Ginataang Bilo Bilo Recipe (Sticky Rice Balls in Coconut Milk)

Ginataang Bilo Bilo recipe
Ginataang Bilo Bilo is a coconut-based Filipino dessert with tapioca pearls and sticky rice balls. Try this delicious Ginataang Bilo Bilo recipe today!

Ginataang Bilo Bilo is a coconut-based Filipino dessert with tapioca pearls and sticky rice balls. Try this delicious Ginataang Bilo Bilo Recipe today!


There are so many Filipino desserts to discover and enjoy. One of my all time favourites is Ginataang Bilo Bilo.

Usually served during the holidays and special occasions, Ginataang Bilo Bilo is usually made in large batches and served hot.


“Ginataan” is usually anything cooked in “gata” (coconut milk). This method of cooking can be applied to both savoury and sweet dishes, such as Ginataan na hipon (stewed shrimp in coconut milk) and of course, Ginataang Bilo Bilo.

Ginataang Bilo Bilo is a rich and soupy dessert with plenty of fruits and tubers like saging na saba (saba bananas), sweet potatoes, jackfruit and tapioca pearls. You can make it with coconut milk or coconut cream. You’ll be making the sticky rice balls by hand.

Isn’t that fun?


Making the sticky rice balls is relatively simple. You just need sweet rice flour (or glutinous rice flour) and water.

Mix the rice flour with water to make dough, then portion it into round balls and set it aside for use later.


Saging na saba is a type of banana native to the Philippines islands. They’re very popular in Philippine cuisine, often used to make another favourite of mine: turon (fried banana rolls).

While you can definitely eat saging na saba raw, you might enjoy them better cooked.

Saging na saba are green when picked, but turn golden yellow with black spots when they ripen.

If you can’t find fresh saging na saba, the frozen kind will do for the purposes of making this dessert.

This type of banana has grown in popularity in North America over the past few years, because of its reputation for being healthy. Apparently, a banana a day keeps the doctor away!


There are different kinds of tapioca pearls, with plenty of size, colours and flavours to choose from.

Uncooked tapioca pearls will be opaque, and will turn translucent when boiled.


You’ll need sweet potatoes for this recipe. You can find different kinds of sweet potatoes at the grocery store, with different colours and levels of starchiness.

You can use any kind of sweet potato that is easily available.


For the Bilo Bilo:

1 cup sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)2 tablespoons of Ube powder (for colouring, optional)
1 teaspoon of Ube extract (also optional)1/2 cup of water

For the Sweet Coconut Soup:

3/4 cup of dried small tapioca pearls
1 1/2 cup of water
2 x 398ml cans of coconut milk
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 cups of sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced)
5 pieces of saging na saba (peeled and sliced)
1 cup of jackfruit (sliced)


For the Bilo Bilo:

Using a large bowl, whisk the sweet rice flour with the Ube powder. Add Ube extract and water. Mix ingredients with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough.

Use your hands and knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth.

Portion the dough using a 1/2 tablespoon. Roll 24 balls and set aside in a sealed container.

For the Tapioca Pearls

Boil 3 cups of water in a pot. Add 3/4 cup of dried tapioca pearls and boil for 5 minutes (or until they start floating).

Remove from heat and cover. Set your timer for another five minutes, then check to see if the tapioca pearls are translucent. If they are, drain the pot and set it aside.

For the Sweet Coconut Soup:

In a large pot, mix 1/12 cup of water, 2 cans of coconut milk and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

Keep on stirring until it comes to a boil, making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add 2 cups of sweet potatoes and the sticky rice balls.

Reduce heat and let simmer for another five minutes (or until the sweet potatoes are tender enough).

Add the saging na saba, jackfruit and the tapioca pearls. Stir and let simmer for another 5 minutes (or until the saging na saba is tender).

Remove from heat and serve warm.


When you’re done making the dessert, it will start off as a rather thin soup but don’t worry, it will thicken as it cools down.

I’ve found that keeping the dessert warm in a slow cooker is the best way to go. If you have someone to share this with on a cold, winter day, just keep it ready by putting your slow cooker on the keep warm setting.

Really, there’s a reason why this dessert is super popular during the holiday season. This sweet dessert does not only hit the spot, but also happens to be gluten and dairy free.

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