Ensaymada: A Classic Filipino Treat

You may have tried Red Ribbon ensaymada, Goldilocks ensaymada, Mary Grace ensaymada, or even The Ensaymada Project. But homemade or the ones from small Filipino bakeries are the best, and you can find them right here on Airmart.

Wait, what is ensaymada?


For those of you who aren’t familiar, ensaymada is a small, swirl-shaped Filipino bread made with butter that is traditionally served dipped in sugar and topped with grated cheese. The softer and fluffier the dough, the better the bread.

Bakers dress up this buttery, moist pastry even more with buttercream, salted egg slices, and a cheese called queso de bola (Edam cheese).

Many bakers also make it with ube. Ube is a purple yam with a rich nutty vanilla flavor. You can find ube in donuts, cakes, pies, cookies, and even espresso drinks.

In the Philippines, people traditionally eat these soft buns at breakfast because they make the perfect complement to coffee or tea, but the single-serving desserts are also a special treat for any time of day.

What does ensaymada taste like?

Some people liken this brioche to Hawaiian rolls, only sweeter. You can make these buns sweet or sweet and savory depending on the toppings you choose. The sky is the limit when it comes to adding flavors.

Like many Filipino dishes, this Filipino brioche was originally adapted from the Spanish ensaimada. However, unlike Filipino ensaymada the Spanish version is made with lard and is often filled with pumpkin, sweet cream, or chocolate. The Filipino version also contains more egg yolks.

Where to buy

These Filipino treats are often placed in baking cups and boxed up like cupcakes. You can usually order them by the dozen

San Francisco Bay Area

Kei’s Specialties in Hercules, CA is a family bakery offering classic ensaymada topped with sweet cream and gouda cheese, as well as ensaymada ube which is the classic recipe made with sweet purple yam spread.

Ube Galore Breads & More offers four different flavors: ube, queso de bola, yema, and Oreo. The bread is available for pickup on the weekends at the Millbrae Farmer’s Market and the Downtown Burlingame Farmer’s Market.