Puto in banana leaf liner
CourseDessert, breakfast
Place of originPhilippines
Serving temperaturehot, warm, or room temperature
Main ingredientsRice
Food energy
(per serving)
587[1] kcal
Similar dishesbibingka, panyalam, puttu, kue putu, "idli", "Bhapa pitha"

Puto is a Filipino steamed rice cake, traditionally made from slightly fermented rice dough (galapong). It is eaten as is or as an accompaniment to a number of savoury dishes (most notably, dinuguan). Puto is also an umbrella term for various kinds of indigenous steamed cakes, including those made without rice. It is a sub-type of kakanin (rice cakes).[2][3]


Puto is made from rice soaked overnight to allow it to ferment slightly. Yeast may sometimes be added to aid this process. It is then ground (traditionally with stone mills) into a rice dough known as galapong. The mixture is then steamed.[3][4]

The Filipino dish dinuguan is traditionally served with puto
A puto stall in San Juan, Metro Manila.
Putong lalaki topped with egg from Bulacan
Puto with cheese toppings from Mindanao

The most common shape of the putuhán steamer used in making puto is round, ranging from 30 to 60 centimetres (12 to 24 in) in diameter and between 2 and 5 centimetres (0.79 and 1.97 in) deep. These steamers are rings made of either soldered sheet metal built around a perforated pan, or of thin strips of bent bamboo enclosing a flat basket of split bamboo slats (similar to a dim sum steamer basket). The cover is almost always conical to allow the condensing steam to drip along the perimeter instead of on the cakes.

A sheet of muslin (katsâ) is stretched over the steamer ring and the prepared rice batter poured directly on it; an alternative method uses banana leaf as a liner. The puto is then sold as large, thick cakes in flat baskets called bilao lined with banana leaf, either as whole loaves or sliced into smaller, lozenge-shaped individual portions.

Properly prepared puto imparts the slightly yeasty aroma of fermented rice galapong, which may be enhanced by the fragrance of banana leaves. It is neither sticky nor dry and crumbly, but soft, moist, and with a fine, uniform grain. The essential flavour is of freshly cooked rice, but it may be sweetened a bit if eaten by itself as a snack instead of as accompaniment to savory dishes. Most puto cooked in the Tagalog-speaking regions may contain a small quantity of wood ash lye.

Puto eaten on its own commonly add toppings like cheese, butter/margarine, hard-boiled eggs, meat, or freshly grated coconut. In Bulacan, puto with cheese toppings are humorously called putong bakla ("homosexual puto"), while puto with egg toppings are called putong lalaki ("man's puto) and those filled with meat are called putong babae ("woman's puto).[3][5]


Assorted modern puto in various flavors

Puto is also an umbrella term for various kinds of indigenous steamed cakes, including those made without rice. The key characteristics are that they are cooked by steaming and are made with some type of flour (to contrast with bibingka, which are baked cakes). There are exceptions, however, like puto seko which is a baked dry cookie. The traditional puto made with galapong is sometimes referred to as putong puti ("white puto") or putong bigas ("rice puto) to distinguish it from other dishes also called puto.[6]

Modern variants of puto may also use non-traditional ingredients like ube (purple yam), vanilla, or chocolate. Notable variants of puto, as well as other dishes classified as puto, include the following:

Rice-based puto

Puto bumbong, a type of puto steamed in bamboo tubes commonly sold during the Christmas season



See also


  1. ^ "Puto Recipe". Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  2. ^ Timothy G. Roufs & Kathleen Smyth Roufs (2014). Sweet Treats around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 269. ISBN 9781610692212.
  3. ^ a b c Alan Davidson (2006). The Oxford Companion to Food. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780191018251.
  4. ^ Priscilla C. Sanchez (2008). Philippine Fermented Foods: Principles and Technology. UP Press. p. 401. ISBN 9789715425544.
  5. ^ Michaela Fenix (2017). Country Cooking: Philippine Regional Cuisines. Anvil Publishing, Incorporated. ISBN 9789712730443.
  6. ^ "Putong Bigas (Putong Puti)". Kawaling Pinoy. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Edgie Polistico (2017). Philippine Food, Cooking, & Dining Dictionary. Anvil Publishing, Incorporated. ISBN 9786214200870.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Alvin Elchico, Gracie Rutao and JV Dizon (December 24, 2010). "Filipinos go for ham, bibingka for Christmas". www.abs-cbnnews.com/. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  9. ^ Vanjo Merano (September 6, 2009). "Kutsinta Recipe". PanlasangPinoy. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  10. ^ "Puto". Rice Recipes. Philippine Rice Research Institute. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  11. ^ Micky Fenix (May 31, 2007). "Dreaming of rice cakes". Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 2, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2011. Philippine Daily Inquirer – Lifestyle section
  12. ^ a b "Dreaming of Rice Cakes". Archived from the original on September 2, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  13. ^ "Puto Maya and Sikwate". Russian Filipino Kitchen. February 2, 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  14. ^ Fenix, Micky (August 26, 2015). "'Puto maya,' 'sikwate,' 'bahal,' 'guinamos'–indigenous finds in a Cagayan de Oro market". Inquirer. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  15. ^ Delos Reyes, Ramil. "Davao City: Puto Maya & Sikwate for Breakfast". Pinas Muna. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  16. ^ Damo, Ida. "Why Davao City's Puto Maya & Hot Tsokolate is a Perfect Combo". ChoosePhilippines. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  17. ^ Exiomo, Jay. "Putong pulo finds perfect match". Tayo na, Valenzuela!. Government of Valenzuela, Republic of the Philippines.
  18. ^ "Top 5 Delicacies from Surigao". Surigao Today. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  19. ^ "Sayongsong: Surigao Kakanin/Pasalubong". Backpacking Philippines. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Leche Puto". Kawaling Pinoy. February 7, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  21. ^ Cordero-Fernando, Gilda; Baldemor, Manuel D. (1992). Philippine food & life: Luzon. Anvil Pub. ISBN 9789712702327.
  22. ^ Schlau, Stacey; Bergmann, Emilie L. (2007). Approaches to teaching the works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Modern Language Association of America. ISBN 9780873528153.
  23. ^ How to make puto seko | Filipino recipes | Pinterest