Haupia is a coconut-flavored custard popular in Hawaii and a staple at luaus, where it is often served as a small square perched atop a ti leaf. It looks like a mix between cheese cake and pudding.

A more contemporary presentation is the McDonalds haupa pie – like the apple or cherry confections served on the mainland. My mother enjoyed her taste of Hawaii at a Waikiki McDonalds. I tried it recently to recall how to describe the taste. Even this fairly low-budget haupia pie was really tasty – one dollar for the standard crust filled with coconut-flavored custard.

While I do not dislike coconut flavor, it is not something I went out of my way to experience before moving to Hawaii. But haupia is generally a delicate sensation – not overpowering like the dried flakes sold in bags to add to cookies or other baked goods, or buried inside chocolates. No, this is a hint of coconut in a light cream, far more subtle than anything I tasted on the mainland. This is a low-texture, high-flavor coconut sensation.

If you have the opportunity to taste haupia in Hawaii, take it. Even at McDonalds, even as a luau mini-dessert – it is coconut as it should be experienced, a taste of Hawaii you’ll remember fondly.


  1. I remember when i first moved here, my friends bought me a chocolate HAUPIA creme pie, from Zippys. It was the best HAUPIA experience i've ever had !

  2. that's so funny you posted this!  my daughter and hubby just got here yesterday for their first anniv.. anyway, they went to McD cause my SIL gets a kick out of the Hawaiian version of the McD breakfast special… with rice and spam.. he loved it… so then he saw the haupia pie for a buck and had to get it… he LOVEd it… my daughter… she said it was ok, but she isn't a coconut lover.      this little $1 treat is a real speciality… for Hawaiian visitors.   🙂

  3. Mmmm Haupia. I’ve never tried the Haupia pie form McD’s. but I have tried the taro pie. I’m pretty sure I’ll like the Haupia one better. 😀

  4. I just wish the three McDonalds we visited while there last month had had some. We were looking forward to it, and to treating the younger granddaughter to it, as her big sister loved it 2 years ago. Wondering what McDonalds was thinking to discontinue it.  BTW, we visited one on Oahu and two different ones on Big Island in an attempt to get her some. 
    At least she was able to try Haupia at a Luau, and Haupia Cream Sauce at another restaurant. Now what I want is a recipe, lol

  5. Ellen – the haupia and taro pies seem to come and go. My McDonalds in Kailua did not have the haupia pie a couple of weeks ago but it was back when I went on Saturday. Have no idea what they're thinkin'!
    Paul – haupia and chocolate! that's excellent! I had some chocolate haupia pie at the Oceanarium buffet that was fabulous!

  6. Two words: Ted’s Bakery.

    Had my first chocolate haupia cream pie there last year, and was pretty saddened to have to part with it so soon. This year I got several pieces of it and the standard haupia cream pie from there. Really wish I knew of a place that would sell or ship them to the mainland during my 44 week absence from Hawaii.

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