9 Crazy Tasty Filipino Christmas Desserts

Filipino Christmas Desserts

Listen up! It’s time to finally ditch those boring holiday cookie swaps for something WAY more exciting…Filipino Christmas desserts (or panghimagas in Tagalog)! Get ready to meet fluffy purple cakes, rainbow gelatin salads, and oh-so-many ube-flavored treats about to completely upgrade your Noche Buena game. And yeah, these Pinoy sweets are SOOO Instagrammable, your whole feed is about to get a festive candy-colored makeover!

Curious? Leave your stretchy pants on standby and get to know these 9 obsessively good treats!

Classic Filipino Christmas Desserts

When it comes to Filipino Christmas treats, you’re gonna get deliciously diverse desserts that blend sweet flavors from across the globe! That’s because the Philippines has merged culinary influences from Spanish colonization, Chinese traders, and of course, native tropical fruits and ingredients like coconuts. The result? An explosion of flavors and textures every time a new dessert hits your festive salu-salo!

Not sure which to try? Here are the most popular ones!

bibingka filipino Christmas Desserts

Bibingka

You can’t celebrate Christmas in the Philippines without biting into the warm, fluffy yumminess of bibingka! This coconut and rice flour cake is beloved for its soft, spongy texture infused with a subtle sweetness and salty kick. Even just a forkful instantly sparks that nostalgic, heartwarming flavor of home for the holidays!

But it’s not just bibingka’s melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that makes it so iconic during Simbang Gabi. This dawn Christmas mass tradition also fuels Pinoy holiday celebrations! And what better way to reward being up at the crack of dawn than with a hot, freshly-made bibingka enjoyed with a cup of hot tablea choco? Umm, nothing!

Part of the magic is how bibingka vendors cook these sweet cakes right on the spot in banana leaf-lined pasingaw ovens. The scent of moist rice cakes and smoky coconut wafts through the early morning air near churches.

Bibinga Recipe

Craving that soft, subtly sweet bibingka flavor this holiday season? This easy Filipino rice cake recipe infuses coconut milk and rice flour for a beloved Christmas dessert that’s perfect with coffee!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1⁄2 cups water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • Shredded coconut, salted duck egg, and cheese for toppings

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine rice flour, all-purpose flour, and sugar. Form a well and add coconut milk, water, eggs, and melted butter. Mix thoroughly until smooth and uniform.
  2. Grease bibingka mold or cake pan with butter and line with banana leaves or wax paper. Pour batter into mold.
  3. Top with freshly grated coconut, sliced salted egg, and grated cheese like kesong puti or cheddar.
  4. Steam for 25-30 minutes until skewer comes out clean.
  5. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Slice and serve with coffee for a sweet Noche Buena treat!
Ube halaya filipino Christmas Desserts

Ube Halaya

Of all the spectacularly-hued sweets that show up for Noche Buena, ube halaya is undoubtedly the headliner! Dense, rich, and ultra-smooth, this signature Pinoy dessert staple seriously satisfies sweet cravings. And that addictive ube texture mixed into every flaky pie crust, layered jelly cake, and luscious ice cream over the holidays? Truly the stuff purple yam dreams are made of!

Beyond being drop-dead gorgeous and spreading Christmas color with pride, ube halaya also represents togetherness. Neighbors swap jars of their homemade ube halaya as gifts. Families gather in the kitchen to mix and mash mounds of violet kamote together by hand. And no Pinoy feast would be complete without a pan of ube halaya pie or two (…or five).

Ube Halaya Recipe

Slow-cooked with sugar and milk until thick and creamy, this sweet jam is the jewel of Pinoy holiday desserts, from bibingka to ice cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh ube (purple yam), peeled and chopped
  • 1 14oz can evaporated milk
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 14oz can condensed milk
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions:

  1. In a pot, boil ube pieces until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, and peel. Mash ube into a paste.
  2. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stir evaporated milk with brown sugar until dissolved. Mix in mashed ube, condensed milk, and salt.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 20 minutes. The mixture should leave a trail when a spoon is dragged across the bottom.
  4. Stir in butter until incorporated.
  5. Transfer ube halaya into jars and allow to cool completely before sealing.
Leche Flan filipino Christmas desserts

Leche Flan

Cut into a smooth, jiggly Filipino leche flan, and it perfectly wiggles into Christmas tradish! This iconic crème caramel dessert occupies prime real estate on every table – right between towering cakes and towers of fruit salad, of course!

And trust me…Pinoys will happily spoon up flan by the platterful thanks to its melt-in-your-mouth texture and subtle sweetness. That hint of caramelized sugar with rich egg custard literally melts stress away with each nom. Is it any wonder leche flan remains the #1 OG fave Pinoy dessert after all these years? We think not!

Leche Flan Recipe

With just a few ingredients like condensed milk and eggs, you can whip up this crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients:

  • 1 14oz can of condensed milk
  • 1 14oz can evaporated milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Butter for ramekins

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla and mix thoroughly until uniform. Set aside.
  2. Place 1⁄2 cup sugar in ramekins and heat slowly over low flame until sugar melts and caramelizes. Swirl caramel to coat bottoms and sides to make flaneritas.
  3. Divide milk-egg mixture between flaneritas. Place ramekins in a deep baking pan and fill with hot water to come halfway up sides.
  4. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes until set but still jiggly when gently shaken. Insert a knife to test – it should come out clean.
  5. Allow flans to cool completely before chilling overnight.
  6. To serve, loosen around edges with a knife and invert onto plates. Enjoy that sweet, nutty caramel syrup!
buko pandan filipino Christmas desserts

Buko Pandan

Folks, we’ve got just three words for you: Buko. Pandan. Salad. Just saying that refreshing, vibrant dessert out loud instantly makes us crave a cup of it! What to expect? Well, just think of layers of pandan-flavored gelatin, shredded coconut meat, and surprise pops of nata de coco to make this traditional salad a showstopper.

Beyond the gorgeous layers, buko pandan salad’s balance of flavors also makes it next-level. Sweet, savory, herby, nutty….it’s got it all! Every single scoop cools you down while getting those festive Pinoy flavors going. Truly the ultimate holiday appetizer before lechon and way more meryenda to come!

Buko Pandan Recipe

This cool and vibrant salad layered with young coconut, green jelly cubes, and cream makes the perfect refreshing finale for any feast!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut meat, thinly sliced
  • 1 envelope or 1 tbsp pandan flavoring
  • 2 packs gelatin, green or desired color
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 cups coconut juice or water
  • Evaporated milk
  • Nata de coco

Instructions:

  1. Bloom gelatin by sprinkling over 1⁄2 cup coconut juice/water. Mix the remaining liquid with condensed milk in a saucepan and heat through. Stir in pandan flavoring.
  2. Add bloomed gelatin. Stir until dissolved, then remove from heat.
  3. Assemble layers in a glass bowl or cup – shredded coconut, plain gelatin mix, then nata de coco.
  4. Refrigerate until set, about an hour.
  5. When ready to serve, top with more young coconut strips and evaporated milk, and enjoy this tropical twist!
puto bumbong filipino Christmas Desserts

Puto Bumbong

Peek into any bustling Pinoy Christmas market, and you’ll catch a whiff of something sweet and fragrant rising from billowing steamers…it’s puto bumbong! This vibrant purple treat instantly says “Happy Holidays” for Pinoys who can’t get enough of its fluffy, sticky rice texture. And we totally get the craze!

But what exactly makes this cute little steamed rice cake such a holiday staple? Well, for starters, the purple color comes from – say it with us now – ube! Sweet and nutty, this yam intertwined with rice results in an amazingly unique taste. And if you add a sprinkling of muscovado sugar, grated cheese, and freshly grated coconut on top? *Chef kiss* Perfection!

Puto Bumbong

Ready to enjoy these sweet purple sticky rice cakes after simbang gabi?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup purple yam, boiled and mashed
  • 1⁄2 cup rice flour
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grated coconut

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix mashed ube with rice flour, water, brown sugar, and salt until well blended.
  2. Grease bumbong molds with butter and fill 3⁄4 full with ube mixture.
  3. Steam in clumps of 4-5 bumbong for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle with freshly grated coconut and serve warm!
Kutsinta filipino Christmas Desserts

Kutsinta

Oh, kutsinta, is there any sweet treat more nostalgic for Pinoys come Christmastime than you? We don’t think so! Just one look at these round, golden brown sticky cakes makes us instantly crave Noche Buena and all the homie holiday vibes. And don’t even get us started on the heaven that happens when we bite into that tempting texture!

While ube may dominate other Pinoy desserts, kutsinta stands out for its rich brown sugar flavor infused into soft tapyang galapong Rice flour. Almost like a hybrid of cake and puto, these sweet steamed cakes hit that ideal balance of dense and fluffy in both texture and taste. Topped with a little latik for nutty salted contrast?

But let’s be real: kutsinta isn’t just about the food itself. Making, gifting, and nibbling these sweet sticky cakes bonds Pinoys together every holiday season! Families gather ’round steaming pots, joking, and storytelling while cooking kutsinta. Friend groups exchange decorative boxes of kutsinta as gifts. And no swap would be complete without a batch or two!

Kutsinta Recipe

With a crispy sugar topping and sweet, dense cake, kutsinta brings the flavor of Pinoy nostalgia! Wanna make it at home? Here’s the basic recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1⁄2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together rice flour, sugar, coconut milk and vanilla until dissolved.
  2. Pour batter into a greased muffin tin 3⁄4 full and steam for 25 minutes.
  3. Top kutsinta with latik or crispy fried coconut flakes. Serve warm and enjoy!
fruit salad filipino Christmas Desserts

Fruit Salad

If your holiday table is missing that wild medley of fruit swimming in creamy condensed milk, then sorry, but is it even Christmas?! Fruit salad is the OG vivid dish, bringing color, sweetness, and major Pinoy vibes to Noche Buena every single year.

While this “salad” strays far from healthy greens, the mix of tropical fruits like langka, coconut, and delicate red nata de coco make it a must. Then you add images of families chatting away while layering jewel tones in homemade fruit salad together? Umm, heartwarming!

Fruit Salad Recipe

With its neon layers of tropical fruit suspended in gelatin, fruit salad brings that signature jellylicious Pinoy spirit to the Noche Buena table!

Ingredients:

  • I1 can pineapple tidbits
  • 1 can peaches
  • 1 pack gelatin, orange flavor
  • Condensed milk
  • Shredded young coconut
  • Nata de coco

Instructions:

  1. Drain canned fruits. Make gelatin according to package instructions using fruit juice instead of cold water.
  2. Layer gelatin, fruits, nata de coco, and shredded coconut in a glass bowl. Chill until set.
  3. Before serving, drizzle fruit salad with condensed milk or evaporated milk! Enjoy this sweet surprise.
sapin sapin filipino Christmas Desserts

Sapin Sapin

If we had to sum up sapin sapin in one word, it would be…dazzling! Each colorful layer of this gorgeous Filipino kakanin stuns with unique textures and unexpected flavors. Sapin means “layer” in Tagalog – perfect for this tiered tasty treat. While cooking sapin sapin helps Pinoys reconnect through stories and laughter.

Still not convinced to dig into these dazzling, sweet, and sticky layers? Well, between yema, ube, banana, jackfruit, and leche flan fillings, we can’t resist! So gorgeous. So Pinoy!

Sapin Sapin Recipe

With its vibrant fillings and soft, sticky texture, sapin-sapin continues to dazzle dessert tables in the Philippines.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • Purple yam, jackfruit, banana fillings
  • Leche flan topping

Instructions:

  1. In pot, bring coconut milk and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in rice flour until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
  2. Grease pan. Spread a third of the rice mixture and let firm up. Add filling like ube or jackfruit, then cover with more rice mix.
  3. Repeat layers twice more, with varied fillings like banana and leche flan.
  4. Steam for 30 minutes ’til set. Chill before slicing to serve this colorful layered treat!
Crema de fruta filipino Christmas Desserts

Crema De Fruta

Each layer dazzles the eyes before tantalizing the tastebuds thanks to jewel tones from tropical fave fruits. Papaya, langka, and melon mingle bright and refreshing. While the white layer of leche flan-esque custard adds a rich, creamy contrast. Is your sweet tooth ready for magic or what?!

But even more special than the flavors are the memories crema de fruta brings every Pasko. Kids stirring crema de fruta in their lola’s kitchen. Swapping precious jars of homemade crema de fruta before noche buena. Serving towering parfaits for post-simbang gabi potlucks full of kwentuhan.

Crema De Fruta Recipe

Ready to dig into this colorful dessert?

Ingredients:

  • 1 can fruit cocktail, drained
  • 1 pack gelatin, orange flavor
  • Fruit juice
  • Condensed milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Shredded nata de coco

Instructions:

  1. Prepare orange gelatin using fruit juice instead of cold water. Allow to slightly thicken.
  2. Layer into glass bowl: gelatin, fruit cocktail, condensed milk.
  3. Refrigerate for 3 hours ’til firm.
  4. Top with more orange gelatin, shredded nata de coco, and evaporated milk before serving.

Tagalog Terms About Desserts

The Philippines has a remarkable roster of native treats and sweets, many with uniquely Tagalog terminologies that capture subtle aspects of flavors and textures. Here are some of our favorites!

EnglishTagalog
SweetnessTamis
SweetMatamis
ColorfulMakulay
DeliciousMasarap
Native delicacyKakanin
CakeKeyk

Which Is Your Favorite?

Well folks, have we convinced you to trade in fruitcake for puto bumbong this year or what?! After that whirlwind tour of Filipino Christmas desserts, we bet you’re craving a steaming cup of tsokolate to go with a new fave holiday treat! Whether you’re suddenly fantasizing about the layers of sapin-sapin or eager to try your hand at homemade ube halaya, one thing is clear. Pinoy desserts bring way more flavor, color, and magical memories to the holiday table!

So, our advice? Go on and dig in!

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