Lilikoi Butter


First, you need to know that “lilikoi” is our Hawai`ian word for passionfruit, the fruit of the Passion Flower vine. Read the Wikipedia religious explanation of the word “passion.” But I’m passionate about the passionfruit (groan), which I know mostly as lilikoi.

In January, I wrote about trying to grown my own, but I haven’t had much luck so far. In that post, I also included a recipe for lilikoi butter, but I’ve refined it a bit. Also, this is for the benefit of those readers who are new to “Lava to Lilikoi.”

A friend in Na`alehu gave me a huge box of lilikoi fresh from the vine. I love to simply scoop out the insides with a spoon and eat, seeds and all. But this time, there were way too many to simply sit and eat myself sick. So I asked around for some recipes. My masseuse (Velvet) gave me this recipe.

The process I use for juicing is to cut them in half, scoop out the insides, and let that drain in a colander for about 24 hours to get rid of the seeds. My house smelled like lilikoi for days after I finished juicing them.

Lilikoi Butter

4 eggs
4 cups sugar (I used a little less and mixed it with Splenda)
1 pound unsalted butter
1 ¾ cup lilikoi juice

Mix juice, sugar, butter in a large pan. Heat until butter is melted. Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl and temper by drizzling a little of the hot liquid into the beaten eggs so they don’t scramble on you. Keep stirring and when the egg mixture is about the same temperature as the hot liquid, pour it into the pan with the juice, butter and sugar.

Bring to a rolling boil, then down to a slow rolling simmer for about half an hour. This will thicken as it cooks.

I don’t know how to improve on this simple recipe other than to use it whenever you can, over whatever you can find. I like it over ice cream, on toasted English muffins or scones, over plain cheesecake, or just right out of the jar with a spoon!

I made a double batch with all the lilikoi I had, and ended up with twelve jars. They look like jewels on my shelf!

I first published this in September 2009 and have had many requests for it since. If you are interested in seeing later posts I did on Lilikoi Butter, look for them under “Categories” on the left-hand side of this post.

A hui hou!

56 thoughts on “Lilikoi Butter”

  1. I LOVE liliko’i anything………..! I have a couple of vines that are volunteers in the yard. They are growing way up high on a pole, wires and trees, so we can’t harvest them the normal way….we have to wait until they fall all over the driveway ….sometimes just one or two and sometimes you strike gold (literally) and find dozens at a time…..Ahhhh! Mana from heaven! I usually juice them as you mention (except I rush it along a bit by using a wooden spoon to separate as much pulp from the seeds as possible) and I freeze some in ice cube trays to use in iced tea or other drinks; some in 1/2 batches in freezer type Zip-locks and some I make into syrup and vinaigrette. Mahalo nui for the Liliko’i butter recipe…..I will be making some when I get the batch of enough fruit together..

  2. Sorry, that last sentence came out garbled…..I was trying to type “I will be making some when I get enough fruit together for the next batch”

  3. Aloha! and thanks for asking about the process! When the butter is done, I put it into sterilized jars with sterilized lids and turn upside down to cool. When they are cool, I set them upright and the lids pop in, showing a good seal. I leave them on the shelf until I open one, then I refrigerate it. Just this week I put some over fresh homemade bread pudding (watch for my recipe this Wed, Oct. 21). It was wonderful

  4. I recently asked a vendor at the Pahoa farmer’s market about how she prepared her lilikoi juice to make the butter. She said she freezes the pulp then puts the whole frozen batch through a juicer. This produces lots of juice and gets out most of the seeds ( I saw a bit of seed in her jars of butter).

  5. Thanks for your comments, Kathy! I suspect everyone has their favorite way of getting the juice out of the lilikoi. I don’t get seeds in my butter the way I do it, and one of the local elders taught me how to do it this way. Any which way you look at it, the aren’t easy to get out! 🙂

  6. Aloha Lucy,
    Thanks for this recipe! I would like to make a few batches this weekend. Another recipe online is very similar to yours, but it uses half the amount of butter.
    What do you suppose the difference would be? Would this one be thicker, and the one with less butter be thinner – more like a sauce?
    Oh, yum!

    1. I honestly don’t know how the results would be different. I just know this was a recipe given to me by a local friend and I love how it tastes. Mine is not terribly thick, meaning I can spoon it over ice cream (oh my)! You might try one batch with less butter and another batch with more. I don’t normally like to use much butter, but I make an exception with this recipe because it’s so good! I’d love to know the results of your experiment!

  7. aloha I am preparing to make my first batch of lilikoi butter, I have always made lilikoi & haupia but am hoping to share with family on the mainland jealous of our lilikoi filled driveway! I am very curious about the butter experiment! Was trying to decide which is “better” before I start…any results?!
    Thanks for the recipe.

    1. I haven’t heard anything about which was better, my recipe or the one with half the butter. The last she wrote to me, she was going to make a batch of each and let me know. Haven’t heard anything yet. How soon do you need to know?

      I’m envious of your lilikoi filled driveway, too! Mine on this lava are very very slow going. It may be a few years before I get a few.

  8. Aloha Ladies,
    I haven’t yet made the Lilikoi Butter. I’m hoping to try both recipes tonight, and will let you know of the results! I’d bet they will each be fabulous!

  9. Oh gosh, the ingredients are boiling as I write. I tried the recipe with 1# of butter. I tasted it, and it is too sweet for my liking. It could be because of the way I extracted the juice… I added a little water to a nearly full blender of pulp, and twirled it gently, to loosen the seeds from the pulp. Then I squeezed it through a paint-straining bag (a big net bag). Perhaps the water made the juice less tart.
    I added some lemon juice to give it a little more kick, but it’s still too sweet. I’d like to add more lilikoi juice, but am afraid it may not set up well. If I had a bigger pan, I might try adding more eggs and more juice…
    Perhaps I will actually buy some frozen Lilikoi concentrate (sounds sacriligious, doesn’t it) and try another batch with a tarter base. I may also try it with less sugar… it may just be a matter of personal preference.
    So much for the butter experiment!
    Good luck!!

    1. It may have been the addition of water. I use straight lilikoi juice after it drains in a colander overnight. I think it takes the thickness of the lilikoi juice. Sorry yours didn’t turn out so well, but maybe you can use it to drizzle over ice cream. Usually the pectin in the fruit helps it to set up. Thanks for letting everyone know what you tried – and the results!

  10. Hmmm… just looking at a previous post, where a woman froze the pulp, and put it through a juicer. I wonder if you then strained it through the nylon net bag, it would remove the bits of seeds. I did not try to use my juicer for extraction, because I was afraid all those seeds would plug it up.
    I guess I’ll try the recipes again with less diluted juice, next time the lilikoi come around! I’ll try Lucy’s drip for 24 hrs. method.

  11. aloha I made one batch last night with half the butter & it is delicious, although a bit sweet – but I like lilikoi straight from the vine. I will try another batch tonight with more butter – I wonder now if that will help with the sweetness factor by diluting it all a bit?? or not. I may just add a bit less sugar too. I will let you know how it goes. Either way my little girl loved her toast this morning…she sucked all the butter off & tossed the bread!!

    1. Of all the posts I’ve made on this blog over the past almost 2 years, none have brought more comments than the lilikoi butter! It’s been fascinating to me to see how many ways there are to make it, and how much people love it! Thank you ALL for commenting!

  12. An update on the 2 vs. 4 sticks of butter… both lilikoi butters taste delicious, the 2 sticks recipe makes a thicker more candy like butter, and the 4 sticks is truly more of a butter. I ended up adding about 2 cups of lilikoi to the 4 sticks batch so it was not as sweet. Lucy, I forgot to reply before about our lilikoi filled driveway…lately I can pick up 12-30 a day!! We got lucky when we bought our house as there was an existing vine growing in the kukui nut tree, we have to wait until they drop so no “early birds” but once the season is on we can barely keep up. If you’d like some we live in Kona… Aloha, Alexis

    1. Oh, thank you for that information! You know, I think I add less sugar and more juice, too. Actually, I used about half or more of Splenda, since my SO and I don’t need the sugar. I’d love to get some lilikoi from you – and meet you, too! I’ll write to your email rather than here to see how to reach you! 🙂

  13. I’ve been juicing up lilikois for years, and I find that if I put pulp and seeds in the blender and blend for just a brief time, not even half a minute, it separates the pulp from the seeds. Then I strain as usual. I don’t have hardly any bits of seeds in my juice.
    I just threw a batch of butter out because, I neglected to cook it over a double boiler and it had bits of egg in it. I’ll try your method and hopefully it will be better.

  14. I’ve been juicing lilikois for years, and have a sure method that’s quick and mostly seedless. I put pulp and seeds in the blender and blend them together for a very brief time, a few seconds, just to separate them. Then I merely strain through a colander. I picked about 20 pounds the other day, and got a quart of clear juice with very few seeds.
    Now I need to make some butter, and I’ll try your method because I threw a batch out; the egg separated.

    1. I’ve heard others say they do it in the blender, too. I’ll have to try that next time. I had one batch where the egg separated, too, but I ate it anyway. It wasn’t pretty enough to give away, so I got to eat it all myself, poured over ice cream! 🙂

  15. Experiments With Lilikoi Butter
    Well Lucy, six batches later, and I still don’t have it down.
    The Lilikoi Butter I have purchased is so light but thick, like a really dense, rich pudding.
    How can I get that sort of texture and consistency?
    #1-was too egg-y… the texture was kind of gritty, and the taste was too sweet for my liking.
    #2-I juiced Lots of Lilikoi! Pure, fresh, thick and tart. I met an auntie who uses the same recipe that you shared with us, but she likes to use 3 1/2 cups of sugar. She mixes the eggs, juice and sugar together first. She then adds it to the melted butter, and cooks it until it thickens, stirring constantly. I tried this method, using only 3 1/2 cups of sugar, and probably cooked it too long.(about 45 min. in all). I call this batch “Lilikoi Caramel”…
    #3-I made this batch as above, and cooked it about 10 min. less. The color was lighter, the taste was yummy, but it didn’t thicken enough once cooled… “Lilikoi Sauce”.
    #4-I decided to try making a “Lilikoi Curd” using a Lemon Curd recipe. I substituted Lilikoi juice for the lemon juice. It has more eggs and less butter. I creamed the butter and sugar together, as if making a cake. Then I added in the eggs, one at a time, and creamed it all for another minute. I then added the juice, and blended well. I cooked the whole batch ’til it thickened, never letting it boil, and stirring the whole time. Well, I indeed ended up with Lilikoi Curd… more like a light pudding. Yummy enough, but not the desired result at all!
    #5-I used the original recipe, with 3 1/2 cups of sugar. I prepared the mixture as above, creaming together the sugar and softened butter, adding and creaming in eggs, then blending in the juice. I cooked it gently, stirring, on a low flame, for 45 minutes. The color was still light. This batch came out so creamy and smooth, but was not thick enough.
    #6-SO!! This batch is cooling as I write, and I’m pretty sure it is not the texture and thickness I’ve been hoping for. I purchased a digital thermometer, and gently cooked the mixture, stirring constantly, until it reached 220 degrees. I figured that if 235 degrees was the soft-ball stage, that I should cook it a little less. The taste is delicious, and the consistency is like a thick sauce. The color is too dark… At 200 degrees, the color was light and it boiled to the top of my saucepan. I thought it might be finished at that point, but was afraid it was still too thin. Then it began to reduce, thicken, and darken in color. It reduces in volume and the color darkens at about 210 degrees.

    Sigh… I thought it would be easier than this!
    Have you ever used a candy thermometer to determine the cooking time or temperature? I’m thinking 200 degrees may have been the time to pour it into jars, but am not sure, since it’s untested.

    Do you have any other suggestions with the cooking time, or appearance of the brew as it cooks? (such as the color, or the way it boils?)
    Big Mahalos, Lucy! I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have, although I think I’m done for the season!! I have so blown my diet, eating a lot of my delicious “mistakes”.

    1. I’m laughing so hard I may fall off my chair! You’ve stuck with it longer than I ever have. You’ve been a better woman than I to keep at it. I’m truly sorry, but I have no idea how to help with your situation – I wish I did. If you bought the lilikoi butter you are using as a guide, was it homemade or manufactured? If the latter, there may be something they do that we can’t do in our own kitchens. Actually, what I make is more like a sauce, too. So I put it over waffles or pancakes or ice cream. I admit that even the best of the best is hard on diets, so maybe the “sauce-y” kind is better – we won’t eat quite as much of it. I appreciate your valiant efforts to find the right proportions – hope it wasn’t too much of a hardship to eat all your “mistakes!” (laughing hard) I have a big batch of juice in the freezer now, so I need to cook it up before the next semester starts. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  16. Caroline….where are you?
    I’m willing to eat your mistakes…and leave no evidence….;-)

  17. Caroline,

    I have made this recipe 2 times and both they have turned out great! I have a couple of pointers for you.

    1. The first batch, if it turned out gritty, you didn’t let the melted butter and sugar incorporate and melt enough. You need to let the sugar melt into a smooth texture with the butter under low heat.
    2. You are saying “cream the butter and sugar”. I think creaming these two is like making cookies where you have soft butter and you are mixing it with sugar. This is different from melting the butter and melting the sugar into the butter. So, I don’t know if you are missusing the term, or maybe not heating it up? Don’t know, but maybe that helps??
    3. You are saying it got too dark, but it sounds like the last batch might have been a success. When I made it I was afraid it was too dark, cuz it was lighter than one I had bought, but it was really great and turned out the exact same the next time. I would describe it as a deep golden color… Lucy, agree? The purchased one was a light creamy yellow color.

    Hope this helps… and this is just based on my experience.

    Good luck!

    1. Good suggestions, Lori. Thanks for your input! I just love lilikoi anything so much that I’m not a perfectionist, I guess. No matter how mine turns out, I find a use for it somehow! I never let a good flavor go to waste!

  18. Aloha Ladies,
    Mahalo for all your input and suggestions!
    A big Lilikoi Butter Party would have been great fun, but it was pretty easy to get rid of all the evidence of my trials. I still gave the delicious bottles as gifts, and the nine left, which was so going to my waist, I would never let go to waste! I took them with me to Farmer’s Market yesterday and gave them as gifts to some local growers.
    Yes, all the batches I made were more of a sauce than a “butter”, and the consistency was different depending on how long I cooked it.
    I was going for a thicker product. The Auntie who was kind enough to share her recipe (same as yours, Lucy) makes it as gifts. I tasted her home-made LButter and it was just like the kind I’ve bought at the gift shops.
    I do not know how she got that creamy, thick Lilikoi Butter using that recipe!
    Yes, I did get the silkiest texture on the batches where I first creamed everything together as for a cake (see post above). Then I poured the entire mix into the pan, and heated it on low, stirring constantly, for about 45 minutes.
    Now I don’t think all that work is necessary to get a really tasty sauce. Lucy’s original method is simple, and works very well.
    I will still keep my ears open in order to discover the Secret of thick, light, home-made Lilikoi Butter.
    I do have another lead… as I returned unneeded canning jars to Walmart yesterday, a couple in line asked if I’d made jam. They told me a German woman they knew made The Most Amazing Lilikoi Butter, and promised to give her my number…
    My quest continues, but I’ve sworn off the sugar, so it will be a while before I attempt another batch!

    1. Oh, Caroline, please send me the German woman’s recipe if you ever get it! I’m up for trying it! When I posted my simple little recipe, I never expected it to generate so much interest or discussion! Thanks to everyone who contributed. I’m sure the issue will come up again with next year’s crop of lilikoi, although I still have some juice in the freezer ready to thaw and experiment.
      Aloha from Lucy, the Lilikoi Lady 🙂

  19. I have a very similar recipe, but cook it somewhat differently. It is always a little runny for the first few days, but then sets up quite nicely. The color is a beautiful orange. I always strain my lilikoi by hand through a colander, never putting it in a blender.
    Here is the recipe:
    1 stick butter
    4 eggs
    4 cups sugar
    1 1/2 cups lilikoi juice
    Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
    In a large bowl, beat eggs. Slowly add sugar; beat till creamy. Add juice slowly, stirring constantly.
    Add mixture to melted butter in saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly so eggs don’t coddle. Cook 5-10 minutes until desired consistency. If there are any congealed eggs, strain. Pour into glass jars. Keep in refrigerator.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and your recipe! There are several people here on the Big Island who have written to me and each one has her own version of what they put in their lilikoi butter and how they cook it. It’s almost as if we need to simply try and see what works for us. No matter how we make it, I think we all love lilikoi! 🙂

  20. I grow lilikoi and get many fruit twice a year. I use my kitchenaid mixer with an attachment specifically made for jucing fruit because it is so fast and easy; all the seeds separate from the juice without wasting any of the juice. It also works well on the wild strawberry guava.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jules. I think everyone has their favorite way of getting the juice out. I tried a combination of two things suggested by readers last year and I only ended up with one seed in 15 jars of lilikoi butter. Not bad! I’ll have to try it with the guava!

  21. Aloha, everyone. Fruit “butters” are not supposed to have butter in them at all. The term “butter” is used because the fruit mixture is thick and spreadable like a jam. The difference between a jam and a butter is that there are eggs or egg yolks in a butter. The recipe I have for Lilikoi Butter is 1 cup of lilikoi juice, 3-4 cups sugar and 5 egg yolks. The reason for the varying amount of sugar is that some lilikoi are sweeter than others. If I have very sweet orange lilikoi, I use less sugar and sometimes have to add lemon juice to get the best balance between tart and sweet. Also, as with any recipe where you have to add raw egg to a hot mixture, you must be careful to temper the egg or add it before the mixture is hot then heat very slowly, stirring constantly. I, too, use my blender to whirl the lilikoi a little to separate the seeds from the pulp then strain. You must bring the mixture to a boil then pour into your sterilized jars. Yum!

    1. Thanks so much! I will try my next batch without using butter, although I do use eggs and temper them before adding to the hot mixture. I remember making apple butter ages ago with my grandmother. All she did with that was boil down the apples with sugar until they were the right consistency. Can’t remember if she used eggs in that or not. Anyone else know?
      Even with the butter, my lilikoi butter tastes great – and spreads like butter.

  22. Finally I’ve found a great site with VERY useful info on lilikoi fruit & how to separate the juice from the seeds. My vines are still young & starting to produce nice fruit. Hope the ohia tree can support the vine as it gets older…I’m going to try making your lilikoi butter as soon as I have enough fruit. Thanks so much Lucy! Aloha.

    1. I have a more recent post that gives more information. You might check for “Lilikoi Butter Revisited” on my blog under categories. Also, you might start saving your juice in the freezer. I had this huge amount of juice – and once it thawed was just perfect for a big batch of butter. Read some of the comments other readers have made to get even more suggestions! Thanks for writing!

  23. Aloha Darlene,
    What is the website you mention?
    The lilikoi are rolling out into the street, and I spent the afternoon scooping seeds. I have several quarts of liquid gold in the freezer, and I’m drinking some now… yum!
    Is there really an easier method for juice extraction than smooshing the seeds through a metal sieve with a big spoon?

    1. Aloha, Caroline –
      I think Darlene may have been referring to my site that she had found. Please read comments from other people, also. They all have suggestions for taking out the seeds. I tried one of those suggestions and put the juice in a blender, then strained the results. It did take out almost all of the seeds. ONE seed showed up in my last batch of lilikoi butter. It shows up along the side of one jar! Horrors! Check out for more information.

  24. I scooped out the pulp and seeds from the fruit and put it all into a food processor for about 1 minute. Then I put the stuff into the metal sieve. The seeds separated nearly completely as a result of the food processing. Couldn’t have been simpler.

    1. I think food processor, blender, or just plain straining – whatever works is what I do. Glad you had good luck with it! Did you make lilikoi butter? Good to see you on here 🙂

  25. I bought a fine holed colander at KTA. I scoop the seeds and pulp into the colander, over a bowl, then use my spatula to espress the juice into the bowl. After I’ve gotten all the juice I can this way, I freeze the lilikoi juice in ice cube trays and then I put the remaining seeds/pulp into orange juice or ice tea, then strain through the colander again. This year, I had so much, I thawed frozen orange juice concentrate and mixed the seeds/pulp with the concentrate, and kept it in the fridge until I made the orange juice. Didn’t waste a drop.

    1. That sounds like a great idea! I have tried all the methods offered by my readers and all seem to work! 🙂 I like the idea of mixing your seeds and pulp with orange juice! Mahalo for your comments!

  26. I’m a professional chef and LOVE all things lilikoi. When making any curd, the ingredients are slowly heated over a low heat until thickened (coat the back of a spoon.) Take it off the heat, and THEN stir in small pieces of the butter, one at a time, until melted. This way the butter helps to thicken the curd. I went to your site because I was unsure of canning lilikoi curd – you’ve given me assurance that no one will die 🙂 On a side note, just because you get a seal, it doesn’t mean the product is safe to can. (Veggies will seal and aren’t safe unless they are pressure canned.)

    1. Thank you so much for your comments! I also love anything lilikoi. I use it on top of cheesecake, toast, biscuits, ice cream – whatever is benefited from that tangy delicious flavor. I generally use mine up soon enough that it doesn’t go bad, but thanks for the tip on getting a seal.

  27. A friend referred me to your recipe because I liked hers last year. I have a gallon of lilikoi in the freezer awaiting me, and I will try it shortly. My method of juicing lilikoi uses a blender stick. There are rarely more than a dozen black pinpricks in a quart when using it. I use the funny X blade with the fold in it, then stir it in a strainer til it’s just a mass of seeds. I have 5 vines, which I can’t remember how they started, I don’t think I intentionally planted them, but they’re conveniently located to screen my patio from the road! Since i live in dry Ocean View, this year’s abundance is surprising. I’ll have plenty more with which to experiment if I screw up the first try. I find the ones with the rounder fruit are oranger, and sweeter than the oval ones. I’ve started to segregate them. I expect it’s high ascorbic acid levels make it safer to can with minimal processing.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Patricia. I think my recipe has received a lot of attention. I am sending you an email, as well. I’d like to discuss something with you.

  28. Amazing recipe. This year was my first time making Lilikoi butter. My vine took off and I ended up with 8 LRG brown paper bags of Lilikoi. I made lots of butter and gave at least 4 bags of Lilikoi away. Because this was my first go at making butter I gave away samples to my friends to use as my test subjects. 😉 Lets just say they raved about the butter. SUCCESS!!! They raved so much most finished their jars within the week and told me to sell the next batches. ;). Friends are family to me so I’ll gain my riches by sharing more jars with my family and seeing the smiles on their faces. Thank you!!

    1. Mahalo for your wonderful comments! I’m always thrilled when someone has fun with my Lilikoi butter! There are so many uses for it, including eating right out of the jar! LOL My fave, I think, it spreading it on top of cheesecake – or maybe on top of hot biscuits – or maybe over ice cream, or….. You get the picture! 🙂

  29. Aloha Lucy,
    Do you keep your finish product outside instead of having it refrigerated? If so, what’s the shelf life (a month)?
    Look forward on hearing from you. Where did you get this recipe (on the island)?

    1. I got the recipe from a local friend – Hawaiian style. Lots of people make it here. I have kept mine comfortably on the shelf for several months, but I use it up fairly quickly. I think after that it might get rancid, but mine is gone so soon I don’t know 🙂

    1. I honestly don’t know the answer to this. I have used it up before it went bad, but I know it will last several months. Smaller batches work better if you are concerned about spoiling.

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