How to Make Ensaymadas (Fluffy, Creamy, Cheesy Filipino Bread)


Kerlyn loves to share her passion for Filipino food with others so that they too can delight in delicious Southeast Asian cuisine.

Talk about bread and Filipinos will think of round, soft, sugary, and rich ensaymadas, a popular Filipino bread that is so well-loved in the Philippines it can both be bought at neighborhood bakeries for ordinary folks and served at high-end restaurants for well-heeled patrons.

Yes, ensaymada can go from ordinary to extraordinary.

Either way, it tastes yummy!

Ensaymada Recipe

Preparation time: about 5 hours
Baking Time: about 20 minutes

Bread Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup plain butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plain honey
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk (preferably full-cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened

Cheese Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cheese, Edam or queso de bola, grated
  • 1/2 cup white sugar


Notes before starting:

  • It is best to mix the dough the night before. That way, it will have ample time to proof.
  • Baking can take place the next morning.
  • To make other versions of ensaymada, you can replace the cheese in the dough with ham, sweet chorizo, ube paste, or macapuno filling.
  • Some alternatives to butter for the topping are buttercream, salted duck eggs, or even chocolate spread.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add water.
  2. Add in the honey.
  3. Add flour.
  4. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Add cheese.
  6. Mix everything thoroughly. It is best to use hands for this step.
  7. With the exception of the softened butter, add the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Knead for about five minutes. For this step, it is best to use a mixer turned at low speed.
  9. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
  10. Cover the bowl with plastic.
  11. Set aside for 1 1/2 hours.
  12. Punch down dough.
  13. Divide into servings weighing 60 grams (a little over two ounces).
  14. Roll each piece with a rolling pin.
  15. Pat the middle of each piece with softened butter.
  16. Close up the piece over the butter like an envelope, pinch long edges together, and roll it with your fingers into a rod shape.
  17. Coil each rod into a rounded snail shape (see the video below)
  18. Place each roll on a tray.
  19. Place in a refrigerator for eight hours or a warm room for four hours. If you have a proofer, then place the dough there for 1 1/2 hours.
  20. Preheat oven.
  21. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  22. Remove from the oven.
  23. Cool.
  24. Pat with butter, sprinkle with sugar, and place grated cheese on top.
  25. Serve.

You're done! Share and enjoy your homemade Philippine ensaymada with everyone!

Many Varieties

The classic ensaymada is usually made of swirled and baked sweetened dough, patted with butter or margarine, and sprinkled with sinful white sugar.

The out-of-the-ordinary ensaymada, on the other hand, might contain chocolate, or it might be stuffed with ube (purple yam paste), macapuno (syrupy coconut), or chorizo sausage, patted with buttercream, topped with ham and/or salted duck egg, and sprinkled generously with queso de bola or Edam cheese shreds.


Who Eats Ensaymadas?

Almost all Filipinos eat ensaymadas, because not only does it appeal to all income ranges, it appeals to all ages. Sweet-toothed Filipino kids adore sugared ensaymadas.

Filipinos who are past their sweet-loving phase prefer the more subdued taste of the cheesy, sweet-and-salty version of this Filipino bread.

Coffee goes well with ensaymada.

Coffee goes well with ensaymada.

When to Eat It

Whatever flavor they choose, Filipinos love to chomp ensaymada for merienda or mid-afternoon snacks. Since it is sweet and creamy, it is best paired with hot coffee or even plain water. Some push their sweetness threshold by eating it with hot chocolate or even soda.

Not only is this bread great for afternoon snacks, but it also makes for a well-thought-out pasalubong or homecoming gift. Traditionally, Filipinos return to their homes at night, or to their hometowns during holidays, toting a present, usually food, that everybody can share. Thus, ensaymadas in the Philippines are often individually packed and placed together in big boxes that can be trimmed with a band—much like a gift! In fact, ensaymada is a very popular gift, especially during the Philippine Christmas season.


Just like many other foods in the Philippine menu, ensaymada—although now made in a very Filipino way and suited to the Filipino palate—was originally a Spanish food. The bread called ensaimada or ensaymada originally comes from Majorca, Spain, but has spread throughout the Philippines and many places in South America.

© 2012 kerlynb


morris on April 21, 2020:

I really want to believe in this recipe but just by looking at the quantity its seems to be a very wet dough. there's a lot of liquid and wet ingredients. are you sure about the amount of flour?

Jing on April 04, 2019:

This recipe sucks

Tracey on March 28, 2019:

You are getting epic failures because you have NOT to explain when to use or how to prepare the yeast. Therefore this bread will be flat.

Ladies and gents try this one:


Also there are lots of great recipes for Ensaymada out there.

Isabel on September 23, 2018:

I made this yesterday. I followed the instructions as is. It was an epic fail. :( upon seeing the other website. It should be 4 1/4 cups of flour. I think the original recipe of this ensaymada is from yummy.ph

Paul Sales on August 25, 2018:

I won't waste my time and money on this recipe. The proportion of the flour against the liquid will yield a pancake like batter and not soft dough typical of ensaymadas.

William on October 31, 2017:

try to check the amount of flour being used is that the right amount? 1 1/2 cup? to 3/4 cup water + other liquids in the ingredientts,

Newbie baker on June 02, 2017:

Bad recipe even for pancake.

Malou on March 21, 2017:

It was too liquid! I followed what was mention here there is something wrong with the ingredients!

grace on March 17, 2017:

I follow all your ingredients and I end up watery too much liquid on it! and where the heck you use the honey and the water? erase that in your ingredients if ain't needed. thanks

Sweet tooth Panda on February 17, 2017:

Tried this it's too liquidy I end up adding more flour so now I'm wondering if that 1 1/2cups flour is a typo

weny on February 11, 2017:

where & when are you going to add the yeast since it's not mentioned in your procedure. Thanks

walter on February 04, 2017:

I tried this recipe and it it not work. It requires more the 1 1/4 cups of flour

Km on August 11, 2016:

This recipe is not complete. 1 1/4 cups flour is too little.

Cherylle on May 20, 2016:

Hi! Is it really 1-1/4 cups flour? The dough turned out liquidy.

sylvia on May 01, 2015:

Should be at least 4 1/2 cups flour not 1 1/2

ALGIENE on October 29, 2013:

I use bread flour and I didn't see the video I just follow the direction above wha am I gonna do now?

jericho redulla on April 22, 2013:

i want to try your mouth watering recipes specially ensaymada

Derek James from South Wales on February 22, 2012:

These sound delicious. Got to try them sometime soon. Thanks for the recipe. Voted up and useful.

Eiddwen from Wales on February 22, 2012:

Mmmmmm another gem to bookmark.

Keep them coming;take care and enjoy your day.


Valerie60 on February 20, 2012:

I'd love to try this recipe one day since I am a big bread lover and like to taste good cooking. Thanks!

Greg Johnson from Indianapolis on February 19, 2012:

I remember eating the bread when I lived in the Philippines. It was scrumptious!

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