Homemade Hula Pie

August 18: National Ice Cream Pie Day

We used to visit our godsister Min V. in Kekaha, Kauai, for a long weekend getaway from our home island of Oahu. We would take a morning flight from Honolulu over to Lihue where Min was waiting for us. She did not greet us locals with a lei but she showed her Hawaiian hospitality by treating us to the famous hula pie at Duke’s restaurant instead. It was filling for famished travelers before heading to her house (about an hour’s drive).

We also split a hula pie whenever we wander around Waikiki playing tourists. We even bought the iconic plate from Duke’s restaurant (but the special spork was not available at the time).

Hula pie is simply an ice cream pie. It was developed a long time ago at Kimo’s restaurant, a sister (brother?) eatery to Duke’s in the TS Restaurant family (‘ohana). According to their website: “Hula Pie is made with Kimo’s favorite macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts.” The website also gives suggestions on how to eat a hula pie. Sometimes the chefs serve a specialty hula pie in their menu (variations of the classic recipe using different flavored ice creams).

Home chefs can prepare hula pie themselves and indulge in an abundance of aloha. Especially on a hot summer day, hula pie is perfect for National Ice Cream Pie Day!


(Adapted from Hawaii Magazine and Baking Bites)


  • 1 Oreo cookie pie crust (or chocolate graham cracker pie crust)
  • 1 ½ – 2 ½ gallons of vanilla ice cream (we used Breyer’s brand), slightly softened
  • 1 ½ cups macadamia nut pieces, divided use
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (we used Kona coffee), finely ground
  • hot fudge sauce, room temperature
  • whipped cream


Freeze the chocolate pie crust until ready to use (this prevents the crust from cracking too much and leaving too many crumbs). In a large bowl, mix the ice cream with ONE cup of the nut pieces until well blended. Work quickly so the ice cream will not melt too fast.

Pile the ice cream mix on the pie crust, making a dome. Freeze until firm (overnight is best). In a microwavable bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth.

Mix in the ground instant coffee powder. Let this chocolate sauce cool for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Remove the frozen pie from the freezer. Pour the chocolate sauce over the top of the pie. Use a spatula to quickly smooth the sauce all over the top of the ice cream dome (it sets and hardens fast). Freeze again for a couple of hours.

When ready to serve, remove the entire pie from the foil plate and place on a large tray. Warm a sharp knife in hot water, wipe dry and slice the pie in six serving pieces. Put an individual slice on a dessert plate.

Drizzle some fudge sauce on top, allowing it to pool on the bottom of the plate. Sprinkle with remaining macadamia nut pieces. Decorate the edge of the pie with a generous piping of whipped cream. Serve immediately.


  • Some recipes for hula pie say to spread the fudge sauce over the ice cream. But some sauces are too runny so we used a homemade chocolate sauce that sticks to the surface of the ice cream dome and sets into a sort-of shell.
  • We had used lactose-free vanilla ice cream before but it has a soft-serve consistency that does not work too well when spreading the chocolate sauce on top. Sometimes if the ice cream is not frozen firmly, the sauce will pick up the softened ice cream and makes a messy mix (see the Food Flop photo).
  • The whipped cream decoration looks like the white foam from the waves of the ocean but it is supposed to represent the sway of the hula skirt—hence, the name “hula pie”.
  • See how the real hula pie is made at Duke’s. Watch a TS Restaurant video from the Cooking Channel’s “Ice Cream Nation” segment on YouTube.