What Does Ube Taste Like? A Detailed Guide

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Have you seen those trending purple desserts that are just everywhere on social media? I am sure you must have and most of you probably already know that the color is because of ube. The color of these desserts is wonderful, but are you also wondering what ube tastes like? I am here to help you with that, with this article. 

Ube

Ube generally has a sweet and gentle flavor. The flavor of ube is often described as mellow, nutty, and almost like vanilla. People even often describe the flavor of ube as a cross between white chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio, with a hint of coconut. 

Ube is most popularly used in Filipino cuisine. However, now thanks to more availability of vegetables everywhere, ube has found its place almost everywhere in the world. Ube is used to make a variety of desserts due to its naturally sweet flavor and the pop of color it brings to food. 

I am sure ube flavored desserts are very popular even where you live, despite their Filipino origin. However, before indulging in an ube dessert, I am sure you want to know more in detail about what its flavor is like. Read further to know all about Ube!

What Is Ube?

Ube is a must-try for you if you are interested in trying tropical vegetables. It has a color like no other which makes it stand out, and a sweet flavor which makes it perfect for various types of desserts. 

Ube is a purple yam that belongs to a plant called Dioscorea Alata. Ube originated in the Asian tropics, specifically the Philippines. It is closely related to white fleshy yams. Unlike taro which it is often confused with, ube has a purple flesh interior that intensifies once it is cooked. 

The purple flesh interior of ube has a texture very similar to that of yams and sweet potatoes. When compared to one of its closest relatives, red yams, ube has a much drier texture. However, when compared to the texture of sweet potatoes, cooked ube is usually a little more moist. 

What Does Ube Taste Like?

Ube has a sweet taste that is often compared with white chocolate, vanilla or even pistachio flavor. The sweet flavor is not very intense and stays so after the ube is cooked. The taste of ube also somewhat depends on the size of the vegetable and how it is grown. 

The texture of ube is quite comparable to that of yams or sweet potatoes. There is not much of a distinctive difference between them, however, ube is slightly drier than other types of yams, especially when compared to red yams. It has a more powdery texture. 

Usually, a larger ube has a sweeter flavor than a smaller one. Moreover, the starch of ube breaks down really well, and that is what usually brings out the vanilla flavor that ube is linked with. 

Does Ube Taste Like Vanilla?

Quite often, the flavor of ube is said to have subtle hints of vanilla by many. However, most of you may be wondering if the flavor is an exact match to that of vanilla. Well, I’d just say it’s better to know what to expect out of the unexpected! Same is the case with ube, when we talk about many of its complex flavors and compare it with vanilla. 

The flavor of ube is often described as having subtle hints of vanilla with an undertone nutty flavor. However, the flavor is not an exact match with the flavor of vanilla. Ube has many complex flavors all wrapped into one, like hints of pistachio and white chocolate.

So yes, ube does have hints of vanilla in its flavor, however, it does not have an exact same flavor as that of vanilla and has certain other complex flavors too. 

Does Ube Taste Like Potatoes?

Ube is a tube-like root, similar to potatoes and sweet potatoes. As potatoes are more widely consumed amongst most people in the world as compared to sweet potatoes, many may wonder if ube has any similarity in flavor with regular old potatoes! So, let me clear this confusion out before you taste ube for the first time. 

Most potatoes that are used for various recipes around the world have a starchy and earthy flavor which is often quite mild, with a little hint of sweetness. The hint of sweet flavor in potatoes does get stronger if they are stored at lower temperatures. This is because at lower temperatures, the starch in the potatoes turns partially into sugar. 

Cooked potatoes also have a mild and starchy flavor, however, the flavor balance generally goes more towards a savory and umami side. Ube, on the other hand, tastes nothing like that!

Ube has a much sweeter flavor than any variety of potatoes from around the world. Ube has barely any hints of savory flavor to it, which makes it quite distinct from regular potatoes. 

Does Ube Taste Like Purple Sweet Potato?

Quite a lot of people have a misconception about ube that it might taste similar to purple sweet potato or that they are probably the same thing. However, there is a difference between the two root vegetables when it comes to their flavor and texture. 

Both ube and purple sweet potato have an earthy and sweet flavor to them, however, there are certain differences to note. To start off, ube has notes of vanilla and pistachio flavor which purple sweet potato does not. 

Moreover, when we compare the textures of the two, there are certain differences there too. Purple sweet potatoes have a dry texture once cooked, as compared to ube which can be a little moist. 

Does Ube Taste Like Taro?

Taro and ube are quite often confused with each other. As they are both root vegetables and have a starchy texture, many manufacturers sell taro with added color, in the name of ube.

Moreover, taro also has purple or lilac speckles in its interior, making it even more confusing for some to figure out the difference. Though I have mentioned in a section later what the exact differences are between taro and ube, let me give you a brief idea just about the differences in their flavors. 

Usually with taro, the flavor largely depends on the size of the root vegetable. Larger varieties of taro tend to have a nuttier flavor, whereas smaller ones have a milder flavor. However, the overall flavor of taro is mildly sweet. The balance of the sweetness in taro is such that it works well in both sweet and savory recipes. 

Ube, as a matter of fact, has a much sweeter flavor when compared to taro. Ube has more prominent flavors of vanilla and nuttiness, which makes this root vegetable mostly suitable only for sweet recipes. So, it can be safely said that taro is much milder in flavor than ube, though it does have certain hints of sweetness to it. 

Is Ube Bitter?

By now you know that ube has a sweet flavor to it, which is often compared with various other sweet flavors like vanilla, pistachio and even white chocolate. However, even certain things that primarily do taste sweet have a bitter undertone to them. So, is it the same with ube? Let us find out! 

The flavor of ube is described slightly differently by everyone who tastes it. Well, that is of course the case as all our taste buds perceive things differently. Though there is not much substantial evidence to this, some people do describe the flavor of ube as having subtle bitter undertones to it, along with the sweet flavor. 

However, the main flavor of ube is quite sweet and as described earlier, comparable to various other sweet tasting flavors. So, the bitter undertone that comes with it does get overridden by the sweetness. So, overall, it can be said that ube does not taste bitter, but pleasantly sweet.  

What Does Ube Ice Cream Taste Like?

I am sure most of you must have seen those vibrant purple, social media worthy ice creams that are sold quite a lot everywhere. So, by now most of you know that this is ube ice cream.

Most of us, when trying a new ingredient, usually go for a variant of the ingredient rather than eating it as it is. So, when it comes to trying ube, many people may want to know what ube products taste like. Hence, I have described the flavor of one of the most popular ube products, ube ice cream!

Ice cream, in any flavor or form, generally has a sweet flavor. Ube also has a sweet flavor, as described before. When ube is made into ice cream, it tastes nothing like a sweet potato or yam would.

Moreover, it does not give the ice cream that sort of texture. Ube ice cream has a prominent flavor of ube itself, which is sweet with hints of vanilla, pistachio and also white chocolate. 

What Does Ube Mochi Taste Like?

Mochi is a Japanese dessert which is quite popular. It has an exterior layer which is made with glutinous rice flour with a filling inside. As ube products are becoming more popular, ube mochi is a new variant that many people have seen, but are not sure about trying. So, let me tell you how exactly ube mochi tastes, to make it easier for you to decide! 

Any type of mochi has a chewy exterior. Same is the case with ube mochi. The exterior is chewy and inside, it is filled with ube ice cream. The exterior will have a sweet taste when you bite into the mochi.

Once you reach the center, you will get to taste ube ice cream. Ube ice cream has the exact same taste as an ube, which is sweet with hints of vanilla. The combination of the stretchy casing with the mild flavor ube ice cream on the inside is a great sweet treat!  

What Does Ube Latte Taste Like?

We have all had lattes when we crave a delicious and milky cup of coffee. However, people have come up with a variant of latte, ube latte. As this drink may be common around where you live, I am sure you must be wanting to try it. ( Who wouldn’t? It is tasty and vibrant!) So, ube latte is made with ube extract, ice, espresso, sugar and milk. 

The base flavor of ube latte is sweet with hints of vanilla, coming from the ube. Based on the type of milk that is used to make ube latte, it can have a nutty to a milky flavor.

Despite the sweet vanilla flavor coming from the ube extract, ube latte has an undertone of a strong coffee flavor coming from the espresso. All in all, it is a perfect balance of sweetness from the ube and slight bitterness from the coffee. 

What Does Ube Boba Taste Like?

Bubble tea or boba is generally very famous everywhere. Add ube to the whole concoction and you end up with an insta-worthy drink! However, is ube boba just good for pictures or does it even taste good? 

Ube is popularly used in boba for the flavor and the color that it imparts. Ube in general has a sweet flavor very close to vanilla, so it is a great option for a base in sweet teas. However, ube also has a nutty flavor that balances out the sweetness, making it not sickly sweet. 

What Does Ube Cake Taste Like? 

Ube cake is another variant of ube which is taking over the world. These purple cakes are taking the world by storm not just because of their vibrant color, but also because people are really liking the flavor of ube cake. So many of you may wonder what a root vegetable would actually taste like in a cake. 

To simplify it, most people in the western world use ube extract to make ube cakes. This is because fresh ube is not available over there. Other than ube extract, even frozen ube is used to make ube cake. 

The base flavor of the cake is extremely vibrant, with vanilla hints in its flavor along with mellow undertones of pistachio and white chocolate. Ube cake is quite often paired with ube jam and coconut frosting. The coconut frosting gives a great balance of flavors by adding a nutty element into the whole flavor profile of ube cakes. 

However, there are also variations of ube cake where people use ube whipped cream or buttercream. With these cakes, you get a slightly stronger flavor of ube, as compared to the cakes which are frosted with coconut cream. 

What Does Ube Taste Similar To?

Quite often, when it comes to trying a new thing, it is best to know what a particular ingredient’s flavor matches with.

Though ube is compared with flavors like vanilla, pistachio and white chocolate, the closest vegetable to ube, in terms of flavor is taro. While comparing the two flavors, ube tastes quite similar to taro, but is more on the sweeter side whereas taro is much milder. 

How To Cook Ube?

how to cook ube

A lot of you may be wondering what the right way to cook ube is. It is a new ingredient for many, and you all may not be experienced with how exactly you can work with Ube. Let me give you some information about the right way to cook ube. 

Before we start, there is one major thing to note and remember, ube cannot be eaten raw! It contains certain toxins when raw, which usually dissolve once the ube is cooked, making it a good ingredient to cook various recipes with. 

The Right Way To Cook Ube:

To cook ube in a proper way, to get that perfect balance of flavors and to get the right texture, follow the instructions given below. 

  1. To prepare the ube, start by peeling off its bark-like skin. Make sure you don’t peel it too much as the skin is quite thin.
  2. Once you have peeled the skin, boil the ube the same way you boil sweet potato in water. Its flesh will turn soft, similar to potatoes, and you will know once it is cooked. 
  3. Once cooked, the ube can be cut open from the center and enjoyed as it is or use it for different recipes. 

Nutritional Content Of Ube

Ube, a root vegetable, is very highly nutritious. It is not as high in calories and is packed with various vital nutrients. Ube is an exceptional source of vitamin C, potassium and also a good source of carbohydrates, all while being low in fat content. 

Now I know most of you just wanted to know what ube tastes like, however, wouldn’t it be great to also know how nutritious this vegetable is? The nutritional values of ube are given in the table below.

NutrientAmount (Serving 1 Cup or 100 Grams Of Cooked Ube)
Calories140 kcal
Carbohydrates27 grams
Protein1 gram
Fat0.1 grams
Sodium0.83% of Daily Value (DV)
Potassium13.5% of DV
Fiber4 grams
Vitamin A4% of DV
Vitamin C40% of DV
Calcium2% of DV

(Note – Here percentage and Daily Value or DV denotes the amount of how much of a nutrient you are getting out of ube from the amount suggested for a day.)

How To Preserve Ube For Best Taste?

When it comes to using ube to cook various recipes, it is important to know the best way in which you can preserve this vegetable. Although it is a type of root vegetable, a lot of people are new to the concept of using ube. So, it may get confusing as to how exactly ube must be stored. Let me share some tips on how exactly you can store ube to preserve its taste and freshness. 

  1. Outside of the Philippines, ube is mostly available in a frozen form. However, if you somehow manage to get your hands on fresh ube, the best way to preserve it is by storing it in a cook and dark place.
  2. Fresh ube will last in a cool and dark environment for close to a week. 
  3. In case you want to store your fresh ube for a longer period of time, you can store it at temperatures lower than room temperature and higher than the refrigerator.
  4. Under these conditions, fresh ube can last for upto a month.
  5. With frozen ube, you can store it in your freezer without worrying about it for 2-3 months.

Conclusion

Ube is an ingredient used quite often to make various desserts, especially those where the color must stand out. It has a sweet flavor that is often compared to vanilla and chocolate and is a perfect fit for almost any type of dessert you would like to make. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is Ube?

Ube is a tropical root vegetable originating from the Philippines.

What is another name for ube?

Ube is also known by the name ‘purple yam’ . 

What does ube taste like?

Ube has a sweet flavor that is often compared with that of white chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio. 

What is ube used for?

Ube is most commonly used to make various types of desserts. 

Is ube the same as taro?

No, ube and taro are two different types of root vegetables. 

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