cooking ulu (breadfruit)

Craig DeSilva
February 11, 2021

Vegetable or fruit? Breadfruit is so versatile that it can be used as both a savory dish or dessert.

Breadfruit is not native to the Islands, but it’s so common here that it has its own Hawaiian name – ulu. Use ulu in place of potatoes. It’s good mashed, fried, steamed, or boiled for soups and stews.

When to pick? Pick ulu when it’s firm and skin is greenish-yellow and dotted with brown spots (see ulu on top in photo below). At this stage, ulu has the best taste and texture for savory dishes.

How sweet it is. Ulu can ripen within three days at room temperature. Use ripe ulu for desserts, such as ice cream or custard.

So sappy. Sticky white sap can leak from ulu when picked. Place the ulu stem side down to drain the sap. To remove sap from the skin, wash ulu under cold water and dry it with a towel.


Here’s a simple recipe you can make with ulu as a side dish in place of rice or potato.


  • 1 medium ulu
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel ulu with a knife or potato peeler. Cut in half and remove core. Chop into 1-inch cubes.

Place in a pot and fill with water to barely cover. Bring water to a boil and simmer until ulu is tender and can be pierced with a fork.

Drain water in a colander.

Heat oil in a pan and sauté ulu until slightly crisp and lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Share this article

By commenting, you agree to Island Scene's Terms of Use.