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These bright and fun Ube Sugar Cookies are an ode to Filipino cuisine and the beautiful yam, ube. They’re sweet, earthy, and made from just 6 plant-based ingredients! Vegan.
These Ube Sugar Cookies are soft, chewy, and infused with a sweet, nutty ube extract. Finish the cookies with a layer of sweet ube frosting and a light dusting of purple luster dust for an iconic Filipino-inspired treat!
Table of Contents
What is ube?
Ube is a purple yam native to Southeast Asia, most commonly enjoyed in traditional Filipino desserts and main dishes.
It’s most popularly known for its bright purple color and is used as a vanilla-like flavoring and vibrant coloring agent.After baking up these ube sugar cookies, use your ube extract to make ube desserts to your heart’s content! Homemade ube halaya or ube jam, ube cake, ube pie, ube ice cream, pichi pichi, and fluffy vegan pandesal to name a few!
Ingredients for Ube Sugar Cookies
If the bright purple color of these cookies has you feeling intimidated, don’t be! We’re simply taking our classic sugar cookie recipe and adding a natural ube extract for both flavor and color. You’ll need just 6 ingredients, plus an optional cup of powdered sugar to make an easy ube frosting. Here’s the basics:
- Plant-based butter: Plant-based butter sticks are made to have a consistency, flavor, and fat content that’s comparable to dairy butter sticks. If you share these cookies with non vegans, I guarantee they won’t be able to taste a difference. I prefer to use salted Earth Balance butter, but if you opt for unsalted butter, add a 1/4 teaspoon salt to salt the cookie dough.
- Sugar: What are sugar cookies without granulated sugar? For the right flavor and color, use white, cane sugar.
- Plant milk: Any unsweetened plant milk of choice will work. Learn how to make your own Homemade Nut Milk, if desired.
- Ube: I purchased my ube extract online, but if you have Asian supermarkets or Asian grocery stores in your area, you may be able to pick some up locally. It’s quite affordable and will last you a long time.
- Flour: I have only tested these cookies using all-purpose flour and cannot recommend an alternative at this time. A higher quality flour such as King Arthur Baking will yield the best results. Lower quality flours tend to spread more in the oven and won’t be as soft and puffy.
- Baking powder: This leavening agent helps these cookies become as puffy and chewy as possible. Don’t replace with baking soda – these two leavening agents cannot be used interchangeably.
For full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to the complete recipe card.
How to Make Ube Sugar Cookies
- Cream the vegan butter and sugar together using the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl and electric hand mixer. Mix until light and fluffy.
- Add the ube extract and plant milk. Cream again until purple.
- Sift in the flour mixture, then mix until just combined.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured baking sheet, then roll the dough until 1/4″ thick.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes until chilled.
- Cut your cookies out of the chilled dough, then transfer to a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for a final 15 minutes.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Add additional flour as needed. Baking recipes will always require slight tweaks and adjustments based on the quality of ingredients used, humidity of the environment, and method of measuring. If the rolled dough looks too sticky, add additional flour as needed. Similarly, if the dough appears too dry, it may need a tablespoon or so of additional plant milk.
- Use weighted measurements when possible. Although measuring cups are the popular choice in many home kitchens, baking with a kitchen scale is the superior method. It allows you to easily replicate the results I’m getting in my home kitchen with precision and ease. If you’ve had trouble with cookie recipes in the past, give my weighted measurements a try.
Aside from dunking these ube cookies in a tall glass of your favorite plant milk, they’re also delicious served with warm tea, a bowl of your favorite ice cream, or on their own as a sweet afternoon pick me up.
If you’re looking for more delicious sugar cookie recipes, you’ll also love these Vegan Chai Sugar Cookies, these Flourless Tahini Sugar Cookies and these Strawberry Sugar Cookies! Or, if you’ve got a chocolate craving, bake up a batch of these Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cookies. You won’t be sorry 😉
How to Store Ube Sugar Cookies
Leftover ube sugar cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container at room temperature. If frosting, allow the ube frosting to harden for about 30 minutes before stacking and storing.
These cookies will also keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Place the cooled cookies back on the baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cookies are frozen solid, about an hour. Once frozen, transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe bag or container and seal tightly.
When ready to eat, allow the frozen cookies to thaw at room temperature. Enjoy once soft again.
Great question! In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and ube extract until smooth. Then, transfer the frosting to a piping bag for easy decorating or simply drizzle over top.
Unfortunately, no. While both derived from the purple yam, ube powder does not have the same intense purple color as ube extract. It’s also less flavorful and will cause the flavor of these cookies to fall flat. For the best tasting purple cookies, you need ube extract.
The word ube is pronounced “oo-beh.” It has two syllables and is pronounced similarly to the Filipino word “gulay.”
Ube is commonly compared to the subtle flavor of vanilla extract. It’s sweet, nutty, earthy, and is typically a bit sweeter tasting than sweet potatoes. In other words, ube is absolutely delicious!
Technically you could use a purple food coloring, but your chewy cookies will be missing the earthy ube flavor. Ube extract is a key ingredient in this ube cookie recipe. Trust me – purchasing ube extract is worth it!
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Ube Sugar Cookies
For the Cookies:
For the Frosting: (optional, but recommended)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened plant-based milk
- Scant 1/16th teaspoon ube extract just a few drops, for color
Make the Cookies:
- Prep: Set aside a nonstick or lined baking sheet for baking the cookies, plus an additional sheet or cutting board lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper for cutting the cookies. I also like to keep a bench scraper handy for easy cookie transfer, but a spatula will work as well.
- Butter & Sugar: Add the butter and sugar to a stand mixer (or large bowl, using a handheld mixer). Cream together on low speed for 3 minutes, until the butter has lightened in color and looks fluffy.
- Wet Ingredients: Add the ube extract and plant milk to the butter and cream over medium speed for about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the purple color is fully incorporated.
- Dry Ingredients: Sift the flour and baking powder directly into the bowl using a fine metal or mesh sieve, stirring around with a spatula to combine the dry ingredients as they are sifted. Use the mixer to mix the dough until just combined, starting at a lower speed to prevent flour from spraying. The dough should look slightly crumbly, but will stick together and smooth out once pressed with a spatula.
- Roll the dough: Dust the baking sheet lines with a silicone mat with flour, then transfer the dough to the baking sheet and sprinkle the top with flour. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is about ¼” thick. If the dough looks too sticky you can sprinkle it with additional flour.
- Chill: Cover the dough with parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Shape your Cookies: Use a cookie cutter to cut cookies out of the chilled dough and transfer them to a lined baking sheet. If you move quickly you may be able to re-roll the dough to get a second batch of cookies; if the dough is too sticky, return to the fridge for a few minutes before repeating.
- Preheat: Return the cookie sheet to the fridge for one final chill (about 10-15 minutes) while you preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake: Bake the cookies in the middle rack of the oven for 9 minutes; they will look slightly puffy and soft. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely before decorating, if you plan to do so.
Make the Frosting (optional):
- Combine: Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and ube extract together in a small bowl until evenly incorporated. If the frosting is too thick, add additional liquid in 1/2 teaspoon increments.
- Decorate: Use a piping bag to decorate your cookies; I find it easiest to create a border around each cookie first, then fill it in. If you don’t want to be too fussy you can also drizzle the frosting over each cookie, or dunk the cookies into the frosting bowl.
- Serve & Store: Enjoy cookies immediately, or after the frosting hardens in about 30 minutes. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Butter: If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt in with the flour and baking powder in step 4. I used Earth Balance salted butter for this recipe.
- Flour: I have not tried this recipe with any flour substitutions. I recommend purchasing a higher-quality flour (like King Arthur), as less expensive ones tend to spread more in the oven.
- For Extra Sparkle: I mixed some purple luster dust with a small amount of vodka and brushed it onto my cookies after the icing set for an extra sparkle! This is totally optional, but is fun. Note that the vodka will evaporate once dried and will not leave any alcohol in the cookies