Ube donuts (also ube doughnuts) have gained prominence as international flavors became more sought after and gourmet doughnuts have become more mainstream. With their vibrant purple hues, these donuts easily stand out from the crowd. But it’s not just their looks that get people’s attention. Their sweet and subtle nutty flavors combined with a creamy mouthfeel make for many a return customer.
Fried dough has taken many forms in different cuisines, from Mexican churros to Italian zeppole. However, the classic round doughnut is one of the most popular forms of fried dough throughout the world. Due to this expansive demand for doughnuts (more commonly spelled “donuts” in America), a wider spectrum of flavors has arisen, particularly in the 2010s as the rainbow colored food trend took off.
To appease broadening palates, many gourmet donut shops have expanded their flavor offerings to include more flavors from different countries and their cuisines. Ube donuts, among other desserts containing the sweet purple yam, are some the largest beneficiaries of this global culinary movement.
How do they get that purple color?
These donuts have a unique purple hue because they are infused with (surprise) ube, purple yams or tubers originally grown in the Philippines. The color of purple yams (which come from the natural pigment anthocyanin) can range from a light lavender to a deep purple. These purple yam donuts are not to be confused with ube-filled bunwelos (or buñuelos), which are similar to large donut holes filled with ube jam and are the typical deep-fried golden brown color on the outside.
Where can I get Ube Donuts?
Ube donuts can usually be found in gourmet donut shops that specialize in international flavors and styles. Mochi donuts often come in ube or taro (which is different from ube). View the map below to find where you can try these vibrant purple donuts yourself.
How do I make ube donuts?
There are a number of different ways to make these purple yam-infused donuts. This recipe provides an easy air-fried option using pre-made biscuits. It includes a straightforward, easy-to-follow option to make a coconut ube glaze. You can modify the recipe as needed depending on the kitchen equipment you have on hand.
- 1 cup powdered pugar ½ cup extra – optional to sprinkle on top
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp ube extract
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 can Grands!™ Flaky Layers Biscuits (16.3 oz)
- Preheat air fryer for 1-2 minutes to 350°F.
- In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, milk, and ube and vanilla extracts. Whisk until completely smooth.
- Open can of biscuits and place individual biscuits on a cutting board. Use cookie cutter to create a hole in the middle of each of the donuts. (Save hole cut outs to make donut holes, if desired.)
- Grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Gently put donuts in basket. Make sure they are not touching each other or stacked. Air fry for 3 minutes. (Repeat for multiple batches, if necessary.)
- Flip each donut and and air fry for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove donuts from air fryer and place on a plate to cool for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!
This video shows a variation using a coconut ube glaze.
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.