HAUPIA (HAWAIIAN COCONUT PUDDING) to die for and recipes (updated 2023)

Haupia is everyone’s favorite dessert in Hawaii and who doesn’t like eating Hawaiian coconut puddling along with some other riff with chocolate, ube or delicious ingredient that takes it to another level. Eating the classic haupia is ono (Yummy) on its own but there’s so many inventive presentations of haupia that we will also share below.

What is Haupia?

What is Haupia?

Haupia is a traditional Hawaiian dessert that has its origins in the indigenous cuisine of Hawaii. It is a coconut milk-based pudding or custard that is often served at luaus, traditional Hawaiian feasts, and other special occasions. Haupia is known for its smooth, creamy texture and sweet coconut flavor.

The basic ingredients for making haupia include coconut milk, sugar, and a thickening agent such as cornstarch. The mixture is heated on the stovetop until it thickens and reaches a pudding-like consistency. It is then poured into a pan or dish, allowed to cool and set, and cut into squares or other shapes for serving.

Haupia is commonly enjoyed on its own as a dessert, but it can also be used as a topping for other Hawaiian treats like mochi, butter mochi, or even incorporated into layered desserts. It’s a simple yet delicious dessert that showcases the flavors of coconut, which is a staple ingredient in many Hawaiian dishes.

How to pronounce Haupia

The pronunciation of “haupia” is like “how-pee-ah,” with the emphasis on the “pee” syllable.

What are the ingredients in Haupia?

What are the ingredients in Haupia?

Haupia is composed of just four primary elements: coconut milk, sugar, thickener, and water. No more, no less. Occasionally, some individuals opt to introduce a dash of vanilla or almond essence, but this is not obligatory. Here’s a breakdown of these components:

Coconut Milk (strictly full-fat) or Coconut Cream – Opinions differ on whether traditional haupia employs coconut milk, coconut cream, or cream of coconut. In actuality, any of these can be utilized. Coconut cream might be a tad more challenging to locate, but it’s commonly found in most Asian markets. As it is thicker, you might need to incorporate a bit more water to attain your desired consistency. Cream of coconut is a sweetened variant of coconut cream, meaning that if you choose this, no additional sugar is required.

Sugar – Standard granulated sugar suffices. Haupia generally doesn’t possess an excessive sweetness; in fact, the majority of haupia I’ve encountered tend to be relatively mild in sweetness. If this marks your inaugural experience with haupia and you’re accustomed to markedly sugary desserts, you could consider adding up to ⅓ cup of sugar.

Thickener – Options encompass cornstarch, agar agar, or arrowroot (details provided below). Employ the specified quantity for a more solid haupia, or roughly half if you prefer a more pudding-like or custard-like consistency.


Where to find the best Haupia

Finding the “best” haupia in Hawaii can be subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences and taste. However, there are several places in Hawaii where you can find delicious haupia. Some popular options include:

Local Bakeries and Markets: Many local bakeries and markets across the Hawaiian islands offer freshly made haupia. Look for small, family-owned businesses that specialize in traditional Hawaiian desserts.

Luaus and Traditional Restaurants: Luaus, which are traditional Hawaiian feasts, often feature haupia as one of the dessert options. Attending a luau can be a great way to experience authentic Hawaiian cuisine, including haupia.

Farmers’ Markets: Some farmers’ markets in Hawaii may have vendors selling homemade haupia and other local treats. This can be a good opportunity to try haupia made by local artisans.

Specialty Dessert Shops: There are specialty dessert shops in Hawaii that focus on traditional Hawaiian sweets, including haupia. These shops might offer a variety of flavors and presentations.

Local Restaurants: Some local restaurants may include haupia on their dessert menus. Exploring traditional Hawaiian or fusion cuisine restaurants could lead you to some delicious options.

Cultural Festivals and Events: Keep an eye out for cultural festivals and events in Hawaii, where you might find vendors offering authentic haupia and other Hawaiian delicacies.

When searching for the best haupia in Hawaii, it’s a good idea to ask locals for recommendations, read online reviews, and be open to trying haupia from different sources to find the one that suits your taste preferences the most.

What are some other dessert combinations that use Haupia?

Haupia’s creamy and coconut-rich flavor makes it a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dessert combinations to create delicious treats. Here are some dessert combinations that use haupia:

Haupia Pie:

Haupia Pie: Haupia can be used as a filling for pies, similar to how a custard or pudding would be used. A haupia pie might have a crust, a layer of haupia, and possibly toppings like toasted coconut flakes.

Haupia Mochi: Haupia can be layered or mixed with traditional mochi, a Japanese rice cake. The combination of the chewy mochi and the creamy haupia creates a delightful contrast in textures.

Haupia Cake: Haupia can be used as a filling or frosting for cakes. Layering haupia between cake layers or using it as a topping adds a tropical twist to classic cakes.

Haupia Danish or pastry

Haupia Danish or pastry: Layering haupia inside a pastry puff or roll is a delicious combination and sweet treat with crispy mixed in with the haupia pudding topping or piped ingredient.

Hsupia ice cream

Ice Cream: Incorporating haupia into ice cream or sorbet adds a rich coconut flavor to frozen desserts.

Haupia Trifle: Layering haupia with cake or brownie cubes and whipped cream in a trifle dish creates a beautiful and indulgent dessert.

Tarts: Mini tart shells filled with haupia and topped with fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream make for elegant individual desserts.

Haupia Malasada

Haupia Malasada: Combining haupia with malasadas is a perfect combination with a crispy crust with soft haupia pudding piped inside to make this a delicious treat.

Haupia Coconut Bars: Mixing haupia with shredded coconut and possibly nuts creates a textured bar that’s rich in coconut flavor.

Haupia Banana Pudding: Layering haupia with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers is a Hawaiian twist on the classic banana pudding.

Remember that these are just a few ideas, and you can get creative with how you incorporate haupia into your favorite desserts. Experimenting with different flavors and textures can lead to unique and delightful treats that showcase the deliciousness of haupia.

Make your own classic Haupia

Haupia is relatively easy to make and here is a step by step guide below

Mix water and cornstarch (or arrowroot) together, then set aside.

In a pot, bring coconut milk and sugar to a simmer, all the while maintaining a constant whisking motion.

Gradually incorporate the cornstarch mixture into the pot while continuing to whisk. Allow the mixture to thicken, which usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes of whisking.

Transfer the thickened mixture into a baking dish or square container, then place it in the refrigerator. Let it chill and fully set for approximately 6 hours.

Once set, cut the haupia into squares and it’s ready to be served.

Check out these other Haupia video recipe combinations below

If you are looking to take your haupia to the next level with different ingredients and desserts, check out these fantastic video recipes below.

Haupia chocolate pie

Haupia and Okinawan sweet potatoes

Haupia coconut cream sauce for pancakes

Tropical Haupia dessert

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HAUPIA dessert

Conclusion on Haupia Hawaiian Coconut Pudding

In conclusion, Haupia is a beloved Hawaiian dessert that holds a special place in the hearts and palates of both locals and visitors alike. This coconut milk-based pudding captures the essence of the tropics with its smooth texture and rich coconut flavor. Often enjoyed at luaus, gatherings, and special occasions, Haupia is not just a dessert, but a cultural delight that reflects the heritage and traditions of Hawaii.

Whether enjoyed on its own, incorporated into various desserts, or combined with other flavors, Haupia’s versatility shines through. Its presence in the Hawaiian culinary landscape adds a touch of authenticity and a taste of the islands to any table. From its humble origins to its enduring popularity, Haupia continues to be a symbol of Hawaii’s unique blend of flavors and cultural heritage.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.