Taro vs Ube

Two starchy root crops that have grown in popularity recently are taro and ube. They both go into different dishes, but what distinguishes them from one another? In this post, we’ll contrast taro with ube in terms of their flavors, looks, nutritional content, and health advantages. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know more about the distinctions between taro and ube and which one would work best for your next recipe.

Purple potato on white

Despite having a similar look, taro and ube are not interchangeable because of their different variances in flavor and texture.

A mild, nutty flavor, a touch of sweetness, and a starchy texture characterize taro.

Ube, on the other hand, has a creamy texture and a sweet, earthy flavor.

Ube’s vivid purple coloring stands out in contrast to taro’s brown flesh with tiny purple flecks as another distinct difference between the two foods.

Both taro and ube have high vitamin and mineral content when it comes to nutrition, yet their nutritional profiles differ.

While ube has a high concentration of vitamin C and antioxidants, taro is a wonderful source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin E.

We shall go into more detail on taro and ube cultivation, harvesting, nutritional value, and health advantages in the next parts.

Key Takeaways

  • Taro and ube are two starchy root vegetables with distinct differences in taste, texture, and appearance.
  • Taro is a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin E, while ube is high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Both taro and ube have unique health benefits and are used in various dishes around the world.

What is Taro?

A starchy root vegetable of Southeast Asian and Indian origins is taro. Other names for it are dasheen, eddoe, and cocoyam.

Taro root with half slice on taro leaf and wooden background

The flesh of the taro is white and starchy on the inside, with a brown, hairy outside.

It is frequently used in a variety of international cuisines, including Hawaiian, Caribbean, and African dishes.

The distinctive flavor of taro is described as nutty, earthy, and somewhat sweet.

Although it is frequently contrasted with sweet potatoes or yams, it has a unique flavor and texture.

In addition to being used in soups, stews, and curries, taro can also be boiled, mashed, or fried.

Poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish produced by mashing boiled taro root with water, is one of the most well-known taro dishes.

Poi is typically served as a side dish with meat or fish and has a thick, paste-like consistency. Chips, dumplings, and even sweets like ice cream and cakes are all made from taro.

The nutrients fiber, potassium, and vitamin C are all abundant in taro. It is a healthy complement to any diet because it is also low in fat and calories.

It’s crucial to remember that taro includes oxalates, which in some people might result in kidney stones.

Before including taro in your diet, you should see your doctor if you have a history of kidney stones.

What is Ube?

The Philippines in particular is home to the starchy root vegetable known as ube.

Purple Yam, known locally as Ube

When cooked, it turns a vivid purple color and goes by the name of purple yam. Ube tastes similar to vanilla or pistachio and is sweet and nutty.

In Filipino cooking, ube is frequently used to make desserts like ice cream, cakes, and pastries.

Additionally, it is employed in the preparation of savory meals like lumpia and ube tamales.

In the Philippines, ube is a widely used taste that is frequently used to mark festivals and important events.

The sweet and creamy delicacy known as ube halaya, which is made from mashed ube, coconut milk, and sugar, is one of the most well-liked ways to consume ube.

It is frequently used as a spread or topping for toast or bread.

Additionally, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium are all abundant in ube.

It can be used as a sugar substitute in some recipes and is a healthier alternative to other sweeteners.

In general, ube is a distinct and delicious ingredient that is adored in Filipino cooking.

Ube is unquestionably worthwhile to try, whether you’re seeking to try something new or give your favorite recipes a twist.

Cultivation and Harvesting

Both taro and ube are root vegetables that are grown and eaten widely around the world.

Taro root on wooden background

The following are some significant variations in their cultivation and harvesting:


A perennial tropical or subtropical plant, taro thrives in hot, humid environments.

It typically grows in fields that are submerged, much like rice paddies, and it prefers a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5.

Taro plants can withstand little shade but need a lot of water. They have huge, heart-shaped leaves and can reach heights of 4 feet.

Corms, which are underground stem structures that serve as the plant’s food storage, are used to multiply taro plants.

Usually sown in the spring or early summer, corms take 6 to 12 months to mature into harvestable plants.

The taro corms are ready to be harvested when their leaves begin to yellow and droop.

Farmers use a shovel or hoe to dig out the corms from the taro plants after draining the water from the fields.

After that, the corms are cleaned, peeled, and either boiled or roasted before being consumed. Taro leaves can be added to soups and stews and are edible as well.


Southeast Asia is home to the tuberous root crop ube, sometimes referred to as purple yam.

It is a climbing vine that may reach a length of 6 meters and prefers a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 in well-drained soil.

Ube plants require a lot of water and full sun, especially during the growing season.

Ube plants can be grown from seeds or cuttings, and they mature in 9 to 12 months.

When the leaves begin to wilt and turn yellow, the tubers are ready to be harvested. Unlike taro, ube can be cultivated in raised beds or containers and is not typically grown in flooded fields.

Farmers use a fork or spade to dig up the tubers to harvest ube. After that, the tubers are cleaned, peeled, and either boiled or roasted before being consumed.

Although ube is frequently used in sweet meals and baked products, it can also be utilized in savory foods.

Both taro and ube are generally adaptable plants that can be grown under a range of conditions.

However, if you intend to cultivate them yourself, you should be aware of the fact that they have various needs and harvesting procedures.

Nutritional Value

There are some variances between taro and ube’s nutritional content. The nutritional breakdown of each is as follows:

Fresh sweet potato,Sweet potato roasted Japanese food


As a good amount of fiber and carbohydrates, taro is a fantastic food for supplying energy.

Its low fat and cholesterol content makes it a healthy option for anyone who is controlling their weight or cholesterol levels. Additional nutrients found in abundance in taro include:

  • Potassium: Taro is an excellent source of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure and heart function.
  • Vitamin E: Taro contains vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage.
  • Vitamin B6: Taro is also a good source of vitamin B6, which is important for brain function and the production of red blood cells.
  • Magnesium: Taro contains magnesium, a mineral that is important for bone health and nerve function.


In addition to being a rich source of fiber and carbs, ube is a good source of energy.

It has low cholesterol and fat levels. Among the vitamins and minerals that ube is high in are:

  • Potassium: Ube is a good source of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure and heart function.
  • Vitamin C: Ube contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage and boost your immune system.
  • Vitamin A: Ube is rich in vitamin A, which is important for eye health and immune function.
  • Iron: Ube contains iron, which is important for the production of red blood cells and for maintaining energy levels.

Overall, taro and ube are both nutrient-dense foods that can be incorporated into a balanced diet.

Both, it should be noted, contain a lot of carbohydrates, so those watching their intake should eat them in moderation.

Health Benefits

The high nutrient content of taro and ube makes them both extremely healthy.

Taro root with half slice on taro leaf

The advantages of having these root vegetables in your diet include the following:

Rich in Fiber

Taro and ube both contain a lot of fiber, which is crucial for keeping a healthy digestive system.

Constipation is avoided, regular bowel movements are encouraged, and colon cancer risk is decreased thanks to fiber. 6.7 grams of fiber are present in one cup of cooked taro, compared to 2.4 grams in one cup of cooked ube.

Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Both taro and ube are loaded with nutrients, such as potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Vitamin C is necessary for boosting the immune system and encouraging healthy skin, while potassium is crucial for maintaining appropriate blood pressure levels.

Red blood cell production and maintaining normal brain function both require vitamin B6.

Low Glycemic Index

Because they are slowly absorbed by the body and have a low glycemic index, taro and ube cause a slow rise in blood sugar levels.

This makes them a wonderful option for persons who have diabetes or want to keep their blood sugar levels stable.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Both taro and ube have anti-inflammatory elements that can help lessen bodily inflammation.

Numerous health issues, including arthritis, cancer, and heart disease, have been related to chronic inflammation.


Both taro and ube are adaptable foods that may be included into a wide range of meals, from savory stews and soups to sweet desserts.

This makes it simple to include them in your diet and benefit from their health advantages.

Close up view of purple sweet potato powder with raw purple sweet potato

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between taro and ube?

The main difference between taro and ube is their taste and texture. Taro has a mild, nutty flavor with a starchy texture, while ube has a sweet, nutty flavor with a smooth, creamy texture. Taro is also slightly denser than ube.

Can you use taro and ube interchangeably in recipes?

While both taro and ube are starchy root vegetables, they have distinct flavors and textures. As a result, they are not interchangeable in recipes. For example, if a recipe calls for taro, substituting ube would significantly alter the flavor and texture of the dish.

How do you prepare taro and ube?

Both taro and ube can be boiled, mashed, roasted, or fried. However, taro requires a longer cooking time than ube due to its denser texture. It’s also important to note that taro must be cooked thoroughly before consumption, as it contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation to the skin and throat if not cooked properly.

Are taro and ube healthy?

Both taro and ube are nutritious root vegetables that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, they are also high in carbohydrates and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

What are some popular dishes that use taro and ube?

Taro and ube are commonly used in Filipino, Hawaiian, and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Some popular dishes that use taro include poi, taro chips, and taro dumplings. Ube is often used in desserts such as ube halaya, ube ice cream, and ube cake.

Fresh raw taro vegetable in wooden tray after harvested from the farm


In conclusion, both taro and ube are starchy root foods that are frequently used in drinks and desserts.

Despite having a similar appearance, they differ greatly in terms of flavor, texture, and nutritional content.

When cooked, taro has a starchy, slightly slimy flavor and texture. It is an excellent source of vitamin E, potassium, and fiber.

On the other hand, when ube is cooked, it has a sweet, nutty flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. It contains a lot of potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

Taro and ube have similar calorie counts to one another. However, how they are prepared can have a big impact on how many calories they contain.

For instance, deep-frying taro or ube can dramatically raise their caloric content.

Ube’s distinctive flavor and vivid purple color have helped it become more popular in recent years.

It is frequently included in sweets including ice cream, cakes, and pastries. In contrast, taro is more frequently used in savory meals like stews and curries.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.