Buko Salad or Young Coconut Fruit Salad is a common Filipino dessert made with mixed fruits, cream and shredded young coconut.
Buko salad is one Filipino dessert that is often present whenever there is a gathering. I grew up having this as a dessert even on a regular day. I had been posting a lot of desserts but I realized that I haven’t posted more Filipino desserts and dishes in my website. I know it was because I rarely make them anymore since I moved in Canada. I kind of miss it, and I decided to start making them again to share with you. Although this Buko Salad is an all year dessert, I think holiday season is a perfect season to introduce it to you. Maybe this is something that you can add in your holiday menu.
What is Buko Salad?
Buko in English means Coconut. So if I translate it word by word, it would be Coconut Salad. There is 2 version of this. The one we call Fruit Salad which is basically Buko Salad without the shredded coconut. Just mixed fruits and cream. So in the Philippines, we say Buko Salad if we mean the one with coconut and Fruit Salad the one without. The ingredients are the same except for the young coconut.
It has been a long time since I made this, I cannot remember the last time. Nanay (my Mom) often make this for use whenever we are celebrating any occasion, and sometimes we do not even need an occasion to have this. I request my mom to make this for us even on a regular day. It is a simple mix of canned preserved fruits smothered with thick heavy cream, so thick do not even bother counting the calories in it. Nanay always make this the same way every time, and every time it never failed to make me run to the fridge to help myself. I eat this for dessert and even for snack.
Fresh or Frozen Young Coconut
In the Philippines, we have easy access to fresh young coconut. We literally go to the market to buy young coconut to take home for use in making Buko Salad. This is something that I miss, an cannot be replaced in terms of taste and texture when using frozen young coconut. But then I just have to make use of what we have here, the easy way. I used frozen young coconut that I bought from an Asian store. They do sell coconut that still have the shell or the husk, but seriously, I am not going to crack those coconut, that is too much work for me. So took the short cut road. Not 100% the same, but the closest and the easiest option I could get my hands on.
Using the Right Cream
it s very important to use the right type of heavy cream when making this recipe. We are not talking about liquid whipping cream. If you’ve made Buko Salad before, then the type of heavy cream used in this recipe is not something you to you. I used either Carnation Thick Cream or Nestle Cream. They are very common in the Philippines, and here in Canada, they carry it in Asian stores or Asian or baking section of large grocery stores. The consistency of these cream is very different from whipping cream. So far, these are the only cream that I tried using to make Fruit Salad or Buko Salad Filipino style. I do not have any recommendation on what to substitute this with, as the texture will be different. Since this uses only very few ingredients, the cream play a huge role on the taste of this salad, same with the condensed milk.
We always use the canned preserved Fruit Cocktail when making this dessert. Del Monte is one of the common brand we have in the Philippines, which happens to be available here in Canada. It is a mix of preserved fruits, the likes of grapes, cherry ( do not expect much), papaya, pineapple and peach. If you do not want to use canned mix fruits, you can use fresh, but I honesty never tried that. Too much fruits to buy separately, so I always go for this easy ready to use fruit cocktail.
Tips in Making Buko Salad?
- unless you are using fresh fruits, it is a MUST to full drain the liquid from the canned fruit. Leave it at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator. The excess water could make the salad runny and watery
- Chill the condensed milk and thick cream. This make the salad come together rather than being watery
- Chill before serving. Although you can serve it as soon as you are done mixing it, i find it better when chilled. This gives time for the cream to chill
- If you can get your hands on a fresh young coconut that is really soft, that would be the best option. Frozen works, but I often find the texture of the strand of the young coconut quite firm.
- 170ml Thick Cream (chilled in the refrigerator overnight or 1 at least hour)
- 836g Fruit Cocktail (drained and chilled in the refrigerator overnight or at least 1 hour)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon Condensed Milk (chilled in the refrigerator overnight or at least 1 hour)
- 454g Young Shredded Coconut (fresh or frozen) – (drained and chilled in the refrigerator overnight)
- Chill and Drain: Transfer the fruit cocktail, and shreeded coconut in a colander (sieve). Cover and drain in the refrigerator overnigth, or if you do not have that much time to wait, drain at least 1 hour. Press lightly to release excess water.
- Pour the chilled cream and condensed milk to he drained fruit cocktail and shredded coconut.
- Optional Add-On: You can add 1/4 cup small cubed cheddar cheese
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours, overnight recommended
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