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  • Writer's pictureGrace Saadi

50 Tastes: Haupia, Hawaii

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

Haupia is the first dessert in this series that's entirely new to me! A simple concoction of coconut milk, sugar, water, and starch, it's the perfect combination of tropical and refreshing. While haupia is often divided into small squares, I suggest molding this recipe in small cups or ramekins to serve. But it's perfect for these final days of summer!


I really wish I could have shared more about the history of haupia, but what I shared is essentially all I could find. It makes me wonder if this dessert has experienced little change over the years, which would be quite an accomplishment given that haupia was likely created not long after the Polynesians arrived on the islands! Alongside this, it still holds great relevance through Hawaiian celebrations and general day-to-day. From luaus to McDonald's runs, it seems like you can find haupia just about anywhere.


Hawaiian Haupia

Makes approx 10 small cups


1 13-ounce can of coconut milk (do not use a low-fat variety)

6 TBSP sugar

8 TBSP cornstarch or arrowroot

3/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and water in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and stir again.

  2. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened. This will take between 10-15 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough to pull away from the pan.

  3. Pour into small cups or ramekins to your desired amount.* Chill in the refrigerator until firm, 8-24 hours.

  4. Remove from fridge once firm and enjoy!

*feel free to try to cut squares using this recipe as well. Follow the same process and instead mold it in a lightly greased 8" square pan. Tip the haupia out once firm and cut to your desired size. I attempted 3 different recipes and they all resulted in very soft haupia that was difficult to handle unless frozen.



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