Ube vs Taro: What’s the Difference?

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People may ask whether ube and taro are interchangeable. There has always been a mismatch between these two harvests. To clear up any misunderstanding, we’ll walk you through the differences between ube and taro, making your next trip to the grocery store a lot simpler.

Why Do People Confuse Ube and Taro?

Ube and taro are both members of the sweet potato family. From the exterior, these root vegetables resemble potatoes, but they have distinct colors and textures.

Ube and taro are often sold in powder form in Western markets. As a result, not everyone is aware of how these starchy root vegetables, similar to potatoes, seem in their natural state.

Manufacturers may also change the flavor and color of their products, which adds to the confusion. Some labels use interchangeable names, implying that they are the same while, in reality, they are different.

What is the Difference Between Ube vs. Taro?

Ube is a frequent component in many Filipino sweets. People who are acquainted with Filipino food may notice a plethora of purple ingredients and menus that specifically mention the usage of ube. Ube is sometimes known as purple yam in Western culture. It looks just like a purple sweet potato!

Taro, on the other hand, varies in hue from white to pastel purple. You won’t find any that are dark. If you come across one, the color indicates that it is an ube.

Taro can’t even make the meal dark. Taro-flavored foods and beverages with a deep purple hue have coloring added. It’s also blander than ube, thus there’s a difference in flavor.

Comparison of Ube vs. Taro



Ube is a Southeast Asian fruit that was notably popular in the Philippines. It’s a common ingredient in many Filipino recipes and a mainstay for many folks. It is also grown in other regions of the globe, including Africa, Australia, South America, and certain portions of the United States.


Color is the most frequent method to differentiate ube. When you cut an ube open, you will see a dark purple color. When ube is utilized, the deep purple tint imparts a bright violet colour to meals and beverages. That is why many chefs and food photographers utilize purple yam in their food photography.

Ube’s exterior coating is similarly a dark purple color. As a result, there is no reason for people to mistake it with taro, which has a totally distinct appearance.


Ube has a creamy, sweet flavor that is reminiscent of vanilla and white chocolate. The sweet flavor is also affected by the size and developing process. The bigger ubes have a sweeter flavor than the smaller ones. Some varieties have a richer vanilla taste when cultivated and managed properly over the winter, since the growth factor aids in starch breakdown.


Another difference between ube and taro is seen when they are cooked. Once cooked, ube has a more sticky feel. It also softens and becomes wet, making it easier to chew and consume.

Ingredient Pairing

Filipino food is savory, exhibiting a wealth of expertise on how to utilize ube in many ways. The sweet, mild taste complements a variety of Filipino delicacies, including ube-macapuno cake and the national specialty, sweet halayang ube. Other items that go well with ube include cheddar cheese, coconut, potato, sweet potato, mung beans, and pandan.

Culinary Uses

It is often used in the kitchen to provide sweetness and vibrant color to a meal or dessert. Ube extract and powdered ube may be obtained for a variety of applications.

Many baked goods, ranging from breads to puddings to pies to ube cake, cupcakes, and pie, employ it to improve flavor and appearance.

Furthermore, purple yam may be used to provide sweetness and a purple colour to beverages and ice cream. Some chefs utilize ube root in savory dishes, but this takes specific culinary abilities since if ube is introduced wrongly, its sweetness might overpower the dish’s flavor.



Taro, like ube, originates in Southeast Asia. It is most commonly used in India and has been for many years. It is one of the most significant crops grown in India on a home scale. It is also used in Japanese cuisine and may be found in many traditional dishes.

Japan even cultivates a diverse selection of taro. Taro is now frequently utilized in a variety of meals all around the globe. It is used in dishes in Hawaii, China, Africa, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean.


When comparing ube with taro, keep in mind that they may be distinguished by their look. Taro has a very different look from ube. Taros are similar to coconuts in appearance, with white or greyish-brown skin. The bigger ones, on the other hand, have a subtle purple hue.

The light purple color of ordinary taros shows only when cooked. Nonetheless, the hue does not come close to ube’s extremely dark purple tone.


Taro gives every food or beverage an earthy, nutty, coconut taste. Taro has a flavor that is similar to sweet potatoes.

It also has a subtle sweetness that works well in both sweet and savory recipes. Taro powder is often combined with extra sweeteners and colors. As a consequence, the taste of the produced ones may cause some misunderstanding.


Taro turns dry and gritty after cooking. It also softens throughout the cooking process.

Ingredient Pairing

While taro isn’t as sweet as ube, the nutty and vanilla taste it exudes pairs well with a variety of Asian ingredients such as matcha, red beans, and black sesame.

Taro may be used to provide rich tastes to a variety of meals. Taro goes nicely with a variety of meats, poultry, and fish. Taro is also used in many baking recipes.

Culinary Uses

Taro has a wide range of culinary uses, from soups to casseroles to curries. Taro is more versatile in the kitchen since it is less sweet, as it seldom affects the degree of sweetness in a recipe. Taro paste may be made and used as a filling in desserts. Taro is used as a flavour in several drinks, as well as delicacies and pastries.


Is taro better than ube?

They have a similar flavor and are often used in sweet foods, but they vary in texture and nutritional content. Taro is earthy and starchy, making it ideal for savory meals, but ube has a unique and sweet taste that makes it ideal for sweets.

Is Taro Boba actually ube?

Is taro similar to ube? Taro is commonly confused with ube, another popular, starchy root, but the two are not interchangeable. Taro and ube are both mildly sweet roots with purple colour, however they come from two separate and unrelated plants.

Is ube or Taro Boba better?

Ube has a lot sweeter taste than taro and is hence a fantastic option for dessert-flavored bubble teas. Taro, which has an earthy, nutty taste, is a preferable option in bubble tea for a more delicate sweetness. In bubble tea, both ube and taro are often combined with coconut flavour.

Which is sweeter taro or ube?

Both are lightly sweet with nutty, vanilla undertones. Taro is sweeter than ube. Ube is most often used in sweets. Taro may be found in both sweet and savory cuisines.

Can you buy ube in the US?

Ube is infrequently imported as a fresh tuber in North America, although it may sometimes be seen fresh in Asian grocery store vegetable departments. If you can get fresh ube, it may be consumed as a snack when cooked and peeled, or mashed and frozen for later use.

Why is ube called taro?

Taro and ube are distinguished by their origin, the form and color of their roots, as well as their taste and traditional usage. Taro has white or light purple roots and is native to Southeast Asia, but ube (commonly known as purple yam) is native to the Philippines and has purple roots.

Why is Taro Boba so popular?

Taro bubble tea tastes creamy, sweet, and almost nutty. Taro is popular among bubble tea lovers because to its texture and vanilla taste. Taro bubble tea, known for its beautiful purple hue, is a favorite of many bubble tea drinkers.

What is the best flavour of boba?

The top ten greatest and most popular boba tea flavors of 2022 are listed below.
Strawberry. Strawberry bubble tea is a favorite of both children and adults.
Mango. Mangoes have high levels of vitamin C, fiber, iron, and potassium.
The flavor of vanilla bean.

Does ube taste similar to taro?

Taste. Ube is a sweet fruit that some compare to honey, vanilla, or white chocolate. That is why it is so prevalent in Filipino dessert dishes. Taro, on the other hand, has a more uncooked, starchy, and somewhat nutty flavor.

Why is taro drink purple?

What causes the purple color of taro milk tea? Taro milk tea, which is often brewed with taro powder and has a brilliant purple hue from artificial coloring, is sold at bubble tea cafes. Taro root is white while raw and grey when cooked.

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