Asian Recipes/ Breakfast/ Condiments and Sauces/ Recipes

Kaya Jam – Sweet Coconut Spread Recipe (Seri Kaya)

16/09/2020

Kaya Jam is our favourite breakfast spread, it’s so perfect to slather on hot buttered toast! This simplified and deliciously sweet Malaysian coconut jam recipe is made without pandan leaves, so it’s ready in 15 minutes or less.

Jar of Kaya Jam with slice of toast with kaya coconut spread in background.

Why We Love This

Growing up in Australia, our parents would always have toast for breakfast with fruit jams (or Vegemite!). When we first tried kaya jam in Singapore while staying with a local family, it blew our minds! Now we always have a jar in the fridge ready to go.

This delicious coconut spread best enjoyed slathered over hot buttered toast with a piping hot coffee. We love it with Southeast Asian drinks like Vietnamese Iced Coffee or Malaysian Teh Tarik (pulled tea).

This is the best kaya recipe because you can easily whip up this simplified kaya jam in less than 15 minutes. All you need is coconut cream, eggs and sugar!

Slice of toast with kaya coconut spread and Jar of Kaya Jam in background.

What is Kaya? 

Kaya (also known as srikaya or seri kaya in Malaysia and Indonesia) is a sweet coconut egg jam popular across Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia and Singapore. It ranges in colour from golden brown to green when infused with pandan extract or pandan leaf juice.

It’s basically an equivalent of fruit jam, usually enjoyed as a breakfast spread served on toasted bread with butter and a soft boiled egg. (We find this combination of salty and sweet flavours in Asian cuisine so addictive!)

You’ll most often find it at local coffee houses (kopitiam) or sometimes at night markets. But you can also find it hidden inside baked goods like sweet breads or pastries! You can also buy ready made kaya spread from Asian grocers of course, but there is something extra delicious about it when you make it at home.

Kaya means “rich” in Malaysian, referring to the lusciously smooth and rich texture of this glorious coconut spread. It’s made from a blend of coconut milk / coconut cream with eggs and sugar, giving it the uniquely sweet coconut flavour and rich, fluffy texture it’s best known for.

Traditionally, the process of making kaya jam was a labour of love, taking hours of stirring over a double boiler to achieve that thick, luscious texture and rich intense flavour. Thankfully it’s possible to make it much more quickly by using coconut cream instead of coconut milk

What You’ll Need

This simplified kaya jam recipe only needs three main ingredients:

  • Eggs – we used regular eggs, but we’ve heard duck eggs work just as well. You may need to adjust the quantity if using larger eggs. Some recipes call for just egg whites or just egg yolks, but we use the whole egg.
  • Brown sugar you could also use caster sugar, raw sugar, gula melaka / palm sugar or coconut sugar. Each will give a slightly different colour and flavour to your Kaya jam. Some recipes use some of the sugar to make caramel separately and add it at the end, but we found that brown sugar gave us that caramel-like taste and lovely dark brown colour without the extra effort!
  • Coconut cream – you can use coconut milk if you need, but it will take longer to cook off the extra liquid. Coconut cream is much denser and thicker, so the jam doesn’t take as long to thicken up. 
  • Cornflour/cornstarch (optional) – if you’re using coconut milk, you might like to add in 2 tbsp of cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with water to help the jam thicken. 
Slice of toast with kaya coconut spread and Jar of Kaya Jam in background.

How to make Kaya Jam:

  1. Pop your brown sugar into a medium-large pan, add the coconut cream and whisk to combine. Note: Coconut cream usually separates in the can (and we want to use the thicker cream that floats on the surface). Don’t shake the coconut cream can before opening, just spoon the thicker cream out and leave the clear coconut water aside.
  2. Add the eggs and gently heat over low heat, stirring continuously. The kaya should thicken after around 10-15 mins of stirring. If you’re using coconut milk, you might need to keep cooking and stirring for longer until it thickens naturally. This can sometimes take around 45 minutes to an hour (that’s why we recommend using coconut cream instead!).
  3. An optional step is to add corn flour (cornstarch) mixed with water to help the jam thicken if needed.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the jam to cool slightly. For an extra smooth kaya jam, use a stick blender or hand mixer to quickly blend until lusciously smooth.
  5. Pour into a clean, sterilised jam jar or canning jar and store in the fridge for 1 to 2 months. 

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Never shake the coconut cream can before opening, just spoon the thicker cream out and leave the clear coconut water aside.
  • Cook gently over a low heat so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
  • For an ultra smooth consistency blend for 30 seconds with a stick blender after removing from the heat. 
  • Always use a sterilised bottle/jar to store your kaya spread so it won’t spoil.
  • Use a clean knife or spoon to scoop your kaya out of the jar to avoid cross-contamination. Never use the same knife you just used to slather your toast with butter.

FAQs

How long will kaya last?

Kaya will last for up to a week if left unrefrigerated, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge. It doesn’t contain any preservatives apart from the sugar. Always check your kaya before using and discard if you notice any mould or unusual smell. 

What does kaya taste like? Does it taste eggy?

No, it doesn’t taste eggy at all when made with the right amounts of coconut cream and sugar to balance the flavour. 

My kaya is lumpy! How can I make it smooth?

If your kaya becomes lumpy it means you have cooked the jam on too high heat or for too long and the eggs have overcooked. Remember to cook it on low heat and stir continuously, watching the mixture closely to see when it’s thick enough, then take it off the heat straight away. If it’s only slightly lumpy, you can use a stick blender or hand mixer to blend for 30 seconds or so until smooth.

Can I freeze kaya?

Yep, pop it in a freezer safe plastic container and it will freeze just fine, for up to 2 months.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Sugar – You can try replacing sugar with maple syrup, stevia, gula melaka, palm sugar, coconut sugar or honey. This may change the taste, but could have amazing results!
  • Eggs – There is a vegan kaya option available that replaces egg with silken tofu
  • Coconut cream – If you can’t source coconut cream you can use coconut milk of course – the flavour will be pretty much the same but remember it will probably take much longer to cook and achieve that thick kaya texture. 
  • Get creative with Flavour – if you don’t want plain kaya jam, try adding in extra flavour such as pandan extract or pandan leaf juice, caramel, vanilla or cinnamon.
Jar of Kaya Jam with spoon.

More delicious recipes for some extra sweet fun in the kitchen:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Jar of Kaya Jam with slice of toast with kaya coconut spread in background.

Kaya Jam

Kaya Jam is our favourite breakfast spread, it's so perfect to slather on hot buttered toast! This simplified and deliciously sweet Malaysian coconut jam recipe is made without pandan leaves, so it's ready in 15 minutes or less.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Malaysian, Singaporean
Servings: 1 jar
Calories: 1482kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 200 ml coconut cream Use only the thick cream layer on the top, leave any coconut water aside
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

  • Pop your brown sugar into a medium-large pan, add the coconut cream and whisk to combine.
    Note: Coconut cream usually separates in the can (and we want to use the thicker cream that floats on the surface). Don't shake the coconut cream can before opening, just spoon the thicker cream out and leave the clear coconut water aside.Note: Coconut cream usually separates in the can (and we want to use the thicker cream that floats on the surface). Don't shake the coconut cream can before opening, just spoon the thicker cream out and leave the clear coconut water aside.
  • Add the eggs and gently heat over low heat, stirring continuously.
  • Your kaya should thicken after around 10-15 mins of stirring. If you're using coconut milk, you might need to keep cooking and stirring for longer until it thickens naturally. This can sometimes take around 45 minutes to an hour (that's why we recommend using coconut cream instead!).
  • Optional step – add corn flour (cornstarch) mixed with water to help the jam thicken if needed.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow the jam to cool slightly. For an extra smooth kaya jam, use a stick blender or hand mixer to quickly blend until lusciously smooth.
  • Pour into a clean, sterilised jam jar or canning jar and store in the fridge for 1 to 2 months. 

Recipe Notes

Tips to get this recipe just right:
  • Eggs – we used regular eggs, but we’ve heard duck eggs work just as well. You may need to adjust the quantity if using larger eggs. Some recipes call for just egg whites or just egg yolks, but we use the whole egg. There is also a vegan kaya option available that replaces egg with silken tofu
  • Brown Sugar you could also use caster sugar, raw sugar, gula melaka / palm sugar or coconut sugar. Each will give a slightly different colour and flavour to your Kaya jam. Some recipes use some of the sugar to make caramel separately and add it at the end, but we found that brown sugar gave us that caramel-like taste and lovely dark brown colour without the extra effort!
  • Coconut Cream – you can use coconut milk if you need, but it will take longer to cook off the extra liquid. Coconut cream is much denser and thicker, so the jam doesn’t take as long to thicken up. 
  • Never shake the coconut cream can before opening, just spoon the thicker cream out and leave the clear coconut water aside.
  • Cornflour/cornstarch (optional) – if you’re using coconut milk, you might like to add in 2 tbsp of cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with water to help the jam thicken. 
  • Cook Gently – Use low heat so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
  • For a Smooth Consistency – Blend for 30 seconds with a stick blender after removing from the heat. 
  • Keep it Clean – Always use a sterilised bottle/jar to store your kaya spread so it won’t spoil. Use a clean knife or spoon to scoop your kaya out of the jar to avoid cross-contamination. Never use the same knife you just used to slather your toast with butter! 
  • Get Creative – Try adding extra flavour such as pandan extract or pandan leaf juice, caramel, vanilla or cinnamon.

Nutrition

Calories: 1482kcal | Carbohydrates: 162g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 86g | Saturated Fat: 67g | Cholesterol: 655mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 1092mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 146g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 245mg | Iron: 9mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Kaya Jam - Sweet Coconut Spread Recipe (Seri Kaya)

20 Comments

  • Reply
    C Shannon
    13/10/2020 at 6:38 am

    No Pandan in it?….. bummer…

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      13/10/2020 at 2:19 pm

      Nope! This is for original coconut flavoured kaya. Not all kaya has pandan, but you’re free to add pandan or other flavours like vanilla or cinnamon to spruce up your own version. We wouldn’t want to stop you from getting that tasty pandan fix ;).

  • Reply
    Noah
    26/09/2020 at 1:20 am

    What happens if the jam gets clumpy as it thickens?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/09/2020 at 11:28 am

      Hey Noah, if the Jam gets clumpy, sounds like heat was too high. Here’s the info from our FAQ section: My kaya is lumpy! How can I make it smooth?
      If your kaya becomes lumpy it means you have cooked the jam on too high heat or for too long and the eggs have overcooked. Remember to cook it on low heat and stir continuously, watching the mixture closely to see when it’s thick enough, then take it off the heat straight away. If it’s only slightly lumpy, you can use a stick blender or hand mixer to blend for 30 seconds or so until smooth. — hope this helps! S&L 🙂

  • Reply
    Sham
    13/03/2020 at 5:36 pm

    Do we use the double boiler method?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      13/03/2020 at 5:55 pm

      Hey Sham! This is a quick version, so we did it in a normal pot straight on the stove. 🙂 No double boiler for this one. Just watch the heat is low!

  • Reply
    Ann
    26/11/2019 at 7:01 am

    5 stars
    Hello girrrlz!
    This sweet coconut jam recipe seems like a fab idea! I love its thick, luscious texture so much. Plus, it’s so easy to whip up in less than 15 minutes! I’m so happy to have come across this. Dying to give this coconut jam a try (hope tomorrow). Lucky me, I have all the ingredients at home.
    Thank you for such detailed instructions! You’ve ALREADY answered all of my questions. I’m sure the info you provide will help me and your followers a lot. Keep the awesome recipes coming!

    Best wishes,
    Ann

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/12/2019 at 9:02 am

      Hey Ann!

      It’s awesome to hear from you. So glad you found our questions helpful, hope the cook up went well and you’re enjoying a fresh slathering of Kaya on toast right now! haha

  • Reply
    Deb
    09/11/2019 at 7:59 am

    Thanks for featuring kaya! I’ve used egg yolks only before which resulted in shorter cooking time and a richer kaya, if that’s your preference. Btw, your picture states “Malay / Singaporean”. It would be more inclusive if you used “Malaysian” instead of “Malay”, as the former covers the whole country (Malays, Chinese, Indians etc.) while the latter refers to a specific race. People often think Malay is just short for Malaysian but it isn’t. 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      19/11/2019 at 2:01 pm

      Hey Deb, thanks for letting us know. We’ll be sure to update that to Malaysian. I think Laura would love the richer version with only egg yolks, thanks for the variation! Happy cooking and eating 😉

  • Reply
    Adrianne
    27/10/2019 at 7:13 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, this jam looks so tasty and I want to spread it on everything!! It is a nice change from other breakfast ideas and I love that too!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      07/11/2019 at 12:18 pm

      That’s a very good idea! 😀

  • Reply
    Bhawana
    13/10/2019 at 2:53 pm

    5 stars
    Kaya jam is a new recipe to me but looks like it would be a fabulous lip-smacking spread for breakfast. You also have a lovely site.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/10/2019 at 4:39 pm

      Aww thanks Bhawana! Yes, Kaya Jam is quite a different taste – we think it’s like a sweet creamy feel with a light coconut taste. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tayo
    13/10/2019 at 1:25 pm

    5 stars
    I will definitely be making this with low carb brown sugar. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/10/2019 at 4:43 pm

      Great idea, I’m glad you could substitute to make it suit. 🙂

  • Reply
    Beth
    13/10/2019 at 1:24 pm

    5 stars
    What a unique jam! Sweet, easy and I want to spread it on everything – pass the biscuits!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/10/2019 at 4:44 pm

      Agreed, haha! It’s super creamy and addictive in the mornings. Might start eating it for dessert too! haha

  • Reply
    Denay DeGuzman
    13/10/2019 at 1:15 pm

    5 stars
    I love everything coconut, and I love trying new spreads for my morning toast. I’m super excited to try this tasty jam recipe!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/10/2019 at 4:54 pm

      Yay! So glad to hear Denay. 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.