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Filipino Pan de Coco Recipe

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Pan de coco is a sweet and fluffy Filipino bread roll that’s filled with sweetened coconut and then baked until golden brown. So good! Eat it for breakfast with your morning coffee or as a snack with tea.

(Loving making homemade bread? Make a batch of pandesal, the classic Filipino bread roll. Or jazz it up and make some sweet Spanish bread or cheesy ensaymada.)

Filipino pan de coco bread in a bread dish

Like a lot of Filipino dishes, pan de coco (or coconut bread) has Spanish roots. 

Over the years, this soft and fluffy bread roll has become as Filipino as they come. They can be found in local bakeries or panaderias all over the country.

Note that this pan de coco recipe is different from the Honduran pan de coco, which is usually served with savoury dishes like stew or used in sandwiches.

The Filipino version is sweet, with a sticky coconut filling, and typically eaten on its own.

Pan de coco recipe

This pan de coco recipe is easy and straightforward. There are lots of steps but each one is small and manageable.

Ingredients for pan de coco

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First you’ll need to gather your ingredients. They’re pantry staples like:

  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Dry yeast (in this recipe, I use active dry yeast as opposed to instant yeast — more on that below)
  • All purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Egg
  • Oil

For the pan de coco filling, you’ll need:

  • Coconut milk
  • Shredded coconut (or desiccated coconut / grated coconut) – I’ve used both sweetened and unsweetened coconut for the filling and didn’t see that much of a difference. Use whatever you have on hand.
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt

Tools you need to make Filipino pan de coco

When baking bread, I find the following very useful:

  • Kitchen scale – I always weigh my ingredients when baking for consistent results. And when dividing dough, I weigh it so each piece comes out the same size
  • French rolling pin – I find the french rolling pin easier to use than a regular rolling pin but that’s mostly personal preference
  • Bench scraper — I’d say this nifty little bench scraper is one of the most used gadget in my kitchen. Scrape, cut, scoop. It’s very handy

Other than these, you’ll need mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and baking pans.

How to make pan de coco

For the detailed recipe, scroll to the bottom of the page for the printer-friendly recipe card with nutritional information.

1 PROOF YEAST. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir warm milk, sugar and yeast until combined. Let stand until bubbly (about 10 minutes).

2 COMBINE. In a large bowl if mixing by hand, or using the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir yeast mixture, flour, sugar, salt and egg until combined, the dough sticks together in a ball and becomes smooth and elastic. Add more flour a little at time if your dough is too sticky, but no more than 1/4 cup.

pan de coco ingredients in a bowl

3 SHAPE. Take the dough from the bowl and gently shape into a ball. Transfer into another bowl that’s been greased with canola oil. Cover and allow to rise until double in size (about 1 hour).

pan de coco dough waiting to rise

4 KNEAD. When ready, punch air out of the dough and turn into a lightly oiled surface.

punch air out of dough

5 DIVIDE. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.

divide dough into equal pieces

6 ROLL. Roll each piece into a ball then flatten no thinner than 2mm. 

7 FILL. Place a heaping tablespoonful of coconut filing, fold dough over filling and pinch to seal. Reshape if needed.

8 SECOND RISE. Place each roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan and allow to rise a second time (about 30m). 

pan de coco dough waiting to rise

9 BAKE. Preheat oven to 350F, brush the pan de coco with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Best served warm.

pan de coco dough brushed with egg wash

How to make pan de coco filling

I usually make the pan de coco filling while my dough is rising.

1 SIMMER. Bring coconut milk to a simmer.

simmering coconut milk

2 DISSOLVE SUGAR. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved.

brown sugar dissolved into coconut milk

3 THICKEN. Add shredded coconut and salt and cook on medium heat until thickened considerably (10-15m). Stir so it doesn’t burn. Also remember that the coconut filling will thicken as it cools so you don’t want to overdo it. 

Pan de coco baking tips and FAQs

Making pan de coco, or any bread, is a lot of steps but each step is really simple. And the end result is so rewarding! 

Here are more baking tips to make bread making a breeze.

Working with yeast when baking bread

overhead shot of golden pan de coco

You know that lovely freshly baked bread smell? That’s yeast! In addition to making dough rise, yeast also gives bread its “bready” smell.

There are two main kinds of yeast you’ll find in stores — active dry or instant rise (sometimes also called quick rise or rapid rise).

Active dry yeast needs to be bloomed in lukewarm/warm water (about 100 to 110F) ; instant dry yeast can be added directly to dry ingredients like as flour.

I almost always use active dry yeast. I like how by blooming it in water I can guarantee that the yeast is still active.

Here’s more information about yeast that’s very helpful especially if you want to substitute one for the other.

How to proof yeast without a thermometer

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell if the milk (or water, if your recipe calls for that) is warm enough for the yeast by dabbing some of it on your wrist. 

It should be warmer than your body temperature but not hot.

Kneading bread dough

overhead shot of pan de coco

When making bread, I usually prefer mixing and kneading by hand because there’s less chance of overworking it. 

However, when I’m making pan de coco, I start stirring by hand then switch to the dough hook attachment of my stand mixer because the dough is on the sticky side.

Pan de coco is supposed to be soft and fluffy so I watch my mixture like a hawk and stop as soon as I get that smooth and elastic texture. Over-kneading results to hard, dry or dense bread and we don’t want that.

Not sure what “kneading until smooth and elastic” means? Here’s a great resource that talks all about it.

Filling pan de coco bread

close up of pan de coco filling

Between you and me, I really don’t care all that much if bread and rolls are perfectly shaped. And so what if the filling flows over? They’re still delicious.

But if you want perfect rolls, here are some things you can do:

  • Weigh your dough and divide into pieces of equal weight — this is when that kitchen scale comes in handy
  • Measure each piece with a baking ruler as you flatten it to ensure they are of equal size
  • Don’t flatten each piece too thinly (try not to go thinner than 2mm) or the filling will seep through
  • Don’t get carried away with how much filling to put. You should be able to fold the dough over it and have enough space to pinch and seal.

Also, remember that practice makes perfect so the more bread you bake, the better you’ll get at it.

How long does it take for bread dough to rise

Filipino Pan de Coco bread in a bread dish

A lot of recipes say to allow the dough to rise until “double in size”.

Depending on the recipe, this can range from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Just check at the halfway mark so you can get an indication of how much longer you have to go.

For me, what’s important is finding the proper place to leave my dough. 

It’s cold here most of the year so leaving my bowl on our not-so-warm counter is not exactly ideal. 

So what I like to do is turn my oven on to its lowest setting for a few minutes, then turn it off so that it’ll be about 90F when I’m ready to put my dough in to rise.

Just remember to remove the dough from the oven when you’re ready to preheat for baking.

How to store pan de coco

Filipino Pan de Coco bread on a plate

Pan de coco is best eaten freshly baked. 

If you need to keep it for longer, just place the completely cool bread rolls in a large Ziploc bag and put the bag in the freezer. It should last up to a month.

To thaw, simply pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds until the filling is heated through.

Hope you enjoy this pan de coco recipe. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular Filipino breads and everyone loves it.

Pan de Coco bread close up shot

Filipino Pan de Coco Recipe

Author: Jolina
Pan de coco is a sweet and fluffy Filipino bread roll that’s filled with sweetened coconut and then baked until golden brown. So good!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rise Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 12 bread rolls
Calories 281 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the yeast mixture

For the Pan de Coco dough

For the egg wash

  • 1 pc large egg
  • 1 tbsp water

For the Pan de Coco filling

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir 1 cup warm milk, 2 tbsp sugar and 2¼ tsp yeast until combined. Let stand until foamy and bubbly (about 10 minutes).
    foamy yeast
  • In a large bowl if mixing by hand, or using the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (see notes), stir yeast mixture, 3 cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, ½ tsp salt and 1 egg until combined, the dough sticks together in a ball and becomes smooth and elastic. Add more flour a little at time if your dough is too sticky, but no more than ¼ cup in total.
    pan de coco ingredients in a bowl
  • Take the dough from the bowl and gently shape into a ball. Transfer into another bowl that’s been greased with canola oil. Cover and allow to rise until double in size (about 1 hour).
    pan de coco dough waiting to rise
  • When ready, punch air out of the dough and turn into a lightly oiled surface.
    punch air out of dough
  • Divide into 12 equal pieces.
    divide dough into equal pieces
  • Roll each piece into a ball then flatten no thinner than 2mm. 
    flatten bread dough
  • Place a heaping tablespoonful of pan de coco filing (instructions below), fold dough over filling and pinch to seal. Reshape if needed.
    how to fill pan de coco
  • Place each roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan and allow to rise a second time (about 30m). 
    pan de coco dough waiting to rise
  • Preheat oven to 350F, brush the pan de coco with egg wash (1 egg combined with 1 tbsp water) and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Best served warm.
    pan de coco dough brushed with egg wash
  • While you're waiting for your dough to rise, you can work on your filling. First, bring 1 cup coconut milk to a simmer.
    simmering coconut milk
  • Add ½ cup brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
    brown sugar dissolved into coconut milk
  • Add 1 cup shredded coconut and ½ tsp salt and cook on medium heat until thickened considerably (10-15m). Stir often so it doesn’t burn (see notes). Set aside until you're ready to use.
    cooking thick coconut filling

Video

Notes

  1. I’ve used both sweetened and unsweetened shredded coconut for the filling and didn’t notice a significant difference in taste. You can use whatever you have on hand. Or opt for unsweetened if you want to control the sugar content.
  2. When I’m making pan de coco, I start stirring by hand then switch to the dough hook attachment of my stand mixer to finish things up. If you’re stirring by hand, once the dough comes together in a ball, turn into a lightly oiled surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Remember that the coconut filling will thicken as it cools so you don’t want to overdo it. Otherwise, it will get very thick and very hard like candy.
  4. See post for more baking tips and suggestions.

Nutrition

Calories: 281kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 213mgPotassium: 178mgFiber: 3gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 34IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information are estimates only.

Keyword Authentic, Easy, Feezer-Friendly, Tropical
Tried this recipe?Tag @iamtheunlikelybaker I’d love to see your creations!

Happy baking!

Did you make this recipe for pan de coco? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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Recipe Rating




Elizabeth

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

Wow! My family went crazy the moment I brought out from the oven. Taste and looks PERFECT! So soft and still with a little bite. I followed your recipe exactly. And the next day we warmed in the oven toaster still great. Thank you!

Jolina

Monday 5th of April 2021

You're most welcome Elizabeth! So happy you and your family loved the pan de coco. I baked some over the Easter weekend myself :)

Gem

Saturday 20th of March 2021

My first time making pan de coco and they're delicious! Soft and fluffy. I used unsweeetend coconut but the sweetness of the filling is just right. Thanks for the recipe!

Jolina

Monday 22nd of March 2021

You're welcome Gem! Glad you liked them.

Rika

Thursday 18th of March 2021

I always buy this bread from the store. It looks so easy to make. Can't wait to try it soon.

Maggie

Wednesday 17th of March 2021

I've always loved Filipino dishes! And this pan de coco will be added to my list of foods that I want to try really soon. It looks so yummy!

Marysa

Monday 15th of March 2021

Hi Jolina, I tried your pan de coco recipe and mine turned out a little tough. Any ideas? I used my stand mixer. Maybe that's why?

Jolina

Tuesday 16th of March 2021

Hi Marysa, that would be my first guess. It's easy to over knead dough using a stand mixer. I prefer kneading by hand but this pan de coco dough is sticky so stand mixer is easier. I just watch it very carefully.