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Pan de Coco

Sweet Coconut Buns

What is Pan de Coco

A sweet soft bun stuffed with sweetened coconut fillings. It’s one of the most popular bread that is sold in every bakery in the Philippines. Pan literally means bread or buns and Coco is short for coconut. The name suggests that it’s Spanish…but is it? After searching and googling the roots of Pan de Coco, it turned out that Spanish settlers brought it to the Philippines in 1600 from Honduras in Central America. The Honduran version is slightly different, they mixed the coconut with the dough bread not stuffed with it and it’s not as sweet as the Filipino version …So I guess Filipino version is our own in many ways. 

My earliest memory of Pan de Coco

I can’t remember right now…HAHA! Joke lang. We were pretty poor when I was growing up so we never bought much, my dad was a taxi driver and what he earnt that day was enough to pay the rent of the car, some for our food that evening and the next day until he comes home. I remember when my mama having some spare change, I would run to the bakery and buy 1 bun or 2 if we had enough. One of the best snacks ever! When my children saw the video of us cooking together, they wanted to make some Pan de Coco again! So I guess I have passed it on to them.

Let’s talk about ingredients

I used plain flour and a small amount of bread flour but you can use all plain flour if you prefer. I thought adding some bread flour will make the buns a little stringy which is something I prefer. I used fast active yeast in packets.

TIP! Please check the expiration date of your yeast as I made a huge mistake in using an expired yeast before, it means that what I was baking at the time (ensaymada) did not rise which was disappointing. 

For the milk, I used fresh whole milk but you can use evaporated milk too. 

Do I need a stand alone mixer?

No, you don’t need a stand alone mixer, you can mix your ingredients in a bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix them all or your hands then when the dough comes together you can start kneading the dough in a clean surface dusted with some flour so that the dough does not stick. 

I love seeing all of your cooking! Please rate my recipe if you use it and do tag me on instagram too @foodwithmae OR use my hashtag #foodwithmae . It would really make my day =) Thank you so much! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment on here or message me.



— for the dough —
400g all purpose flour and extra for dusting
150g bread flour
14g instant yeast
70g white sugar
300ml whole milk (warm 100F)
1 medium egg, whisked
50ml vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg for egg wash
— For the coconut fillings —
400g or 1 packet of shredded coconut
250ml whole milk or evaporated
150g brown sugar
70g unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla



— For the dough — Add yeast into your warm milk, mix and leave it to activate for 15 minutes. Using your stand alone mixer or a large bowl, add flour, salt, sugar, vegetable oil, yeast mixture, and egg.


Using the dough hook or wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together, if you’re using a mixing start on low settings then gradually increase to medium or high setting for 10 minutes or until all the dough comes together and looks smooth. If you don’t have a mixer you can use a large bowl and a wooden spoon. Don’t worry if the dough is still a little sticky, you will continue to knead the dough and add a little more flour.


Take the dough out of the bowl and onto a clean & lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes and form it into a smooth ball. Place your dough into a greased bowl, cover it with cling film and kitchen towel. Let it rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I put my dough inside a turned off oven because it dark, warmer (I live in a cold country) so the yeast can thrive or you can leave your dough on the side to grow if your kitchen isn’t cold and you live in a warmer area.


[while you wait for the dough to rise you can cook the fillings for you buns] — for the coconut fillings — In a medium pot add the shredded coconut, milk, sugar, butter and vanilla. Cook the coconut mixture on medium heat until most of the water has dissolved and reduced into a paste-like texture. Make sure you mix the mixture every so often to avoid the bottom from burning. Once reduce put it aside to cool.


To put the fillings and dough together. Take your dough out of the bowl, place it on a surface dusted with flour and divide the dough into small balls.Take 1 ball ,flatten it using the palm of your hand, add a spoonful of coconut fillings and seal it by taking the edges pinching them together. Placing the buns on a baking tray with baking paper with the pinched edges facing down. Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let us rise for 20 minute or until they have risen the second time.


Preheat your oven for 15 minutes before you cook the buns, 170 fan or gas mark 4.


After rising for the second time, brush the buns with egg wash and bake the buns in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Take it out of the oven, let it cool or eat them warm.

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    • SOFIA
    • 08/06/2020

    These are so soft, delicious and easy to make. Once you have tastes these they will definitely be a regular on the table.
    Thank you for the recipe

      • foodwithmae
      • 08/06/2020

      Hi Sofia,

      Thank you for leaving a feedback! I’m glad it turned out well for you and you like the recipe. It’s a lovely bake and my girls loved it too. You are welcome!


    • Monica
    • 16/04/2021

    Hi, I am in the middle of making this. The 100 grams milk does not seem like nearly enough for the 400 g coconut. It’s very, very dry.

      • foodwithmae
      • 19/06/2021

      Hi Monica, Thank you for trying my recipe. the 100ml milk with 400g shredded coconut was fine with us. If it’s too dry for you, please add more milk to suit you. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have more questions. Again thank you! kind regards, Mae

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