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Puto is basically Filipino steamed rice cakes and comes in different varieties. The most common ones are puto secos (dried puto), puto lanson (cassava puto), and of course, the sweet and savory cheese puto.

Cheese puto is such a popular food because it’s the perfect combination of fluffy delicate rice dough, tangy cheese, and a bit of sweetness from the milk.

Puto has been a frequent sight during festivities and in Filipino households. It’s like bibingka and is already adopted as a Filipino food!

It can be served as a simple snack or as “food to go” when you need something to eat, but you can’t have a real meal yet. Since it’s made from rice, puto can make you feel full when hunger suddenly strikes.

The traditional method of preparation and cooking takes a few hours or even more than a day.

The classic puto was created using stone-ground batter, or what’s referred to as “galapong,” made from rice, water, and sugar. Before steaming, the mixture was often fermented for an entire night.

Naturally, once rice flour was accessible, everything got simpler. Now, puto takes less than an hour to make!

They used to place a sheet of katsa over the ring of the steamer, then the rice batter was poured onto it directly. Others use banana leaves as a substitute for katsa.

When cooked, it was placed in bilao and divided into pieces.

The shapes vary too; it’ll just depend on the person preparing the puto. Some are shaped like cupcakes, while some are shaped like stars.

If there are kids in the house, you can use molds that’ll excite them and make them enjoy eating puto more.


It’s believed that the name “puto” came from the Malay word “puttu,” which is also a steamed rice cake.

“Puttu” means “portion,” and it refers to the fact that puto cheese rice cakes are small and can be eaten in one bite. This makes sense, given that puto is typically baked in little muffin tins or cupcake molds that are 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.

The Filipino dish puto is a variety of kakanin, or “rice cake.” But rice cakes are actually popular throughout Asia.

The history of rice cakes can be traced back to ancient China, where they were a staple food of the upper class. Rice cakes were also popular in Japan and Korea.

Puto made its way to the Philippines during the Chinese trade period. Rice cakes were introduced to Filipinos by Chinese merchants, and they quickly became a popular snack food.

They were first popularized in 2 provinces: Batangas and Pampanga. But it quickly spread to other parts of the country, and it’s now a popular snack food all across the Philippines!

It used to be made using old-school molds and steaming techniques. But now, there are all sorts of different ways to make puto. You can use modern cooking appliances and tools like plastic molds, electric ovens, and microwave ovens.

Check out our new cookbook

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.