37 Delicious Filipino Recipes You’ll Want to Make on Repeat

updated Apr 10, 2024
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picadillo sits in a bowl over rice next to a glass and a fork
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Filipino food is as diverse as the regions that span across the archipelago of over 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. Adobo, which is regarded as the national dish of the Philippines, is just as diverse, varying from region to region. I grew up eating chicken adobo, pork adobo, and sometimes a combination of both. My mom often added potatoes to her chicken adobo, which would absorb some of the flavorful sabaw. There are versions of chicken adobo with coconut milk, enriching the flavorful sauce. Every family has their version of adobo (and they’ll all say that theirs is the best!).

Here you’ll find classic favorites like Lumpia Shanghai, Ginataan Na Sugpo (Prawns with Coconut Milk), and Shrimp and Fish Sinigang (Tamarind Stew). For weeknight dinners, recipes like Bistek (Beef Marinated with Calamansi, Soy, and Onions), Bola-Bola (Filipino Meatballs), and Picadillo are quick and easy to make for the family. 

Everyone looks forward to desserts and sweets like Halo-Halo, Filipino Fruit Salad, and Biko (Bibingkang Malagkit) at celebrations and gatherings. And I love sweet and chewy Palitaw as a midday snack — no special occasion needed. 

From hearty breakfasts, to comforting one-pot meals for dinner, to sweet and festive desserts, here are 37 Filipino recipes to make any time of the day.

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Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Fried Rice)

In Tagalog, sinangag translates to “garlic fried rice," and it's exactly as it sounds: Rice fried with a generous amount of garlic, salt, and pepper. Sinangag is often combined with itlog, meaning “egg,” creating the popular Filipino breakfast silog. There’s no wrong way to “silog” — all you need is garlic fried rice and fried eggs.

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Lumpia Shanghai

These crispy Filipino egg rolls are filled with an aromatic pork filling, and served with your choice of dipping sauce. Try them with banana ketchup, sweet chili sauce, or vinegar and soy dipping sauce.

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Filipino Chicken Adobo

Kristina Razon's Mom-approved recipe will wow everyone at the table. Bonus: the skin is actually crispy! Because chicken adobo is simmered, you usually lose out on crispiness. Kristina solves this by broiling it quickly.

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Halo-Halo

The words “halo-halo” translate to “mix-mix” because before you eat the treat, you mix everything up. This Filipino shaved ice dessert is layered with coconut, jackfruit, sweetened bananas, tapioca, nata de coco, and a scoop of coconut or ube ice cream.

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Ginataan Na Sugpo (Prawns with Coconut Milk)

Head-on prawns are cooked in an aromatic coconut broth infused with lemongrass, anchovies, ginger, and chiles. It includes two hallmarks of Bicolano cooking: The savory use of coconut milk and spicy heat.

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Picadillo

This humble dish of ground beef and vegetables — also called giniling in the Philippines — comes together in a single skillet and is endlessly customizable. In the Philippines, like many dishes, this dish varies from family to family. Amelia Rampe shares the recipe her mom taught her.

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Shrimp and Fish Sinigang (Tamarind Stew)

A tamarind-based stew with shrimp, fish, and vegetables. This one ingredient makes it easy to have sinigang on a weeknight.

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Bistek (Beef Marinated with Calamansi, Soy Sauce, and Onions)

Boneless rib is marinated with citrusy calamansi and soy sauce and served with caramelized onions. As it cooks, the marinade and garlic simmer and thicken slightly, and the citrus, soy, and garlic sing brightly against the beef. It’s perfect with a bowl of rice.

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Filipino Fruit Salad

No Filipino gathering is complete without our version of fruit salad — a creamy, luscious concoction that’s brimming with juicy fruit and drenched in sweetened condensed milk. When Kristina Razon was growing up, her mom brought this refreshing fruit salad to each and every birthday party, graduation, and holiday celebration.

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Bola-Bola (Filipino Meatballs)

Bola-bola can be served a number of ways. You can pile them onto a platter and serve them with an assortment of dipping sauces, like sweet chili sauce and spiced vinegar. Tuck them into pandesal (Filipino rolls) for lunch or in a rice bowl for dinner.

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Cast Iron Pull-Apart Pandesal

Pandesal (sometimes spelled pan de sal) is the most loved, most popular bread in the Philippines. This recipe is quite similar to Parker House rolls, but with a heartier crust on the bottom (similar to pan de suelo).

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Peach-Banana Glazed Tocino Skewers with Daikon Atchara

Homemade tocino is skewered, grilled, and served with a banana-peach BBQ glaze and shredded pickled vegetable condiment called atchara. The entire process — from the smells of the grilled skewers to the slight char on the tocino to finishing your bite with a tangy pinch of atchara — elicits all the emotions we hope you’ll always feel when you experience kamayan.

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Palitaw

Palitaw is a sweet rice cake dish traditionally eaten as “merienda,” or a midday snack in the Philippines. These chewy rice cakes are showered with shredded coconut and filled with just the perfect amount of sweetness.

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Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Lumpia)

We love all types of lumpia, but this version is an all-time favorite. Shredded vegetables, shrimp, and Chinese sausage are wrapped in a crepe and topped with sweet soy sauce and peanuts.

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Filipino Barbecue Chicken

This tangy, sweet, and salty marinade (made with banana ketchup) makes a delicious, weeknight-friendly chicken dish. Serve with atchara (pickled papaya) and freshly steamed rice.

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Buko Pandan

Buko pandan is a refreshing fruit salad composed mainly of young coconut chunks, pandan-flavored jelly, and sweetened table cream. It's a true textural delight.

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Spiced Chicken Adobo

There are as many versions of adobo as there are the many regions and islands in the Philippine archipelago. Yana Gilbuena's version of chicken adobo is made with spiced vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, black peppercorns, and bay leaves.

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Sheldon Simeon's Lechon Kawali (Crispy Fried Pork Belly)

There are few more perfect things than Filipino lechon kawali, or pork belly with a wonderfully crispy and browned skin. Sheldon Simeon serves it with a condiment of diced tomatoes, green onions, and white onions tossed with fish sauce and vinegar (he calls it “pinoy de gallo,” aka Filipino salsa), but a simple dipping sauce of chopped chiles and vinegar will also do the trick.

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Lugaw (Arroz Caldo)

The ultimate Filipino comfort food. Although some places in the Philippines make lugaw with beef stock, tripe (Goto), or bouillon cubes, Amelia Rampe makes hers with chicken stock and bone-in chicken because the bones give off richer, more intense chicken flavor.

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Dynamite Lumpia

Dinamita, or dynamite lumpia, is a form of lumpia made with green chilies that are stuffed with an aromatic ground pork filling and cheese. The chile is wrapped in a lumpia wrapper, then fried until crispy. It’s reminiscent of a jalapeño popper, but with a light, crispy shell and a deeply savory filling.

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Ube Swirl Ice Cream

A no-churn ice cream base rippled with fudgy, vibrant purple swirls made from white chocolate and fragrant ube extract. Kristina Razon loves to show off scoops of this eye-catching ice cream in glass bowls and shower it with toasted shredded coconut (a popular ube pairing) to serve to family and friends.

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Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk (Adobo sa Gatâ)

One of Amelia Rampe's favorite ways to have adobo that she didn’t grow up eating is adobo infused with coconut milk. There are coconuts all over the Philippines, and in this recipe coconut milk adds a luxurious texture to the broth.

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Kinilaw (Filipino Ceviche)

An indigenous Filipino preparation of fish and seafood that involves "cooking" it in a mixture of calamansi and coconut vinegar and aromatics.

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Ukoy with Shrimp and Anchovies

Every bite of these crispy fried shrimp and vegetable fritters features an eye-widening harmony of salty, tangy, crunchy flavors and textures. You can experiment with different types of vegetables, but Jen Phanomrat finds that root vegetables hold up best and stay crispier longer. She likes the combination of ube (purple yam), orange sweet potato, and carrots, along with red onion and scallion.

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Gising-Gising (Pork Simmered in Coconut Milk and Shrimp Paste)

Gising-gising, which literally translates to “wake-up wake-up,” is packed with spice from chiles and deeply savory bagoong. It’s part of a family of dishes called ginataan, which translates to “food cooked in coconut milk.”

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Biko (Bibingkang Malagkit)

This Filipino sticky rice cake, which requires just four ingredients, is topped with a layer of homemade coconut caramel. The coconut caramel heavily relies on good-quality coconut milk, so use the richest one you can find.

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Lechon Po' Boy

This Filipino-Cajun po' boy consists of aromatic fork-tender lechon pork served on French rolls with lettuce, cucumber, and tomato salad. It’s easy to combine Filipino and Cajun flavors, considering the extensive history of Filipinos in Louisiana – Louisiana is the original settlement of Filipinos in America.

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Ricotta Bibingka

Bibingka — traditionally a cake made from glutinous rice flour, sugar, and coconut milk — is often known as a Christmas dish, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be an everyday dish. These bite-sized ricotta bibingka are extra rich, thanks to evaporated milk, whole-milk ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and coconut milk.

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Ginataan Pancit Canton Noodles with Miso and Pink Peppercorns

This velvety bowl of slippery, creamy noodles — made with coconut milk, miso, and plenty of aromatics — satisfies my cravings for both cacio e pepe and pancit.

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Ube Crinkle Cookies

Ube, pronounced ooh-beh, has a natural, deep purple color and a flavor that's a mix between vanilla and pistachio. Here, it replaces chocolate in the classic crinkle cookie.

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Silog Plate with Longanisa, Garlic Fried Rice, and Pandesal French Toast

French toast made from lightly sweet pandesal is the star of this Filipino breakfast plate with longanisa and garlic fried rice.

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Filipino Sourdough Pandesal

Pandesal (or pan de sal), translates to “salt bread,” but it leans more sweet than salty with a soft texture and a golden, gently-crisped top.

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EnSlaymada: Vegan and Gluten-Free Ensaymada

A plant-based and gluten-free spin on ensaymada, the Filipino sweet bread typically enjoyed for breakfast.

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Beef Tapa Matzo Brei with Atchara

Some of Molly Olis Krost's favorite childhood memories revolve around breakfast. Whenever she would visit her grandparents in the summer, one of the dishes she loved the most was her grandpa’s garlic fried rice. This recipe is a combination of two classic breakfasts: Filipino Tapsilog and Jewish Matzo Brei. The savory strips of beef with the oniony scrambled eggs is a winning combination.

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Bibingka

Bibingka is a sweet, chewy Filipino dessert made with sweet rice flour and coconut. It has a rich, buttery, coconut flavor with the addictive textural combination of a crackly crust and eggy, chewy center.

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Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

The Instant Pot can get this chicken adobo dinner to the table in well under an hour.

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Calamansi Coconut Bars

Arlyn Osborne, food writer and the author of the cookbook, Sugarcane: Sweet Recipes from My Half-Filipino Kitchen, uses calamansi juice in her recipe for Calamansi Coconut Bars. They’re sweet, just a bit tart, buttery, and chewy all in one bite.

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