Home · Recipes Coconut Jam Cinnamon Rolls Author: Maryanne CabreraPublished: Apr 9, 2015Updated: Oct 16, 2023 View Recipe13 ReviewsThis post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy. Coconut jam cinnamon rolls adds delicious tropical flavor to the classic cinnamon rolls. Always in pursuit of new exciting cinnamon roll variations. These coconut cinnamon rolls add a tropical flair to a classic favorite. Skip the cream cheese frosting. These cinnamon rolls are topped with rich and creamy coconut jam! What is Coconut Jam? Coconut jam is a sweet spread popular through Asia. Each country and cuisine has their own variation. A quick visit to your local Asian market and you’ll find dozens and dozens of different jars of coconut jam. It can be a bit overwhelming and confusing. Some are watery, some are super thick. There are creamy pale colored jams as well as almost burnt, super dark caramel ones. Therefore, I highly recommend you make coconut jam from scratch! You just need coconut milk and sugar! Filipino Coconut Jam (Minatamis na Bao) As mentioned, there are many variations of coconut jam. This recipe makes Filipino style coconut jam called manatamis na bao in Tagalog (Filipino language). Don’t confuse this with kaya, the popular more well known coconut jam of Malaysia and Singapore. The main difference minatamis na bao and kaya: kaya includes eggs. However, similar to kaya, Filipino coconut jam is spread on toast, especially on pan de sal. In addition to bread, coconut jam is used extensively in all sorts of sweet glutinous rice desserts, rice puddings, and cassava cakes. Everything you spread coconut jam on becomes instantaneously delicious! Brown Sugar Varieties The varying colors of coconut jam is dependent on the type of brown sugar used. Obviously, the darker the sugar (the more molasses), the darker the jam. You can use regular brown sugar for this recipe (either light or dark variety). Or try something new by using coconut palm sugar or panocha (panela or piloncillo). I prefer to use coconut palm sugar. Coconut sugar is widely used in the Philippines because the islands are full of coconut trees! The sugar is derived from the sap of coconut trees. Coconut sugar is available in disks like the ones photographed above, but many stores (like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) now sell granulated versions. Coconut sugar has a mild, subtle sweet flavor. Don’t be fooled- it doesn’t taste anything like coconut. For a stronger, fuller sweet flavor, you can use panela or piloncillo. These are blocks of unrefined cane sugar. To use coconut sugar or panela, place the chunks on a microwave safe plate. Microwave the sugar at intervals of 10 seconds until the sugar has warmed up and softened. Once the sugar is pliable, chop them up into small pieces or pulse them in a food processor. Homemade Coconut Jam Coconut jam is made by cooking together coconut milk and brown sugar. Typically, pandan leaves are steeped in the coconut milk. Pandan imparts a sweet, almost vanilla-like flavor. It is a very popular flavor in Southeast Asian desserts. I used pandan extract, which I found at a local Asian market. It comes in a bottle similar to vanilla extract and the version I found is made by McCormick. If you can’t find it, feel free to omit it or sub in pure vanilla extract. To make the jam, simply combine coconut milk and sugar. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes until mixture has substantially thickened. Stir the mixture often to ensure it doesn’t burn along the sides of the pot. Cool to room temperature and store in the fridge. The coconut jam will continue to thicken as it cools. What to do with leftover coconut jam? You’ve got plenty of options! Use coconut jam in place of sweetened condensed milk. Stir into coffee (like Vietnamese iced coffee), use it to sweetened oatmeals or yogurt, or spread it on bread or crackers. More Cinnamon Roll Variations Apple Cinnamon Rolls Pumpkin Sticky Buns Spiced Cranberry Rolls Cookies and Cream Rolls I’m really happy with the way these coconut jam cinnamon rolls turned out. It’s one dessert that I can share with my parents that combines our two cultures. For a good chunk of my childhood, I shied away from Asian foods in favor of more popular American foods. I wanted to fit in and eat chocolate cake, apple pie, and hamburgers. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the two cultures and love finding ways to incorporate them together. Take your basic cinnamon rolls and pump them with exotic, sweet coconut jam. Best of all, this recipe makes two pans of cinnamon rolls- one to keep and one to share. More Coconut Milk Recipes Coconut Cream Tart Biko (Filipino Sticky Rice Cake) Coconut Raspberry Cake Coconut Cake Doughnuts Coconut Jam Cinnamon Rolls Take your basic cinnamon rolls and pump them with exotic, sweet coconut jam. Yield: 18 rolls (two 8-inch square pans) Prep Time: 40 minutes minutesCook Time: 30 minutes minutesResting Time:: 1 hour hour 30 minutes minutesTotal Time: 2 hours hours 40 minutes minutes Servings: 18 Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe IngredientsDough:½ cup warm water 100-110℉2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast (7 g)¼ cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (54 g), divided ½ cup whole milk room temp1 large egg room temp1 large yolk room temp1 teaspoon fine sea salt4 cups all-purpose flour (500 g)6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (85 g), softenedCinnamon Filling:⅓ cup unsalted butter (76 g) softened, room temp⅓ cup granulated sugar (65 g)⅓ cup coconut sugar (65 g) or palm sugar or light/dark brown sugar1 Tablespoon ground cinnamonCoconut Jam:15 oz canned coconut milk full-fat, unsweetened½ cup coconut sugar (110 g) or palm sugar or light/dark brown sugar¼ teaspoon fine sea salt2 teaspoon pandan extract optional, or sub in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Instructions Dough: Sprinkle yeast over warm water. Add 1 tsp sugar and stir to combine. Let sit for 5-7 minutes to allow mixture to bubble and activate.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together yeast mixture, remaining ¼ cup sugar, milk, egg and yolk. Whisk salt into flour. Add 2 cups of flour to mixing bowl. Use the hook attachment to mix dough together. Mix on low speed until flour is incorporated. Add another cup of flour. Continue to knead on low speed, adding softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Add remaining cup of flour and knead until the dough is smooth and cleans the sides of the bowl. *If dough is too sticky, add additional flour 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved.Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest at room temperature for about an hour until dough has doubled in volume.Cinnamon Filling: Stir softened butter in a small bowl. It should resemble the consistency of mayonnaise. Set aside.In a small bowl, mix together sugar, coconut sugar, and cinnamon. Set asideCoconut Jam: In a small sauce pot, combine coconut milk and coconut sugar. Set over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil. Once mixture has boiled, reduce heat and let simmer until thickened, about 8-12 minutes. Stir often to ensure mixture does not burn along the sides of the pot. Remove from heat. Add salt and pandan extract. Stir to combine. Pour jam into heat proof containers. Allow to cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge until ready to use. Jam will continue to thicken in the fridge.Assembly:Punch down risen dough. Transfer to a lightly floured working surface. Roll dough into a 20 x 14 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough. Sprinkle cinnamon filling and gently press into dough.Roll dough into a tight log, starting at the longest side. Slice the log into 18 equal parts*. Lightly grease two 8×8-inch baking pans. Divide rolls between the two pans, 9 pieces in each pan. Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rolls rest for 30-45 minutes at room temperature to allow rolls to rise.Preheat oven to 350℉. Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top and the internal temperature of the rolls hit 185℉. Allow rolls to rest for 5 minutes to slightly cool. Spread coconut jam all over warm rolls and serve immediately. Notes*Serving Size: Recipe can also be made into 12 rolls baked in a 9×12-inch baking pan. Ingredient Notes: Coconut Sugar may be substituted with palm sugar or light/dark brown sugar. For strong sweet flavor use panela, unrefined cane sugar. If using chunks of coconut sugar or panela, place on a microwave safe plate. Microwave at 10 second intervals until sugar has warmed up and softened. Once sugar is pliable, chop into smaller pieces or pulse in a food processor. Color of coconut jam depends on the type of sugar used. Use full-fat canned coconut milk. For best flavor and best results, find a coconut milk that lists coconut as the main ingredient. Storage: Coconut jam cinnamon rolls are best enjoyed fresh from the oven. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Coconut jam can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks. What to do with leftover coconut jam? You’ve got plenty of options! Use coconut jam in place of sweetened condensed milk. Stir into coffee (like Vietnamese iced coffee), use it to sweetened oatmeals or yogurt, or spread it on bread or crackers. All images and text © The Little Epicurean Author: Maryanne Cabrera Course: Bread, BreakfastCuisine: Filipino, AmericanKeyword: coconut cinnamon rolls, coconut jam, coconut jam bread Did you make this recipe?Show us on Instagram! Tag @littleepicurean and hashtag #littleepicurean.