What Is Hula Pie?

Maui plays host to a number of delicious delicacies that’ll keep you coming back for more.

One such delicacy is Hula Pie. The perfect combination of cold and creamy, crunchy and soft, Hula Pie is what you need after a long day of walking on the shores in the sun. It beats the heat like nothing else.

Essentially, Hula Pie is ice cream served on a cookie bed with chocolate sauce and nuts on it. But the type of nut and cookie matters a lot.

Aerial view of a beach in Maui.

What Is Hula Pie Made Of?

Hula Pie is made of three main components.

  1. Ice cream,
  2. A cookie base,
  3. And toppings.

Macadamia Nut Ice Cream

The main ingredient of a Hula Pie is the ice cream. Made with macadamia nuts, the ice cream is rich and nutty in flavor. The ingredients used are…

  • Heavy cream
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Chopped macadamia nuts

The exact ingredients vary from place to place based on how they make their ice cream, but generally, the cream is whipped until it is stiff and condensed milk is folded in gently.

The macadamia nuts and vanilla extract are added once the milk and cream are properly folded. Once frozen, the mixture becomes macadamia nut ice cream.

Chocolate Cookie Crust

This is the base of the dish. Most recipes use Oreos. The ingredients listed below are used to make the crust.

  • Cookies
  • Butter

The cookies are crushed and mixed with butter, then lined in a pie pan to be set in shape. The pan is put in the freezer, and the crust is taken out once properly frozen.


After the ice cream is put in the crust, the toppings come into the equation. The following toppings are used.

  • Hot fudge sauce
  • Whipped cream
  • Macadamia nuts

The hot fudge sauce can either be made of sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, corn syrup, and vanilla, or it can be store-bought.

The whipped cream is simply heavy whipping cream that has been whipped. Macadamia nuts are chopped and sprinkled over fudge after it is poured on the ice cream.

Where to Get Hula Pie in Maui?

Although the dessert was invented by Kimo’s, it is now available at multiple spots throughout Maui. Some places to get Hula Pie are listed below.

Kimo’s Maui
Address: 845 Front St a, Lahaina, HI 96761
Offers dine-in and curbside pickup, but no home delivery.

Duke’s Beach House Maui
Address: 130 Kai Malina Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761
Offers dine-in and takeaway, but no delivery.

Leilani’s on the Beach
Address: 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761
Offers dine-in and takeaway, but no delivery.

Hula Grill Kaanapali
Address: 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761
Offers dine-in and takeaway, but no delivery.

Not only do all these restaurants have amazing reviews online regarding their Hula Pie, but they themselves also list Hula Pie as their menu specialty.

Who Invented the Hula Pie?

Hula Pie was born in a restaurant—not at home by someone who was experimenting with ingredients.

It was created by two best friends, Sandy Saxten and Rob Thibaut, in the restaurant Kimo’s which was inaugurated in 1977 on the island of Maui.

The restaurant is within the TS Restaurant group, which is a family-owned business and in the four decades since 1977, it has expanded from Hawaii to California and includes 12 restaurants in total.

How Do You Eat a Hula Pie?

The best way to enjoy a Hula Pie—as written by the makers of Hula Pie themselves—is to use a spork. Then, dig in! There’s no particular order, but here’s a recommended way to eat a Hula Pie.

Step One: Lay the Pie Flat

Does the Hula Pie look magnificent when it stands? Absolutely! But is that the right way to dig in? Maybe not. Push it over onto one of its sides so that it falls on the plate, and all the layers are visible.

Step Two: Taste the Flavors Individually

Start in whichever sequence you want, but make sure to taste the ice cream, cookie crust, fudge, and whipped cream, in separate bites. This will ensure that you relish each layer properly!

Step Three: Finish It!

The Hula Pie serving is designed to be shared, but don’t worry. Finish it all by yourself if you’d like, or call a few friends for help. Although, once you taste it, you’ll probably want to finish it all by yourself.

Why Is It Called Hula Pie?

Hula Pie gets its name from the skirts worn by Polynesian dancers when they perform the traditional Hula dance. This dance originated in the Hawaiian islands when the Polynesian people settled there.

The skirt is made of natural fibers that look like giant leaves and is therefore in a frill formation. The whipped cream on the sides of the Hula Pie resembles the skirt frill, and that’s where the dessert gets its name.

When the original recipe of the Hula Pie was crafted, it was said that the sailors swam up to the shore only to taste the Hula Pie in the town of Old Lahaina.

Is Hula Pie Safe to Eat?

Hula Pie is generally safe to consume unless you have a tree nut allergy or you are lactose intolerant.

The former can be life-threatening depending on the severity of your allergy, while the latter can be uncomfortable.

Is Hula Pie Vegan-Friendly?

Hula Pie is not vegan-friendly because the ice cream contains animal dairy and the cookie base likely contains egg too.

However, it can be vegan-friendly if you substitute the ice cream for vegan ice cream, and make sure that the crust is made using vegan ingredients too.

Is Hula Pie Gluten-Free?

Unfortunately, commercially sold Hula Pie in Maui is not gluten-free, since it contains a crust made of chocolate cookies.

However, you can customize Hula Pie to be gluten-free if you are making the dessert at home by baking a gluten-free cookie base using no-gluten cookie flour, egg substitute, and similar ingredients that do not contain gluten.

Is Hula Pie Halal?

Yes, Hula Pie is Halal, because the ingredients used are vegetarian and there’s no added alcohol, so Muslims can enjoy this decadent dessert with no worries.

Is Hula Pie Kosher?

Yes, Hula Pie is Kosher, as all the ingredients abide by Jewish dietary restrictions.

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