Monday, July 21, 2014

Filipino Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

Today I'm sharing Puto which are mini steamed rice cakes.  I made these recently for my sweet Goddaughter's second birthday party.  These steamed cakes have just the right amount of sweetness without going over board on a sugar high!  They are a traditional Filipino Recipe that are often found served at Filipino parties and celebrations.  They are also usually eaten during breakfast or as a snack and are often paired with Dinuguan (pork blood stew).

Filipino Food, Pinoy Food, Recipes

Puto - Steamed Rice Cakes

Traditionally, you would use rice flour since the name does suggests to use it - rice flour will give you the classic Puto taste that Filipinos in the Philippines are accustomed to but using all-purpose or self-rising flour has been adapted for use here in America.   Stick with using rice flour, however, if you would like this recipe to be gluten-free and just be certain to use gluten-free ingredients for the rest of the recipe, as well. 

You can add different toppings like cheese or coconut and even add in the ube (purple yam) flavor.

Mini Cakes...Aren't They Too Cute?


What I have always loved about these mini rice cakes are they are mini, which makes them so cute!  The perfect bite to snack on or have a few with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Filipino Food, Pinoy Recipes, Pinoy Food
I also love that you can make them in so many pretty colors. 

My kids could not stop eating these while I was making them so I know I made much more than the batch I brought to the party.  I'll have to keep my kids away next time I make these when I'm bringing them somewhere else!  I also kept making my hubby (a.k.a. my taste-tester) try one from each tray after it came out just to make sure it tasted just right.  

How to Make Puto {Steamed Rice Cakes}

What You Need:

  • 4 cups self-rising flour (or use rice flour)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • shredded coconut, optional
  • cheese, optional (I just used sliced cheese) 
  • food coloring, optional



  1. Since these cakes are steamed, you will need a large pan to steam them or a wok, which is what I use.  Place a small wire cooling rack to fit inside for where the tray will sit.  You could also use the steamer in the rice cooker if you have small individual molds or containers. 
  2. Grease a mini muffin tray or your individual containers.
  3. Fill the pan, steamer or wok half way with water.  Let it heat up until the water begins to boil before you put in the rice cakes.
  4. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and sugar well, getting all the lumps out and making it as fine and smooth as possible.
  5. Use an electric mixer on low-medium speed to mix in egg, coconut milk, water, butter and vanilla extract.  Mix well unto lumps are out.  The batter should be smooth.
  6. If you want to color the Puto, divide the batter into separate bowls for however many colors you want to use and put a few drops of each food coloring into each bowl.
  7. Pour into a mini muffin tray or the individual molds about two-thirds full. 
  8. Place in steamer, pan or wok.  You might want to place a thin cloth, maybe a cheese cloth in between the tray and lid to prevent condensation applying to the rice cakes.
  9. Let cook for 10-20 minutes, depending on your method of steaming.  Insert tooth pick - it should come out clean- to check if done.   If you want to add cheese topping or coconut, I waited until the last 5 minutes to add them on, then let them finish cooking.
  10. Cool completely before taking out of tray or molds.  Be sure to add more water in pan, wok or steamer in between batches.
This recipe makes about 50 pieces.

Pinoy Recipes, Filipino Food

Many people (including myself), love these with the cheese topping. You can criss-cross them like I did or just cut them into small blocks, squares or maybe get creative with different shapes!   Throw on some coconut topping for a more tropical flavor.  Yum!

Have you had Puto, would you try to make this recipe?  Let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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