Haupia – Hawaiian Coconut Dessert

October 12, 2020mayurisjikoni
Blog post




What is Haupia?

It should be noted that Haupia pronounced as how-pee -ah, is a traditional Hawaiian Coconut Dessert. Basically, this recipe requires only four ingredients, coconut milk, sugar, cornflour (cornstarch) and water. Indeed, that all. On top of that, the dessert gets cooked within 10 minutes. However, patience is required to allow haupia to set and chill. But, take it from me, haupia at room temperature tastes different. Therefore, if you love custard then you’ll definitely love haupia.

Haupia Variations

Actually, Haupia is enjoyed on its own. However, nowadays there are so many variations to the basic recipe. Its used to make the following:

  • Haupia Pie
  • Chocolate is added to the basic mixture
  • Panna Cotta with Haupia flavors
  • Served with fruit coulis
  • Diced pieces are mixed with fresh fruit and served
  • Used as a filling for cakes
  • For variation two flavors are set together, white coconut one and any other fruit one together.This gives a double decker effect.

More About Haupia

In fact, Haupia is served at a luau. By the way, Luau is a traditional Hawaiian party. During olden times, coconut milk was extracted from the fresh grated coconut. However, these days its easier to use canned or frozen coconut milk. Also, arrowroot (ground Polynesian arrowroot) was used as the setting agent. Nowadays, cornflour is commonly used as the setting agent. Generally, haupia is set in a tray and cut into blocks before serving.

Some more Coconut Recipes

FoodieMonday/ Bloghop Group

Firstly, this week the group is back in action, presenting dishes using coconut.  For example fresh coconut, coconut milk, coconut cream, desiccated coconut. In fact this theme was suggested by Narmadha.  Secondly, do take some time to check out her blog Nams Corner. As a matter of fact, she likes to try out new recipes. As a result, she makes some fun but healthy dishes for her kids. Unquestionably, her Coconut Roti (Sri Lankan Pol Roti) and Coconut Milk Rice , are a must try.

Ingredients required for Haupia:

  • Coconut Milk –  use frozen or canned coconut milk. Make sure its a 400ml tin.
  • Sugar –  best to use white sugar for that milky white look. Many recipes called for half cup sugar but I reduced it considerably to 4 tablespoons. If you prefer sweeter haupia then add more sugar.
  • Corn Starch/ Cornflour or Arrowroot flour – cornstarch/cornflour is not the same as maize meal or the yellow cornflour. Corn Starch/cornflour is white like talcum powder. Usually it is used as a thickening agent for sauces, soups, desserts, etc.  Here, I have used arrowroot as it grows in abundance in Kenya. Known as Nduma in Kiswahili, it makes a good replacement for cornstarch. In addition, the advantage is that it can be used for fasting, vrat, Ekadashi days.
  • Salt – just a pinch is required to bring out the flavors.
  • Flavoring – can use vanilla extract or no flavoring at all. I didn’t use any as I wanted the full coconut flavour to shine.
  • Water – little water is required to make the slurry or paste with cornflour or arrowroot. The slurry is then added to the hot coconut milk.

Dietary Tips:

  • Gluten free
  • Vegan
  • Suitable for Vegetarian
  • Kids Friendly Food
  • To make it for Ekadashi/ Fasting/Vrat – do not use cornflour. Use arrowroot flour.


Haupia is a silky, creamy, delicious and easy to make coconut dessert. Serve it chilled on its own or with some fruit or coulis.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 9 pieces


  • 1 can coconut milk 400ml
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tbsp cornflour or arrowroot


  • Mix coconut milk, salt and sugar in a pan.
  • Place it over medium heat and allow it to become hot till you see bubbles on the sides of the pan.
  • In the meantime make the slurry by mixing cornflour or arrowroot flour with the water.
  • When the coconut mixture becomes hot, stir it continously and slowly pour in the slurry.
  • Keep stirring till the mixture becomes thick and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  • Pour the mixture into a tray. Use either a 5"X 5" or a 6"X 6" tray.
  • Bang the tray gently on the worktop to level out the mixture. Can even use a spatula to make the top smooth.
  • When the mixture cools down a bit put the tray in the fridge to allow Haupia to set for about 2 hours.
  • Cut the set Haupia into squares and serve.


  • Don't allow the mixture to become too thick as it will become difficult to level it out.
  • I've used less sugar. Add some more if your prefer.
  • A coulis is a fresh fruit sauce.
Keyword coconut dessert, haupia

Pin for Later:

A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • priya vj

    October 12, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    5 stars
    HaupiAi looks so delicious and your clicks are making it look so cute. Just 4 ingredients and we can have an delectable dessert . Bookmarked this right away !

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 12, 2020 at 10:14 pm

      Thank you so much Priya. Please share the click when you make it.

  • Renu

    October 12, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    5 stars
    Just wow,a completely new dish to me and I just love it by the look of it. The texture looks lovely and the recipe simple to make..Bookmarking this

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 12, 2020 at 10:13 pm

      Thank you so much Renu, the texture is like set custard, melts in the mouth. Am sure your kids will love it.

  • the Girl Next Door

    October 15, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    5 stars
    This is a MasterChef level dessert! 🙂 You’ve made it look so pretty and elegant. Haupia is a completely new dish for me, but it sounds absolutely delicious!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 15, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you so much for the huge compliment. Priya if you like custard then am sure you’ll like this dessert. Try it.

  • Preethicuisine

    October 18, 2020 at 6:38 am

    5 stars
    A masterpiece!! No one can resist this silky smooth dessert with coconut milk. Looks absolutely irresistible. Beautiful clicks too. I am sure the sugar you have added is perfectly enough. Can’t eat it if it is too sweet.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 18, 2020 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you so much Preethi. As for the sugar, yes it was perfect for us as we don’t like too much sugar.

  • Swati

    October 18, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    5 stars
    So deletable and gourmet dessert with just 4 ingredients. it is so nicely set without the use of gelatin.. beautiful presentation and clicks.. now I badly want to try it soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 18, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      Thank you so much Swati. please do try the easy dessert.

  • Sasmita Sahoo

    October 18, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Haupia seems an interestingly simple still absolutely delicious dessert !
    the pictures are clearly showing the silky, creamy textures of the slices . I would love to try sometime 😉

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 18, 2020 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you so much Sasmita. And please do try the easy dessert recipe.

  • Vasusvegkitchen

    October 19, 2020 at 9:03 am

    5 stars
    Wow such a irresistible , silky smooth Hawaiian coconut dessert. Loved the way you presented, it is very inviting. This is very new recipe for me, as always very clearly explained. This dessert will be big hit in the parties, will plan to try this soon 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 19, 2020 at 3:05 pm

      Thank you so much Aruna. Yes it is a great party dessert.

  • Archana

    October 21, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    5 stars
    I have been eyeing this desert Haupia from the time it has come up on my feeds and I have been reading about it here. This is a totally new dessert for me and I am in love with it. It checks all the right marks for me and I want to make it asap.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 21, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you so much Archana.

  • Poonam Bachhav

    October 24, 2020 at 10:57 am

    5 stars
    Haupia sounds absolutely creamy delectable dessert and yes oh so easy to make ! The way you have presented it with berries , makes it all the more irresistible.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 24, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you so much Poonam. Try the recipe, am sure your family will enjoy it. Serve with any fruit.


    October 27, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    5 stars
    OMG. how you come up with such gorgeous and tempting desserts. Feel like grabbing from the screen. Method looks so simple to make too and I am surprised how it sets perfectly without the use of gelatin or agar agar.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you so much Narmadha, its like custard, the cornstarch or arrowroot flour helps to set it.

      1. Shubhra

        December 7, 2020 at 12:24 pm

        5 stars
        Your presentation is so beautiful, it’s difficult to take eyes off the pictures.
        Can’t believe it’s so uncomplicated and simple to make. just wanted to ask which fruits go with it apart from berries?

      2. mayurisjikoni

        December 8, 2020 at 6:24 pm

        Thank you so much Shubhra, traditionally its served on its own but I added the fruit. You could use mango, pineapple, peaches, nectarine, basically any fruit of your choice.

  • Sujata Roy

    November 2, 2020 at 5:46 am

    5 stars
    What a beautiful dessert. A completely new recipe for me. Milly white silky smooth pieces looks amazing. I am sure it taste delectable. I am truly in love with this cute looking gorgeous dessert. Also loved your presentation and click. Wonderful share.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      November 2, 2020 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you so much Sujata. Try the dessert as its so easy to make.

  • Shubhra

    December 13, 2020 at 10:47 am

    5 stars
    Just one question!
    Can we make it a day before & keep it in the fridge ?

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Shubhra you can, just make sure you cover it with a cling film or foil.

  • Vrat ka Dosa(Kuttu Atta and Sama Rice Dosa) – food-trails

    November 30, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    […] the blog for delicious around the world desserts and health food . Her recent Coconut dessert Haupia is on my to do list that can be consumed even during fasting […]

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