Home Desserts 15 Traditional Hawaiian Desserts

15 Traditional Hawaiian Desserts

by insanelygood

When I think of Hawaiian desserts, I think of tropical flavors and fresh fruit.

It could be coconut, pineapple, or passion fruit, all of which are tropical and super delicious. 

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Hawaii has been on my bucket list for years, and I’m determined to make it there before we reach the next decade.

Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with some incredible recipes at home. 

Any of these Hawaiian recipes would sit proudly on a dessert table, and they would be just as at home in a fancy restaurant. 

Flavor is king in each one of these 15 Hawaiian desserts, and you’ll definitely be going back for seconds. Enjoy!

1. Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread

If you’ve overdone it with the banana bread, you might be tempted to skip this recipe. I get it. The great banana bread baking bonanza of 2020 was intense!

But I promise this is something else. Between the chopped cherries, crushed pineapple, and chewy coconut, this recipe is on another level.

Always be sure to start with super ripe bananas, and if you want to maximize the flavor, try toasting the coconut before adding it to the batter.

2. Chocolate Haupia Pie (Ted’s Bakery Copycat)

Haupia is a thickened coconut layer similar to pudding or custard. Set with cornstarch, it has a silky smooth, gelatin-like texture. 

The second filling is a mixture of this coconut haupia and chocolate chips. Once set, it will be velvety and creamy.

The whole thing gets topped with coconut flavored whipped cream before being sliced. 

3. Hawaiian POG Recipe

The P.O.G here stands for passion, orange, and guava.

The combination of these three fruits is a tropical dream, and I much prefer a glass of this first thing in the morning to plain old OJ. 

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If you have a good blender, I highly recommend using fresh fruits. I know finding fresh passion fruit isn’t always easy, so you can substitute it with pineapple if you like. 

If you don’t have a blender, it can still be made using all-natural juices found in the store. 

Add in a little rum, and you’ll have one helluva cocktail.

4. Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple

Grilled fruit is sadly underrated. We always look for the big cakes covered in frosting or huge scoops of sugary ice cream. 

When in reality, grilled fruit is just about as good as a summer dessert can get. 

The brown sugar will help the natural sugars in the fruit to caramelize and will add a deeper caramel flavor. 

As the grill works its magic, the fruit will soften and char and become melt-in-your-mouth amazing.

5. Hawaiian Dream Cake

Substituting pineapple juice for water will make this cake undeniably tropical. Not to mention the crushed pineapple in the faux-cheesecake layer is a taste of the islands, too!

The cake will be wonderfully moist and tender, and I love the thick pudding. 

To lighten it up, the entire thing gets topped with sweetened whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted coconut for crunch.

6. Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars

Chewy, buttery, and so hard to resist, these little bars are a thing of beauty. 

The base is a super simple shortbread that will hold the toppings without taking away any flavor, and boy, is it full of flavor. 

These nut bars are perfect for a morning snack or sweet after-dinner treat between the brown sugar, coconut cream, lemon juice, and macadamia nuts.

7. Hawaiian Cheesecake Bars

There’s nothing about these bars that I don’t love.

Buttery shortbread base is always a winner.

I’ll eat pineapple cheesecake filling right out of the bowl!

And the chewy coconut topping? I might just have to put that on everything.

When put together, they make a scrumptious cheesecake dessert that travels well and even freezes for later. 

8. Hawaiian Pineapple Poke Cake

The beauty of a poke cake is that even if you over-bake it by accident, the pudding will seep in and make sure it’s moist throughout.

This recipe uses crushed pineapples, which will soak in to create pops of flavor to go along with the creamy topping.

9. Copycat Guri Guri

Guri Guri is a fabulous ice cream hybrid. Made with strawberry syrup, condensed milk, and cream, it doesn’t need an ice cream machine. 

Once combined, freeze the mixture, stirring it every so often to keep the consistency light.

Strawberry is a popular flavor, but pineapple is a close second!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

10. Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Soft, fruity, and super retro, this cake will take you back to the 70s in a flash.

Using boxed cake mix and slice pineapples will speed up your prep to just 10 minutes.

Once baked, be sure to turn the cake out before it cools and sticks in the pan.

11. Haupia Cake

This coconut pudding is obviously super popular in Hawaii, and after one bite, you’ll see why.

Using it as a cake filling makes such a refreshing change to the overly sweet frosting we’re so used to, and the coconut flavor can really shine.

I love the all-white finish of this cake, but I do think a layer of crushed pineapple or passion fruit would make for a refreshing addition to the middle.

12. Passion Fruit Ice Cream

If you checked out any of the Australian recipe lists, you’ll know that they have a love for coconut and passion fruit Down Under. 

It must be something about the beautiful scenery and beach vibes because it seems Hawaii has the same love.

You can find passion fruit pulp in some grocery stores, or you can even order it online. But it’s essential to use the pulp and not passion fruit juice. 

13. Instant Pot Kulolo

Kulolo is a pudding-like fudge made using taro. It’s warm, chewy, and typically needs to be baked or steamed for hours before it’s ready.

But using an Instant Pot will cut the cooking time in half!

You will need to grate the taro, and it will have a much better flavor if you stick with the brown sugar.

14. Hawaiian Ambrosia

Ambrosia salad is one of those southern desserts that sometimes makes people confused. No, it’s not a salad. Yes, it is delicious. 

Made with pineapple, mandarins, grapes, and coconut, there’s no shortage of fruity goodness.

But for those that might be a little picky, it’s also enrobed in Cool Whip and contain mini-marshmallows for added sweetness. 

15. Rainbow Jello

I remember having Jello as a kid, but it was never this cute!

As simple as it is, it does take a little while to make this dessert. Each layer of Jello needs to be made and set before adding the next to ensure clean lines. 

I adore the addition of the milky Hello for creamy flavor and a clean break between colors. 

15 Traditional Hawaiian Desserts

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Hawaiian Desserts

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