Ube bars are slices of bread dipped in ube syrup then coated with coconut. A simple, beloved ube treat that’s very easy to make at home.
Lots of people have fond memories of eating ube bars when they were kids growing up in the Philippines. Eaten for breakfast or as a snack, they’re a childhood favourite.
They’re not readily available here in North America but happily, they’re surprisingly easy to make. Let’s get to it.
What are ube bars
Ube bars are made of bread sliced into bars, dipped in ube syrup, then coated in coconut (usually desiccated coconut or shredded coconut). This is why some people also call them ube bar bread.
Why you’ll love this ube bars recipe
You’ll love making this ube bars recipe because:
- Simple and easy. It’s a very easy recipe. You don’t need special tools and you don’t need to be an intermediate baker to make it work. It’s simple and very forgiving.
- No yeast or kneading. We’re essentially making bread but this recipe doesn’t need yeast or kneading like other bread recipes. All you’ll need to do is combine the ingredients and transfer the dough to a baking pan.
- Perfect bread texture. The texture of the bread is the perfect balance between soft and firm. It’s soft and tender so it’s a joy to eat, but firm and dense so it doesn’t fall apart when dipped in ube syrup.
- Pretty purple. No matter what you do, your ube bars bread will look pretty. I promise! You can’t go wrong with the white coconut against that vibrant purple. Perfect to serve to company on Easter, give out as gifts at Christmastime, or even sell from your home kitchen throughout the year.
How to make ube bars
To make the ube bar bread, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Milk — I use 1% skim milk
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
And to make ube syrup:
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Ube extract
You’ll also need unsweetened shredded coconut or desiccated coconut for the coating.
I use my stand mixer to mix the dough. A hand mixer will work but note that the dough gets very sticky.
I also use:
- 9×13 inch baking pan
- Sauce pan
- Bench scraper or sharp knife to cut my bars
- Kitchen tongs for dipping
A kitchen scale and oven thermometer are also very useful for more accurate baking results.
Best ube bar recipe
1 PREP. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
2 BEAT. In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all ingredients for the ube bread on low-medium speed until smooth, well blended and no more streaks of flour remain (about 2 minutes). Scrape your bowl to make sure everything is mixed well. Note that the dough will be soft and sticky.
3 TRANSFER. Transfer dough to baking pan, firmly pack it into the pan and evenly spread out using your hands.
4 BAKE. Bake bread for 30-40 minutes or until it springs back when gently pressed and the edges start turning a light golden brown.
5 COOL. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan slightly before inverting into a chopping board or any flat surface to cool completely.
6 UBE SYRUP. In the meantime, combine condensed milk, ube extract and water in a medium saucepan on medium heat.
7 COMBINE. Stir and once fully incorporated, remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
8 ASSEMBLY. Slice your completely cool bread into bars. Dip them in the ube condensed milk mixture then roll in coconut. Repeat for all the bars. Enjoy!
Tips for making the best ube bars every time
This recipe is easy and simple to follow. There are just a few things to keep in mind.
- It’s important not to over-bake the bread so it doesn’t get a hard crust, get too brown or too hard.
- I don’t recommend placing the bread on a wire rack to cool because the rack will make indentations on the bars, which we don’t want. I just place the bread on a big chopping board or other flat surface.
- You can slice the bread whatever size you like. I slice mine in rectangles, but you can also make squares. To ensure clean, equal slices, I use a bench scraper; you can also use a sharp knife.
- When cooking the ube syrup, don’t heat the mixture for too long that it begins to simmer or boil. You just want the condensed milk to thin out slightly and the ingredients to incorporate thoroughly.
- When dipping the bread in ube syrup, a quick dip on each side is all you need. Otherwise, your ube bars will get too soft and soggy.
- You’ll notice that after the first few bars you roll in coconut, your coconut mixture will look more purple than white and it will become a little more challenging for the coconut to stick to the bars. To avoid this, don’t use your coconut all at once. Just refill as needed.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I buy ube extract
You can find ube extract at Asian supermarkets. If that fails, it’s available on Amazon. I use McCormick ube extract in all my ube recipes.
Can I use ube condensed milk
I haven’t personally tried because ube condensed milk is not available in our local Asian supermarket but ube condensed milk should work in this recipe.
Ube syrup is literally just condensed milk flavoured with ube extract so by using ube condensed milk, you don’t need to use ube extract, unless you want a stronger ube flavour.
How to store ube bars
I’ve found that the best way to store ube bars is in a covered container at room temperature. It should last 1 to 1 1/2 weeks.
If refrigerated, the bars tend to harden so I always just store mine on the counter. We eat it at room temperature as well.
Other Filipino snack recipes
Looking for other Filipino snacks to make and enjoy? Check these out.
- Another childhood favourite — Filipino cheese bars. They’re the perfect sweet and salty treat.
- Ube donuts are soft and tender, packed with ube flavour, and baked not fried.
- Try this palitaw recipe for boiled rice cakes that are delicious, authentic, perfectly chewy, sweet and coconut-y.
- Filipino coconut macaroons are chewy, chocolatey and easy to make!
Ube Bars Recipe (Ube Bar Bread)
For the ube bread
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all ingredients for the ube bread on low-medium speed until smooth, well blended and no more streaks of flour remain (about 2 minutes). Scrape your bowl to make sure everything is mixed well (see note). The dough will be soft and sticky.
- Transfer dough to prepared baking pan, firmly pack it into the pan and evenly spread out using your hands.
- Bake bread for 30-40 minutes or until it springs back when gently pressed and the edges start turning a light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan slightly before inverting into a chopping board or any flat surface to cool completely.
- In the meantime, combine condensed milk, ube extract and water in a medium saucepan on medium heat (see note).
- Stir and once fully incorporated, remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl (see note).
- Slice your completely cool bread into bars.
- Dip them in the ube condensed milk mixture then roll in coconut. Repeat for all the bars. Enjoy!
- If you have a smaller bowl or stand mixer, you’d want to gradually add the flour so it doesn’t explode all over your kitchen!
- Taste your condensed milk mixture and add more ube extract, to taste.
- Make sure your bowl is big enough to fit each ube bar so it’s easier to dip them.
- See post for step-by-step photos and more baking tips.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make this ube bar bread recipe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. If you’re looking for all things ube, check out this delicious collection of the best must-try ube desserts.