The 15 best Hawaiian desserts that you should eat now

(updated 2023)

What do locals in Hawaii love to eat for desserts or sweet snack on the islands? Check out these favorite Hawaiian desserts you should eat now or even make on your own popular Hawaiian food favorite dishes with these fantastic and easy to follow Hawaiian dessert recipes below.

There’s always a time for Hawaiian sweet treats for those craving a quick snack to tie you over between meals. Check out these cool Hawaii dessert ideas and some easy recipes.

Hawaiian desserts that you should eat now

Try these 15 favorite local Hawaiian desserts and recipes below

You can find all these local Hawaiian desserts at your local farmers markets, grocery stores, take out counters or even street vendor selling their favorite foodie snacks for public purchase.  Even local mom and pop shops will sell their own special sweet dessert for you to take out and consume at home. Or you can easily follow some of the Hawaiian dessert recipes below for making your own delicious desserts.

What Dessert is Hawaii known for?

With so much Asian, European and also traditional Hawaiian influence, desserts cover the gamut of different and sweet inspiration. Starting with more Hawaiian traditional desserts made with Hawaiian inspired ingredients to plantation era immigrants that shared their sweet inspirations, Hawaiian desserts are a true melting pot of delicious desserts.

Take a look at some of these below, it will be hard to decide on which is the best Hawaiian dessert to try first when you visit the islands.

The most popular Ingredients used in Hawaiian Desserts

Desserts in Hawaii cover the gamut of fresh ingredients that help to create these delicious sweets. The most popular ingredients typically used to making any of the typical desserts here includes:


Haupia or Coconut flakes, milk or cream



Hawaiian chocolate



Macadamia nuts

Sweet potato or taro

Pog or Passion, orange, guava juice

Hawaiian Coffee


Pineapple juice

Traditional Hawaiian desserts you should eat now

There’s just a few traditional Hawaiian desserts compared to the newer desserts introduced by plantation farmers sharing some eclectic and delicious desserts from their homeland.

The more traditional desserts tend to be more coconut based like Haupia or Kulolo which is like a sweet pudding type of desserts.

Haupia desserts from Hawaii

1. Haupia dessert

An irresistible and authentic Hawaiian dessert is the Haupia, a local favorite dish everyone love. Basically, this is a Hawaiian style pudding made simply with coconut cream, cornstarch and sugar. This traditional Hawaiian dessert is changed with a variety of other local ingredients including purple sweet potato, chocolate cream, whipped cream and so many other sugary ingredients to make it even more delicious. Haupia in Hawaiian means cool and arrowroot formed into this pudding like dessert.

Check out this popular Hawaiian dessert recipe video to a Haupia dessert that you can make this dessert now.

Kulolo dessert

2. Kulolo dessert

Another traditional Hawaii dessert that is made up of mashed taro, sugar and coconut cream combined to create a pudding like consistency. Served cool, this dessert is perfect for gatherings and potluck affairs and popular with kids and adults alike. Kulolo is one of those traditional Hawaiian desserts you’ve got to try first to enjoy the popular dessert on the islands.

Check out this easy to make this Hawaii dessert recipe with simple ingredients on this video below.

Contemporary Hawaiian desserts you should eat now?

A melting pot of island style desserts shared with plantation era immigrant sweets and other incorporated sweet goods. These have all evolved into the many different Hawaiian favorite sweet snacks, Hawaiian desserts and cakes below.

Where to find the best shave ice on Oahu

3. Shave Ice

One of the most popular Hawaiian dessert on the islands is Shave Ice. Who doesn’t love a shave ice on a hot day when smooth and melt in your mouth with flaky and flavorful tropical inspired juices from Mango, Coconut, lilikoi, Guava and other ingredients? Ordering a variety of shave ice flavors can lead to unlimited combinations that you can ask for in one cup depending on the size and flavors you are craving. There’s nothing like having some shave ice to satisfy your cravings as a sweet snack in between meals. Check out the most popular shave ice places around the islands here to inspire you to visit these places.

So who makes the best shave ice in Hawaii, find out below

Read more: Best Shave Ice in Oahu

Locals love these sweet mochi

4. Sweet mochi snacks

One of the most popular Hawaii dessert is mochi, the traditional Japanese sweet made with glutenous rice flour and other ingredients to make a sticky dough. You can find mochi at your local farmers markets, mom and pop shops and cafes and even grocery stores with bakeries.

There are so many different kinds of mochi available from traditional kinds with Japanese flavored ingredients or more unusual new flavors with tropical tastes including mango, lilikoi, guava, fresh fruit and whole variety that caters to every sweet tooth and a Hawaiian sweet treat that you will crave every time you visit the islands.

Find out more about mochi snacks in Hawaii

Best Hawaiian pastries and baked goods

malasadas Hawaiian desserts that you should eat now

5. Malasadas

This traditional Portuguese dessert of a donut hole is deep fried goodness at its best. Taken out of the pot and rolled in sugar and eaten fresh is the best way to enjoy this dessert. Or if you are into more decadent combinations, how about something cream filled, chocolate inspired or tropical fruit flavors that are piped into the insides for a delicious gooey surprise in each bite.

Really this is one of the best Hawaiian dessert to try if you are looking for something that will fill the sweet cravings when you visit the islands.

** Check out our post on Malasadas in Hawaii here and some of our favorite places to get them around the islands.

Want to make your own malasadas from Hawaii?

Lilikoi bars in Hawaii

6. Lilikoi bars

One of the best Hawaiian pastry desserts to experience are Lilikoi bars or passion fruit are typically made with a buttery crust with passion fruit topping that is both sweet and tart and Hawaii’s own version of a lemon bar. Lilikoi bars are easy for takeout cut into small squares that you can snack on for a sweet bite to tie you over between meals or just a nice sugar rush with this Hawaiian pastry.

If you want some of these delicious lilikoi bars, why not make them yourself with this easy to follow Hawaiian dessert recipe below.

** check out our post on lilikoi fruit here for more information and recipes to using lilikoi fruit.

chinese-pretzels in Hawaii

7. Sweet Chinese Pretzels

A local favorite sweet snack, you’ll always find a street side vendor frying up some hot and sweet Chinese pretzels for take away food. Chinese pretzels are delicious deep fried dough pretzels and then rolled with powdered sugar. Best eaten fresh and hot, but just as delicious when the mood hits and you have a bag ready for an instant snack of this delicious Hawaiian dessert.

Hawaiian style cakes and pies

These are some of the most popular cakes and pies you will find all around the islands and everyone craves for dessert time. Here’s some easy-to-follow recipes below.

8. Guava Chiffon cake

An island favorite that is easy to make this light and fluffy dessert with guava inspiration and delicious goodness. A combination of creme filling and guava sauce on top make this a wonderful dessert with the guava sweetness that makes this the perfect tropical dessert to eat.

One of the best dessert that comes from Hawaii is the delicious guava chiffon cake. Check out this easy to follow video recipe below on how to make this delicious Hawaiian dessert recipe below.


9. Pineapple upside down cakes

Possibly one of the best party dessert from Hawaii and always popular at any potluck is the Pineapple upside down cake. Everyone always associates this cake as a classic Hawaiian dessert made on the islands. The pineapple upside down cake has a lot of wow power but really is an easy dessert to make and creates a big splash at any party or gathering on the islands. Surprisingly this cake was originally created in a Hawaiian cake competition in 1925 sponsored by the Hawaiian pineapple company with 60,000 entrants made for this competition.

If you are looking for an easy dessert and delivers on the wow factor, check out the best Hawaiian dessert recipe that everyone on the island craves.

10. Haupia sweet potato pie

One of the best Hawaiian desserts to try is a sweet potato dessert that brings a punch of purple and white goodness with the creaminess of coconut milk. This popular dessert is always brought to a Hawaiian potluck gathering and is the first dessert to be emptied.

Check out this simple Hawaii recipe on how to make this fabulous Haupia potato pie now.

Delicious Hawaiian sweets and candies

Candies are always popular on the islands especially with local nuts and chocolates grown on the islands.

Chocolate macadamia nuts

11. Chocolate macadamia nuts

What’s better than local macadamia nuts but chocolate covering the entire nut in one delicious bite and is one satisfying Hawaiian sweet to enjoy. There are so many different small mom and pop shops that sell chocolate covered macadamia nuts and also large brands like Mauna Loa, Hawaiian Host and Big Island Candies to choose from and you can easily find these in the mainland or best when you are in Hawaii looking for a sweet Hawaii dessert of chocolate indulgence.

Li hing on gummy bear candies

12. Li hing on gummy bear candies

One of the most popular Hawaiian sweets is Li hing powder sprinkled on everything snacky it seems, the most popular think to have with Lin Hing is Margaritas or Mai Tais, popular gummy bear type jellies, dried or pickled fruit, shave ice and even popcorn for a savory flavored snack that’s distinctively Hawaiian.

Healthy Hawaiian desserts

Healthy Hawaiian Acai bowls

13. Acai bowls

Made of the frozen palm fruit and combined with fresh tropical fruits, this healthy snack is the go-to for those with active lifestyle looking for an easy and healthy treat. Served like a smoothie with fresh fruit, this can easily be a snack to healthy meal as an alternative to a main meal.

Hawaiian banana bread

14. Hawaiian banana bread

The best Hawaiian dessert can be very simple and delicious like Hawaiian banana bread. With lots of fresh and local bananas available on the islands, banana bread is so easy to make or just buy from a street vendor, farmers market, bakery or take-out place and holds very well in our tropical environment. Or if you are in the mood to try and make it yourself with local bananas why not try this recipe below?

You’ll love this delicious Hawaiian banana bread recipe below

Tropical fruit from Hawaii

15. Hawaiian Tropical fruit

If you are looking for a natural snack for your Hawaiian dessert why not eat some fresh Hawaiian tropical fruits? With so many different locally grown fruits to choose from you can enjoy mango, coconut, pineapple, bananas, papaya or more exotic varieties like rambutan, lychee and lilikoi when they are in season and tasting so good and sweet. Nothing like fresh tropical fruit as a healthy alternative to your sweet tooth cravings.

Check out our post on a complete guide to Hawaiian tropical fruit here on the islands for more inspiration and images of the best fruit to try while visiting the islands.

Other food inspired Hawaii stories

Here are some other food inspired topics for you to learn more about the popular local foods and snacks from the islands below.

Hawaiian snacks to eat on the islands

Hawaiian snacks

Locals here in Hawaii love to snack all day long in between the main meals and there’s so much of the sweet to savory snacks to tie you up all day long. Crack seed, sweet manapua and mochi and Japanese arare crackers are found everywhere on the islands from farmers markets to little markets and food stands to try something local sweet or savory snack.

Check out our quick guide to all the delicious Hawaiian snacks here you’ll find around the islands that all the locals love to eat all day long.

Traditional Hawaiian Food

Traditional Hawaiian Food

Traditional Hawaiian food has been the staple foods of the native Hawaiians and really most locals that live on the islands and enjoy the traditional foods eaten on the islands. This quick guide shares the most popular and typical Hawaiian dishes you’ll find in the many mom and pop shops, take out places, farmers markets and even grocery deli counters for you to try when you visit.

Check out our post on the typical traditional Hawaiian foods here to enjoy around the islands.

Check out these other Hawaii topics

Popular Hawaiian dishes you need to try

Tropical fruits of Hawaii

Comfort foods of Hawaii

Farmers markets in Hawaii

A Hawaii travel guide primer

Avocado season in Hawaii

Mango season in Hawaii

Pineapple season in Hawaii

Conclusion on the 15 best Hawaiian desserts you should try now

Thanks for checking out all these delicious Hawaiian desserts that you should eat, hope many of these desserts were on your list to try some day. Did we miss any other popular desserts from Hawaii? Please share your favorites in the comment section below.

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delicious hawaiian desserts
Hawaiian desserts you should try now

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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.