Mark Loproto
Posted on February 7, 2020

Luau Desserts – A Sweet Ending to a Tropical Feast

Luau Desserts – A Sweet Ending to a Tropical Feast

by Mark L., February 7, 2020

fresh fruit platter with pineapple, strawberries, and grapes.
Fresh fruit, especially pineapple, is always on the menu.

Every Hawaiian luau features a large spread of foods that are sure to satisfy even the biggest appetite. Food is one of the central elements of the evening festivities, along with live entertainment and friendly company.

Every luau we know features Hawaiian specialties including kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, and poi, but for many people, a meal just isn’t complete without something sweet. Let’s have a look at some common luau desserts.

One of the best things about a Hawaiian luau is that there is something for everyone, and that includes dessert. Whether you love chocolate or prefer something more naturally sweet like fruit, you can bet there will be something calling out to you in the dessert section of the buffet.

The King of Luau Desserts: Haupia

Haupia, a traditional coconut pudding usually found on dessert menus at Hawaiian luaus.
Three-ingredient Hawaiian Haupia is simple and delicious!

If you’re at a luau, there’s an excellent chance it will offer haupia.

When it comes to signature Hawaiian desserts, haupia is as traditional as they come. It is a simple and delicious treat at the end of a feast.

To make haupia, coconut milk is mixed with sugar and arrowroot starch (pia) or cornstarch to make a delicious, refreshing pudding. Haupia can be served in gelatin-like cubes or can be used to top cakes or pies, depending on the density.

Haupia is technically a pudding but usually looks more like coconut jello and has the consistency of flan. However it’s served, haupia has a light, sweet flavor that most people find irresistible. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, so it can be enjoyed by people with specific dietary needs.

Pineapple Cake

A slice of Pineapple upside down cake served as a dessert at Chief's Luau.
Be sure to try the pineapple upside-down cake at Chief’s Luau!

Wherever you go in the world, nothing says “Hawaii” quite like pineapple. It was Hawaii’s main export for many years and remains a symbol of Hawaiian culture and hospitality. So every Hawaiian luau is going to feature the iconic fruit on the menu.

In addition to sweet juicy slices of fresh pineapple, you’re also likely to find some kind of pineapple cake or bar, and we encourage you to try all of them.

Macadamia Nut Cookies

Second only to pineapples, macadamia nuts are firmly associated with Hawaiian cuisine. You may come across this buttery little delicacy more than once in your luau feast since a popular way to prepare fresh fish is with a mac-nut crust. No luau dessert spread would be complete without some kind of nutty cookie.

Chocolate Cake

Luau desserts tray with three types of cake.
Every celebration requires a cake!

There’s nothing particularly Polynesian about chocolate cake, but would it be a dessert bar without it? Luau chefs aim to please! Some luaus offer a selection of cakes, so may also see a coconut cake and other flavors on the menu.

Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruit makes a sweet finish to a luau feastWe can’t emphasize this too much: when you’re in Hawaii, you should be eating the local fruit. If there is fresh, seasonal fruit at a luau (and there will be), then it is produced locally. Fresh fruit is the perfect ending to any feast, even if you’re not a big fan of desserts.

What if I Have Dietary Restrictions?

If you have a dietary restriction such as a nut or gluten allergy, be sure to mention it at the time of booking. Generally, they’ll be able to point you to treats that are already on the dessert menu, and most people, regardless of sensitivities, can enjoy fresh fruit.

Our Recommendations for Best Luau Dessert Selections:

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