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Easy Cheesy Filipino Ensaymada

Use this easy ensaymada recipe for soft, cheesy, Filipino ensaymada bread every time. Without shortening, can be made without molders, easy to customize. Simple and delicious!

(Enjoy baking bread? Try these sweet and lemony bread rolls or these ube bread rolls packed with delicious ube jam and topped with toasted coconut. And if cheddar cheese in bread is your thing, you will love these cheese bars.)

Soft and fluffy ensaymada on a white plate

There’s just something so special about baking bread.

Kneading the dough. Waiting for your dough to rise. Watching your creation take shape.

But the best thing for me is the smell. Nothing beats the smell of homemade freshly baked bread filling your kitchen.

I love making pandesal. It transports me home at first smell, at first bite.

When I feel the occasion needs something extra special though, I roll up my sleeves and make ensaymada. 

What is ensaymada?

Freshly baked cheese ensaymada bread on a white plate

Ensaymada is a kind of Filipino bread that’s brushed with butter, sprinkled with grated cheese and baked until soft and tender. 

It’s then brushed with more melted butter, dunked in sugar, and again generously sprinkled with cheddar cheese. So good!

It’s called ensaymada because it traces its origins to the Spanish bread Mallorcan ensaïmada.

There really is no direct English translation for ensaymada but it’s been called Filipino sweet buns, Filipino brioche, soft sweet bread, cheese rolls or cheesy bread.

Related: How to Make the Best Ube Ensaymada

How to make it the easy way

Ensaymada Filipino bread with a cup of coffee

Full disclosure though: making traditional ensaymada is a very lengthy process.

If you look for classic ensaymada recipes, you’ll find that most have about a thousand steps. Who has the patience? (Evidently not me lol.)

So I decided to make it simpler and quicker — if you take a peek at the recipe below, each step is short and easy. I broke it down into pain-free, no-fail, manageable parts.

Plus, I added step-by-step photos so you can follow along from start to finish.

There are 5 “phases” — from activating the yeast to sprinkling the cheese on the finished product. Follow each phase and you’ll do great!

Don’t expect a Muhlach, a Goldilocks or a Red Ribbon ensaymada though. The process to make that kind of ensaymada is different.

This ensaymada is closer to the ensaymada you’ll find at your local bakery or panaderia. Soft, cheesy, sugary, buttery, authentic, old fashioned, absolutely delicious.

What is ensaymada made of

To make this popular Filipino bread, you most likely already have the ingredients in your pantry:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Milk – I use 1 or 2% skim milk
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • All purpose flour
  • Oil – some recipes use shortening but using oil works wonderfully here
  • Cheddar cheese

You also need a packet of active dry yeast not instant yeast.

Tools you need to bake it

You can, but I don’t use the hook attachment of my stand mixer when making ensaymada. I prefer to do everything by hand.

What makes this ensaymada recipe easy (easier) for me to make is using the following:

Step-by-step photos

Now that we have the ingredients and the tools, it’s time to make ensaymada!

PHASE 1: In a measuring cup, prep yeast mixture.

PHASE 2: In a medium saucepan, prep milk mixture.

PHASE 3: Combine yeast and milk mixture in a large bowl. Knead the dough in a lightly floured surface. Allow the dough to rise until double in size.

PHASE 4: Assemble and bake ensaymada. 

Preheat your oven to 375F and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to over bake your bread.

Bring out of the oven, allow to cool in the mould and when they’re cool enough to handle, you can proceed to phase 5 and put your toppings.

PHASE 5: Brush the still warm ensaymada with melted butter then dip in a bowl filled with granulated sugar. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Baking tips and FAQs

Soft and fluffy classic ensaymada bread on a plate
How to ensure soft, light and fluffy ensaymadas

For the fluffiest ensaymada, allow your dough to rise in a warm, dry place.

I use my oven for this. I preheat it to 100F then turn it off just when I’m about to knead my dough. This way, the temperature would have gone down to 90F when I put my dough in.

If your oven has a keep warm feature, you can also use that.

How to make sure each one is evenly sized

For evenly sized ensaymada that won’t only look pretty but bake evenly as well, use a kitchen scale to make sure the dough is evenly divided.

It’s simple: I weigh all the dough and divide by 12. Whatever that number is, I make sure each individual dough is exactly that weight.

This recipe makes 12 fairly big ensaymada but you can make smaller and even mini ones if you like. The procedure is the same. You’ll just need to watch your baking time.

What to use if I don’t have moulds

To make ensaymada bread, I use ensaymada moulds which my sister brought for me in Manila. They’re similar to brioche moulds and you can find them at your local baking supplies store and Amazon.

You don’t need to buy them though. If you have a muffin pan, you’re good to go. You can also use a cake pan. Your cheese ensaymada would just be the pull-apart kind, like cinnamon rolls.

Different ensaymada toppings

I prefer the original ensaymada with butter, sugar and cheese but you can absolutely customize this recipe to add your favourite ingredients. For example:

– You can top your ensaymada with salted eggs or cream cheese
– You can use a triple cheese mixture in your filling and topping
– If it’s Christmastime, you can even use queso de bola
– Ham and cheese would also make for delicious fillings
– And I remember eating a grilled ensaymada in the Philippines once; it was fantastic

Experiment and make the best version of ensaymada you can!

You’re all set! Enjoy your freshly baked cheesy, buttery creations for breakfast or, like most Pinoys, as merienda or afternoon snack. Dunk it in tsokolate while you’re at it. Enjoy!

Ensaymada Recipe

Easy Cheesy Filipino Ensaymada

Author: Jolina
Use this easy ensaymada recipe for soft, cheesy, Filipino ensaymada bread every time. Without shortening, can be made without molders, easy to customize. Simple and delicious!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 12 rolls
Calories 327 kcal


Phase 1:

Phase 2:

  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature

Phase 3:

Phase 4:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted and allowed to cool slightly
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Phase 5:


Phase 1:

  • In a measuring cup, stir 1/2 cup warm water, 1 package active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar until dissolved. Set aside and let stand until bubbly (about 10 minutes).

Phase 2:

  • In a medium saucepan on medium heat, warm 1/2 cup milk until you see bubbles forming at the edges (about 180F). Remove from heat and stir 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup butter until the butter has melted.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Set aside and let cool until lukewarm.

Phase 3:

  • In a large bowl, combine your yeast mixture, your milk mixture, eggs and 1 1/2 cups flour. Stir until combined. Proceed to add the rest of your flour 1/2 cup at a time combining well after each addition.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Once the dough starts pulling and sticking together in a ball, transfer it into a lightly floured surface.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). When in doubt, knead some more. You want the dough still slightly sticky but elastic. Careful not to over flour your surface or dough.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Oil a large bowl with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Place your dough in the bowl and turn to ensure the whole dough is coated.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a dry warm place (about 90F – see post for tips) until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread

Phase 4:

  • When your dough is ready, transfer it into a lightly floured surface and roll out slightly.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Evenly divide the dough into 12 pieces (see notes).
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Flatten each one into a 4×6 inch rectangle.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Brush each piece with melted butter and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Roll the dough tightly up and pinch the edges to seal.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Then roll each one into itself (like a spiral) and place onto your ensaymada moulds (see notes).
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Brush the tops of each ensaymada with butter, cover with damp cloth and let rise for another 30 minutes. I usually just leave it on the counter.
    How to Make Ensaymada Bread
  • Preheat your oven to 375F and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Do not over bake. Let cool in the mould and when it’s cool enough to handle, put your toppings.

Phase 5:

  • Brush the still warm ensaymada with melted butter then dip in a bowl filled with granulated sugar. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Serve warm.



  1. I keep my dough in my oven for the 1st rise. I usually preheat it to about 100F then turn it off just when I’m about to knead my dough. This way, the temperature would have gone down to 90F when I put my dough in. You can use the stay warm feature if you have it.
  2. I use a kitchen scale to make sure my dough is evenly divided.
  3. If you don’t have ensaymada moulds, you can use a muffin pan instead.
  4. See post for the complete step-by-step photos and tips for making perfect ensaymada every time.


Calories: 327kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 7gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 260mgPotassium: 72mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 465IUCalcium: 89mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information are estimates only.

Keyword Back-to-School, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day
Tried this recipe?Tag @iamtheunlikelybaker I’d love to see your creations!

Happy baking!

Did you make ensaymada? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

And let’s get social! Find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

If you’re looking for other Filipino food recipes, these are TUB reader favourites:

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Cassava cake with macapuno is a traditional Filipino dessert made of grated cassava, coconut milk, condensed milk and macapuno, which is soft, chewy coconut meat. Cassava cake is a popular merienda (snack) or dessert and is often served during special occasions like Christmas and fiestas.

Filipino egg pie is a rich, creamy custard baked in a buttery pie crust. A childhood favourite of many Filipinos, this egg pie will transport you back to the Philippines at first bite.

Silvanas are crunchy meringue cookie sandwiches filled with luxurious French buttercream. A unique and beloved Filipino treat!

Rate the Recipe

Zsaleh SANTOS Rahimi

Wednesday 27th of December 2017

I MADE THESE AND THEY WERE SO SO GOOD! sooo soft! I don't have the molds, so I baked them in a tray, cinnamon bun style. I was so cautious not to over-bake so they could retain that nice moisture so in my oven I did 18 min and they came out perfect! my mommy was so proud :) My family has been requesting I make another batch (which I will be doing today :) )

I love your steps, makes it so easy to stay on track! Organizing is key so you don't miss any steps/ingredients. just genius!


Friday 29th of December 2017

I'm so glad you and your family liked them Zsaleh! Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season.


Tuesday 10th of January 2017

These look totally sinful and rather irresistible!


Monday 18th of May 2020

Can you do this recipe in a bread machine to prepare the dough (dough setting only) and than take out and put in to molds?


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

I totally understand being dough challenged. It has been a hit or miss with me int he past. This sounds absolutely delicious though so I may have to give it a try :)


Thursday 5th of January 2017

It's so frustrating isn't it?? But when I get it right, well it's hard to beat the smell of freshly baked bread :) Thanks Bobbi! Hope you like this!


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

I love learning about these new recipes from your blog! Sweet rolls and cheese are two of my favorite things, so I'm positive they're even better together. The hot chocolate sounds perfect with it as well!


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Hi Liz! I'm glad :) Sugar and cheese, hard to say no to! And hot chocolate of course. Hope you're having a great week!


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Yum! This bread looks heavenly! It reminds me of mallorca sweet bread from Puerto Rico, except it doesn't have cheese. I think I'd love the addition of the cheese. I mean, cheese + carbs?! How could you go wrong with that?! And if you can make this, you can definitely make any other yeasty treat!


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Aw thanks Sharon! Coming from you that means a lot :) I really want to get better this year.