This article is about the Filipino food. For the song, see Puto (song). For the profane Spanish word, see Spanish profanity § Puto. For the scale insect, see Putoidae. For the from Chinese county Morito, see Puto, Chekiang.

Puto in banana leaf liner
Course Dessert, breakfast
Place of origin Philippines
Serving temperature hot, warm, or room temperature
Main ingredients Rice
Variations puto bumbong
Food energy
(per serving)
587[1] kcal
  Media: Puto
Puto bumbong from a Carson, California, bakery in a Los Angeles store, 2009.

Puto is a type of steamed rice cake usually served as snack or as accompaniment to savory dishes such as dinuguan or pancit in Philippine cuisine and believed to be derived from Indian puttu of Kerala origin. It is eaten as is or with butter and/or grated fresh coconut, or as an accompaniment to a number of savoury viands (most notably, dinuguan).


The most common shape of the putuhán or steamer used in making puto is round, ranging from 30 to 60 centimetres (12 to 24 in) in diameter and between 2 to 5 centimetres (0.79 to 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.

The traditional method takes time, although most of it involves inactive waiting periods. The process spans three to four days from the initial rice soaking to taking the finished product out of the steamer.

Taste and texture

Properly prepared puto imparts the slightly yeasty aroma of fermented rice batter with a light whiff of anise. It should be neither sticky nor dry and crumbly, but soft, moist, and with a fine, uniform grain. The essential flavour should be of freshly cooked rice, but it may be sweetened a bit if eaten by itself as a snack instead of as accompaniment to savoury dishes. Since most puto as cooked in the Tagalog-speaking regions may contain a small quantity of wood ash lye and are sometimes steamed and served on banana leaves, some puto aficionados seek these subtle flavours in well-made, traditional puto.

In the last few decades, home cooks and mass producers have experimented with variations in the shape, texture, flavouring and colour of puto. Shortcuts and poor-quality ingredients might have prompted some cooks to introduce foreign flavourings such as vanilla or unusual hues such as pink and electric green to compensate for deficiencies in the pastry's traditional qualities.


School children selling puto in Barangay Santa Cruz, Guiguinto, Bulacan.

While puto is a common food throughout the Philippines, there are numerous variations by area and family. It is common knowledge that the best-tasting rice is that which is newly harvested followed by rice from the previous harvest, and a common method to improve its flavour is to include a knot of Pandanus amaryllifolius (pandán, "screwpine") leaves in the pot. However, since there seems to be common agreement that aged rice is more suitable for making puto, this fresh flavour is therefore absent and it is necessary to use water in which pandán leaves have been steeped.

Certain towns of the Philippines, most notably Biñan City, Laguna; Valenzuela City, Calasiao, Pangasinan and Manapla, Negros Occidental have excelled in the production and marketing of their particular style of puto that their names are used to identify the variety.[2]

The Filipino dish Dinuguan is traditionally served with puto
Special, assorted puto from Baliuag, Bulacan.
Package of store-bought puto
Puto Popsicle cake at a competition in SM City Baliuag.
Puto kutsinta topped with grated coconut.
Puto lanson made from grated cassava with bukayo (sweetened coconut meat)

See also


  1. "Puto Recipe". Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  2. Calasiao Puto
  3. Alvin Elchico, Gracie Rutao and JV Dizon (2010-12-24). "Filipinos go for ham, bibingka for Christmas". http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/. Retrieved January 6, 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. Vanjo Merano (6 September 2009). "Kutsinta Recipe". PanlasangPinoy. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  5. "Puto". Rice Recipes. Philippine Rice Research Institute. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Dreaming of Rice Cakes". Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  7. Micky Fenix (May 31, 2007). "Dreaming of rice cakes". Philippine Daily Inquirer - Lifestyle section. Retrieved February 17, 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. Cordero-Fernando, Gilda; Baldemor, Manuel D. (1992). Philippine food & life: Luzon. Anvil Pub.
  9. Schlau, Stacey; Bergmann, Emilie L. (2007). Approaches to teaching the works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Modern Language Association of America.
  10. How to make puto seko | Filipino recipes | Pinterest
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