it an absolute joy to eat. And eating it is easy too, not only because of the soft creamy taste but also because of its versatility.

The soft texture and taste of ube lend itself well to both savory and sweet dishes, such as stews, or soups, or even baked goods like doughnuts and cake!

If you’ve ever wanted to try ube, we can definitely recommend giving it a go. You’ll likely come away very satisfied, and wanting even more! It’s seriously that good! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ube A Yam Or Sweet Potato? 

Ube is in fact most definitely a yam. Though, it is often misidentified as a type of sweet potato, thanks to the inherent similarities of yams and sweet potatoes. You can tell that ube is a yam, thanks to its shape and texture, and its taste, which is rather similar to a regular yam.

Can Ube Be Eaten Raw?

We would advise against eating ube raw, as in its raw form it may still contain quite a few toxins. These toxins are unlikely to do much harm, and might just land you with an upset stomach, but it is not worth the risk. Ube tastes much better once it has been cooked anyway! 

Is Ube Naturally Purple? 

Yes! Ube is naturally purple and isn’t chemically altered to have that iconic purple color. Ube can even be used as a healthy alternative to food coloring, as its purple hue will naturally spread through into other ingredients. This is why ube doughnuts are able to appear purple! 

What Does Ube Stand For? 

Also known as purple yams and purple sweet potatoes, Ube is mildly sweet and starchy native to Southeast Asia. Ube is the word in Filipino that is known as a kind of a root vegetable and purple colored yam, found in the tropics.

3 Best Ube Recipes

If you want to know the taste of Ube, you’ve come to just the right place! Join us below!


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

shoya izakaya

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