Ube Powder Vs. Ube Extract

Ube, also known as purple yam, is a starchy root vegetable originally from the Philippines. With its vibrant purple color and sweet, nutty flavor, ube has become an increasingly popular ingredient around the world. Ube adds both visual appeal and a unique flavor to desserts, baked goods, and beverages.

Ube Powder Vs. Ube Extract

When cooking with ube, you have two main options - ube powder or ube extract. While both can add that signature ube taste and vivid purple hue, there are some key differences between the two that you need to understand before using them.

What is Ube Powder?

Ube powder is made from fresh ube that has been cooked, mashed, dehydrated, and ground into a fine powder. It contains the natural starch from the ube root.

Here are some key facts about ube powder:

  • It has a very concentrated ube flavor and vivid purple color. Just a teaspoon can color and flavor a whole cake or batch of cookies.
  • Since it contains starch, ube powder helps baked goods retain moisture and results in a soft, tender texture.
  • It must be reconstituted in liquid before use. Ube powder is typically mixed with hot water or milk to form a smooth paste that can then be incorporated into recipes.
  • Rehydrated ube powder has a thicker, jam-like consistency similar to mashed fresh ube.
  • It provides some nutritional value as it retains natural fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the fresh ube root.
  • Ube powder is versatile and can be used to make ube ice cream, pastries, desserts, drinks, and more.

What is Ube Extract?

In contrast, ube extract is made by infusing ube roots in a solution of alcohol, water, and glycerine. This liquid extraction process captures the flavor and color compounds without the starchy root matter.

Key characteristics of ube extract include:

  • It contains a very concentrated ube flavor but no nutritional content.
  • Just a few drops of ube extract can provide tons of ube taste without affecting texture.
  • Ube extract has a thin, liquid consistency unlike the thicker paste formed from ube powder.
  • It can directly flavor foods and beverages without needing to be rehydrated first.
  • Ube extract works well for flavoring cakes, cookies, breads, ice creams, drinks, and more.
  • Since it does not contain starch, ube extract does not significantly impact texture or moisture content.

Key Takeaway: Ube powder is made from dehydrated, ground ube root and contains natural starch. Ube extract is a liquid concentrate without starch made by extracting ube's flavor compounds.

Comparing Nutrition and Fiber

One of the biggest nutritional differences between ube powder and ube extract is its fiber content.

Since ube powder is produced from the whole ube root, it retains a good amount of dietary fiber. Fiber offers many health benefits including improved digestion and heart health.

In contrast, ube extract contains zero fiber because it is filtered to remove all of the insoluble root material. While ube extract provides vibrant color and loads of flavor, it does not offer the same nutritional value as the powder.

NutrientUbe PowderUbe Extract
Dietary FiberYesNo
Vitamins & MineralsYesNo

So if you are looking to boost the nutrition of your recipes, ube powder is the better choice. But if you solely want to infuse color and ube taste without affecting texture, the extract is ideal.

Comparing Color and Flavor Impact

Both ube powder and ube extract contain anthocyanins, the natural pigments that give ube its vivid purple color. However, there are some subtle differences in their coloring power and flavor intensity.

Ube powder provides deep, rich purple coloring thanks to its high anthocyanin content. It also offers a robust, nutty ube flavor. However, since powder requires liquid to reconstitute, the ube taste can sometimes be diluted compared to extracts.

Ube extract, on the other hand, contains highly concentrated anthocyanins and flavor compounds. Just a teaspoon of extract can turn a whole cake purple. The ube flavor is also very intense. But, extracts can sometimes impart a slight bitterness or harshness if overused.

When using ube powder in recipes, you may need to add a touch of extra extract to amplify the purple color and ube taste. But with extracts, a little goes a long way so use a delicate hand to avoid overpowering other ingredients.

Key Takeaway: Ube powder provides deep purple coloring and robust flavor but can be diluted when reconstituted in liquid. Extracts offer extremely concentrated color and flavor but can become overpowering if overused.

Comparing Effects on Texture

One of the biggest differences between ube powder and ube extract is their impact on the texture of baked goods and other foods.

Ube powder contains starchy carbohydrates from the ube tuber. This starch absorbs liquid and helps retain moisture in recipes. Goods like cakes, muffins, and cookies turn out very soft and tender. The starch also allows ube powder to thicken up liquids into a gel-like paste when reconstituted.

In contrast, ube extract is a liquid without any starch or food particles. Since ube extract does not contain starch, it does not significantly alter moisture levels or texture when added to recipes. Foods flavored with ube extract retain their normal consistency.

Ube PowderUbe Extract
Adds MoistureYesNo
Impacts TextureYesNo
Thickens LiquidsYesNo

So if retaining moisture and a tender crumb are important, choose ube powder. But if you want to infuse ube flavor without changing the texture, go with the extract.

Key Takeaway: Ube powder adds moisture and softens texture thanks to its natural starch content. Ube extract does not contain starch so does not affect texture or moisture.

Which is Better for Baking?

For baked goods like cakes, cookies, breads, and muffins, ube powder is generally the better choice. Since the powder contains starch from the ube root, it helps retain moisture for a soft, tender crumb while adding both purple color and ube flavor.

Using ube powder instead of all-purpose flour in recipes creates a vivid purple color and injects extra moisture into baked goods. Even using just a small amount of ube powder in place of some flour can really boost the color.

For the best results, you need to properly hydrate the ube powder into a smooth paste before adding it to batters and doughs. Under-hydrating the powder or adding lumps can create blotchy coloring and alterations in texture.

While ube extract can also work for baking, it may not deliver as vivid and even coloring as the powder. Baking also diminishes some of the intense ube flavor notes from extracts. Powder helps retain maximum color and taste after baking.

Which is Better for Drinks?

For flavoring beverages, ube extracts tend to work better than powders. Extracts quickly and easily dissolve into both hot and cold liquids to infuse them with vivid ube taste and striking purple color.

Since ube powder must be reconstituted into a paste first, it does not blend as seamlessly into beverages. Even when fully dissolved, the starch in ube powder can slightly thicken the texture of drinks.

Just a few drops of ube extract can intensely flavor and color an entire pitcher of ube milk tea, lemonade, cocktails, smoothies, and more. You have complete control over the intensity.

So if you want to create ube-flavored beverages with ease, liquid ube extracts are the best choice. But ube powders still work great for thicker drinks and smoothies.


Can ube powder be substituted for ube extract?

No, ube powder and ube extract cannot be directly substituted for one another in recipes. Since powder contains starch but extract does not, using one instead of the other will alter the texture and moisture content.

Is ube extract just food coloring?

No, ube extract contains natural ube flavor compounds in addition to coloring agents. Synthetic food dyes would not provide any ube taste.

Does ube extract contain alcohol?

Ube extracts typically contain some alcohol (around 25%) as part of the liquid extraction process. The alcohol helps draw out flavors and colors from the ube root. Make sure to buy alcohol-free ube extract if needed.

What does ube taste like?

Ube has a sweet, earthy, and nutty flavor, often compared to vanilla or coconut. It provides a mildly sweet and rich taste sensation.

What recipes work well with ube powder?

Ube powder works beautifully in moist baked goods like cakes, cookies, muffins, and breads. It is also great for smoothies, ice cream, custards, pancakes, waffles, and drinks.


Ube powder and ube extract each offer their own pros and cons. Ube powder provides nutrition, vivid color, and moist texture but requires reconstituting.

Ube extract is extremely convenient with concentrated flavor and staining power but does not offer additional nutrients.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *