buko salad

Buko Salad Recipe

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  • Post last modified:September 1, 2023
  • Reading time:15 mins read

Let’s start with this fact: buko salad is a huge deal in the Philippines. Think of chewy coconut bits with milk and cream. Some folks add fruit cocktail and some squishy nata de coco bits to their buko salad recipe to make it more yummy. 

We’ve also seen versions with cheese. Plus, it’s a hit at gatherings, and once you try it, you’ll fall in love. 

So, you better grab your kitchen tools and equipment and pay attention to this recipe to make a salad that angels sing for.  

Buko Salad Cooking Tips

cooking tips

Make the perfect buko salad by following these tips: 

1. Choose Fresh Buko

Nothing beats the flavor of freshly harvested young coconut meat. Avoid using the preserved ones as they might have added sweeteners or preservatives that can change the taste.

2. Cold is Gold

Let the buko salad chill in the fridge for several hours. This gives the salad a refreshing taste and lets the flavors meld beautifully. Overnight chilling is even better!

3. Watch the Sugar

Buko is naturally sweet, so you must gradually add sweetened condensed milk. Taste as you go to avoid making it too sweet. 

4. Experiment with Add-ins

From tropical fruits like papaya and mango slices to the chewiness of lychee, there’s no limit to how you can jazz it up.

5. Avoid Soggy Salad

Canned fruits contain syrup. Always drain them and even give a quick rinse to avoid a watered-down salad.

6. Cream it Right

Cream cheese adds richness, while a mix of condensed milk and all-purpose cream gives a velvety finish.

7. Eat it Soon

Freshness is key! Because of its dairy and fresh components, it’s best enjoyed within two to three days. Always keep it refrigerated.

8. Mix With Care

The tenderness of buko can be its downfall if mixed too rigorously. Use a spatula and fold in ingredients gently to keep its structure.

9. Play With Texture

A dynamic bite with varying textures is always a delight. Consider using shredded buko for a delicate feel and bigger chunks for a satisfying bite.

10. Go the Extra Mile

Presentation can elevate the experience. Serving in coconut shells can transport your guests to a beachside setting, making every bite feel like a tropical getaway. And for a little extra pop, sprinkle some toasted coconut on top just before serving!

What to Serve With Buko Salad

what to serve

Take your buko salad to the next level by serving it with these delightful dishes:


This roasted whole pig is a Filipino celebratory staple. The rich, crispy skin and flavorful meat complement the refreshing taste of buko salad.

Grilled Seafood

Items like grilled fish, prawns, or squid provide a smoky counterpoint to the creamy and sweet buko salad.


Noodle dishes provide a savory contrast to the sweetness of the dessert.

Chicken or Pork Adobo

The savory, slightly tangy taste of adobo dishes can be balanced out with the refreshing notes of buko salad.


Whether it’s the fresh lumpia or lumpiang Shanghai, these Filipino spring rolls can be a great precursor to this dessert.

Barbecue Skewers

Marinated and grilled to perfection, Filipino-style pork or chicken skewers can be a savory treat leading to a buko salad dessert.

Refreshing Drinks

Buko salad pairs well with drinks like calamansi juice, fresh coconut water, or tropical cocktails.

How to Store Buko Salad

 how to store buko salad

Store your buko salad properly by following these tips: 

Airtight Containers

After mixing the salad, transfer it to an airtight container. Doing this will prevent any external odors or contaminants from getting into the salad and retain its moisture.


Always store buko salad in the refrigerator. Given its dairy components and fresh ingredients, keeping it cold is crucial to prevent spoilage. For the best quality, consume the salad within two to three days.

Avoid Freezing

While you might be tempted to freeze it for longer storage, don’t do it. Freezing can change the texture of the young coconut meat, making it less pleasant to eat once thawed. The dairy components might also separate or become grainy.

Keep it Covered

If you’re serving buko salad at a gathering, keep it covered as much as possible. Doing this protects it from contaminants and keeps it fresh.

Check for Signs of Spoilage

If the dessert smells foul, changes in color, or has mold, discard it. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food consumption.

Stir Before Serving

If the salad has been sitting for a while, give it a gentle stir before serving. Some ingredients may settle at the bottom, and a quick mix can refresh its appearance and taste.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Always use clean utensils when serving this dessert. Using a spoon that has touched other foods can introduce contaminants that may speed up spoilage.

Buko Salad Recipe

buko salad recipe

Cuisine: Filipino

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes (No cooking required)

Total Time: 15 minutes + chilling time

Servings: 6-8 people


4 cups fresh young coconut (buko), shredded or in thin strips

1 can (14 oz.) fruit cocktail, drained

½ cup sweetened condensed milk 

1 cup nata de coco (coconut gel), drained

½ cup all-purpose cream or heavy cream

1 cup palm fruit (kaong), drained

½ cup fresh milk (or evaporated milk)

⅓ cup cheddar cheese, cubed (optional)

½ cup corn kernels (optional)

½ cup purple yam (ube) in small cubes (optional)


  1. Make sure all canned ingredients like the fruit cocktail, nata de coco, and palm fruit are well-drained to prevent the salad from becoming too watery.
  2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, all-purpose or heavy cream, and fresh milk in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
  3. Gently fold the fresh buko into the dairy mixture, ensuring it gets well-coated.
  4. Add the drained fruit cocktail, nata de coco, and palm fruit (kaong) to the mixture. If you’re using optional ingredients like cheese, corn, or ube, add them now.
  5. Transfer the buko salad to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least two hours, ideally overnight. 
  6. Once chilled, gently stir the salad and transfer it to serving bowls or into hollowed-out coconut shells for a more authentic presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is buko salad made of?

Buko salad is made of fresh young coconut (buko), fruit cocktail, sweetened condensed milk, nata de coco (coconut gel), all-purpose cream or heavy cream, palm fruit (kaong), and fresh milk or evaporated milk. Some variations have fruit cocktail, cheese, corn, and ube. 

What kind of mixture is buko salad?

Buko salad is a kind of mixture made of fresh young coconut (buko), fruit cocktail, sweetened condensed milk, nata de coco (coconut gel), all-purpose cream or heavy cream, palm fruit (kaong), and fresh milk or evaporated milk. 

Can I put evaporated milk in buko salad?

Yes, you can put evaporated milk in buko salad. Doing this gives the buko salad a rich, creamy texture and slightly caramelized flavor.


Buko salad is not just a dessert but also a special part of Filipino culture. Whether made traditionally or with a twist, each bite feels like a taste of tropical paradise. So print or bookmark this recipe for the next time your loved ones come over. Happy cooking!


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