Hawaiian Haupia (coconut pudding)

Categorized as Coconut Milk Desserts, Featured, Hawaiian Treats 70 Comments on Hawaiian Haupia (coconut pudding)

Haupia, Hawaiian coconut pudding, is a favorite at Hawaiian luaus and potlucks, this recipe is easy and quick with only four ingredients! Coconut haupia is one of the most popular traditional Hawaiian desserts.

A while ago, I posted a recipe for chocolate haupia pie. I figured it’s about time that I post a classic coconut haupia recipe.

Haupia - A Traditional Hawaiian Coconut Pudding Made From Corn Starch And Coconut Milk.

This recipe really is simple. It’s just a few ingredients, and it comes together quickly. No special equipment, no special ingredients. Simple simple simple.

Home Made Hawaiian Coconut Pudding Is A Tasty Hawaiian Snack. Jelly Like Coconut Squares Are Firm Enough To Eat With Your Hands.
Home made Hawaiian coconut pudding is a tasty Hawaiian snack. Jelly like coconut squares are firm enough to eat with your hands.

I personally like mine in pie form, because… well, there’s chocolate in it. But I will say, sometimes it’s better to just eat it plain, because it’s so refreshing!

Coconut Pudding, Custard or Jelly Squares

My husband loves haupia. When I asked him for a bit more info on what traditional texture should be like, he said, well… it should be firm enough that you can pick it up and eat it.

Cooking Hawaiian Coconut Haupia. The Easy Recipe Calls For Only Four Ingredients.

I then asked my sister in law how she eats hers. Well, she said, I think the authentic way is to have it closer to a custard, and you eat it with a spoon!

So, my husband is born and raised in Hawaii, as is my sister in law. But, I trust her more, heh heh.

She looked into it a little more for me and told me authentic Hawaiian haupia should probably be somewhere in between custard and jelly like squares.

Hawaiian Coconut Milk Dessert Pudding Cut Into Jelly Like Squares.

Well, my husband likes his in Jelly like squares, so that’s what I’ve decided to share with you today. It’s also easier to eat, because you can just pick it up and eat it.

If you want it to be softer, the solution is easy. Just add a little less cornstarch! You can play with the amount, maybe starting at 4 tablespoons instead of 5. Totally customizable to your tastes!

Haupia, A Traditional Hawaiian Pudding Made Of Coconut Milk.

Next time you’re feeling like you need a little tropical kick in your life, give this Hawaiian style recipe a try!

By the way, my all time most visited post is another popular Hawaiian treat – Butter Mochi! Give both a try!

Hawaiian Style Coconut Pudding

What is haupia?

Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut dessert. The traditional haupia recipe calls for coconut milk mixed with ground arrow-root which translates to “pia.” The full word can be translated as arrow-root pudding or, to mix arrow-root with coconut milk. Modern recipes use cornstarch as a substitute for arrow-root because of the lack of availability.

Although it is considered a pudding, the consistency can be more firm coconut gel cubes or coconut jelly cubes. The consistency will differ depending on the amount of cornstarch in the recipe. This recipe is more gel or jelly like. for a more pudding like texture, reduce the amount of corn starch.

How to pronounce haupia?

The proper haupia pronunciation is \ hau̇ˈpēə \ which sounds like how-pea-ahh. an audio pronunciation is provided below:

hau·​pia | \ hau̇ˈpēə \
Hawaiian Haupia Is Fresh And Simple. A Favorite At Hawaiian Luaus And Potlucks, This Basic Recipe Is Easy And Quick To Make. Only Four Ingredients!


  1. 5 stars
    My boyfriend is Hawaiian, and he’s mentioned how his grandmother would make this dessert when he was growing up. I thought it would be nice to make it for him so this looked like the best recipe. He said the other Haupia he’s had is sweeter than this but we both agree that this is still really good!!! We don’t like overly sweet things so really… it’s perfect! It tastes light and satisfies that sweet tooth of ours!

  2. I would love to try this and saw through the comments about using cornstarch or gelatin. Has anyone tried gluccomanan? I’ve read it can be interchangeable with cornstarch and gelatin.

  3. 5 stars
    I love most all recipes with coconut cream or milk!!! I’m not a sweets person, more of a savory, but I tried this a few years ago and because it wasn’t sickening sweet – I liked it. Do you think I could substitute raw unfiltered honey in lieu of sugar?

  4. I learned to make haupia as well as many luau dishes, lomi lomi salmon , laulau , from my husbands’s Hawaiian Auntue.
    We used Mendoncas coconut milk, cornstarch and sugar, but Thai Kitchen works well.
    She taught me to stir until the fat begins to melt.-glistens.

  5. 4 stars
    I will double it next time. My husband was born and raised in Hawaii as well. I have made this many times from scratch . Or I cheated with the packet. It turned out great.

  6. When I initially refrigerate it do I have to cover it with plastic wrap? Also does it matter if the 8 x 8 container is made of metal or glass?

    1. You can use metal or glass, and while it isn’t essential to cover it with plastic wrap, it is probably a good idea.

    1. The coconut milk marketed for drinking is quite a different consistency and makeup and will most likely not work. Sorry!

  7. This is my first time making it and it came out good so I think I’m going to make it every time we have a cookout or a gathering I love it my brother’s going to love it thanks for the recipe I am going to enjoy it

  8. Hello and Thank you. I can not find arrowroot close by. Do you think I could substitute Coconut flour or if not maybe almond flour in place of the cornstarch or gelatin?

    1. unfortunately those flours don’t have the same properties that cornstarch has, so it wouldn’t set up in the same way.

  9. Do you tbink i could use coconut cream instead of the milk and the sugar? It would have thevsweetness and tge coconut flavor as well.

    1. The coconut cream I’ve seen is unsweetened, so it wouldn’t make the dish sweet enough. I’m not sure about sweetened coconut cream as I’ve never used it.

  10. Hi! I love haupia but I dont have any corn starch at home and was wondering if there was anything I could substitute for it? I do have mochiko (rice flour) if that’s a possibility

    1. Aloha, ik it’s been a while so you probably don’t need think info but incase anyone else does. You can use cornstarch, gelatin, agar agar or arrowroot. There’s probably a few other things but those are the ones I’ve heard of.

  11. Someone just told me about this recipe BUT it’s all the same except No sugar or water but with evaporated milk… thoughts?

  12. 5 stars
    Made these today for an international event I was attending. It got two thumbs up from the Hawaiians! Super easy to make and transport. I cut into bite size pieces and distributed into Dixie cups for serving. I have to say I had no idea what you meant about it starting to glaze and the consistency comment until I got to that ten minute mark. Then I noticed when I would whisk it, rather than coming up with the whisk, it wanted to stay with the rest if that makes sense. I cooked it a few minutes longer because I doubled it. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

    1. We had this desert at a Hawaiian restaurant and they served it with raspberry and chocolate syrup in a nice design, topped with a raspberry. I imagine you could just use chocolate syrup.

  13. 5 stars
    If I want it to be a bit chewy, can I add a little bit of tapioca starch? Like 3 tablespoon of corn starch and 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch?

  14. 5 stars
    So my first batch didn’t set properly and is more like a pudding then Jello. Any ideas on how to still serve it? I still want to try and use it at the potluck as it still tastes delicious. But what suggestions might you have to finish it off so it looks more appealing?!

  15. Once you make the haupia and store it in the fridge, how long will it stay fresh? I want to make these ahead of time for a party.

    1. Hey Monica, it should be good for a few days at least, if you cover it tightly with plastic wrap! I had mine in there for a week and it was starting to get a little less than fresh but still edible, haha.

    2. 5 stars
      Hey Monica, I learned from my tutu to add a pinch of salt at the beginning of simmering. It will help keep the haupia from spoiling when left out on the dessert line at a party or during a long travel if not stored in a cooler. Glad to see people making and enjoying our local desserts!! Aloha

    1. Hey there, sorry to hear that! If it’s still runny, that probably means you didn’t cook it quite long enough. Unfortunately, the best option would probably be to just start from scratch. Also, just wanted to be sure that you used canned coconut milk, not the drink kinds that are in cartons.

    1. That would give it a more “jelly” texture, so I would say it wouldn’t be as authentic, but I think it would still be yummy!

      1. 4 stars
        When I was a kid in Hawaii (over 55 years ago) Haupia was made with agar agar. So I think that gelatin would be more authentic, so long as you used lots of gelatin. (Agar Agar makes a chewier pudding than the ordinary meat-based gelatin sold.)

    2. It is so funny that you ask that. I have made countless haupia recipes that use cornstarch following everything down to the very letter and I always get custardy consistency. Not at all like the haupia I was promised. But I’ve noticed after I moved nothing I usually make comes out right. I can’t seem to make a frybread dough properly with baking powder here and the suggestion has been made for the drier climate and small changes in altitude. So I’ve worked around it and agar agar works great for haupia.

    3. I like to add crushed pineapple that has the juice squeezed out of it. Add before putting in your dish

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