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Filipino Pan de Coco are soft and buttery baked buns filled with sweetened coconut filling. These coconut buns are perfect for breakfast, afternoon merienda (snack) or just about any time of the day. I personally love having these with coffee or tea!

This is a highly requested Filipino bread recipe. Finally, we’re here! It took a while huh. Full disclosure, I’ve never made this before.  Not intentionally though. Our local grocery store here in Singapore sells it daily and it’s where I’ve been getting my coconut bun fix. It’s not the best version but it is still Pan de Coco so whenever I crave it, I just go there.

Coconut buns

So when I received your requests to make a Pan de Coco recipe, I took it as a challenge and an opportunity. As a self-taught baker, I still have a lot to learn. I still make mistakes, quite a lot actually. And I still get frustrated every time that happens.

That’s why I’m so glad I finally made this and now writing about it. I have so much to share! This is a long post but I promise that every bit will be useful. Perfect for beginner home bakers!

A few tips when making Pan de Coco

It took me three tries to get that perfect bun for Pan de Coco. On my first try, the bun turned out way too big and the filling was way too small that you couldn’t taste it. If it’s Pan de Coco, both the bread and the coco have to STAND OUT! So here are a few things I learned after 2 failed attempts plus 1 success at making Pan de Coco

  • Size matter. The bun should be at least 45 to 50 grams. The buns I’ve made are approx 45g. This may sound big but this size leaves enough room for the filling making sure the bread doesn’t thin out after baking. We want our bread to be soft and fluffy. Use a kitchen scale if available or divide the dough into big portions (see video).
  • Shape into a ball. Before flattening the dough, shape the dough into a ball. This is one way of making sure that there will be no uneven parts in the bread.
  • Use a rolling pin. After shaping the dough into a ball, lightly flatten it into a disc using a rolling pin. This will make the dough evenly flat. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a rectangular bottle or glass. Remember to lightly flatten, don’t press too hard otherwise the dough will be too thin.
  • Don’t overfill! For a 45g dough, you just need about 2 teaspoons full of the coconut filling. Beyond that, it will be hard to close the dough and filling might ooze out of the bread during baking.

pan de coco ingredients

The bun ingredients

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  • All-purpose flour: Yeast bread made with all-purpose flour tend to be smaller, soft and more compact. Thus, it’s perfect for Pan de Coco!
  • Egg yolks plus 1 whole egg: The fat and protein in egg yolks make a tender crumb and soft crust. It also makes the bread more yellowish in color which just means it will look and taste more delicious!
  • Pure unsalted butter: I love using butter when making bread. It makes my kitchen smell so good!
  • Sugar: A little less than half a cup of sugar is enough to sweeten the dough. A perfect complement to the sweetened coconut.
  • Whole Milk and Water: These will serve as the base liquid for the dough. Using whole milk makes a softer bread compared to low-fat milk or evaporated milk.
  • Active Dry Yeast or Instant Dry Yeast: Both can be used interchangeably. Activate in lukewarm water until foamy.

pan de coco palaman filling

Freshly grated coconut vs Desiccated coconut

Now let’s talk about the COCOnut in the Pan de Coco.

Fresh is best. This turned out to be true after trying out the two types of grated coconut. Using freshly grated coconut makes a moist and flavorful Pan de Coco filling. It has a pleasant texture (not grainy) and rich in coconut flavor.

But what if you don’t have access to fresh which is the case for most outside of Asia or a tropical country.

The second best option is desiccated coconut. The ground texture closely resembles that of freshly grated coconut sans the moisture.

How to re-hydrate desiccated coconut for Pan de Coco

The best liquid to re-hydrate desiccated coconut is (drum roll please….), COCONUT MILK! Two good things will happen if you use coconut milk instead of water or cow’s milk: 1) reconstitute the moisture 2) boost the rich coconut flavor.

I recommend using the unsweetened desiccated coconut to easily control the sweetness by adjusting the amount of brown sugar that will be mixed in with the coconut milk.

For a  deeper color and nutty flavor, use dark brown sugar instead of regular brown sugar.

TIP! When measuring the brown sugar, make sure it’s tightly packed in the measuring cup. Follow the link for more information.

That is it! I think everything you need to know about Pan de Coco is here. Well, at least the things I’ve learned.

I really do hope you enjoy making this at home.

Please let me know how it goes in the comment section below. Happy baking!

Love baking? You MUST TRY these recipes!

Watch the video on how to make Filipino Pan de Coco



Filipino Pan de Coco

An easy to follow Filipino Pan de Coco recipe—soft and buttery baked buns filled with sweetened and delicious coconut filling. Video instructions and many useful tips included.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: coconut buns, pan de coco recipe
Servings: 20 - 24 rolls
Author: Mella

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water mixed with 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast or one standard packet yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter melted, slightly cooled
  • 3/4 cup whole milk lukewarm or room temp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk use egg white for the wash
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut for topping, optional

Pan de Coco Filing: Option 1 (freshly grated coconut)

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups freshly grated coconut
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • pinch of salt

Pan de Coco Filing: Option 2 (Desiccated coconut)

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut unsweetened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • pinch of salt

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons milk

Instructions

For the Dough

  • In a medium-size bowl, combine lukewarm water (40c/105f), 1 teaspoon of sugar, and yeast. Stir until completely dissolved. Let it stand for 5 to 10mins until yeast begins to foam.
  • Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  • Add milk, yeast mixture, eggs, and butter. Stir until just combined. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and mix until flour is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Add additional flour as necessary, adding 2 tbsp at a time. Continue beating for 5 to 6 minutes until the dough is slightly sticky, soft and pulling away from the edge of the bowl. Be careful not to add too much flour.

Rise # 1

  • Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and seal the edges. Let it rise for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour at room temperature until double in size. See notes for the make-ahead tip (cold rise). Meanwhile, make the filling.

How to Make Pan de Coco filling or Palaman (use either of the 2 options)

  • Pour coconut milk in a pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar once it starts simmering. Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Add grated coconut and pinch of salt. Cook until liquid is mostly reduced. Stir, occasionally. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.

Rise #2

  • Punch the dough down. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into approx 45g portions and form into balls. For an evenly sized dough, use a kitchen scale.
  • Using a light rolling pin flatten each ball into a thick disc shape. Place about 2 full teaspoons of filling. Fold dough over filling to meet in the center; pinch edges to seal (see video). Repeat with all the other portions.
  • Place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with a greased parchment paper about 1 inch apart. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 45mins to 1 hour at room temperature.

Baking

  • Preheat oven at 190c/375f, 20 minutes before the dough rolls finish rising. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients of the egg wash in a small bowl; mix thoroughly.
  • Carefully brush the rolls lightly with the egg wash. If desired, sprinkle with desiccated coconut.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top turns light brown. If you're using two racks, switch the trays after 15 minutes so all the rolls will brown evenly.
  • Let the bread cool completely before removing from the pan. Serve with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Shape into a ball. Before flattening the dough, shape the dough into a ball. This is one way of making sure that there will be no uneven parts in the bread.
  • Use a rolling pin. After shaping the dough into a ball, lightly flatten it into a disc using a rolling pin. This will make the dough evenly flat. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a rectangular bottle or glass. Remember to lightly flatten, don’t press too hard otherwise the dough will be too thin.
  • Don’t overfill! For a 45g dough, you just need about 2 full teaspoons of the coconut filling. Beyond that, it will be hard to close the dough and filling might ooze out of the bread during baking.
  • Make-ahead Tip: Make the dough ahead of time then place in the fridge. The dough will slowly rise and double in size overnight. On the day of baking, remove from the refrigerator 30 mins before you’re going to shape them into rolls.
  • When measuring the brown sugar for the filling, make sure it's tightly packed in the measuring cup. Follow the link for more information.
  • Storage: Store in an air-tight container and place in the fridge.
  • Re-heat in a microwave for 30 to 40 seconds and it's like freshly baked!
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Filipino Coconut Buns_Pan de Coco

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