Rum & Ube Jam (Halayang Ube)

Ube Jam

From cupcakes, to pancakes, to donuts, and even pop tarts, I’ve been known to experiment a time or two with Ube, the Filipino sweet purple yam. Despite my many Ube experiments and recipes over the years, I’ve never attempted to make Halayang Ube, AKA Ube Jam. This sweet purple jam made from the sweet purple yam is perhaps the most common application for Ube in the Philippines—jars of either store bought or homemade jam are a common pantry item there.

The best of this jarred purple stuff is said to be the Good Shepherd brand of Ube Jam, made at a convent in the mountains of the Northern Philippines (I guess nuns have a way with yams). I’ve had this Good Shepherd jam and it is earthy and sweet, even nutty and almond-y, and it is indeed the best Ube Jam I’ve had.

As ubiquitous as Ube Jam is in the Philippines, it’s also fairly easy to find decent variants at Asian markets here in the States (though you won’t find Good Shepherd here). Although Ube Jam is readily available in stores, they are mediocre at best, and filled with artificial colors and preservatives. Even the Good Shepherd brand lists sodium benzoate as an ingredient, which explains its long shelf life.

So I finally decided to make my own Ube Jam. It couldn’t be all that hard, right? Of course not!

In researching recipes for Ube Jam, I found that most versions include some combination of canned coconut milk, canned condensed milk, canned evaporated milk, butter, sugar, and fresh or frozen grated purple yam. Besides all of the canned milks, another commonality found was a long simmering time with a healthy dose of arm-numbing stirring.

In making my own jam, I streamlined the usual ingredients list, while adding a few unique touches of my own:

Ube Jam Ingredients

All you need for Ube Jam. Oh, and a pinch of salt.

I decided to cut down on all the canned milks and went with all coconut milk instead. This results in a more coconut-forward flavor, but that’s my preference. If you want a less coconutty Ube Jam, use both coconut milk and regular fresh cow’s milk if you like. And although canned condensed milk is usually used as a sweetener, I found that using just sugar alone works just fine. Also, butter is usually used to add a nice sheen and shine to the jam, but because butter isn’t very shelf stable, I cut the butter out altogether and used coconut oil instead.

Hmmm. Am I forgetting anything? Oh yes! Rum! I figured since yam recipes (the orange variety) here in the States usually feature Bourbon, why not add some extra rum kick to Filipino purple yams? The rum is completely optional, but it does lend another nice dimension of flavor to the jam.

Although I streamlined the ingredients list a bit, there’s really no avoiding the long simmering and stirring it takes to make a great Ube Jam. I imagine those Filipino nuns I mention earlier must have some serious guns under their tunics. Anyways, despite the long simmering and stirring, it really is easy to make Ube Jam. Just dump everything (except for the coconut oil and rum) in a pot and simmer and stir away until the mixture is nice and thick.


Stage 1


After about 10 minutes of simmering.


Nice and thick and sticky after about 30 minutes of simmering.

After about a half-hour of simmering and stirring , not only will you have yourself a sore stirring appendage (dude, arm and shoulder day, bro!), you’ll have yourself a beautifully purple and sweet, all-natural and vegan Ube Jam! And you will absolutely marvel at how vividly purple this stuff is too!

So what to do after you’ve got yourself some homemade Ube Jam? Well, you could make those Ube Pop Tarts I mentioned earlier. Or how’s about an Elvis-style Ube Jam and Saba Banana Sandwich? Or you could just eat the stuff straight out of the jar. Enjoy.

Homemade Ube Jam

Purple jam, man.

Rum & Ube Jam (Halayang Ube)

Yield: About 3 cups Ube Jam


  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (Chaokoh brand)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16 oz. frozen grated purple yam, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • (Optional) 1 tablespoon dark rum


  1. Using a rubber spatula, stir together the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and purple yam in a large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Bring everything to a boil, while stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, or medium-low, and continue to simmer and stir until the mixture thickens, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with the spatula to prevent scorching. If the mixture bubbles too much, reduce heat to low.
  3. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring until it becomes the consistency of thick cake batter and begins to pull away from the sides of the pot, about 30 minutes total. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in the coconut oil and continue to mix until the oil is completely incorporated into the jam. Stir in the rum as well until completely incorporated.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool slightly in the pan, then transfer the warm mixture to jars or containers. Store at room temperature for easier spreading. If storing in the refrigerator, allow jam to come to room temp before using so it is easier to spread.

More of my Ube Recipes can be found here.

  • Betty Ann Quirino @Mango_Queen December 10, 2014, 8:52 am

    I love ube and so does my family. I agree with your use of coconut milk to make the halaya richer and better tasting. Thanks for sharing this ube halaya recipe, Marvin. Happy holidays to you and your family!

  • Xerxes December 22, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Hi Marvin! Long time follower, first time poster here. This looks great! I was wondering how long this would last if left unrefrigerated. I’m a canning/pickling fanatic also so would it be overkill to sterilize the jars I use to store the ube?

  • BurntLumpia December 22, 2014, 6:59 pm

    Hi Xerxes,
    Since I don’t have any long-term batches going, I’m not sure how long this would last if left unrefrigerated. I left it out a week with no issues, then transferred to fridge for another week. So far no issues. Although sugar and rum are both natural preservatives, I would still try and consume the jam within a couple weeks if left unrefrigerated, but use common sense–if it smells bad or has mold throw it out:)

    And I don’t think sanitizing the jars would be overkill. I say go for it.

  • Qiwellness Living January 31, 2015, 3:11 am

    Thank you for showing your recipe on how to make Ube Jam. Whenever I saw the beautiful purple color of Ube, it always reminds me about my trip to Baguio. Every time I give this to my families and friends as pasalubong, their sweet smiles is priceless. The recipe is simple to follow, you can have it always. It’s tasty and delicious Ube Jam.

  • Ericka Grace Murcia April 16, 2015, 10:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I really love Ube Jam – this is my all time favorite. Keep on posting! Cheers.

  • Aijika May 25, 2015, 10:22 pm

    By just looking at the photos above, I’m sure that it taste great. I love ube and i’m surely gonna try this one. Thanks for sharing your Ube Halaya recipe.

  • IslandangelAr Ofguam June 22, 2015, 1:43 pm


  • Moriah Phebe February 8, 2016, 5:23 am

    maybe i should try these at school during cooking time… :)
    pls. visit:
    this is my first time and also my project in computer…

  • Babes March 9, 2016, 2:40 am

    Yeyyy… ube done…just now..n really taste goooooood. Tnx much for sharing ur recipe.😘

  • Beverly September 26, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Just came across your website and I’m hooked. I’m planning to cook/bake my way through your website. I’ll be on the Burnt Lumpia diet for the next few weeks! :)

    How long would you say the ube jam is good for in the ‘fridge? Couple weeks?

  • IslandangelAr Ofguam November 13, 2016, 7:17 pm

    Thank you. Looks delicious

  • anon March 13, 2017, 11:57 pm

    Thank you! I drink at least 1K mg vit C everyday, the sodium benzoate ingredient makes the mass produced jams “cancer in a jar” for me.

  • Bev July 22, 2017, 7:18 pm

    This is the best ube jam with less sugar than what I normally tried. The rum and coconut oil is so innovative. The stirring is not that bad since I have a new teflon pan. My compliments to you. I
    normally never leave comments except for any outstanding recipes I tried. Great job and thanks for sharing.


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