Creamy, nutty, and absolutely delicious! You can make this Ube Ice Cream with fresh or frozen ube, or even use purple sweet potatoes instead for a treat that is just as vibrant and impressive!
Easy, creamy and delicious ube ice cream!
I recently shared my recipe for ube halaya; the jam counterpart of this intriguing vegetable. Ube is very popular in Filipino cuisine, and is routinely featured in lots of different dishes. And it’s quickly gaining traction all over the world as well.
One of the most popular ube treats of course is ube ice cream!
What is Ube?
Pronounced “ooh-beh”, this is a type of yam that has pale purple-colored flesh. I discussed what ube purple yam is in detail in my ube halaya post, where I also discussed the difference between taro (root vegetables) and purple sweet potatoes (Hawaiian / Okinawan sweet potatoes).
Ube has a unique flavor and texture profile that works really well for desserts. The striking purple color also makes ube desserts stand out even more. This purple yam ice cream is no exception!
Why you should try this ice cream recipe!
This ice cream is different from all the other regular ice cream recipes on my blog. That’s because this does not use any eggs!
Since I’m using (frozen) fresh ube here, there’s enough starch in fresh ube to thicken the ice cream base sufficiently to create a delicious and creamy ice cream, without the need for eggs.
My ube ice cream recipe is made with an ice cream maker. And I’m not using any sweetened condensed milk in the base either. This way the ice cream is not overly sweet, and the ube flavor stands out and shines more!
However, since there are no eggs, and it’s not as sweet as other ice creams, this ube ice cream does harden a little more in the freezer. That’s because egg yolks add fat to the ice cream which thickens it, but also keeps the ice cream softer at lower temperature. And sugar also helps keep the ice cream softer at freezing temperatures.
So without these two components, the purple yam ice cream hardens more in the freezer compared to regular ice cream.
But just leave the ice cream at room temp. for a few minutes, and it’ll soon become soft enough to create some deliciously smooth scoops of ice cream.
How to make purple yam ice cream with fresh ube / purple yam
Is this made with fresh ube or frozen ube?
You can make it with either.
When I make this with frozen ube from our local Filipino store, I always cook the ube in a pan with the butter first. This is important. And it isn’t difficult either, because frozen ube usually comes very finely grated, which makes the cooking process quick.
Alternatively, if you have fresh ube chunks OR you’re making it with purple sweet potatoes, you can STEAM the purple yam / sweet potatoes first. Then grate the cooked/steamed yam, and proceed with the recipe.
The ube is cooked with butter to create a smooth, mashed potato-like consistency. I also like to add ube extract to this mixture for two reasons;
- To enhance the flavor of ube, without having to add more fresh ube.
- To make the color more vibrant.
This ube base is heated over medium heat with coconut milk (or evaporated milk), and sugar. The starches in the ube will absorb the liquid and thicken the ice cream base as you cook it.
Add a little vanilla extract and a very small amount of lemon juice (this will perk up the purple yam flavor). This is the ube paste base for the ice cream.
Add heavy cream to the ube paste base and let it chill completely (I prefer to keep the ice cream base in the fridge overnight).
This base is then churned in your ice cream machine (according to the manufacturer’s instructions). After churning, the ice cream will have a soft serve consistency. You could eat it right away, or place the ice cream in a freezer safe container and freeze it for a few hours.
Can I make a no churn ice cream version?
You can make no churn ube ice cream. The result will be different, however.
For every 1 cup of the thick ube paste, whisk 1 cup of chilled whipping cream until stiff peaks, and fold in the ube paste. Freeze the base in a freezer safe container until it hardens (a few hours), and then you can enjoy your no churn ube ice cream.
Regular ube ice cream vs no churn ube ice cream
I personally prefer churned ube ice cream made with an ice cream machine. The no churn version is too “airy” for my liking, because of the whipped cream, while the regular, churned version has more substance to it.
Either way, purple yam ice cream is a uniquely fantastic treat! The starchy base has a very creamy mouthfeel, and the ube flavor shines through, without being too sweet.
I like to sprinkle some coconut brittle on top of my purple yam ice cream, because that crunch is such a lovely contrast to the creamy ice cream texture. Plus the coconut flavor perfectly complements the ube flavor as well!
If you liked this recipe you may also like,
Ube Ice Cream (Purple Yam Ice Cream)
- 227 g frozen ube grated and raw (or substitute with purple sweet potatoes)
- 56 g butter 4 tbsp / 2 oz
- 1 - 2 tsp ube extract optional
- 240 mL coconut milk 1 cup, from a can
- 50 g white sugar ¼ cup
- 50 g brown sugar ¼ cup (if you like it sweeter, increase the brown sugar to 100 g / ½ cup)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
For the ice cream
- 360 mL whipping cream 35% fat, 1.5 cups
- Place the ube and butter in a non-stick pan.
- Cook over medium heat while moving the ube around the pan. Make sure the ube doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Mix it frequently with the butter until cooked through and the mixture looks like mashed potato. This can take about 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the stove.
- Add the ube extract if using, and mix it in well with the ube paste.
- Place the ube paste in a medium pot, with the coconut milk, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Use a stick blender to blend the mixture until nice and smooth.
- Heat over medium heat while stirring frequently until the mixture boils, and then thickens to a very thick pudding-like consistency. This can take about 10 - 20 minutes, depending on your stove and pot size.
- Place the thick ube base in a large jug or bowl that can hold 4 - 5 cups of water.
- Add the whipping cream and fold until the mixture is completely smooth with no lumps.
- Cover the jug with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge overnight, until the whole mixture is chilled. You should get about 800 - 900 mL of the ice cream base.
- The following day, churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Once churned, transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 3 hours.
- If the ice cream hardens too much (this is normal due to the absence of eggs and reduced sugar in this recipe), let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes, and it will soon be easier to scoop.
For the no churn version (please note that the texture will be different)
- Measure out the ube base in a measuring jug. You should have about 1.5 cups of the ube base. Let it chill in the fridge until completely chilled.
- Measure out 1.5 cups of chilled 35% cream, and whisk it in a cold, metal bowl until it's almost at stiff peaks (mid peaks).
- Fold in the chilled ube base until there are no white or dark purple streaks. Place the ice cream in a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 4 - 5 hours, or until frozen.