Buko Pandan Salad

September 2: World Coconut Day

For our marriage preparation ministry, we usually sponsor the “mixed couples” from our church. It makes sense because we are a mixed couple ourselves and can relate our experiences with them. Sometimes we are assigned a young couple where the bride and/or groom is Filipino. Their parents and grandparents would like them to incorporate Filipino traditions (13 coins, veil and cord) in their wedding ceremony, so we practice at our house. To get them in the mood and excited about their cultural customs, we have a Filipino theme night and serve Filipino foods for dinner. One of our brides wanted to share a dessert and brought buko pandan salad. It brought back happy childhood memories for Islander who ate it at relatives’ parties!

We had leftover young coconut (buko) shreds from our buko pie recipe and Islander was able to make this sweet salad at home on the mainland. Thanks to our bride Jobelle for sharing the dessert and the recipe. Serving and eating this buko pandan salad is a wonderful way to observe World Coconut Day!


(From Jobelle B.)


  • 3 cups buko (young coconut meat), shredded
  • ½ cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls + water
  • 2 cans (7 ounces) table cream
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon pandan extract (we used Butterfly brand—see Notes)
  • 1 jar nata de coco (cubed coconut gel), drained
  • 1-2 cans green ai-yu jelly, sliced


In a saucepan, bring 4-5 cups water to a boil. Add the tapioca pearls and cook for 5-10 minutes until no longer white in the middle. Immediately strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, pour the table cream and mix with the cooked tapioca.

Pour the condensed milk and evaporate milk. Stir in the pandan extract. Drain the nata de coco from the jar and add to the mixture.

Open the can of green jelly and slice into cubes. Gently fold into the mixture. Mix in the buko until well blended. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Serve cold.


  • If using frozen buko, defrost, rinse and dry completely. If it is too wet, it could spoil easily and ruin the dessert.
  • Butterfly brand pandan extract is thick and bright green but other brands of pandan flavoring are thinner and/or clear color. Adjust accordingly and add a few drops of green food color if desired.
  • Green gelatin, agar-agar or gulaman may be used instead of the canned green ai-yu jelly.
  • In addition to nata de coco, kaong (sugar palm fruit) in a jar could be used in this recipe.
  • Search our blog for other coconut recipes.