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This vegan Ensaymada recipe tastes just like the original Ensaymada I grew up with! Soft, pillowy sweet pastry, wrapped into a coil, then baked until light, puffy, and golden. Top with rich vegan butter, a sprinkle of sugar, and vegan cheddar cheese shreds for the perfect sweet and savory combo.

close up of Vegan Ensaymada (Sweet Filipino brioche) with cheese
horizontal photo of Vegan Ensaymada (Sweet Filipino brioche) with cheese

What is Ensaymada?

Ensaymada is a popular Filipino pastry that has origins in Mallorca, Spain. The word “ensaymada” refers to a soft and round sweet pastry and is borrowed from the Spanish, whereas the Spanish word, “ensaimada” referred to the original coiled pastry.

Over time, the Filipino version has evolved into a sweet and buttery brioche-style bread typically made from a rich, soft dough that’s rolled into a similar coil, and then topped with a combination of melted butter, sugar, and shredded cheese.  

Similar to Suman Malagkit and Biko, traditional ensaymada is served as a mid-afternoon snack or evening dessert, often paired with a warm mug of coffee or hot chocolate. It’s a treat commonly found in bakeries and cafes throughout the Philippines.

Now you can not only make your Filipino ensaymada at home, but this classic ensaymada recipe is 100% vegan making it perfect for sharing! No egg yolks, milk, dairy butter, or dairy cheese topping is necessary! 

ingredients: non-dairy milk, sugar, yeast, vegan butter, flour and salt

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • Non-dairy milk: Any unsweetened, non-dairy milk of choice will work well. Try Almond Milk, cashew milk, soy milk, or coconut milk! 
  • Vegan butter: We typically like to bake with vegan butter sticks from Country Crock, Earth Balance, or Melt. When developing this ensaymada dough, we used unsalted butter. If you are using salted butter, reduce the additional salt to just 1/4 teaspoon. 
  • Sugar: To keep the ensaymada dough light in color, it’s important to use granulated white sugar as opposed to brown sugar or coconut sugar (save those sugars for making Filipino Sticky Rice Cake and Taho with Arnibal
  • Active dry yeast: If you’ve made any of our yeast breads and desserts, you’ll know we prefer active dry yeast over instant yeast. It helps the dough develop a deeper, more complex flavor without much additional effort! If you’d like to make this bread dough with instant yeast, use about 30% less (1.5 teaspoons instant yeast). 
  • All-purpose flour: White flour is the traditional flour used in making ensaymada because it contains the perfect amount of protein to keep the dough soft and tender. For best results, we recommend using the weighted grams measurement. Or, if using cups, make sure to use the spoon and level method to measure the flour accurately. 
  • Vegan sharp cheddar cheese shreds (optional): Any brand of cheddar cheese shreds of choice will do! You can even shred your own from a block of your favorite vegan cheese, if desired. 

Equipment Needed

Make Vegan Ensaymada 

  1. Activate the yeast. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and sugar. The mixture should be slightly warm to the touch but not too hot as that may kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the mixture, stir, and let sit in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients. After 10 minutes, add the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as you work.
  3. First rise for 1 hour. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer to a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Try not to add too much! The dough should be slightly sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Cut the sticky dough into 10 equal pieces, then cover the pieces with a clean kitchen towel to keep the dough moist.
  6. Prepare for baking. Grease muffin tins or ensaymada molds or baking sheet with with softened vegan butter or oil. You can also line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  7. Roll the dough. One at a time, take a piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Using a rolling pin or a flat-sided cup, roll the dough out to about 12 inches, then roll it tightly lengthwise into a long rope (as you would cinnamon rolls). Starting at one end, roll each ensaymada into a coil. Tuck the end piece of dough underneath, then transfer the ensaymada to a greased muffin tin, an ensaymada mold, or a greased or lined baking sheet. Try not to roll it too tight. Repeat with all 10 pieces until each is rolled into a tight coil.
  8. Rise again for 1 hour. Cover the muffin tin with a damp cloth and rise for another hour.
  9. Bake. Brush the rolls with additional soy milk. Place the rolls in a preheated oven and bake for 22-27 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Prepare the buttercream. In the meantime in a medium bowl, cream together the softened vegan butter and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. If you don’t use your buttercream right away after mixing, you may need to whip it again using the mixer to make it spreadable.
  11. Top the rolls. Allow the baked ensaymada to cool for 10 minutes. With a pastry brush (or a spoon or butter knife), coat each ensaymada with the vegan buttercream, then sprinkle with granulated sugar and/or vegan cheddar cheese.
  12. Serve while warm and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions 

Ensaymada is often shared among friends and family during gatherings, celebrations, and as a special treat during the holiday season! Serve them as is, or alongside your favorite warm cozy beverage, such as Hot ChocolateHomemade Chai Lattes, or even Cold Brew or a tall glass of Creamy Almond Milk.

close up of fluffy ensaymada cut in half

Storage Instructions

Like our other Filipino breads, Vegan Pandesal and Fluffy Ube Pandesal, this Filipino brioche bread is best served fresh, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. 

Quick Tips

  • Make sure to use warm milk! The temperature of the milk should be about 105-110F. If the milk is too warm, it can scorch and kill the yeast. If it is too cool, the yeast won’t activate and will prevent the dough from rising properly.
  • Add more flour as needed. If the dough feels too sticky while kneading, feel free to add a bit more flour. Just be sure not to add too much – the ensaymada should be lightly sticky to the touch!
  • Use the weighted measurements. Baking by weight is always more accurate than baking with measuring cups. When possible, use the weighted measurements for the dry ingredients so you’ll have perfect results the first time!
photo of Vegan Ensaymada (Sweet Filipino brioche) with cheese

More Vegan Filipino Recipes You May Enjoy:

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you make this recipe. We love to see your photos!

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close up of Vegan Ensaymada (Sweet Filipino brioche) with cheese

Filipino Vegan Ensaymada Recipe


  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 3 hours 7 minutes
  • Yield: 10 ensaymada
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan Ensaymada recipe tastes just like the original ensaymada I grew up with! Soft, pillowy sweet pastry, wrapped into a coil, then baked until light, puffy and golden. Top with rich vegan butter, a sprinkle of sugar, and vegan cheddar cheese shreds for the perfect sweet and savory combo.


Ingredients

Ensaymada dough

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, warm to the touch (we used soy)
  • ½ cup vegan butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 packet (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For topping:

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Shredded vegan cheddar cheese

Equipment


Instructions

  1. Activate the yeast. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and sugar. The mixture should be slightly warm to the touch but not too hot as that may kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the mixture, stir, and let sit in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients. After 10 minutes, add the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as you work.
  3. First rise for 1 hour. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer to a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed but try not to add too much! The dough should be slightly sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Cut the sticky dough into 10 equal pieces, then cover the pieces with a clean kitchen towel to keep the dough moist.
  6. Prepare for baking. Grease muffin tins or ensaymada molds or baking sheet with with softened vegan butter or oil. You can also line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  7. Roll the dough. One at a time, take a piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Using a rolling pin or a flat-sided cup, roll the dough out to about 12 inches, then roll it tightly lengthwise into a long rope (as you would cinnamon rolls). Starting at one end, roll each ensaymada into a coil. Tuck the end piece of dough underneath, then transfer the ensaymada to a greased muffin tin, an ensaymada mold, or a greased or lined baking sheet. Try not to roll it too tight. Repeat with all 10 pieces until each is rolled into a tight coil.
  8. Rise again for 1 hour. Cover with a damp cloth and rise for another hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  10. Bake. Brush the rolls with additional non-dairy milk. Place the rolls in a preheated oven and bake for 22-27 minutes or until golden.
  11. Prepare the buttercream. In the meantime in a medium bowl, cream together the softened vegan butter and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. If you don’t use your buttercream right away after mixing, you may need to whip it again using the mixer to make it spreadable.
  12. Top the rolls. Allow the baked ensaymada to cool for 10 minutes. With a pastry brush (or a spoon or butter knife), coat each ensaymada with the vegan buttercream, then sprinkle with granulated sugar and/or vegan cheddar cheese.
  13. Serve while warm and enjoy!

Notes

  • Storage: Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. 
  • Prep Time: 2 hour 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast, Snack
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Filipino

Keywords: filipino, bread, vegan cheese, brioche, breakfast

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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