24 Traditional Filipino Desserts

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We love sampling different foods from around the globe. Are you ready for a little treat? If you love a tropical taste and a really filling dessert, we can recommend some traditional desserts for sure. They tend to be rice or starch-based and are a great way to finish off a meal. Today, we will go through a full list of 24 easy Filipino desserts for you to have a go at. Why not tell us your favorites in the comments below?

filipino desserts

Best Filipino Desserts To Make

 1. Halo-Halo

Not this isn’t a greeting. In fact, it is a super cool and refreshing Filipino dessert. It actually means ‘mixed up, and once you’ve made it, you will be able to see exactly where the name comes from. This dessert is made of flakes of shaved ice. If that sounds boring, don’t worry, there’s plenty about to be ‘haloed’ in! Like? Oh, just sweet banana, jackfruit, sweet potato, mung beans, and tapioca pearls. Oh, and don’t forget the coconut!  

2. Leche Flan

If you’ve ever tried Spanish cuisine, you’ll already have tried Leche. Essentially, it is condensed milk stewed in the can until it forms a thick and oozy caramel. Think of this pudding as a sort of cross between caramel and custard. We love to top ours with a slightly lighter layer of sticky and sweet caramel. It is like a soft version of a creme brulee! 

Read More: Asian Desserts and Chinese dessert recipes

3. Biko (Sticky Rice Cake)

Remember how we said that Filipino desserts are starch-based? Well, they don’t come much more starchy and filling than this. These rice cakes are sticky, chewy, and pretty darn good! They are made with glutinous rice. You should be able to pick some up from your local Asian market really easily. This is combined with coconut syrup and then baked. As the syrup reduces, it turns really dark and thick, making this like the chewiest candy bar you’ve ever tried! Make sure to cook the rice in coconut milk to give it a little tropical flavor.

4. Lengua de Gato

We are all for any Filipino dessert recipe that is easy to make. This one has only four ingredients. As to what Lengua de Gato is (aside from completely addictive)… These are little Filipino butter cookies. They are crispy and crumbly and work well as a side to ice cream, coffee (or even on their own as a mid-movie snack!). IF you want to know the literal translation… It equates to something like ‘cats tongue,’ which might not sound so appealing, but it relates to the shape of these tasty treats.

5. Ginataang Halo-Halo

Hear of this one before. Were you paying attention? We’ve already told you what halo-halo means! Granted, this one isn’t quite the same as our halo-halo above. Why? This isn’t one you will want to serve with shaved ice… It’s actually a hot dish! It contains many similar ingredients to our first suggestion. Tasty banana, sticky rice, tapioca pearls. It is a pink dish that oozes home comfort. On a cold and rainy night, it might just be one of our favorite Filipino desserts!

6. Buko Salad

You’d be hard-pressed to go to a tropical island and not find a dessert that features a heavy amount of coconut. The Philippines is full of them! That’s a good thing as it means you get delicious desserts such as these. This is also a great one to get the kids to eat more fruit as it is jam-packed with tropical tastes and coconut jelly and palm fruit. We also like to add a little texture with a good helping of shredded coconut. Make it super indulgent with half a cup of sweet cream.

7. Mais con Yelo

Try not to be weirded out when you hear about this one… Trust us, it is really good. Corn with ice is a tasty treat that is both filling and cooling at the same time. This dessert mixes bright yellow pearls of tasty sweetcorn with ice-cold milk. We also like to top ours with a few cornflakes. This is one of those rare recipes that actually benefits from using canned corn instead of fresh. Be sure to add plenty of sugar too. Don’t tell anyone, but we can often be found having this one for breakfast!

8. Cassava Cake

This is another starch-based dessert. Cassava is similar to a sweet potato. We shred this, then bake it in a mixture of super sweet condensed milk, a little butter, and topped with shredded cheese. As it bakes, the cheese turns brown and forms a sort of golden crust. It is wonderful to eat both hot and cold. This one will last a while, and we must warn you, don’t serve it in big portions as it is extremely filling. 

9. Minatamis na Saging

This list of desserts wouldn’t be complete without the generous helping of plantains. These look similar to a banana, but they have a heavier consistency, and they are nowhere near as sweet! If you can’t get hold of plantains, by all means, use bananas. Unripe is the best! Plantains are great as they hold their structure well over heat. We combine them with brown sugar syrup before baking them to golden brown perfection. Bonus points for serving with a cool dollop of vanilla ice cream!

10. Ube Jam

Serve this at your next dinner party and count how many raised eyebrows there are around the dinner table. This one is unique in that it has a vivid purple color. This comes from the use of purple yams. If you can’t get purple yams, plain yams will also do the trick! Use it in the same way you would normal jelly or jam. Spread it on toast, bake it into tarts or serve a big spoonful of it on top of a lump of ice cream! The texture is a little more spread than dessert, to be honest, but it is still utterly gorgeous.

11. Suman

This dish takes a little bit of prep and some special ingredients but is worth the effort. You are going to need a few things to make this. One of which is banana leaves. However, if you can find any, don’t worry. Baking parchment does the job nearly as well. You roll sticky rice into little packets and then give it good steam until soft and sticky. From there, it is simply a case of topping with a coconut and caramel sauce! Sticky, chewy, and fabulous tasting, we’ll take it!

12. Buko Pandan

What springs to mind when you think of Filipino food? If you said coconuts and a tropical taste, then you are halfway there. This dessert uses shredded young coconut combined with gelatin. Once it is mixed and left to set, you get sticky rice pudding (without the rice). Pandan has a sort of vanilla taste and works really well in sweet desserts.

13. Polvoron

When writing our list of unique Filipino desserts, we never thought we’d be making no-bake cookies, yet, here we are! This is a sort of shortbread, and just like regular shortbread, it is buttery, crumbly, and very tasty! We combine milk, sugar, butter, and some pan toasted flour to make a biscuit base. This can be easily molded by hand. Our secret tip is to place them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours after making to firm up. 

14. Turon

This delectable dessert is similar to banana cue. The main difference being that they are made even more crispy by being wrapped in an egg roll wrapper. This is, in turn, coated in sugar for a sweet dessert that is very crispy!

15. Mamon (Filipino Sponge Cake)

Part cheesecake, part cupcake, these are really divine! We mean ‘cheesecake quite literally. No cream cheese toppings here, thanks very much. We use the real deal during the baking process to make a dessert that has a sweet and soft center and a crispy, cheesy crust on top! As Filipino desserts go, these are really light and are great as part of an afternoon tea or to sneak into a lunchbox for a sweet treat!

16. Puto

Do you love rice-based desserts? We certainly hope so, as here is another! Again, this features rice, but it isn’t sticky. This is steamed into a small round cake that is served with a sliver of cheese. The difference in this recipe is that the rice is ground down to a sort of coarse flour. Provided you’ve got a blender, you can whip up the main ingredient in next to no time. From there, it is combined with little else aside from sugar and a little baking powder. It’s super simple! 

17. Taho

Ok, let’s be upfront, traditionally in the Philippines, this is a breakfast dish. Still, we’ve pinched it and made it our own for dessert! This layered dessert is made of juicy tapioca pearls, soy milk, and smooth and tasty tofu. Oh, and don’t forget lashings of tasty brown sugar syrup. It’s full of calories and will help you start the day the right way. If you are making this for an after-dinner treat, feel free to serve with a spoon, but to eat traditionally, tip the glass back, and down the hatch it goes! 

18. Bibingka (Coconut Milk Cake)

You’ll find that in the Philippines, little goes to waste. Coconuts aren’t just about the creamy white flesh. They also think of inventive ways to use the milk. Like? Bibingka, of course! As with other desserts on our list, this is also served with a cheese topping. This cake is traditionally eaten around Christmas time. It is actually just a little bit savory and even comes with a topping of sliced egg! 

19. Silvanas

Imagine a crisp and fluffy cookie coated with buttercream and rolled in ground nuts. Sounds good, right? Well, you’ve just thought of silvanas! These tasty treats are so moreish. They are crunchy and super sweet. 

20. Egg Pie

Listen. Don’t let the name of this egg recipe put you off. This is extremely similar to the Portuguese dish pasteis de Nate. Essentially a custard tart… Yes, the custard is made with egg. It is just a shame that the direct translation doesn’t sound quite as nice! Anyway, semantics aside, this is a flaky pastry cup filled with bright yellow and very sweet custard. We guarantee that you won’t stop at eating one slice either. The key to this recipe is to leave the top uncovered. Once the egg has set, the top caramelizes and turns a dark brown, creating a sort of crispy skin. It’s amazing

21. Coconut Macaroons

Do you know what we say? If life gives you a shredded coconut, it is time to make some macaroons! These are a great Sunday afternoon recipe to make with the kids as they are really simple, and next to no presentation skills are required! We mix condensed milk, vanilla eggs, butter, and dried shredded coconut together before baking in the oven for around 25 minutes. Once they are golden and slightly brown, you are ready to go. Leave them to set, and they keep for 5 days as well…. Not that they will last that long.

22. Palitaw

Yet another variation on how to prepare sticky rice. The difference with these little flat cakes is that they are boiled, not steamed. It is easy to tell when they are cooked as they will float to the surface! There are a few textures within. You have crispy coconut, nutty sesame seeds all brought together with soft and chewy rice.

23. Banana Cue

Try and think of this one as a sort of toffee apple, except it is deep-fried and uses bananas instead of apples. We coat bananas (or plantains) in a thick layer of brown sugar before deep frying. This gives a soft center and a crunchy toffee exterior. Don’t burn your mouth! 

Love banana desserts, then you’re going to enjoy these easy banana desserts.

24. Filipino Cheesecake Bars 

Calamansi cheesecake bars are so tasty. They are good if you are looking for something sweet on the go. As with all good cheesecakes, the base is a graham cracker crust. This is topped with a sweetened cream cheese flavored with calamansi juice. Be sure to keep a square back for yourself as they will be gone in an instant! 

Conclusion

There’s plenty to try in our desserts from the Philippines! If you are out at the store, be sure to get some sticky rice and some desiccated coconut. You’ll be able to make lots of the above easily! Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

24 Filipino Desserts Recipes

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Laura Ritterman

Ingredients

  • Halo-Halo

  • Leche Flan

  • Biko (Sticky Rice Cake)

  • Lengua de Gato

  • Ginataang Halo-Halo

  • Buko Salad

  • Mais con Yelo

  • Cassava Cake

  • Minatamis na Saging

  • Ube Jam

  • Suman

  • Buko Pandan

  • Polvoron

  • Turon

  • Mamon (Filipino Sponge Cake)

  • Puto

  • Taho

  • Bibingka (Coconut Milk Cake)

  • Silvanas

  • Egg Pie

  • Coconut Macaroons

  • Palitaw

  • Banana Cue

  • Filipino Cheesecake Bars

Directions

  • Choose which of these unique dessert recipes you’d like to make
  • Gather the ingredients
  • Serve and enjoy

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