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What Does Ube Taste Like? A Detailed Guide

Ube became popular as pictures of pretty purple treats made their way to social media. They’re intriguing, not to mention very Instagram-worthy. Yet, this food is new to the US. Many are still in the dark about its origin and characteristics. So, what does ube taste like? Find out that and more below! 

sliced cooked purple ube
Photo of cooked and sliced purple ube

What Is Ube?

Ube, or Dioscorea alata, is a purple yam. It is a root vegetable native to the Philippines. It is known for its purple flesh, that only gets deeper in hue when cooked. This yam is widely used in Filipino cuisine, especially in Filipino desserts. 

Ube is often mistaken for purple sweet potatoes, as they also have purple flesh. Yet, a purple sweet potato has smooth skin, while an ube has hard bark-like skin. 

Regarding the texture, ube is similar to that of taro. This is most likely why people confuse these two food items with one another, too. The ube taste, however, is unique. We have a whole section of it below.

What Does Ube Taste Like?

So really, what does ube taste like? Well, the flavor of ube is complex. It is mostly sweet, but it is also earthy and nutty. Ube also has notes of vanilla, white chocolate, and coconut. There is also a hint of pistachio flavor. This flavor profile makes it challenging to use ube in savory dishes. Because of this, ube is commonly used in baked goods and sweet dishes. 

What Does Ube Taste Similar To?

The ube taste is similar to taro, but it is sweeter. It is also reminiscent of sweet potatoes, but it is more earthy and less starchy. Ube also tastes a bit like coconuts because of its slightly nutty flavor. It is also comparable to vanilla, although it is not an exact flavor match. 

What Does Ube Ice Cream Taste Like?

Ah, ube ice cream! You may have seen this aesthetically pleasing dessert all over your feed. But, what does ube ice cream taste like? 

Just like any other ice cream, ube ice cream is, of course, mostly sweet. Yet, with the addition of ube, the ube ice cream taste is even more decadent. 

Ube ice cream is also nutty; you may taste a bit of the pistachio and sweet vanilla flavor, too. It tastes mild and mellow; it will be difficult not to ask for a second serving. 

Ube ice cream tastes better with toppings like grated cheese or coconut. You can also add a drizzle of chocolate syrup on top, plus a sprinkle of ground nuts. If you want a more pronounced ube flavor, put a dollop of ube jam on top. Oh, that’s ube heaven. 

Keep in mind, though, that ice cream typically has high sugar content. Eat moderately, no matter how tempting it is to empty the whole tub!

What Does Ube Mochi Taste Like?

With ube’s growing popularity, people have been experimenting with where else to put it. And yes, people have been filling mochi with ube as well. With a casing made of glutinous rice, ube mochi is chewy and sweet.

The inside is filled with ube paste or ube ice cream, which in itself is already a treat. Ube mochi tastes similar to ube ice cream, just with a different texture. It is also earthy with a bit of vanilla and coconut flavor. 

Ube mochi can be served with fresh fruit slices and chocolate syrup. Better yet, you can dip it in a hard shell chocolate coating.

What Does Ube Latte Taste Like?

Yes, people have been making drinks with ube too. Ube latte has been added to most restaurants’ menus. But, what does ube latte taste like? 

Since lattes have milk, you know that ube latte is creamy. Depending on the addition of sweeteners, it can also be sweet and dessert-like. 

Note that the taste will also depend on the kind of milk used. To make ube latte, you can use evaporated milk, condensed milk, or coconut milk. Most ube lattes recipes call for condensed coconut milk, though. If this is the case, you’ll get an intense coconut flavor on top of ube’s sweet, earthy taste.

You can top your latte with whipped cream and a dash of ube powder for a richer experience! 

What Does Ube Boba Taste Like?

Milk tea is another sweet drink that has taken on ube as a flavor. Like ube latte, the taste of ube boba depends on the tea and the milk you will use. In general, bubble tea is indulgent and sweet.

When you add ube, you get the goodness of ube combined with the creaminess of the milk. This blends well with the floral and grassy taste of tea. The result? A rich drink that will quench your thirst while delighting your taste buds. 

For a snack time treat, drink your ube boba while eating french fries, cookies, or fried chicken!

What Does Ube Cake Taste Like?

The cake is yet another dessert that people have been making with ube. Yet, with ube cake, ube extract and ube powder are most commonly used. This is because the texture of boiled and mashed ube is difficult to work with in cakes. 

That said, the taste is a little different. This is because most ube extracts and powders have additional sweeteners. 

So, what does ube cake taste like? It still tastes like ube – nutty with a hint of vanilla and white chocolate flavor. But, it is sweeter than ube alone. Of course, you can adjust the sweetness according to preference. But still, cake, in general, is sweet, so ube cake is sweet too. 

Have your ube cake with coffee for a snack or eat it after your meal as a dessert. Either way, you’ll surely satisfy your cravings with this sweet treat. 

What’s the Distinction Between Ube and Taro?

People always confuse taro with ube and vice-versa. This is because they have similarities that make people think they are one and the same. Yet, they are different and should not be used interchangeably. 


On the outside, ube and taro look almost the same. They have both a rough and brown exterior. Yet, when you cut them open, you’ll see that ube has rich purple flesh. Meanwhile, the taro has a white flesh with specks or fine lines of purple. When cooked, the purple hue of ube becomes more pronounced. Taro’s color changes a bit when cooked, but it is not anywhere as purple as ube. 


Ube hails from the Philippines, a country in Asia. Taro, on the other hand, comes from Southeast Asia, particularly in the Pacific Islands. 


When it comes to flavor, ube is sweet, while taro is not. Taro is more starchy and nutty in taste. For this reason, taro can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. On the other hand, ube is mostly used to make sweet treats. 

What Dishes Make Use of Ube?

Ube’s sweet flavor makes it a great addition to desserts and other sweet treats. Here are some of the dishes that use ube:

  • Halo-halo. (A Filipino dessert made with shaved ice and fruits drizzled with evaporated milk.)
  • Ice cream
  • Jam
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Crinkles
  • Mochi
  • Latte
  • Boba Tea
  • Smoothies
  • Brownies
  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Cheesecake
  • Doughnuts
  • Cupcakes
  • Puddings

How Do You Preserve Ube?

Fresh ube can be preserved by simply keeping it in a cool, dry, and dark place. It should not be refrigerated. Stored this way, ube will last for 5-7 days. 

To make ube last longer, you should cook it and make it into a jam. An ube jam is called ube halaya. 

To make halaya, you need to boil and mash the ube. In the process, you can add sweeteners and milk. Keep in mind, though, that milk makes the halaya prone to spoilage. 

In jam form, ube can last for five more days in the fridge. It can also be frozen if you want to maximize its shelf life. When kept in the freezer, ube jam can last for up to 2 months. 

Before consuming preserved ube, ensure to check first for signs of spoilage. Any discoloration or a change in smell should tell you that the ube has gone bad. 

Remember that you should only taste ube if it looks and smells okay. And, when doing a taste test, opt for a bit first instead of eating a spoonful. This will keep you safe from food poisoning, should the ube be not fit for consumption anymore. 

What Are the Nutritional Contents of Ube?

Ube is a powerhouse of nutrients, so it is a great addition to your diet. For starters, it has anthocyanins. These are powerful antioxidants. In fact, they are also the ones responsible for ube’s vibrant purple hue. 

Ube is also a good source of Vitamin C, which is why some people also label it as a superfood. This yam also has carbohydrates, potassium, fiber, and Vitamin A.

What Are the Benefits of Ube?

With the nutritional contents of ube, it is safe to say that there are benefits to eating this vegetable. Its antioxidants alone can help fight free radicals and promote better health. 

Ube also has a low glycemic index. This means that you won’t get a sudden spike in your blood sugar even with its carbohydrate content. 

Yet, ube should be consumed in moderation, as it is usually added to desserts. These sweet treats, although they contain ube, have added sugars. If eaten excessively, these sweeteners might outweigh the benefits given by ube. 


The taste of ube is unique. It is a complex blend of vanilla, white chocolate, and pistachio flavors. You can also taste some coconut flavor when eating ube. That said, ube is mostly sweet. It goes well with desserts and other sweet treats.

If you haven’t tasted it yet, it might be high time to try it. This is especially true now that you already know the answer to the question, “What does ube taste like?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Ube Taste Like Vanilla?

Yes, ube tastes a bit like vanilla, but it is not an exact flavor match. This is because there are also other flavors present in ube. It also has hints of white chocolate, coconut, and pistachio flavor.

Does Ube Taste Like Potatoes?

No. Ube might look close to a potato, but these two vegetables taste nothing alike. Ube is sweet, while potatoes are not. Potatoes are mostly starchy, and when cooked, they become savory. This explains why they are mostly found in savory recipes like stews and meat dishes. On the other hand, ube is used in desserts because of its distinct sweetness. 

Is Ube Bitter?

There are wide varieties of ube, and some may taste bitter. But, the ube used in cooking and baking is distinctly sweet. It should not be bitter. 

What Is Another Name For Ube?

Ube goes by many other names. It is also called water yam, purple yam, and violet yam. Ube is also known as greater yam.

Is Raw Ube Edible? 

Ube should never be eaten raw. It contains toxins that may cause food poisoning in its raw form. These toxins get deactivated through cooking. That said, ube is perfectly safe to eat when cooked properly. 
If you want to know the answer to “What does ube taste like?” by giving it a try yourself, make sure to cook it like you do potatoes, and you’ll be good.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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