How to Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake)

Puto is a steamed Filipino mini rice cake made out of rice flour (galapong). It is often eaten for breakfast, served with coffee or hot chocolate. Some people also like to grate coconut over it or to eat it with dinugan, a pork blood stew. If you want to know how to make your own puto, see Step 1 to get started.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes


  • 4 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • Cheese for topping
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. tapioca (optional)


  1. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 1
    Sift the dry ingredients together. Sifting your rice flour, sugar, and baking powder will help you combine the dry ingredients, get rid of any lumps, and get some air into those ingredients. Just pour them into a bowl through a sifter, scraping a fork along the bottom of the sifter as they fall, allowing them to sift more easily. Mix the ingredients well until they're thoroughly incorporated.
    • If you don't have rice flour, you can use regular flour instead, though this is considered less traditional than using rice flour.
    • If you're really serious about making puto, then you can combine the rice flour and water in a bowl, cover it, and let it sit at room temperature overnight. If you want to do this, you should combine about 1 lb (16 oz) of rice flour with 1 1/2 cups of water.
  2. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 2
    Add the butter, coconut milk, egg, and water and mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Use a wooden spoon, whisk, or electric mixer to mix the ingredients until they are thoroughly incorporated. If you don't have coconut milk, you can use half as much evaporated milk, or just regular milk, but that won't give the puto the distinct traditional flavor it is known for.
    • If you'd like the puto to be a bit more gelatinous, you can add 1 tbsp. of tapioca to the entire batch.
    • Though food coloring isn't necessary, it can make this treat more colorful. Some common colors for puto are lime green, yellow, or purple. If you'd like to create a multitude of colors, you can even divide the batch into four parts, and place 1-2 drops of unique colors in three of them; you can leave the fourth batch without coloring, to create a nice "white" color for contrast.
  3. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 3
    Pour the mixture in molds or small cupcake pans. If you're not using cupcake paper, you can grease the molds with butter to prevent the treats from sticking to them. You should fill the mixture to the top or a little bit below the molds. They'll expand as they cook, so you don't want them to leave some room for them to grow. Some would even say to only fill the molds three-quarters of the way.
  4. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 4
    Put cheese on top of the mixture. Cut the cheese into little squares about the size of a half-dollar, a little larger than a quarter. If you're using regular cheese, then you should put it on the mold before you start steaming. However, if you're using Quickmelt cheese, then you should put the little squares on at the end of the steaming process, when there are just two minutes left. That's all you'll need to melt the Quickmelt cheese.
  5. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 5
    Prepare the steamer. Make sure you've put the necessary amount of water in the steamer and have set it to cook. You can line it with cheesecloth to protect the molds and use more cloth to cover it. Or you can just stick to using an ordinary lid to cover the steamer. You can start preparing the steamer as you mix the ingredients together to save time.
  6. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 6
    Put the molds in the steamer and steam for 20 minutes. You can start checking up on them after 10 minutes. Once you can put in a toothpick and have it come out clean when you take it out, then the puto is ready. Just remember to leave two minutes for cooking at the end if you're using Quickmelt cheese.
  7. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 7
    Remove the puto from the molds. Give them a minute or two to cool down before you do this. When they're ready to handle, arrange them on a serving plate.
  8. Image titled Make Puto (Steamed Rice Cake) Step 8
    Serve. This treat is best served warm, so you should enjoy it immediately. Puto can be enjoyed on its own at any time of day, but many people love to have it with coffee. You can also enjoy it along with dinugan, pork blood stew, if you like.

Things You'll Need

  • Molds or small cupcake pans
  • Steamer

Article Info

Categories: Recipes