Ube halaya or purple yam jam is a popular local treat enjoyed by Filipinos. The jam is consumed in multiple ways: as a spread over pandesal or crackers, as a topping for desserts like halo-halo, or as an ingredient incorporated in other sweet recipes. It’s also eaten alone, whether paired with hot chocolate or tea, or directly licked off of a spoon.
Making the jam is a labor of love as it usually requires gentle stirring over very low flame. Strong arms are required when mixing big batches to ensure that the jam’s thick consistency is achieved. Taking even a short pause from stirring might result in burning the bottom of the mixture and leaving dark brown spots on the jam.
The recipe for ube jam is very versatile, as every household typically has its own version. Different components are added to improve texture and flavor, but the main ingredient—fresh purple yam (ube)—is constant. There are two options when preparing the ube: mashing takes less time and gives the option to leave the mix chunkier, while grating offers a smoother texture and removes all fibers from the mix.
Aside from evaporated milk and all-purpose cream, you can also use coconut milk and fresh carabao’s milk to give the jam a different flavor dimension. Brown sugar or coconut sugar can be used in place of white. Butter and cheese are added for extra creaminess. You can also use cottage or cream cheese to replace the latter.

Ube Halaya
Serves 8 to 10
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cooking Time 1 hour to 1.5 hours

  • 1 kilo ube (purple yam), peeled
  • 2½ cups all-purpose cream
  • 2½ cups evaporated milk
  • 1½ cups condensed milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup grated quick-melting cheese
  • ¾ cup butter, plus extra for greasing
  1. Boil ube until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain completely. Mash or grate ube.
  2. Combine cooked ube, cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar and vanilla in a heavy-bottomed pot. Mix to combine. You can also use an immersion blender to make the mixture smoother.
  3. Place pot over very low heat and stir mixture continuously until thick, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Add cheese and butter and stir until glossy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, the cheese can be reserved for topping later on.
  5. Transfer mixture to a greased container and brush top with extra butter, if desired. The jam can also be bottled and stored in the refrigerator.

Consume the ube halaya as is or try these fun ideas that highlight the well-loved jam:

Ube-Cheese Pandesal Pudding
Ube-cheese pandesal became a big local hit during the pandemic. But instead of ordering a big batch for yourself or laboring in the kitchen to make them, try this other baked treat that uses pantry staples and takes less time. Combine 4 to 6 leftover pandesal (torn into pieces), 2 eggs (beaten), ½ cup ube halaya, ¼ cup evaporated milk, ¼ cup all-purpose cream, ¼ cup condensed milk, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Chill for 30 minutes, then transfer to a greased baking dish. Top with ¼ cup grated cheese. Bake in a toaster oven, covered with foil, for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 3 minutes.


Ube Mess
Here’s the perfect excuse to make a mess in the kitchen! This treat is inspired by the classic British dessert called Eton mess, which is made up of whipped cream, strawberries, and meringue. Here’s a version featuring ube you can make for a quick meal-ender: Layer ½ cup whipped cream, ¼ cup ube halaya, and ½ cup roughly crushed meringue in a glass. To make the mix even more indulgent, layer in sweetened macapuno strings, cashews, and chopped mangoes. Toasted ube chiffon, sliced into cubes, can aso be added for extra texture.


Ube-White Choco Champorado
Don’t settle for the instant mix because whipping up ube champorado in your kitchen is so much easier than you think. This is best served for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a meal-ender. Pair it with salted fish as you would with regular champorado. Combine 1 cup malagkit rice and 5 cups water in a pot. Simmer until rice is cooked, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1 cup white chocolate, 1 cup ube halaya, and 2 tablespoons sugar; simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm drizzled with fresh or coconut milk.