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Beyond the Hype: What does ube truly taste like?

flavour & aroma product development what does it taste like? Feb 14, 2024
ube or purple yam is starchy root vegetables. cut open its colour is pinkish to purple and it is use to make ube Halaya which is a jam.


With its eye-catching colour and unique flavours, ube has gained worldwide popularity and continues to be a trendy flavour for the past few years. So much so that it has been predicted to become one of the flavours of the year 2024, alongside the anticipated peach from PANTONE's colour of the year Peach Fuzz.

But what exactly is ube, and what makes it so special?

In this blog post, we will explore the origins of ube, its nutritional benefits, flavour profile, and pairing options, so you can successfully incorporate it into your future R&D project and product development process.


What is ube?

Examples of two desserts using ube: a glazed cronut and ice cream, both being visually purple

Native to Southeast Asia, Ube is a purple yam that is widely used in the Philippines, particularly in desserts.

It should not be confused with purple sweet potato or taro, as they have distinct texture, colour, and flavour characteristics.

Ube is rich in vitamins, especially vitamins A and C, minerals (particularly potassium), and fibres.

It also contains a high amount of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which gives them their purple colour.

With their vibrant colour, they have become an exciting ingredient in the Western world, especially in creating visually stunning desserts (e.g. ice cream, doughnut, pancake).



Ube Flavour profile

Ube Halaya a thick purple jam

Overall, a lot of websites mentioned that ube tastes earthy and has a vanilla-like and nutty flavour. So I wanted to see it for myself.

I have bought fresh ube to make a Ube Halaya, a classic Filipino treat made of condensed milk, butter and sometimes coconut milk.

It is a type of jam commonly eaten as a snack or dessert, but it's also used in bread, cakes, ice creams, and other desserts.

In the process, I cooked the fresh ube in boiled water until it was soft and mashed it. And during that time the kitchen smelled of burnt sugar and potato.

When I tried the mashed ube, and that proves you how much selection of ingredients is important because the ube I baugh just tasted like potato, it was indeed earthy, very slightly sweet, but didn’t taste of vanilla or nuts whatsoever. After finishing the recipe, it tastes like condensed milk and caramel, like a dulce de leche.

I also bought two ube spreads produced in the Philippines, made just with ube, sugar and water. These ones were more interesting. For me, they smell very earthy, woody and potato-y.

In terms of flavours, these ube spreads for me have some strong chestnut notes with some vanillic and burnt sugar notes. It also has some dried fruit, earthy and creamy notes as well in the background.

Ube spreads: 

🔸Buenas - Ube Spread 

🔸Pearl Delight - Sweet Purple Yam (Ube) Spread 




Ube use and flavour pairing

You can use actual ube or ube flavouring, especially if you are currently using actual chestnuts or chestnuts flavourings.

As it has a lot of similarities with chestnut, ube can be paired with:

Sweet flavours like Chocolate, vanilla or honey; Meat flavours like prosciutto, chicken, pork or lamb; Vegetable flavours like cabbage, mushroom, carotte, celery and butternut squash; and other flavours like rosemary, raisin and pear.




As an entrepreneur, startup founder, or CEO of an SME in the food and beverage industry, incorporating ube into your products can offer multiple benefits.

Ube brings vibrant colour, unique flavour notes, and nutritional benefits.

By pairing ube with familiar and classic flavours such as chocolate, vanilla, mushroom, or chicken, you can generate greater consumer acceptance of something new and innovative while creating a sense of excitement and curiosity.


 Link to related blogs you may enjoy

🔶 Beyond the Bar: 5 Eye-Opening Facts About Cacao and Chocolate flavours

🔶 Uncovering The Flavours Of Chocolate Series | The Impact Of Cacao Process

🔶 How Fermentation Elevates the Flavours of Food & Beverage Products?

🔶 The Sweet Story of Vanilla: From Bean to Extract



The Guardian, ‘What is this flavour?’: why Australian desserts have turned bright purple, 2023 

Baking biscuits, Report: ube is the 2024 flavor of the year, 2023,,foodies%20and%20social%20influencers%20recently

Paste, Ube Just Keeps Getting More Popular, 2023 

Synergy Restaurant Consultants, 2024 Flavor Forecast: Ube Takes Center Stage in Culinary Trends, 2023, 


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Stay ahead of the game and impress your consumers with our extensive flavour, product development, and technical skills & knowledge. 


Discover Our Services

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