Biko (Filipino Sweet Sticky Rice)

ivoryhut biko recipe
 
Biko is my all-time favorite Filipino dessert or merienda (snack) item. It uses only 4 ingredients—which, in a pinch, can even be cut down to 3—and is so simple to make and requires no special tools or pans, which makes it an easy endeavor for someone who doesn’t yet have a properly-equipped kitchen.

 
Last week, I wanted to make something sweet for my son Tim. His favorite: cookies. Then I looked at my favorite recipe and realized that I needed to get every single item in the ingredient list. Chocolate chips. Vanilla. Flour. Butter. Sugar. Eggs. Nuts. A whisk. A mixing bowl. Cookie sheets. Maybe a cookie scoop too, since there is this strange pain in the fingers of my right hand that could use the help.

 
It overwhelmed me. I wasn’t even sure I’d have enough cupboard space to keep all these ingredients. So I just bought a tub of cookie dough. In an attempt to make it kinda special, I pressed pieces of Toblerone chocolate in the cookies. (Yes, I have no butter or sugar, but I have Toblerone chocolate.)

 
Tim enjoyed them, but Tom is not a big fan of cookies. However, both of them love biko. And I only needed to buy 4 things: sweet rice, brown sugar, coconut milk, and coconut cream. I could have even skipped the coconut cream and used the thick cream that rises to the top in a good can of coconut milk (don’t shake it!).

 
ivoryhut biko recipe

 
 
 
Biko is like a soft, warm, sticky rice cake. It uses sweet rice or sticky rice. It is sometimes called glutinous rice because it gets gluey when cooked but it contains no gluten. It’s a different kind of grain and often, attempts to substitute other kinds of rice for sweet or sticky rice just don’t yield the same results.

 
I have fond memories of biko. When I was young, I used to call my mom at her office everyday at 2:20pm (I got home from school at 2:10pm) to remind her to bring me some biko. Every single day for three months, she would get her biko call. Then I’d get tired of it and ask for something else for a week or two, after which I’d start making the biko calls all over again for another three months. Biko memories always make me smile, so yesterday, after taking one bite of still-warm biko, it instantly cheered me up and helped me get past a recent bout of the blues.

 
I cooked yesterday’s biko in a regular pot, then baked it in another pot. These photos don’t show that because these were taken before we lost our kitchen. I’m so glad I sent these to a food blogger friend last month (she’s a biko fanatic) because that meant I still had these photos in my Gmail sent folder to share with you now.

 
ivoryhut biko recipe

 
 

Biko (Filipino Sweet Sticky Rice)
Makes one 9×13 pan

You need to use sweet rice or sticky rice (sometimes called glutinous rice) for this recipe. Coconut cream is found in most Asian and ethnic stores but if you can’t find it, just use the the thick cream from the top layer of a good quality can of coconut milk. Don’t worry if you end up with less coconut milk to use with the rice—simply add enough water to reach the desired amount of cooking liquid.

This recipe can easily be halved. If you like crunchy rice edges, cook the biko in muffin pans or brownie bar pans. Be careful when you pull it out of the oven; the caramelized brown sugar is very hot and can burn you if you try to taste it immediately.

Ingredients:

3 cans (14 oz. can) coconut milk
4 cups sweet rice
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup coconut cream

Pour coconut milk and about a cup of water into a pot and let it come to a simmer over medium heat. When simmering, add in the rice and stir constantly to prevent burning. Lower the heat if necessary. Preheat oven to 350F.

When rice is fully cooked, sticky and almost dry (it will look like sticky risotto), about 10-15 minutes, add 1 cup brown sugar. (Note: If rice is already sticky but not yet fully cooked, add small amounts of water, stir and continue cooking. Rice must be fully cooked before it goes into the oven.) Stir well and take off heat. Pour into a lightly buttered 9×13 pan and smooth the top. Mix the remaining 1 cup brown sugar and coconut cream until smooth and pour it over the rice.

Bake for about 1 hour or up to 1 1/2 hours, until topping is dark brown and has thickened. Cool slightly before serving.

 
 
 
ivoryhut biko recipe

 
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go call my mom. I think it’s time I repaid her for all those years of answering my biko calls.

 
 

69 Responses to Biko (Filipino Sweet Sticky Rice)
  1. SMITH BITES
    September 26, 2010 | 1:02 pm

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE seeing posts from you again Erika!! I’ve never heard of biko but looking at the photos tells me that this could become an addiction – wow. It’s good to have you back and I look forward to more posts – (((hugs!)))

  2. JenniferA
    September 26, 2010 | 1:06 pm

    Yay! So glad to see you posting a new recipe. And these look so interesting! I have never tried such a thing but they sure look intriguing.

  3. Jenny Flake
    September 26, 2010 | 1:33 pm

    Wow, my mouth is literally drooling this is a gorgeous recipe! Love your photos, as always! Great to see you blogging today :) Looking forward to meeting you in SF!!

  4. bunkycooks
    September 26, 2010 | 1:45 pm

    These are beautiful and I am sure incredibly rich and good. I am glad to see that you have started blogging again. It’s great to have a creative outlet that you can always turn to.

  5. Southern Gal
    September 26, 2010 | 4:46 pm

    Looks heavenly.

  6. CarolineAdobo
    September 26, 2010 | 4:51 pm

    I’m so glad to see you posting (and sharing your biko recipe, even) Erika.

  7. Maria
    September 26, 2010 | 5:56 pm

    These look wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to meeting you in SF. I can’t wait to give you a big hug!

  8. Elizabeth
    September 26, 2010 | 6:14 pm

    I’ve never heard of Biko, but it does sound like quite a lovely snack. The thought a of a still warm, sticky, sweet rice snack just has a certain appeal. And what luck to still be able to post the pictures! I’ve been following your ordeal from the start and I cannot imagine rebuilding my life like that.

    I hope the blues don’t keep you down for too much longer and you get back everything you’ve lost. I realize there are irreplaceable things, but new memories are to be made everyday.

    I’m sending all my good thoughts your way!

  9. Mac
    September 26, 2010 | 6:21 pm

    so glad you are posting again. I’m not familiar with Biko, but I sure hope to be now. Thank you for sharing one of your special treats.

  10. cusinera
    September 26, 2010 | 7:14 pm

    I love biko but always fail on making them..will definitely try your recipe, thankyou very much Erika=)

  11. Serene
    September 26, 2010 | 7:50 pm

    You’re back, yay! And I’ve never even seen biko before now. It’s gorgeous!

  12. Carol (CGtheFoodie)
    September 26, 2010 | 9:30 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE biko!!! And I forget that it is vegan. Definitely making this soon!

  13. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    September 26, 2010 | 9:38 pm

    I’ve never heard of biko but it looks amazing. I bet my husband would love it as rice is his favorite food.

  14. Shaina
    September 26, 2010 | 11:22 pm

    Gorgeous! This looks fantastic, and I love sticky rice. I can’t wait to make yours.

  15. Tracy
    September 27, 2010 | 10:25 am

    I’ve never heard of biko before, but it looks lovely and I definitely want to give it a try. So glad to see that you are settling into your new place!

  16. Paula
    September 27, 2010 | 11:18 am

    Congratulations on your *first* recipe post! You not only did a great post but you are educating people as well. This is the first I’ve heard of biko rice and a sticky sweet treat from it.

    Your Mom was such a sweetheart to bring it home for you all the time:)

  17. Big Boys Oven
    September 27, 2010 | 4:37 pm

    I like this sweet, it sounds truly healthy! ;)

  18. Sasha @ Global Table Adventure
    September 27, 2010 | 8:33 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing! My sweet tooth has been growing (ever since I was pregnant with my daughter) and shows no signs of slowing down… I must make this sometime – perhaps when I get to the Philippines on my blog! :)

  19. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets
    September 28, 2010 | 2:25 am

    This looks amazing and I love that it’s even vegan. Thanks for giving us the recipe.

  20. Baking is my Zen
    September 30, 2010 | 3:43 pm

    I love coconut and rice. So, this is a great recipe to try.

    Hope all is getting better for you on the ‘home’ front.

    Sincerely,
    Carmen

  21. amy
    September 30, 2010 | 5:33 pm

    I have loved biko since I lived in San Diego! My neighbors were Filipino and I ate biko and lumpia all the time!! This recipe brings back fond memories! I’ll have to make it- thanks!

  22. Vicki B
    October 1, 2010 | 10:30 am

    Never heard of Biko. It sounds fantastic!

  23. Wenderly
    October 1, 2010 | 9:38 pm

    I, like everyone else, have not heard of this decadent sweet treat. It looks simply scrumptious. I love the simplicity and authenticity of this Filipino dessert! Thanks for sharing! My heart is happy to see you back!

  24. Tanya
    October 1, 2010 | 11:35 pm

    I am soooo homesick for everything Pinoy right now! Lumpia, biko, adobo …. yum!

    There isn’t a single place within a 1 1/2 hour drive where I can buy anything remotely ethnic and now after perusing your site for a while, I just want to go home to NorCal.

    OR I could just send you my address….

  25. Melanie
    October 6, 2010 | 9:24 pm

    Wow. My mouth is absolutely watering.

  26. pinaynapinay
    October 6, 2010 | 9:25 pm

    erika!
    napakasarap naman niyan….
    and i take it for granted here! you make it look so luxuriously good! ;-)
    i just joined this…:-) and will make it a habit to take apeek into your life every so often…take care, amiga! <3

  27. Lala
    October 12, 2010 | 1:52 am

    i just recently joined KCC and have found your blog through there. i’m sorry about your house. i guess on a brighter note, it’s an opportunity to start fresh.

    your pictures are amazing, and i have found myself leaving your blog on my browser semi-permanently so i can take a peek whenever i need a distraction or inspiration

    now you got my craving for some biko. thumbs up on the toblerone LOL!

  28. Olive
    October 17, 2010 | 1:32 am

    yay biko, it is my favorite and it’s so easy to make too! :)

  29. daneilia
    October 20, 2010 | 12:37 am

    I absolutely love this and thank you for sharing!!! I am half filipino and there is a lot I have learned to cook from my grandma but there was a lot I have never paid attention to either *laughs. But you make this simple, short, and sweet! My husband will love this when I make it for him when he returns home from Iraq this next year :)

  30. LimeCake
    October 20, 2010 | 6:17 am

    i love that this has so few ingredients but looks so golden and delicious!

  31. Annie Ringheim
    October 24, 2010 | 12:20 am

    OMG Erika, what a coincidence. I just made my Sumang Hubad, using a mold instead of wrapping them in banana leaves, and they look like your Biko! They’re sweet little things, right?

  32. LINDA
    October 24, 2010 | 12:22 pm

    CAN IT BE MADE IN A RICE COOKER UP TO THE BAKING POINT…….

    • ivoryhut
      November 24, 2010 | 2:44 pm

      Linda, yes it can! My father actually makes it that way: he cooks the rice separately, then stirs everything in, cooks it a bit more just to make it sticky again, and then bakes it.

  33. Debi
    November 13, 2010 | 10:57 pm

    I’m new to your website via The Pioneer Woman. I just have to thank you for the recipes you’ve posted. I’m half filipino and my mother was an awesome cook. I have very fond memories of her freshly baked “rice cake” when we came home from school. Unfortunately, she passed on before I could learn her recipes or their proper filipino names. Today I ran for groceries and found every ingredient I need for Chicken Adobo (currently simmering on my stovetop) Biko, which I’ll make next weekend when my daughter visits and Pumpkin Leche Flan for Thanksgiving. Thanks for keeping it tasty & simple.

  34. Bake for the Quake | gastrofork
    April 7, 2011 | 3:44 am

    [...] (Photo taken from Ivoryhut.com) [...]

  35. [...] I think at a thai restaurant; the texture & taste is right up my ally! The Ivory Hut features this recipe which looks simple enough yet different enough to impress guest Now I just need to find an [...]

  36. Jacob
    May 30, 2011 | 4:04 am

    My grandpa used to make this for me when I was a little boy and this is the closest recipe i can find that tastes most similar to his. Unfortunately, when he passed away – so did his recipe. Thank you so much for giving me a little taste of my childhood. Also, my grandpa used to call it “malakit”… Thanks again!

  37. MissNisa
    June 23, 2011 | 5:25 am

    Found your website from blog hopping. I love biko, but have never made it myself. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you for posting it!

  38. Chiquiting
    July 16, 2011 | 10:15 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I am always scouring the web for Ilokano recipes and I am so happy to see this biko recipe! All the pinoys I know are familiar with suman malakit – the sweet rice wrapped in banana leaves sans brown sugar. In fact, I love it so much, I named my dog Biko! I look forward to checking out the rest of your website!

  39. tess
    October 24, 2011 | 9:35 pm

    yummmm! me and my mum are making these this weekend! our Filipino relatives always makes these when we come over

  40. kari wames
    October 26, 2011 | 6:02 pm

    i work with flips (that’s their own nickname for themselves) they are the most wonderful warm-hearted people you could ever meet. they turned me on to “sticky rice”. i told them i was going to make it and we would see if the american could top their own nominated best cook of sticky rice. your picture is exactly how the nominated best cook’s looks. i can eat sticky rice ice cold, i love it so much. but it’s best warm. and i like the crunchy sides.
    if this comes out, i’m trying Pancit (sorry if i spelled it wrong) next.

  41. Arlene
    November 24, 2011 | 11:24 am

    Thanks for the recipe! I constantly refer to this page when I am prepping to cook some biko. This will be our Thanksgiving dessert today.

  42. Tara
    November 28, 2011 | 2:36 pm

    You have made me so happy by posting a recipe online :D I was taught out of memory from a family friend how to make this but she never gave me any measurements or cooking times so I never really remembered how to make it at all. I just made it yesterday and it is just like I remember it! Thank you so much!!

  43. [...] caramel. Do a little research and see what appeals to your palate. Biko (adapted from a recipe by Ivory Hut) Ingredients 3 cans (14 ounces) coconut milk 4 cups sweet rice (I used a brand called [...]

  44. Mary
    December 6, 2011 | 2:50 pm

    I am so glad I came across your recipe as I have been looking for it for quite some time. A friend used to
    make this and bring me some, I got hooked on it, it was so good, sady she passed away and I didn’t understand the
    recipe she had given me, it is all clear now. I will try
    this recipe ASAP. Thank you so much for sharing the photo
    or I would not have known that this was indeed the recipe I was looking for.

    • ivoryhut
      December 12, 2011 | 9:50 am

      Mary, glad I could help! I love when I find something that brings back memories. Enjoy the biko!

  45. imelda
    December 12, 2011 | 9:32 am

    where did you get your special mold? need to get 2 of those! i am from the bikol region of the Philippines and these is a delicacy there as you well know. glad i found your blog! awaiting reply for mold? :-))

    • ivoryhut
      December 12, 2011 | 9:46 am

      Hi Imelda! That’s a brownie bar pan. You can get them from places like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, or even Walmart. They don’t cost much either, and they make great individual cheesecakes, too!

  46. pia
    December 13, 2011 | 1:13 am

    oh girl, you are one hell of a photographer. you make all those food look so sinfully delicious. my hat off to you. take care always…

  47. maria
    January 12, 2012 | 5:21 pm

    I LOVE this stuff!!! Mom used to make it all the time and sometime she would add coco its yummy!!!

  48. Ellen
    January 21, 2012 | 1:27 pm

    Thank you for posting your recipe. Biko is my favorite since I was little.I miss my mother’s cooking she cook Biko so good.I’ve been in the states for 16 years but I still love all the filipino food.I got your recipe/print it and I been cooking Biko three times a month. Thank You.

  49. tricia
    February 2, 2012 | 1:05 pm

    I’m making this today! We had a dessert at an ice creamery that used this and layered vanilla ice cream and caramel on top. It was SOOOOO good! I’ve been dying to try it at home.

  50. [...] and pies my southern grandparents brought me up with to the toasted coconut ice cream and Filipino Biko my friend Erika introduced me to. I love the savory almost as much as the sweet. My favorite [...]

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about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

If you want to learn more about me, here are 43 things I'd like to do. Here's a little something about my name, in case you were wondering. Here are some other places you'll find me:

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LOST AND FOUND

One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.



I'm proud to belong to an amazing community of Filipino food lovers. Together, we celebrate this often-neglected Asian cuisine, sharing our family's treasured recipes and discovering new ones along the way. This is our club.
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