What Does Ube Taste Like?

Ube is a bright purple yam that’s been used in Philippine cooking for years. However, it’s becoming increasingly popular in other places. 

Perhaps surprisingly, ube tastes slightly sweet, nutty, and earthly. It also has a bit of a vanilla flavor along with pistachios as well. Its texture is soft, creamy and when cooked, custard-like.

Another fun ube fact, the larger the ube the sweeter it is. If you’d prefer a less sweet taste, look for a small one at the store.

Ube is sort of like a cross between a sweet potato and taro. It’s mostly used for desserts and is popular in ice cream, boba tea, jam, and baked goods.

Ube Halaya

This is the base that ube desserts are formed from. At its core, it’s boiled and mashed ube that is mixed with condensed milk and butter. This produces a rich, concentrated, thick mixture.

The base can then be added to a variety of dishes to give them a sweet, nutty taste.

Ube Ice Cream

Ube ice cream is trendy enough for Instagram, but delicious enough to finish after the pictures are taken. While it may be hard to imagine a starchy root vegetable being used as ice cream, it’s being common.

When used in ice cream, ube tends to be more nutty than sweet. Its sweetness is mild but blends well with its other taste of vanilla. 

It has a smooth, creamy, rich texture.

Ube Boba

The reverse flavors tend to stand out when ube is used in boba. Here, the vanilla tends to take the center stage, while ube nuttiness is more subtle. 

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Again, the texture is rich, creamy, and smooth.

Savory Ube

It’s more common to use ube in sweets in desserts. However, you can certainly roast or mash them as you would other potatoes.

Mashing ube gives you a wonderfully creamy, rich texture. If you roast your ube you’ll get a similar texture to small roasted potatoes. You’ll get a nice cream, softness on the inside, but a nice crisp on the outside.

Keep in mind though that you will get a slightly sweeter taste than you’re used to with Russet potatoes. In addition, they will have a somewhat nutty flavor as well. However, if you balance out the seasonings properly, you won’t end up with a sugary tasting side dish.

Ube Texture

The texture of ube is fairly similar to sweet potatoes and taro. However, it does tend to have a slightly drier texture. 

In Summary

Ube is a delicious purple yam that is sweet and nutty along with tasting like vanilla. Used mostly in dessert, ubes are rich, creamy, and soft in texture.

It might be difficult to find ube at your local grocery, but it’s fairly easy to buy ube products. Both ube ice cream and ube bubble tea are becoming exceedingly popular.