Delightfully creamy and flavorful ube ice cream packed with lots of natural purple yam flavor. Naturally vibrant purple, rich and luxurious, this ice cream is even better than Trader Joe’s!
Summertime is all about enjoying lazy sunny afternoons and indulging in frozen desserts to cool off. And what best than homemade ice cream to cool you down?! If Trader Joe’s is too far, you can make this ube ice cream recipe at home with little effort. It also tastes so much richer and creamier than any store-bought ice creams!
This vibrant purple ice cream is bursting with rich ube flavor and silky smooth creaminess. It’s not just a regular ice cream flavor, as it’s packed with so much deliciousness. You’re guaranteed to go in for a second and third serving!
Made with real ube or ube halaya (purple yam jam), this delicious ube ice cream recipe is an explosion of flavor, with a distinct taste. It has a naturally sweet, almost vanilla-like taste, with just the right amount of sweetness.
Looking for more amazing flavors? This homemade Taro Ice Cream is very similar to ube, but more subtle in flavor. This naturally green Pandan Ice Cream is incredibly refreshing and this Matcha Ice Cream or Hojicha Ice Cream are bound to become your favorite! If you're a big ube fan, check out these Chewy Ube Cookies that are soft, chewy and rich in ube flavor. Use this ice cream recipe as a filling for these dainty and delicious Taro Mochi!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Natural flavor: This recipe relies on natural flavors to make the most unique and authentic tasting ice cream. Made with real ube and coconut milk, it’s superior tasting to any artificial flavor enhancers. And it’s healthier, too!
- Vibrant purple: Purple yams have a distinct purple color, which comes through beautifully in this delicious ice cream recipe. No artificial food coloring is needed, as it’s all natural!
- Easy to make: This purple ice cream only uses 3 simple ingredients. Since this recipe doesn’t use egg yolks, it’s not necessary to temper the ice cream mixture. There’s only minimal cooking involved, which is done mostly to mix the ice cream base really well. If you’re extra rushed, you can skip the cooking and use a good blender instead!
- Dairy free: Not only does coconut milk add a subtle coconutty flavor, but it also means that this recipe is entirely dairy-free. Whilst being just as creamy as regular milk-base ice creams, this delicious purple yam ice cream is dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
What is ube?
Also known as purple yam, ube is a type of yam that’s very popular in Filipino cuisine. Although it has been popular across Southeast Asia for a long time, ube has started becoming popular in the West over the past few years.
Incredibly loved in the Philippines for its unique purple color and vanilla-like flavor, it’s often used in many desserts. Some of the most popular ones are ube halaya (or ube jam), ube crinkle cookies, ube flan, ube kalamay, halo halo, cakes and much more.
Although similar in appearance, ube (purple yam) is different from purple sweet potatoes and taro. Unlike the other two, purple yam has a dark purple color, with a unique flavor profile. It has notes of nuttiness, with subtle traces of vanilla and is naturally a little seweet. Its earthiness and sweetness make it the perfect start ingredient for so many desserts!
You can find fresh ube in specialized Asian stores, although sometimes it can be under different names:
- Purple yam
- Violet yam
- Ten-months yam
- Water yam
- Winged yam
- Guyana arrowroot
What is ube ice cream?
Ube ice cream is a very popular Filipino ice cream flavor. It uses ube (purple yam) as the main ingredient, which gives it its vibrant purple color. Purple yam gives this frozen dessert a unique nutty and earthy flavor, with hints of vanilla and natural sweetness.
The popularity of purple yam ice cream has sky rocketed in the West after Trader Joe introduced its line of ube flavored desserts. However, this flavor has been popular in the Philippines for many years, and is commonly used to make famous Filipino desserts like halo-halo.
This type of ice cream is typically made with coconut milk or coconut cream, so it’s easy to make it vegan-friendly. Coconut and ube flavors are a match made in Heaven, and together they give the ice cream a silky smooth and creamy texture.
What does it taste like?
Purple yam ice cream is a unique explosion of flavors that’s guaranteed to be memorable. Made with either fresh purple yam or ube halaya, the taste is nutty, earthy, with hints of sweet vanilla. Naturally sweet and fragrant, ube adds lots of flavor and a distinctive taste.
Made with a base of coconut milk and cream, this purple yam ice cream is incredibly rich and creamy, with a velvety texture. The combination of creamy coconut and earthy ube create a unique flavor that’s both perfectly balanced and refreshing. Each bite (or lick) of this delicious ice cream will leave you craving more of its creamy coconut and ube deliciousness.
Apart from its amazing flavor, this purple ice cream is great because it only uses 3 main ingredients! Here’s what you will need:
- Ube halaya – the main ingredient in this recipe. Ube halaya is easy to find in most Asian shops. It’s made from ube puree and sugar, so it has oodles of flavor! Plus, you won’t need to add any extra sugar. See below section for substitutions.
- Coconut milk – adds creaminess and a coconutty flavor. I recommend using full fat coconut milk.
- Coconut cream – makes the ice cream really rich and velvety.
- Optional: ube extract – used to add deeper ube flavor and more vibrant color.
- Optional: salt – although optional, I really recommend adding salt to help balance out the flavors and sweetness levels.
- Optional: sweetened condensed milk - only add it if the ice cream base is not sweet enough for your taste.
Substitutions & Variations
The beauty of this purple yam recipe is that there are multiple ways of making it, without altering the quality. Most ingredients can be replaced, and you can also add extra ingredients for more flavor.
Ube substitutions – you can replace ube halaya with different ingredients, so you have multiple options in case you can’t find it. Here’s what you can use:
Fresh ube – peel and wash thoroughly, then steam until softened. In a blender, puree into a paste, then use instead of halaya. You will need to add ¼ cup of condensed milk or sugar to sweeten the recipe.
- You will need: ¾ cup pureed steamed ube + ¼ cup cup sweetened condensed milk or sugar
Ube puree – is like skipping the peeling, washing and steaming of fresh ube. Made from pure purple yam, ube puree has exactly the same freshness. It can usually be found in the frozen section of Asian supermarkets.
- You will need: ¾ cups ube puree + ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk or sugar
Ube powder – made from dehydrated purple yam, it still packs lots of flavor and vibrant purple color. Rehydrate the powder in water, then bring to a simmer and cook until thickened into an ube paste (5-10 minutes).
- You will need: 2 tablespoons ube powder + ⅔ cup water + ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk or sugar
Ube extract – although it’s my least favorite option, it’s still a good alternative if you can’t find any of the ingredients above.
- You will need: 2 teaspoons of ube extract + add ¼ cup of condensed milk or sugar
Coconut substitutions – coconut milk and cream can also be replaced if you’re allergic to coconut or dislike the flavor. Here’s what you can use instead:
- Whole milk – can be used instead of coconut milk in the same quantity.
- Heavy whipping cream – can be used instead of coconut cream in the same quantity.
Flavor variations – you can add extra ingredients to make this ube ice cream recipe even more delicious. Here are some of my favorite additions:
- Vanilla – add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste to bring out that subtle sweet flavor even more.
- Mango – ube and mango are a perfect match! Add ½ cup of mango puree into the mixture for extra flavor.
- Cream cheese – as odd as it sounds, ube and cheese are a killer combination. Add ½ cup of cream cheese into the ice cream base for a lovely tangy flavor.
- White chocolate – goes really well with purple yam flavor. Fold in some white chocolate chips into the churned ice cream before freezing.
How to make ube ice cream at home
The process of making purple yam ice cream is really simple and only takes minutes. Let’s begin:
1. Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan, then mix to combine. It’s okay if there are a few lumps at this point.
2. Bring mixture to a simmer, the cook until it turns into a smooth paste.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Use real ube – for the best texture and flavor, it’s important to use real ube (either fresh purple yam, puree or halaya). Although ube extract is an alternative, the flavor is artificial and not as rich as the real thing.
- Don’t add too much sugar – Making the ice cream too sweet can distract from the rich, earthy flavor of purple yam. If you’re using ube halaya, it’s already very sweet so there’s no need to add extra sugar.
- Sift mixture – It’s best to sift the mixture before churning, to remove any lumps. Do this while the mixture is hot, as it thickens when cooled down. Sifting makes the ice cream extra smooth and luscious. You can also use an immersion blender instead of sifting.
- Chill before churning – For the best texture and flavor, it’s important to chill the mixture for at least 2-4 hours (or overnight) before churning. This step helps the flavors mature and also yields a creamier ice cream.
- Freeze after churning – Depending on the type of ice cream maker you’re using, most commonly the ice cream comes out soft serve. For the best consistency, I recommend transferring it to an airtight container and freezing for 4-6 hours. This make the perfect texture that’s not too soft or too hard.
Serving & Storing
Serving: You can enjoy this ice cream either soft serve or slightly firmer. For soft serve, let it freeze for 1 hour after churning, then serve in a glass bowl or cup. For firmer ice cream, freeze for at least 4-6 hours. Enjoy it out of waffle cones for an even more delicious frozen dessert!
Storing: Homemade ube ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Always store it in an airtight freezer-safe container and for extra protection, add a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the ice cream.
After storing, use an ice cream scoop to scoop out only the amount you need. Don’t let the entire container out for too long, as melting and re-freezing the ice cream can make the ice cream become icy and too hard.
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Natural Homemade Ube Ice Cream Recipe
- medium saucepan
- ice cream machine
- immersion blender, optional (sieve can be used instead)
- 1 cup ube halaya* (250 grams)
- ½ cup coconut milk (120 grams)
- ½ cup coconut cream* (120 grams)
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon ube extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup toasted coconut flakes, for topping
- Into a medium pot add ube halaya, ube extract (optional), coconut milk, coconut cream and salt. Mix well to combine, without worrying about lumps at this stage.
- Heat gently over medium-low fire until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and blend using an immersion blender or sift using a large sieve to remove lumps.
- Let the mixture cool down completely, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Pour the ube mixture into an ice-cream maker, then churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes between 20-30 minutes, depending on the machine.
- Once churned, the ice cream will be soft serve. To harden, transfer to a freezer-safe container and smooth out the top with a spatula. Freeze for at least 4-5 hours or until it’s firmly set.
- Ube halaya: can be replaced with ube puree or ube powder. Please see post for substitution method and other alternatives.
- Coconut cream & milk: can be replaced with regular cow milk and cream. See Substitutions & Variations section for more information.
- Nutritional value is estimative only and is calculated per serving, without any additional toppings. This recipe makes 6 servings (2 small scoops per serving)