Unlike other cuisines that offer light and refreshing treats, Filipino desserts are often made from rice and starch crops.
They tend to be heavy on the tummy, which makes them perfect for breakfast (agahan) or an afternoon snack (merienda).
Filipinos are dessert-lovers, so they have a myriad of mouthwatering treats to offer.
These 23 are the best of the best. Not only are they wonderfully sweet, but are also filling and comforting.
Looking for traditional sweets to fill your belly and make your heart happy?
You have come to the right place. Feast your eyes and tastebuds on these heartwarming and soul-soothing Filipino desserts!
Perhaps the most popular Filipino dessert, halo-halo is a supreme shaved ice dessert.
“Halo” is a Filipino word that means “mix” or “stir,” which is exactly what you’ll do when you are given a tall glass of halo-halo.
Using an elongated spoon, you’ll mix all the ingredients together such that they’re all soaked with milk and ice.
When I say ingredients, I’m talking sweetened bananas, sweet potatoes, taro, jackfruit, jelly, mung beans, corn kernels, coconut, and tapioca pearls.
And it doesn’t end there. All that goodness is topped with a mound of shaved ice, milk, custard, purple yam jam, and ice cream.
Talk about an explosion of texture and flavors!
2. Leche Flan
The Filipino version of caramel pudding, leche flan is a traditional dessert served during the holiday season.
It’s a smooth and silky custard oozing with a thick caramel syrup, and it’s simply divine.
While leche flan is undeniably delectable as it is, people like merging it with other desserts.
A leche flan cheesecake, for instance, is a must-try. So is the ridiculously rich ube leche flan cake.
Glutinous, or sticky rice, is mixed with a brown rice coconut syrup and baked to perfection.
Biko is a traditional Filipino “kakanin” (rice-based dessert) served for breakfast or merienda.
Since it’s made from rice, it’s very heavy, but it’s highly addictive.
Biko is sweet and has such a unique chewy consistency.
The rice is softened in coconut milk to form a sticky and somewhat homogeneous mixture, but you will still get chewy little bits of rice grains here and there.
These crisp cookies melt in your mouth. If you haven’t tried the Filipino version of butter cookies, you are missing out.
Made with milk, butter, flour and egg whites, lengua de gato is a simple yet highly addictive treat.
Seriously, it’s impossible to stop at one. Or two. Or three. That’s why they are sold in big jars!
Lengua de gato has a narrow oval form, which is how it got its name. It’s the term lengua de gato is Spanish for “cat’s tongue.”
If you’re feeling cold or blue, ginataang halo-halo is for you.
Sweet, thick, and hearty, this soup is sure to turn any frown upside down. It’s Filipino comfort food at its best.
Chunk of sweet potatoes, sweetened bananas, taro, sticky rice balls, and tapioca pearls are swimming in a rich soup made from sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk.
Served hot, one spoonful of ginatan will warm your body, heart, and soul. It’s an instant pick-me-up!
6. Buko Salad
Sweet and tender coconut stars this sweet and creamy dessert.
The Philippines has an abundance of coconut trees, which is why it is widely used in their cuisine. This salad is a perfect example.
Fruits, palm fruit, coconut jelly (nata de coco), and shredded coconut are coated in a thick sweetened cream. It’s jam-packed with color, flavor, and texture!
Mais con yelo, which is Spanish for corn with ice, is a simple yet satisfying dessert that Filipinos love to eat to beat the heat.
Sweet and juicy corn kernels are floating in cold and refreshing milk.
It’s served in a glass and usually eaten with a spoon, but don’t be surprised to see people gulping it down like a drink!
Mais con yelo is the easiest thing to make, too. Canned corn is all you need. Just stir that with milk and sugar and serve with ice.
8. Cassava Cake
Cassava cake is a rich, chewy, and cheesy treat that’s impossible to resist.
Grated cassava or yuca is baked in sweetened condensed milk, butter, and coconut milk and covered with a cheesy topping. This dessert is a must-try.
Apart from the sweet, buttery, and cheesy flavor, what sets cassava cake apart is its unique chewy and glutinous consistency.
It’s so heavenly, one slice won’t be enough.
Sweet plantains, brown sugar, and water are all you need to make the sweet and chewy Minatamis na Saging (sweetened bananas).
Saba, or sweet plantains, are short but thick bananas originally cultivated in the Philippines.
While they can be eaten raw, they’re softer and more flavorful when cooked.
Since they’re not too sweet, Filipinos often cook them in brown sugar syrup, giving them flavor and a luscious golden brown hue.
Minatamis na saging can be enjoyed hot or chilled with ice. The bananas are soft and chewy with a rich caramel flavor.
10. Ube Jam
Another classic Filipino dessert is ube, which is jam made from purple yam and milk.
Ube jam is sweet, creamy, and loaded with purple yam flavor.
It can be used as a bread spread, a flavor agent to pastries and ice cream, or my favorite – eaten on its own.
Grab a gigantic spoon because one lick, and you’ll be hooked.
Apart from the heavenly flavor and texture, ube jam is also beautifully purple. That gorgeous hue makes it even more appetizing.
Here’s another rice-based sweet treat. Suman is a sweet, soft, and chewy treat that is guaranteed to knock your socks off.
While there doesn’t seem to be anything spectacular about cooked glutinous rice, you’ll be surprised at how tasty this dessert is!
The sticky rice is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a steamer, giving it such a wonderfully refreshing aroma.
As for the flavor? Oh boy. Top it with a coconut caramel sauce, and you’ll have a sinful and heavenly treat. It also tastes great with ripe mangoes!
12. Buko Pandan
Buko pandan is a simple confection that will satisfy any sweet craving.
Buko, or soft shredded young coconut, is mixed with pandan-flavored gelatin cubes and coated in thick sweetened cream.
This is a Filipino favorite and for good reason.
If you’ve never heard of pandan before, you are in for a treat. Pandan is a sweet-smelling leaf from the pandan or screw palm plant.
These leaves themselves aren’t edible but are widely used to flavor desserts. With its vanilla-like aroma, it pairs wonderfully with sugar.
Served cold, buko pandan gives you a refreshing dessert jam-packed with flavor and texture.
Polvoron is the Filipino version of classic shortbread. It’s buttery, creamy, and wonderfully crumbly. Best of all, it does not require any baking.
What sets polvoron apart is the fact that you don’t need the oven to whip it up.
Just pan-fry your flour and mix it with powdered milk, sugar, and butter. You’ll get a thick, sandy mixture that you can easily mold into different shapes.
The resulting cookie is rich and incredibly soft it crumbles in your mouth with every bite.
Mamon is the Filipino version of the sponge cake.
Soft, pillowy cake topped with cheese and baked to perfection: that’s what you can expect from the classic mamon.
Apart from the light and fluffy consistency, the cheese topping crisps up when baked, giving you a wonderful contrast of textures.
There’s no need to frost this mini-cake! That’s the only way to appreciate its rich and buttery flavor.
Pair this with coffee for the perfect breakfast or afternoon treat.
Puto is another “kakanin” (rice-based dessert) the Philippines has to offer.
It’s a small, round, steamed cake that’s perfect either on its own or paired with other Filipino dishes.
Thanks to the glutinous rice, puto has a soft and spongy consistency. It’s mildly sweet, which makes it so addictive.
Puto is often white with a strip of cheese on top. But you’ll also find other shops selling them in various flavors and colors.
A trip to the Philippines wouldn’t be complete without hearing a taho vendor shouting “taho” along random streets and roads early in the morning.
Taho is a traditional Filipino breakfast made with ultra-smooth and silky tofu and tapioca pearls swimming in a warm brown sugar syrup.
Taho is served in a small cup and may be eaten with a spoon or consumed as a drink.
It may not be the healthiest treat, but it’s perhaps the most popular grab and go breakfast in the country.
Bibingka is a hot coconut milk cake smothered with butter and topped with cheese and a slice of salted egg.
In the Philippines, you’ll know it’s Christmas season once you see street vendors whipping up bibingka.
The cake itself is fluffy and sweet, and the butter, cheese, and salted egg give it a lovely balance of flavors.
Often sold in front of Catholic churches, bibingka is the staple snack to eat after hearing Misa de Gallo.
It’s a series of Masses performed at midnight from December 16 to 24 to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
18. Egg Pie
A crisp and buttery crust filled with a smooth and velvety custard.
One slice of this rich and creamy egg pie is all you need to turn that bad mood around.
Egg pie is a super simple yet amazingly spectacular dessert.
Made primarily with eggs and sweetened condensed milk, the custard has a golden yellow hue.
But since the pie is baked uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, the top gets charred and turns golden brown, giving the pie a slightly crisp and caramelized exterior.
Desiccated coconut, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and butter make these bite-sized cakes rich, creamy, and so ooey-gooey.
It might sound so basic, but the combination of coconut and vanilla is a match made in heaven.
Mildly sweet and perfectly nutty, the flavors go along really well with the super chewy and decadent cakes.
Palitaw is a small, flat, and round cake made from sweetened glutinous rice cooked in boiling water. It’s sweet and chewy, much like Japanese mochi.
“Palitaw” derives from the Filipino word, “litaw,” which means “to appear” or “to show up.”
It is so named because the rice cakes float on the surface of the boiling water once they’re done cooking.
The cakes are then coated in grated coconut, muscovado sugar, and toasted sesame seeds, which give the snack its distinct flavors and textures.
21. Banana Cue
Banana cue is another method to cook saba bananas. Sweet plantains are coated in brown sugar and skewered onto wooden sticks and deep-fried until golden brown.
The brown sugar forms a crunchy caramel coating over the bananas, giving you that wonderful crisp on the outside, tender on the inside experience.
The caramel also perfectly flavors the bananas, which by themselves are not too sweet.
Banana cue is commonly sold by street vendors and eaten for merienda (afternoon snack).
If there’s a competition for the most delectable Filipino dessert, to me, silvanas is the clear winner.
Two crisp, oval-shaped meringue cookies are filled and coated with sweet Swiss buttercream and ground cashews.
They’re crisp and chewy, sweet and nutty, and downright delicious.
The meringue wafers give the cookies a wonderful crunch, while the buttercream offers a sweet and buttery contrast.
The cashews add a savory nutty flavor and packs even more crunch. Together, the three components make the most heavenly treat.
Last but not least is turon, a caramel-y, deep-fried banana treat sure to satisfy your banana craving.
Sweet plantains are dipped in brown sugar, covered in egg roll wrappers, coated again in brown sugar, and deep-fried to perfection.
The wrapper and sugar make the snack crisp and crunchy, and the bananas give it such a lovely sweet and tropical flavor.
Turon tastes amazing as it is, but try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The contrast between the hot turon and cold ice cream is divine.
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