Filipino dishes offer a unique set of exotic flavors and options. If you’re daydreaming of trying something new, be sure to add some fun and unique Filipino desserts to your must-try list. Here are some of the most popular Filipino desserts to keep an eye out for.
1. Halo Halo
Described as, “Oddly beautiful,” by Anthony Bourdain, the delicious cold concoction is just that! Halo Halo, meaning mixed in Tagalog, is a popular chilled layered Filipino treat and a uniquely beautiful mixture of vividly colorful elements.
The dessert can feature a variety of tasty layers but most commonly includes crushed ice, evaporated milk, sweet red bean or munggo, sweet white beans, coconut gel, coconut string, fresh jackfruit or mango and ube ice cream. Tackle a homemade version of Halo Halo and enjoy this sweet and refreshing Filipino dessert at home!
2. Graham Balls (Filipino Style)
Graham balls are both affordable and easy to prepare. Similar to Brazilian Brigaderio, graham balls are bite-sized desserts made from sweetened condensed milk. But unlike brigaderio, graham balls recipes use Nestle’s table cream instead of Nesquik. Graham balls are coated in crushed graham crackers for a delectable crunchy finish.
You’ll find these irresistible sweet treats at almost any special Filipino occasion! If you can’t wait, prepare some graham balls to snack at home now, we guarantee they’ll become an instant favorite.
3. Leche Flan
Leche flan is a beloved dessert of the Philippines. This luscious, velvety custard dessert with a soft dreamy caramel topping consists of simple ingredients; eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, and pure vanilla.
Leche flan is truly an unforgettable showstopping dessert that is comparable to creme brulee, without the hard caramel layer. The thought of preparing leche flan at home may seem daunting, but making this Filipino favorite is quite simple, you’ll be happy you did!
4. Buko Salad
You will be hard-pressed not to find a vibrant and refreshing bowl of buko salad at a Filipino celebration. Buko salad or sweet young coconut salad is the Filipino version of American fruit salad. This creamy and delicious dish often consists of mixed fruits, nata de coco (coconut gel), kaong (sugar palm), coconut, cream, and condensed milk.
Pastillas or Pastillas de leche are simple, quick, no-cook, sweet milk candy made from condensed milk and carabao’s (water buffalo) milk. Pastillas originate from San Miguel in Bulacan, Philippines, and were made primarily by carabao-rearing farmers. However, to make this uncomplicated sweet dessert at home, feel free to use powdered milk, sugar, and condensed milk.
6. Turon (Banana Lumpia)
Turon, or banana lumpia, is a sweet twist on savory lumpia. Thinly sliced bananas are dusted with brown sugar, and then encased and rolled in a lumpia wrapper and finally deep-fried. It’s not uncommon for bananas to be paired with other fillings such a jackfruit, mango, or sweet potato for a heartier center.
Try your hand at this exotic dessert with this out-of-this-world banana lumpia recipe and top them off with rich coconut caramel sauce.
7. Ube Halaya
Ube Halaya or purple yam jam is a traditional Filipino dessert made from cooked, mashed purple yam. The mashed purple yam is mixed with condensed, evaporated, and coconut milk, along with sugar and butter until smooth. Ube Halaya is often topped with latik (residue of coconut milk) or grated cheese.
Ube Halaya makes a wonderful addition to other Filipino dishes such as a topping for Halo-Halo or a delicious spread for Pandesal, a classic Filipino bread roll.
8. Cassava Cake
Cassava cake is a popular dish served in the Philippines. A merienda, or snack time favorite, cassava cake may also be served during special occasions. Cassava cake features grated cassava root, also called yuca or manioc, coconut milk, and condensed milk with a creamy custard-like top layer.
This coconutty favorite is a Filipino delicacy in the Philippines and will surely be a smash hit with all that try it!
9. Buko Pie
Buko Pie is the Filipino version of the American coconut cream pie. However, unlike coconut cream pie, often an authentic buko pie contains neither heavy cream nor meringue. Instead, Buko pie has a denser filling of Buko (young coconut) and sweetened condensed milk baked in a traditional tender and flakey pie crust.
Yema meaning “yolk” in Spanish is a simple, bite-sized sweet custard-like treat made from sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, crushed peanuts or walnuts, and sugar.
It’s said that during the Spanish colonial period both egg whites and egg shells were used as mortar to construct the many churches in the Philippines. Filipinos began developing recipes that utilized the overabundance of egg yolks, and yema was born.
Although we can’t confirm the accuracy of yema’s history, we can agree that these sugary sweet soft nuggets are easy to make with accessible ingredients and are absolutely addicting!