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Biko Recipe (Filipino Sticky Rice Cake)

Get that perfect sticky chewiness all the time with this easy Biko recipe. Topped with delicious coconut caramel sauce or latik that will make you want for more.
Biko, a Filipino sticky rice cake with latik syrup topping

What is Biko?

Biko (pronounced bee-koh), a rice cake,  is a native Filipino delicacy or ‘kakanin’ where glutinous rice is cooked with coconut milk and brown sugar then topped Latik.  The latik can be either in curd form or syrup. Traditionally, biko is served on a bilao, a round wooden bamboo tray, lined with coconut-oiled banana leaves, and is a popular dessert for every special occasion like birthdays, reunions and fiestas.

It is well-loved throughout the country and known different names. Bibingkang malagkit is one and it is Sinukmani to the Southern Tagalog regions. We grew up calling it simply kalamay.

3 basic ingredients for biko: glutinous rice, coconut milk, brown sugar

What do you need to make Biko Kalamay?

You will need only 4 basic ingredients to make this delicacy: glutinous rice, coconut milk, water, and brown sugar. You can either top it with latik curds or latik syrup, that is made by combining coconut and brown sugar.

The color of your biko will depend mainly on the brown sugar used. If you are trying to get that rich brown color then use a really dark brown sugar or muscovado.  Brown sugar also varies in sweetness so you might have to adjust according to your preference.

Adding pandan leaves while cooking the rice will give it nice aroma and flavor. I also added a bit of vanilla extract to the latik syrup to make it extra delicious. Believe me, it is spoon-licking good, I could eat it on its own.

malagkit na kalamay or biko served on a plate

 

How to make Biko?

I found that there are several ways to cook it.  The most common way is by cooking the glutinous rice first like you do regular rice. Then it will be added to the coconut caramel later.

There is also another way that an old friend taught me. He simply put the ingredients for the biko together in a rice cooker and that is it. Practical if you do not have time and just want a quick snack.

For this recipe I went with the more traditional way. But instead of just boiling the sticky rice in water, I boiled it in coconut milk with water and pandan leaves so it can absorb the flavors right from the beginning.

step-by-step photo on how to make sticky rice cake

Here are some tips to make a perfectly chewy biko with perfect latik topping

Making this sticky rice cake is really very easy. But one simple mistake and it can turn mushy or uncooked.

  • When you steam the rice make sure that you do not add too much water. It is not supposed to be completely cooked at this point. Doing so may result in the grains to break when cooked later which will give you a paste-like consistency instead of chewy whole grains.
  • It is fine to give it a stir or two in the first part of cooking the rice to prevent the bottom from burning. However, avoid over stirring because, again, it will result in mushy rice.
  • When the rice is added to the latik syrup, gently fold the rice to coat them completely. Let the rice absorb the liquid while stirring from time to time. Do this until all grains are cooked and have expanded and very sticky.
  • The length of time to bake the biko depends on how thick the latik caramel topping is, it might take more than 20-30 minutes if it is a thick layer. Just wait that it turns bubbly and no longer gooey.

freshly cooked kalamay na malagkit

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4.78 from 18 votes

Biko Recipe (Filipino Rice Cake)

Get this easy Biko recipe, a Filipino rice cake made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and brown sugar topped with caramelized coconut milk.
Print Rate
Course: Dessert,Snack
Cuisine: Asian,Filipino
Keyword: biko recipe,filipino rice cake
Servings: 9 squares
Calories: 159kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

TO COOK RICE

  • 2 cups glutinous rice - - washed and drained
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pieces pandan leaves

LATIK SYRUP

  • 2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla - (optional)
  • vegetable or coconut oil - - for greasing the pan

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Generously grease an 8x8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, mix together the 1 cup coconut milk and 1cup water. Add the glutinous rice and pandan leaves. Bring to a simmer then turn heat to low and cover. Let it cook until all liquids are absorbed. The rice should only be almost cooked at this point.
  • While waiting, prepare the latik syrup by combining the 2 cups coconut milk and 1 cup dark brown sugar on a large pan or pot. Cook over medium heat while constantly stirring until the liquid thickens into a camarel.
  • Scoop and reserve 1/2 cup of the latik syrup for the topping later. Add the cooked rice without the pandan leaves to tha pan with the remaining latik syrup. Gently fold the sticky rice and the syrup until completely coated. Cook while stirring from time to time until the rice completely absorbs the syrup and the rice is fully cooked.
  • Transfer the rice into the greased pan and spread out evenly. Pour the reserved latik syrup on spread evenly on top of the rice. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for 20-30 minutes or until the latik is reduced and becomes bubbly.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool down. Cut into squares and serve.

VIDEO

Nutrition Facts
Biko Recipe (Filipino Rice Cake)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 159
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 35mg1%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 2g4%
Calcium 10mg1%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.

Biko, a rice cake, is a native Filipino delicacy where glutinous rice is cooked with coconut milk and brown sugar then topped with caramelized coconut milk. | www.foxyfolksy.com

This biko recipe was originally published on August 2016. Updated on May 2020 to include new photos and recipe video and improve the recipe itself.

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Bebs

Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

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  1. 5 stars
    The biko is the oven as I’m typing. I made a mistake! When the coconut milk and brown sugar reduced and caramelised, I mixed the rice for about couple minutes. I didn’t check for doneness before I put it in the baking pan. It’s my fault for not checking back the instructions. Hope the rice is fully cooked after 30mins.

  2. I just tried this today and it came out really good! Thank you finally I got the right recipe!!

    I am looking forward seeing your future recipes! All the best!

  3. I wanna try your recipe but there’s no pandan leaves available here. Can I substitute with pandan essence?

  4. 5 stars
    I love your site! Made your ube cheese pandedal and now I’m making this biko. Love your recipes. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    We are in love with this recipe! So miss getting fresh pandan leaves at the wet market but we do have some frozen so can’t wait to make your delicious recipe. Sticky rice is our ultimate comfort food!

  6. WOW! This sounds fantastic and so few ingredients. I’ll try to make this next week if I can. I’ve been finding sticky rice (any rice) tricky to get hold of during the pandemic.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Beb,
    After several searching & comparing biko recipes I saw online, I decided to try yours. Just made it today & so happy with the result, it’s really yummy! My hubby really enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Jamela, I got it from our backyard. But they are normally sold also in the supermarkets (PH). You can skip it if you can’t get any.

  8. What is the purpose of the Pandan leaves? Can I skip it? Can I use only 1/2 cup of brown sugar? I love your recipes because they are easy to follow. Thanks.

    1. HI Gemma, pandan adds a nice aroma and a little flavor to the rice but you can skip it if not available. You can try 1 cup is really not that sweet already for biko.

  9. 5 stars
    Hi Beb,
    I had tried several of your recipes and they are all very good; however, when I found out that you had a recipe for Biko, am so happy try it out.
    I love the taste but I just want to know why my biko turned out to be very soft…Where did I go wrong?

    1. Hi Joni, rice, including glutinous rice, absorbs water differently. I suggest using just half of the measurement for water first then adjust as needed. Thanks for the great review btw…

  10. Absolutely delish 😋. My mother used to make a similar dish but uses cornmeal instead of rice.
    I love this, no heartburn with this. Thanks.

  11. Thank you. This opened a whole new world to me.
    My mind started going thru the different flavors I could add.
    Such as Chocolate, Banana, Rum, so on and on.

  12. 5 stars
    I glad I found this recipe but I tweaked it a little bit. I used pandan flavor and added a drop of green food coloring and used white sugar instead of brown.

  13. 5 stars
    Hi Bebs, I just found your site and I’m so thankful I did! I’ve perused your recipes and they look so good. I’ve already made the Champorado and the Pork B-BQue. Both winners by the way! They are very close to how I remember them as a child in Manila. Growing up in Canada, my Mom and Grandma always made these dishes for us so we wouldn’t forget our culture and finding your site and your recipes just brought back fond childhood memories.Biko is one of my alltime favourites so this recipe is next to be done 🙂 Based on the 2 recipes I’ve already tried, yours are the closest tasting to how my family cooked. Thanks very much for sharing.
    Cheers from Canada 🙂

  14. We are making all Filipino foods for Christmas this year, and my husband is super excited that I found this recipe. His mom is from the Philippines and it was something she used to make.

    What brand or type of rice do you recommend for this since they usually arent marked as “glutinous” at the markets. Nishiki sushi rice is our staple rice – will this work or should I look for something like a thai sweet rice?

    1. Hi Kristin, sushi rice gets sticky when cooked but not as sticky as glutinous rice. Personally, I haven’t used Thai sweet rice but I looked it up and it seems to be the right kind. It should be long grained and milky white in color. I wish you all the best for your All-Filipino Christmas!

  15. Hi Bebs,

    I’ve been cooking kutsinta many times but I couldn’t find the good recipe that I want. I tried your recipe and I found out it’s chewy and yummy. Thank you so much for sharing

  16. These look delicious! Can’t wait to make these for my kids. By the way, what size pan did you use for this? 9×13?

  17. I’m glad I found this site& can’t wait to try the recipes! I love Filipino desserts, I don’t get to eat them very often unless I go to a Filipino party or when I’m in SanDiego where there are abundant restaurants that sell them. I live in Kansas & filipino restaurants are not common! My Mom usef to make many of these desserts but now my parents retired in the Philippines. I can’t wait to try these recipes & satisfy my sweet tooth. I want to make leche flan for my husband since it’s his favorite! He’s a small town man from Kansas who now loves Filipino food! Salamat for all the wonderful recipes!

    1. Hi Eidy, glad you like the site and I hope you enjoy the recipes. I will be updating the leche flan recipe really soon to share a secret I learned for a smoother leche flan with a video too. It will be out in some days, do wait for it! 🙂

  18. I’m glad i ran into this site. Iba talaga ang mga lutong Pinoy at mga kakanin pa. Only in the Philippines lang talaga. I copied and pasted them all and then printed them and include them on my compilations of Pinoy Recipes.

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