Coconut Sweet Bun

We know no sourdough bread, we don’t know any French-style baguette. We do know how to make delicious, sweet and airy buns filled with freshly grated coconut. Step into any local bakeries in the country and ask for coconut sweet bun, seller will tell you that it is the most popular item in any bakeries. Especially my home town, they bake beautiful coconut buns. Serious stuff. People buy them by the hundreds sometimes, since they are sweet, cheap and not very filling. They are easy to make at home, if you have a bit of time in hand. I prepared the filling with some pandan leaves to infuse the coconut with a bit of vanilla hint.

The high sugar content makes the buns very soft and pillowy. The sugar from the dough makes the bread soft and browns easily, which shorten the baking time. Sugar content from the coconut mixture makes the filling moist and sweet. This is the type of bread that bakeries sell and what the masses loves. They are quick to make since proofing time is short and baking time is even shorter, light and they just fly off the shelves. Bakeries are actually rated from the quality of their coconut sweet buns, also known as roti kelapa.

Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, flour, sugar, salt, yeast and powdered milk.

Add liquid ingredients, water and egg. Mix well with paddle attachment, about 4-5 minutes, low speed.

Add butter at room temperature. Mix for a couple of more minutes using paddle attachment, low speed. When the dough forms loose ball, switch to hook attachment.

Beat over high speed with hook attachment for 9-15 minutes, till dough clears from the side of bowl. The dough is best when sticks to the bottom slightly.

At the end of the beating period, form dough into a ball and let rest on counter, covered with plastic for 10 minutes (image missing here).

In a heatproof plate combine some fresh pandan leaves (screwpine leaves).

Freshly grated coconut and sugar.

Mix slightly with hands until all sugar is well distributed. Steam over high heat for 5 minutes. Remove from steamer and let cool.

At the end of the initial resting period, the dough would be slightly bigger with smooth surface.

Divide the dough into 50 g pieces. Roll into a ball and rest for 10 more minutes, uncovered. I get about 10 pieces, with a small dough for a spare.

Lightly flour working surface. Shape one dough into a cylinder.

Roll the dough into a triangle, wider end closest to you.

Place one spoonful of coconut filling on the wide part of the triangle.

Carefully lift both ends of the dough and fold it over to cover the filling completely.

Use your thumb to shape filling into a crescent. Pinch both ends together so the filling will not spill out.

Press the ends with side of your hand and lightly roll the dough away from you.

This is how it looks like, something like croissant.

Arrange on buttered pans by slightly bend it to make it like a moon shape.

Let rest, uncovered, for 90 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, about 200 degree celsius. When out of the oven, brush the top with melted butter. Serve warm.


Coconut Sweet Bun, Roti Manis Kelapa

Makes 10 buns


For bread dough
250 g bread flour
10 g instant yeast
55 g sugar
5 g salt
15 g powdered milk
1 whole egg
105 cc cold water

45 g butter, room temperature

For coconut filling
400 g freshly grated coconut
12 pandan leaves, halved
100 g sugar


Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt and powdered milk in a mixing bowl.
Add egg and water. Beat with paddle attachment, low speed for 3 minutes until all ingredients mixed well.
Add butter and continue mixing until ingredients form a loose ball, about 2 minutes.
Switch to dough hook and beat over high speed for about 9 minutes.
The dough should clear all sides of bowl at the end of beating period, with slightly sticky part sticks to the bottom of the bowl.
Remove from mixing bowl, knead slightly and form into a tight ball.
Leave on kitchen counter and let rest for 10 minutes, cover with a piece of plastic.
Divide dough into 10 pieces, about 50 g each. Roll into balls. Rest for 10 more minutes.
Roll individual dough and fill with one spoonful of coconut mixture and shape into crescent.
Arrange on buttered pans. Let rest for 90 minutes, or till the buns double in size.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degree celsius for 8-10 minutes.
When the top is golden brown, it is ready.
Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Serve warm

To prepare filling, combine all ingredients in a heatproof plate. Steam over boiling water for 5 minutes, covered.
Remove and let cool before using.

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26 Responses to “Coconut Sweet Bun”

  1. 1

    YenYen — August 17, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

    Had this fresh from the oven. Delish!

  2. 2

    Mrs Ergül — August 17, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    Look at that golden crust! Looks so good!

  3. 3

    bblossom — August 18, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    Hi Jun, Thanks for another great/delicious recipe. Have a great day!

  4. 4

    Linda — August 18, 2011 @ 8:25 am

    OMG I want it. Reading your blog always makes me miss home.
    Do you have recipe of fried shredded taro/yam ( hokkien: u yen)

    • Jun replied: — August 18th, 2011 @ 10:09 am

      Yes! I was just gonna post it. Maybe next week or so. The pic is not that nice, so I was thinking I want to make it again. :)

  5. 5

    Yi @ Yi Resevation — August 21, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    I love coco buns and the ones you made are absolutely fabulous! Too late for me to make them this week but I’ll definitely put this recipe to work next weekend. Thanks!

  6. 6

    Arudhi@Aboxofkitchen — August 25, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    I`ve never tried the buns! Oh they sure look so fluffy and sweet! Maybe it`s time to use my never-used kneader :D

  7. 7

    kewpie — August 28, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    hey J! nice work! am going to try it out this weekend!

  8. 8

    zenchef — August 29, 2011 @ 6:54 am

    Oh, those look absolutely perfect. I’m drinking my morning coffee as I read this and I so wish I could have one right now. I guess I better get to work if I want them for tomorrow morning! :)

  9. 9

    Alli — August 30, 2011 @ 3:09 am

    They look fabulous and easy to make, especially with your photographic steps. They must go on my list of things do make.

  10. 10

    Nami | Just One Cookbook — August 30, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    Jun….. this looks so good! I don’t think I ever had buns with coconuts in it. As a coconut lover, these buns are killing me. And you said these are the most popular item in the bakeries there…so envious. How come we don’t have it here! Looks so good!!!

  11. 11

    vincent — August 31, 2011 @ 2:30 pm


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  12. 12

    Ju — September 1, 2011 @ 4:55 am


  13. 13

    Urvashee@Dessarts — September 10, 2011 @ 6:08 am

    This looks so yummy! I’ve never had bread with coconut in it. How interesting. I’ve never had pandan leaves before and am curious to how they taste. You have a beautiful blog!

    • Jun replied: — September 25th, 2011 @ 8:41 am

      Pandan tastes something like vanilla to me. I am sure many people would think other wise, but it really is vanilla-ey.

  14. 14

    tofugirl — September 14, 2011 @ 5:09 am

    These look absolutely gorgeous, just like the buns I get from the bakery! One question–do you think I could make these with dried coconut? I’m not sure where to get freshly grated around here…maybe I could rehydrate the dried kind, hmmmm….

    • Jun replied: — September 25th, 2011 @ 8:31 am

      Yeah you could use dried coconut flakes. Moist them slightly with coconut milk until they are slightly soggy. Steam for five minutes. If you can’t find pandan leaves, the coconut filling will taste just as great.

  15. 15

    Fab Friday Finds « made different blog — November 11, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

    [...] clockwise: Bento  //  Indonesian Sweet Coconut Buns  //  Cracker  //  Bear  //  Wigwam Pattern  //  Shiny Lights GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", [...]

  16. 16

    Lenny — August 20, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, Jun! I love sweet coconut buns, and have been longing for them for years :P

    It was my first attempt to make buns, and it turned out great! I followed the recipe, and used frozen grated coconut instead because we don’t have fresh one available. I am very, very generous when it comes to filling, but still I ended up with enough coconut for a second batch which I think probably frozen coconut weighs less. I am happy though because I can have more coconut buns! Yay!!! Again, thank you for sharing, Jun!

    • Jun replied: — September 26th, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

      Frozen grated coconut is a great substitute. I think it must be more moist than fresh ones? Must be delish!

  17. 17

    Lenny — October 25, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    The frozen coconut is coarse and dry after steaming. I cooked it with some water to make it softer and moist. It is delish!! =)

  18. 18

    J.T. — April 12, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    These look delicious, but pandan leaves are quite hard for me to come by; would vanilla extract be an adequate substitute, and if so, how much?

    • Jun replied: — July 12th, 2013 @ 2:33 am

      It is fine to omit them all together.

  19. 19

    MrsSo — February 6, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

    Do you have this recipe in western measurements?

    • Jun replied: — April 14th, 2014 @ 12:57 am

      No sorry. Maybe you can download cooking calculator app?

  20. 20

    Rifa — November 7, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

    My childhood snacks,love it,thanks for the recipe… :)

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