Sticky, chewy, and oh so sweet, biko is a delicious treat that Filipinos all across the world enjoy. Biko is a type of sticky rice cake, otherwise known as kakanin. With a combination of coconut milk and brown sugar, biko is a delicious dessert or merienda to share with your loved ones! You can often find biko at birthday parties, fiestas, holiday parties, and family reunions, usually with other sticky rice treats.
Filipinos love rice, but we also love coconuts. The sweet, unique flavor of coconut milk is one we use in a variety of dishes –– appetizers, entrees, and even desserts! Whatever you pair it with, coconut milk’s delicious flavor shines through –– another reason why biko is so one of a kind and absolutely yummy!
If you’re worried about cooking this, you don’t have to be! The biko recipe we have today is simple, taking a little less than an hour with just a few ingredients. In addition, the biko we’re familiar with is served traditionally atop banana leaves in a bilao, or a round woven bamboo tray. However, because we want anyone to be able to make this recipe, all you need is a pot, a rice cooker, and a serving plate! Biko is so easy to make, you’ll be able to enjoy it at your dining table in no time!
Choose your Biko
Biko is a type of kakanin, a group of glutinous rice cakes we love to have for merienda (snacks). The word itself is actually a combination of the words kanin (rice) and kain (eat)! We know there are many types of kakanin (does bibingka, puto, or sapin-sapin, among others, ring any bells?). But did you also know there are many types of biko? It’s true! You can enjoy this classic rice cake in a variety of ways, and each one is delicious! It all depends on your preference.
Here are some examples of biko variations you’re sure to love.
- When we think of this kakanin, oftentimes the image that comes to our heads is the delicious sticky rice cake topped with dry coconut curds, more commonly known as latik. My Biko with Latik recipe shows you how to make your own, which you can enjoy atop your freshly cooked biko.
- Have you ever had champorado? While not a sticky rice cake, this warm, chocolatey porridge is also loved by many in the country! My love for both biko and champorado inspired my Chocolate Biko recipe, which gives you the best of both worlds –– or dishes! The addition of cacao tablea as an ingredient really brings a different kind of flavor to the classic rice dish. With a warm cup of coffee, this really makes for a sweet yet filling dessert.
- But if the sweet, creamy, nutty flavor of ube is more to your liking, you’ll like this Ube Biko! Combining ube halaya and classic biko results in a dish that’s addictively sweet and super delicious!
- In some regions, you can even package biko and sell it as suman –– even more compact pieces of sticky rice traditionally wrapped in banana leaves!
As many twists as you can put on this traditional rice cake, you can never go wrong with the classic coconut milk sticky rice. Try this awesome recipe today.
How to Make This at Home
The only ingredients you’ll need for biko are sticky rice, water, brown sugar, coconut milk, and salt! See? Easy!
Mix your sticky rice and water in a rice cooker and cook until your rice is ready. The small amount of water compared to the rice is intentional; this is because we don’t want the rice to be fully cooked! While the rice is cooking, combine 4 cups of the coconut milk with 2 cups of brown sugar and salt in a separate pot over the stove. Cook on low heat until the texture thickens, and continue to stir. Incorporate both ingredients well. The nutty, sweet smell of the coconut-sugar mixture is absolutely mouthwatering!
Once your rice has finished cooking, add your cooked rice to the thick coconut milk-sugar mixture! Mix them well, letting the rice absorb the thick texture. Continue to cook it until all the liquid evaporates, but make sure not to overcook it!
After you’ve fully cooked your biko, transfer it to a serving plate and make it flat. Hot, sticky, and sweet, your biko is now ready to be consumed! Share and enjoy it with loved ones over a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
Let us know what you think of this biko recipe!
- 2 cups glutinous rice aka sticky rice or malagkit
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine the sticky rice and water in a rice cooker and cook until the rice is ready (we intentionally combined lesser amount of water than the usual so that the rice will not be fully cooked)
- While the rice is cooking, combine the coconut milk with brown sugar and salt in a separate pot and cook in low heat until the texture becomes thick. Stir constantly.
- Once the rice is cooked and the coconut milk-sugar mixture is thick enough, add the cooked rice in the coconut milk and sugar mixture then mix well. Continue cooking until all the liquid evaporates (but do not overcook).
- Scoop the cooked biko and place it in a serving plate then flatten the surface.
- Share and Enjoy!
Rita Mejia says
Thank you po for posting this recipe! I tried it out masarap po!
Hi there! Thank you for the recipe. How long does this stay good for after it’s cooked and does it need to be refrigerated?
Thank you for sharing this recipe, including the video, which was extremely helpful!
The 1.5c water to 2c rice ratio created the perfect done-ness for the rice, taking into account that it’d be cooked in the coconut syrup!
FYI for others interested in trying this:
~ I tend to prefer desserts that are light-medium sweet so I cut the sugar in half and it was still a tad too sweet for me (though I know that it’s not traditionally made this way).
~ Reducing the coconut milk and sugar will take a very long time if you use low heat. Even with a 12-inch saucepan and bumping up the heat to medium, it took 30+ minutes.
~ This recipe created a large amount of biko! If I were planning on making it just for myself and not to share (I gave about 3/4 of this batch away to 2 different families), I would halve the recipe.
Since I don’t have the dark brown sugar (Moscobado?) like what we have in PI, I used the light brown sugar which I think was too sweet to my taste. Just an FYI for those who are controlling their sugar intake, I think 1cup of sugar can be doable. Otherwise the recipe is perfect and easy to follow. Thank you!
Joan Tenajeros says
Thank you Vanjo for this recipe. Very Yummy and Easy. First time kung magluto ng Biko and I am so happy na gustohan ng pamilya ko. Actually matagal na akong gustong mag thank you sa iyo kasi andami ko ng na try na recipes mo and my family love it. More power and God bless you!
Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been looking for a recipe and tried some but I think your recipe is a keeper.
Mary jane says
hi po ask ko lang kung pwede mag add ng peanut butter sa bico