This recipe for Ube Halaya (Purple Yam Jam) is easy to make and yields a thick, creamy sweet spread lightly fragranced with coconut. It is vegan and consists of only 4 ingredients: ube yam, coconut milk, vanilla extract and granulated cane sugar.
What is ube?
Ube (pronounced OOH-bey) is a purple yam that is commonly found in the Philippines.
Is it Okinawan purple sweet potato?
No, they're commonly mistaken for each other, but they are actually from 2 different plants.
Okinawan purple sweet potatoes are from the morning glory family.
Ube has a brown exterior with a pinkish/purple interior and is grown on a vine.
Okinawan purple sweet potatoes have a beige exterior with a violet interior.
What is ube halaya?
Ube Halaya is a Filipino jam/spread made from boiled and mashed purple yam (ube).
It is the base for many traditional Filipino desserts such as:
- ube halaya (dessert served in molds on its own)
- ube cake
- ube ice cream
Why you'll love this recipe
This recipe for Ube Halaya or Purple Yam Jam is simple to make.
The flavour from the ube yam paired with coconut is delicious.
It's not too sweet, as store-bought ones can be.
You can make this recipe with frozen ube, since fresh ube can be difficult to find (in North America).
The best part? There's only 4 ingredients in it and it's vegan!
4 ingredients you'll need
For this recipe, I wanted to streamline the ingredients.
Typically, condensed milk or evaporated milk and margarine/butter is used.
However, I find coconut milk delivers more flavour and enough fat to keep the ube halaya creamy and fragrant.
- grated ube: if you have fresh ube, you can use that; otherwise, you can find frozen grated/mashed ube in specialty Asian supermarkets
- coconut milk: I highly recommend full fat canned coconut milk which delivers much more flavour than its carton counterpart
- granulated cane sugar: to preserve the vibrant purple hue, use granulated cane or regular granulated sugar; coconut sugar will turn the mixture brown
- vanilla extract: optional, but adds a little more flavour; use a good quality pure vanilla extract
How to make it
In a large pot over medium heat, add the grated ube, coconut milk and granulated sugar.
Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture is smooth.
Reduce to medium-low heat and continuously stir until thickened and creamy.
It will take about 20-25 minutes, depending on your stove's heat.
Near the end of the cooking time, stir in the vanilla extract.
Once thickened, transfer to a clean, sterilized glass jar and let cool.
Note: The ube jam will continue to thicken once cooled.
How to store
Store the Ube Halaya jam in the fridge for up to 1 week.
I don't recommend freezing this homemade ube jam as the texture will change once defrosted.
How to use
There are plenty of ways to use Ube Halaya.
Use the Ube Halaya as a spread/filling, baked in buns or bread, or as a base in ice cream.
Note: due to coconut milk in the mixture, the ube jam may be solid while chilled. Just let it warm up a little and it will be easily spreadable.
FAQ's, tips & troubleshooting
It's important to take your time with this ube jam.
Low and slow is the key.
You'll also need to consistently stir the jam, so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Using a large pot will help with the sputtering, and the increased surface area will help the jam thicken up faster.
The ube jam will continue to thicken once cooled.
Can I use frozen ube?
Yes, fresh ube can be difficult to come by, so this recipe was tested with frozen grated ube.
Can I add ube extract?
If you have ube extract on hand, you can add a little to the mixture to enhance the colour (although already vivid).
Is it gluten-free?
Yes, ube is naturally gluten-free.
Is this ube halaya vegan?
Yes, this particular recipe is vegan, dairy-free and plant-based.
How can I make it smooth?
Sometimes, after cooking there still may be lumps in the ube. You can run the ube halaya in a food processor or use an immersion blender stick to make it super smooth.
I can't find ube -- can I use purple sweet potato?
Yes, you can use purple sweet potato in place of ube to make a similar spread.
Other recipes you may like
Matcha Milk Jam/Green Tea Milk Spread
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Ube Halaya (Purple Yam Jam)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 300 g grated ube (purple yam) fresh or frozen
- 100 g coconut milk canned, full fat
- 36 g granulated cane sugar
- 5 ml vanilla extract
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the grated ube, coconut milk and granulated sugar.
- Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture is smooth.
- Reduce to medium-low heat and continuously stir until thickened and creamy.
- It will take about 20-25 minutes, depending on your stove's heat.
- Near the end of the cooking time, stir in the vanilla extract.
- Once thickened, transfer to a clean, sterilized glass jar and let cool.
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
A favorite of mine! Your Ube Halaya looks absolutely fantastic. I love how easily it comes together with only four ingredients too. Yum!
Raymund | angsarap.net
Nice to see you are making this staple from our cuisine. Love it
Could you possibly use powdered ube instead?
Hi Amanda, you could use powdered ube, however, I have not tested it in this particular recipe.
Ben | Havocinthekitchen
How interesting! I've never tried Ube yet, but I'm intrigued. I would defiantly some (maybe a tiny spoon first lol) of this jam! Gorgeous colour, too.
I love Ube, but never had the yam jam before. It looks so delicious and creamy!
This looks insane, I have to try this! Thank you
I am obsessed with all things ube. I had no idea how could make jam and this recipe is a new obsession - the purple color is fantastic.
Wow ... so unique and easy to make! The kids will go crazy for this one...thanks for sharing!
It really is so easy to make! Hope your kids enjoy it! Thanks Traci 🙂
I love to try new things. This yam jam is a such a special treat.
Hi! I was lucky enough to find fresh I’ve at the store yesterday! Should I boil or steam before grating or just grate it raw before starting the recipe?
Hi Sheri, lucky you! I would suggest boiling/steaming the fresh ube first and then mashing it before proceeding with the recipe. Depending on the amount of moisture in the mashed ube, you may need to adjust the amount of coconut milk. Hope that helps.
I like this beautiful purple jam. Another easy to make jam using Purple Yam. Looks very delicious jam to be spread on sandwiches and so healthy!