How to Make Ube Bread from Scratch

It's time to learn how to make ube bread! This recipe is for a pull-apart loaf that features a gorgeous purple ube swirl.

If you’ve made filled breads before—think cinnamon rolls or pinwheel bread—you might be looking for new flavors to experiment with. You’ve likely tried cinnamon, chocolate, fruits, nuts and even savory fillings, but you likely haven’t tried ube!

What Is Ube?

Ube (OOH-beh) is a purple yam indigenous to the Philippines. It’s often made into a jam called ube halaya, and that jam is used as a base or filling to make breads, ice cream, doughnuts and pies. Ube has a dark brown skin, but when it’s cut open, has bright purple flesh. Like banana ketchup, ube is an unfamiliar ingredient to most Americans, but it has a familiar flavor. Fresh ube has a subtle vanilla and coconut flavor, but the flavor is more pronounced when cooked with milk and sugar.

Where Can You Buy Ube?

It’s hard to find fresh ube, even in Filipino grocery stores. Most ube used in recipes is already steamed, mashed and frozen. Look for this in the frozen section of Filipino grocery stores or larger Asian grocery store chains. You can also find dehydrated ube online. (To use the dehydrated ube, first reconstitute with boiling water and use like regular steamed ube.)

To further enhance the ube flavor and add a more intense purple color, look for ube extract or paste.

How to Make Ube Bread

For this bread, we are going to make soft and uber fluffy milk bread. But don’t worry—this is the super-easy version where all you need is whole milk and butter. You will need some milk powder, though, as this helps the bread get its soft, bouncy crumb.


how to make ube bread ingredientsRezel Kealoha for Taste of Home

Ube Halaya (Ube Jam)

  • 1 packet (16 ounces) frozen steamed and mashed ube, defrosted
  • 1 can (14 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ube extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Milk Bread

  • 2-1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

Tools You’ll Need


Step 1: Make ube halaya

In a large saucepan, mix together the ube, coconut milk, sugar and ube extract. Turn the heat up to medium and bring to a boil. Then, take the heat down to low and mix constantly until the mixture starts getting thick. This can take up to an hour!

Take off the heat and add in the butter. Mix well and transfer to a bowl to cool. As the mixture cools down, it will start to set into a spreadable consistency.

Step 2: Make the dough

making the dough step-by-step how to make ube breadRezel Kealoha for Taste of Home

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the milk. Set aside and leave to cool to room temperature.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour, yeast, milk powder and salt. Add in the milk and butter mixture and lightly mix by hand until it starts to look like shaggy dough.

Next, fit the stand mixer with its dough hook. Start the stand mixer on low speed and knead for 15 to 18 minutes.

To find out if the dough is ready, grab a small piece of dough and pull as thin as you can without ripping. If the dough is ripping easily, keep kneading and checking every two minutes.

Once the dough is ready, take it out of the bowl and form a tight ball. To do this, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and drag the ball of dough toward you. Lightly flour the same bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Step 3: Form the ube bread

how to make ube bread forming the dough step-by-stepRezel Kealoha for Taste of Home

Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Uncover the dough and punch down to deflate. Divide the dough into three equal-sized balls.

Staring with one dough ball, roll out into an oval. Spread the ube halaya all over the dough, leaving 1/2″ uncovered on one long side. Starting at the covered long edge—the edge with no 1/2″ gap—roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seams to seal. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Step 4: Arrange in the pan

Once all the rolls are done, cut each roll in half for a total of six ube bread rolls.

Grease a small loaf pan with melted butter. Then, arrange the rolls in the loaf pan, with three rolls on each side. Cover with cling wrap and let rise for an hour.

Step 4: Bake

how to make ube breadRezel Kealoha for Taste of Home

Once the loaf has finished its second rise, pop it into a 350º F oven for 25 to 28 minutes. The top of the bread should be a nice golden brown when it’s done! Brush on some melted butter to get a nice shiny top. Leave to rest in the loaf tin for five minutes, then remove the bread and let cool on a wire rack.

To serve, either pull each roll apart or slice as a regular loaf of bread.

Tips for Making Ube Bread

how to make ube breadRezel Kealoha for Taste of Home

Can you make this recipe with different colored yams?

By all means, you can replace the ube with regular orange yams. Just remember to change the name—it’s no longer ube bread if you’re not using ube.

Regular yeast vs. instant yeast—is there a difference?

There is a difference between these types of yeast. The biggest difference is that instant yeast can be added right to your dough withoug proofing it first. If you want to use regular active dry yeast, proof it first in a bit of warm water. You want to wait for the yeast to come alive! Then, add it to the mixture at the same time you add the milk and butter.

What do I do if the bread has not doubled in size after an hour?

As this recipe has lots of milk and butter, it slows down the work the yeast has to do to help it rise. If it’s too cold in your house, it might take another hour for the dough to double in size. Don’t worry—be patient. If you do have a cold house, a good tip is to place the dough in the oven (but don’t turn it on) with a cup of boiling water on the bottom rack. It will help speed things up.

My ube halaya is lumpy. What can I do? If you have an immersion blender, use that to smooth things out. If not, press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve with a wooden spoon. This will take longer, but it will take the lumps out.

Can I buy ube halaya (ube jam)? Yes, of course! You can find ready-made jars online at Filipino markets.

Rezel Kealoha
I am a food stylist, food photographer, recipe developer and food writer. I work from my home studio while listening to my Kindergardner do her zoom classes.