The Ultimate Ube Ice Cream

I (Carl) have never been super into the foods of my own people (Filipino). I have my favorites here and there but I tend to not really go for Filipino food at all! People get pretty shocked when I express my mediocre feelings towards the cuisine since I am also Filipino but just because I am not too into it doesn’t mean I don’t know what good Filipino food tastes like. I do know my Filipino sweets pretty well as I would go for any of the sweet dishes over the savory dishes any day! This week we are attempting to make an ube ice cream. Ube is a very popular flavor not only for Filipinos but for other nationalities as well! People all over the world enjoy Magnolia’s ube ice cream and now Trader Joe’s even has their own version of ube ice cream in stores. You can make pan de sal with a gooey ube filling, an ube chiffon cake, or a halo halo topping!

We attempted a lot of experiments to get this right. We made a base from purple yam jam which sounds really tasty but it froze really hard and was really chalky. We made a puree out of the ube and then added it to the base. but again the texture wasn’t what we was looking for. We roasted the ube, we added it straight to the base, we did all kinds of things until one morning I woke up and just wanted to make it with a different style base and honestly just made the ice cream from feel and it came out right!

The thing with ube, or any potato for that matter, is that it freezes hard, which is why the ingredient of choice when it comes to homemade ice cream is ube extract. You control the color (although it will look fake purple) but you don’t have to worry too much about how the texture will be. We want all our ice creams to be as wholesome and natural as can be, of course there may be a few exceptions IF we cannot find a way but it has yet to come to that. Also, there are a lot of ube ice cream recipes that are no churn because they use extract and not the actual potato (this also can be due to the fact that ube yams are hard to find fresh or frozen). This is why we had to do a ton of experimenting to form this recipe because getting the texture right with an ingredient that freezes hard or holds a lot of moisture in itself is very difficult. With all of that going against us we made it work but before we get into the process let’s give a little background on ube itself.

When most people think of ube they think of taro when in fact they are 2 different things! So those taro boba drinks that you order and sometimes call ube aren’t at all “ube” in any way! While we are on the topic of taro, the skin of both are fairly dark with ube being a little darker than taro but on the inside both are very different, taro has more of a white flesh with purple specks and ube is like a royal purple. Flavor wise, ube has a much sweeter flavor than the neutral flavor of taro that can either go sweet or savory. Those are the 2 ingredients that usually get mixed up but there is a 3rd potato that also gets confused with ube because of the color and that is the Okinawan purple sweet potato. As soon as most learn that ube is a purple yam they go out to their local asian grocery to find it fresh only to discover a tuber that has a purple inside and mistake it for ube. Although they may have similar flesh purple color, the outside of the Okinawan sweet potato tends to be much lighter. Both are sweet and I sometimes have had the sweet potato much sweeter than the ube! When you’re in a pinch the Okinawan sweet potato can be a great substitute for ube but just don’t call it ube! Now that you know ube, taro, and Okinawan purple sweet potatoes are all different let’s get to our homemade ube ice cream guide!

One last thing! It may be hard to find fresh ube or purple yam to make the ube halaya or this ice cream but some asian groceries may sell the frozen purple yam so don’t forget to check the frozen section! If using fresh, make sure to boil the potatoes skin on until you can stab a fork in it then let it cool until you’re able to handle it to peel off the skin. Then you can proceed with the following recipe. We could only find the frozen grated ube near us but the search for fresh ube will continue!

Carlienne’s Ultimate Ube Ice Cream with Ube Halaya Chunks Recipe

Ube Halaya Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb Frozen Grated Purple Yam* – Thawed
  • 5oz Condensed milk
  • 3oz Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Tbs Butter melted
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract

*We prefer the Simex brand of ube since it has no added food colorings.

Ube Halaya Instructions

  1. Melt butter on medium in a pot.
  2. Add condensed milk and thawed purple yam.
  3. Cook down on medium low until sticky but not dried out. Stir constantly to avoid burning or sticking.
  4. Add evaporated milk and vanilla extra and cook down until desired thickness. We like it at a pudding consistency. Again, stir constantly to avoid burning or sticking.
  5. Place in a container for cooling.

Ube Ice Cream Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup Cream
  • 1.5 cup Milk
  • 12oz Grated Ube – Thawed and Steamed
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tbs Cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ube Ice Cream Instructions

  1. Combine milk, cream and ube in a pot on medium heat and heat until it starts to get a little steam, stir to get the flavors infused.
  2. (Optional) With a stick blender, pulse the mixture a 3-4 times to break up the bits but avoid blending for too long as you do not want to thicken this mix. Blending it a few times will release some of the color of the ube into your liquid mixture.
    • Pro Tip: These first steps are just to flavor the milk and cream of ube. Going hard with the blender will whip the cream mixture and thicken it and will make it almost impossible to strain to get any liquid out from it. If you use this mixture in your base without straining and blended really well the texture will still be gritty.
  3. Once the ube cream mixture gets a little more steamy but not thick (the process only took 4-5 minutes), strain the mixture to remove the ube.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine your sugar cornstarch and salt together and pour in about 1/3 of the hot mixture into it and the rest of it in a pot on medium heat.
  5. Mix the liquid and sugar mixture together to create a slurry that will thicken your base, then add it back to the pot and whisk it well to break up any cornstarch bits.
  6. Heat the base until a nice custard looking base has formed and transfer to a container to cool down completely.
  7. Once cooled, churn your ice cream in your ice cream maker following the instructions of your machine.
    • Pro Tip: We usually stop our churn when it starts to look like soft serve ice cream. We go a little longer maybe 1-2 minutes longer in churning if we have to put a swirl or some kind of filling in our ice creams.

    • Let it freeze for at least 4 hours and don’t forget to let your ice cream sit out 8-10 minutes before serving so it gets to the optimal ice cream serving temperature of 0 – 5 degrees!
ultimate ube ice cream
ultimate ube ice cream

Tools Used To Make This Dish*

Camera Gear List*

*I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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