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This easy Palitaw Recipe with glutinous rice flour, coconut, and a sweet and nutty sesame seed sugar coating. It’s the perfect Filipino snack when you’re craving a soft and chewy sweet treat!

hoizontal photo of filipino palitaw on a light blue plate
horizontal photo of filipino palitaw on green checkered dish

When it comes to Filipino desserts, Turon (Banana Lumpia) and Taho are some of the most popular. But if you’re serving a crowd, you can’t go wrong with a sweet rice cake. And if you’re looking for the easiest ​kakanin you can whip up with just a few ingredients, this palitaw recipe is exactly what you need. 

Thanks to the glutinous rice, it has a similar texture to Suman Malagkit and Biko, but requires fewer ingredients and less prep work. It’s one of those sweet delicacies you’ll make whenever you need to satisfy a craving for Filipino food as fast as possible! 

labeled ingredients for palitaw: glutinous rice flow, sugar, water, shredded coconut and sesame seeds

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • Glutinous rice flourAlso known as malagkit or sweet rice flour, this glutinous flour is the main ingredient in the dough base. Unlike regular white rice, glutinous rice can create a distinct, sticky, chewy dough. It’s commonly available at many grocery stores in the international aisle or local Asian markets. 
  • Shredded coconut: The most authentic Filipino palitaw recipes use freshly grated coconut. It adds a natural sweetness and moisture that compliments the texture of the chewy rice cake. If fresh coconut is inaccessible, desiccated coconut is the next best option. It’s finely grated so you won’t have large pieces of grated coconut. 
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar coats the outside of the sweet rice cake and adds a nice crunch. If desired, you can swap in coconut sugar or light brown sugar. Opt for organic sugar to ensure your palitaw recipe is vegan. 
  • Toasted sesame seeds: The nutty flavor of the sesame seeds balances the smooth and chewy texture of the rice cakes. If you do not have access to toasted sesame seeds, you can toast raw sesame seeds at home in a dry pan or on a sheet pan in the oven.

Equipment Needed

How to Make Palitaw

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. 
  2. Prep the coating. ​Add the shredded coconut to a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the sugar and sesame seeds and set aside. 
  3. Make the palitaw dough. Add the glutinous rice flour to a medium-sized mixing bowl and slowly mix in the water with a spatula or wooden spoon until a soft, smooth dough forms. Use your hands if needed.
  4. Form the sweet rice cakes. Form the dough into roughly 1 1/2 tablespoon balls. Using the palm of your hands, slightly flatten into 1/2-inch disc. 
  5. Boil the palitaw. Place the palitaw disks into the boiling water. Boil until they float to the surface, about 3-4 minutes. Drain the excess water.
  6. Cool until easy to handle. Once floating, use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked palitaw and transfer them to a wire rack or plate to cool until cool enough to touch. 
  7. Coat in coconut and sugar mixture. Place the cooked pieces first in the shredded coconut, followed by the sesame seed mixture, tossing to coat all sides evenly. 
  8. Enjoy! Transfer the cakes to a serving platter and enjoy while warm and chewy!

Serving Suggestions 

This traditional Filipino dessert is often served as a midday snack or dessert for special occasions. It’s typically enjoyed on its own but it is also delicious alongside a cup of hot tea or coffee. 

Recipe FAQs

Is palitaw gluten-free?

​In addition to being naturally vegan, palitaw is also naturally gluten-free! It’s a great treat to share with all kinds of eaters.

How should I store leftover palitaw?

Leftover palitaw will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. Microwave for a short 10-15 second interval to warm slightly before eating. 

Can I freeze palitaw?

Yes. Palitaw can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight freezer-safe bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or leave on the counter for a few hours until fully defrosted. Enjoy at room temperature or warm slightly in the microwave. 

overhead photo of filipino palitaw on green checkered dish

Quick Tips

  • Be careful not to add too much water to the dough. ​It can be helpful to add the water gradually when making the dough. Traditional palitaw dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky. Depending on the climate, you may need to adjust the water measurement slightly to suit the environment.
  • Use a cookie scoop to form the rice cakes into small balls. This will ensure they are similar in size and cook evenly. 
  • Cook in small batches. Depending on the size of your pot, it may be helpful to cook the dough in batches. This will allow you to see more clearly when the palitaw floats. 
close up photo of filipino palitaw on a light blue plate

More Filipino Snacks You May Enjoy:

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close up photo of filipino palitaw on a light blue plate

Palitaw Recipe (Sweet Filipino Rice Cake)


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  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: About 15
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

An Easy Palitaw Recipe made with glutinous rice flour and a sweet and nutty, sesame seed sugar coating. It’s the perfect filipino snack when you’re craving a soft and chewy sweet treat!


Ingredients

Equipment


Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Prep the coating. ​Add the shredded coconut to a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the sugar and sesame seeds and set aside. If you do not have access to toasted sesame seeds, you can toast raw sesame seeds at home in a dry pan or on a sheet pan in the oven.
  3. Make the palitaw dough. Add the glutinous rice flour to a medium-sized mixing bowl and slowly mix in the water with a spatula or wooden spoon until a soft, smooth dough forms. Use your hands if needed.
  4. Form the sweet rice cakes. Form the dough into roughly 1 ½ tablespoon balls. Using the palm of your hands, slightly flatten each ball into a ½-inch ball or disc. We made 15.
  5. Boil the palitaw. Place the palitaw disks into the boiling water. Boil until they float to the surface, about 3-4 minutes. Depending on the size of your pot, it may be helpful to cook the dough in batches. This will allow you to see more clearly when the palitaw floats. Drain the excess water.
  6. Cool until easy to handle. Once floating, use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked palitaw and transfer them to a wire rack or plate to cool until cool enough to touch.
  7. Coat in coconut and sugar mixture. Place the cooked pieces first in the shredded coconut, followed by the sesame seed mixture, tossing to coat all sides evenly.
  8. Enjoy! Transfer the cakes to a serving platter and enjoy while warm and chewy!

Notes

  • Storage: Leftover palitaw will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Reheating: Microwave for a short 10-15 second interval to warm slightly before eating. 
  • Freezing: Palitaw can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight freezer-safe bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or leave on the counter for a few hours until fully defrosted. Enjoy at room temperature or warm slightly in the microwave. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: About 15 minutes
  • Category: Snack, Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Filipino

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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