Ube vs Purple Sweet Potato: Which is Healthier?

Ube vs Purple Sweet Potato While both are tubers with a similar purple hue, ube, and purple sweet potato differ in taste and texture. Ube has a milder, sweeter flavour with a creamy, almost floral taste, while the purple sweet potato is earthier and less sweet.

Ube vs Purple Sweet Potato

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Overview Of Ube vs Purple Sweet Potato

AspectUbePurple Sweet Potato
NameUbe (Purple Yam)Purple Sweet Potato
Scientific NameDioscorea alataIpomoea batatas
OriginSoutheast AsiaCentral and South America
Sweet and nutty flavourBright purple skin and fleshPurple skin and white/purple flesh
TasteRich in carbohydrates and fibreThe sweet and earthy flavour
TextureCreamy and smoothFirm and starchy
Nutritional ContentHigh in vitamin C, fibre, potassium, and antioxidantsIt may help improve digestion, rich in antioxidants
Health BenefitsCooked in savoury dishes and desserts, like sweet potato casseroleSupports immune health, aids digestion, and may lower blood pressure
Culinary UseUsed in various desserts and sweets, such as Ube Halaya and Ube Ice CreamIt may cause allergic reactions in some individuals
Popular DishesUbe Jam, Ube Cheese Pandesal, Ube Leche FlanPurple Sweet Potato Fries, Purple Sweet Potato Pie
AvailabilityCommon in Southeast Asian marketsWidely available in many countries
Allergen Informationsafe for most peopleMay cause allergic reactions in some individuals
StorageStore in a cool, dark placeStore in a cool, dry place

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Ube vs Purple Sweet Potato

Recently, there has been a rising trend in the culinary world surrounding purple-coloured foods. Among these vibrant options, two popular choices are ube and purple sweet potato. These root vegetables boast a stunning purple hue and offer a range of health benefits. However, there are some distinct differences between the two. This article will compare and contrast ube and purple sweet potatoes to help you understand their unique qualities and decide which suits your palate and nutritional needs.

What is Ube?

Ube, also known as purple yam, is a tuberous root vegetable native to the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. Its vibrant purple colour makes it a visually appealing ingredient in various dishes. Ube is widely used in Filipino cuisine, especially in desserts. It is often transformed into a sweet jam, ice cream, or cake filling thanks to its naturally sweet and creamy flavour.

What is Purple Sweet Potato?

Purple sweet potato, also known as Okinawan sweet potato, is a variety of sweet potato with deep purple flesh. It originated in the tropical islands of Okinawa, Japan, and is now grown in various parts of the world. Purple sweet potato has a slightly sweet and nutty flavour, and its vibrant colour adds a unique twist to both sweet and savoury dishes.

Taste and Flavor

While both ube and purple sweet potato share a similar purple colour, their taste profiles differ. Ube has a distinct, earthy flavour with hints of vanilla, while purple sweet potato tastes sweeter and nuttier. Ube is often described as having a more pronounced flavour, making it a popular dessert choice. Purple sweet potato, on the other hand, pairs well with both sweet and savoury ingredients.

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Nutritional Content

Regarding nutritional value, both ube and purple sweet potatoes offer a range of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. However, there are some variations between the two.

Ube Nutritional Content:

  • Rich in carbohydrates and dietary fibre
  • Good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E
  • Contains potassium, calcium, and iron

Purple Sweet Potato Nutritional Content:

  • High in antioxidants
  • Good source of vitamin C and vitamin A
  • Contains dietary fibre and potassium

Health Benefits

Both ube and purple sweet potato offer numerous health benefits due to their rich nutritional profiles. Here are some of the potential health benefits associated with consuming these purple-hued root vegetables:

Ube Health Benefits:

  • It may help boost the immune system due to its vitamin C content
  • Provides antioxidants that can help reduce oxidative stress
  • It may aid in digestion and promote gut health due to its dietary fibre content

Purple Sweet Potato Health Benefits:

  • Rich in anthocyanins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • It may help improve eye health due to its high content of vitamin A and other beneficial compounds
  • Provides dietary fibre that supports healthy digestion

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Uses in Cooking

Both ube and purple sweet potato offer versatility in the kitchen and can be used in various culinary creations. Here are some popular ways to incorporate them into your dishes:

Ube Uses:

  • Ube halaya (jam) for spreading on bread or using as a filling in pastries
  • Ube ice cream or milkshake for a cool and creamy dessert
  • Ube cake or cupcakes for a visually stunning and delicious treat

Purple Sweet Potato Uses:

  • Purple sweet potato fries for a colourful twist on a classic side dish
  • Purple sweet potato pie or tart for a flavorful and eye-catching dessert
  • Purple sweet potato mash is a vibrant alternative to traditional mashed potatoes


While both ube and purple sweet potato offer a burst of vibrant purple colour and a range of health benefits, they have some differences. Ube leans towards a sweeter and creamier taste, making it a popular choice in Filipino desserts. In contrast, purple sweet potato has a nuttier flavour that complements sweet and savoury dishes. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and the specific recipe you wish to create. So, whether you’re craving a decadent ube cake or a colourful purple sweet potato mash, these root vegetables can add a delicious and visually appealing element to your meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between ube and purple sweet potato?

Ube is a purple yam native to the Philippines, while purple sweet potato is a variety of sweet potatoes with purple flesh. Ube has a unique flavour, described as a mix of vanilla and pistachio, while purple sweet potato has a milder taste.

Can I use purple sweet potato instead of ube in recipes?

Yes, you can substitute purple sweet potato for ube in recipes. However, remember that the flavour and texture may differ slightly, so the end result may not be exactly the same as using ube.

How do I cook ube?

To cook ube, you can boil, steam, or bake it until it is soft. Once cooked, you can mash or puree it in various recipes like desserts, jams, or ice cream.

Are ube and purple sweet potato nutritionally similar?

Ube and purple sweet potato are both nutritious, but their nutritional profiles vary slightly. Both are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Are there any health benefits associated with consuming ube or purple sweet potato?

Both ube and purple sweet potato are rich in antioxidants, which help protect against cell damage. They also provide dietary fibre, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.

Can I use regular sweet potato instead of purple sweet potato?

Yes, you can use regular sweet potato as a substitute for purple sweet potato. However, remember that the colour and taste may differ, affecting your dish’s appearance and flavour.

How can I store ube or purple sweet potato?

Store ube and purple sweet potato in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. They can be stored for a few weeks at room temperature or refrigerated for longer shelf life.

Can I freeze Ube or purple sweet potato?

Yes, you can freeze cooked and mashed ube or purple sweet potato. Place it in an airtight container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Are there any traditional Filipino dishes that use ube?

Yes, ube is commonly used in Filipino desserts like ube halaya (jam), ube ice cream, and ube-filled pastries. It is also used to make ube-flavoured cakes and breads.

Are there any savoury dishes that use ube or purple sweet potato?

While ube and purple sweet potato are often used in sweet dishes, they can also be used in savoury dishes like ube soup, purple sweet potato fries, or roasted purple sweet potato chunks.


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