We absolutely love Thai food. In our opinion, Thai cuisine is one of the best cuisines in the world. Savory dishes like pad thai, khao soi, and gaeng keow wan (Thai green curry) are a big reason for that but so are Thai desserts like khao niaow ma muang (mango sticky rice) and tub tim grob.
Food is a big reason why we love visiting Bangkok and Thailand. If you have a taste for the sweeter things in life, then be sure to look for these 25 delicious Thai desserts on your next trip to Thailand.
THAI DESSERTS QUICK LINKS
If you’re visiting Thailand and want to really dig into Thai cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour or taking a cooking class.
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THE MOST DELICIOUS THAI DESSERTS
1. Khao Niaow Ma Muang (Mango Sticky Rice)
If gaeng keow wan is my favorite savory Thai dish, then mango sticky rice could very well be my favorite Thai dessert. It’s one of two Thai desserts that made it to CNN’s list of the world’s 50 best desserts.
Khao niaow ma muang refers to a traditional Thai dessert made with sweet sticky rice and fresh mangoes. Glutinous rice is sweetened with palm sugar and soaked through with creamy coconut milk before being served with slices of fresh mango.
When mangoes are in season in Thailand, they’re one of the sweetest in the world which is a big reason why this dessert is so darn good. If you’re obsessed with mangoes like I am, then you’ll probably want to have these everyday in Thailand.
2. Khao Niaow Tu Rian (Durian Sticky Rice)
Fresh mangoes are universally well-liked but you can’t say the same about durian, which is unfortunate because they’re absolutely delicious.
Durian is a polarizing fruit that people either love or hate. It’s notorious for its repugnant smell that’s been likened to dirty gym socks or rotting flesh. I used to hate the smell of durian as a kid but it’s now become one of my favorite fruits. It’s soft and silky and tastes similar to custard flavored with almonds.
Mango sticky rice is more famous (and less polarizing) but if you have a curious palate, then you’ll definitely want to try durian sticky rice as well. It’s made with the same coconut-milk-soaked sticky rice served with slivers of fresh durian.
3. Khao Lam (Bamboo Sticky Rice)
Glutinous rice is an important part of Thai cuisine so it’s no surprise that you’ll find it in many Thai desserts. Mango sticky rice is the most famous but khao lam is something you should look for as well.
Khao lam refers to a Thai dessert made with sweet sticky rice, red beans, and coconut cream stuffed into tubes of hollow bamboo. The bamboo is slow-roasted over charcoal before being cracked open to reveal the sweet, creamy dessert inside.
Khao lam can be made with either white glutnious rice or black sticky rice (khao neow dam). If you have the stomach space, then you should definitely try both.
4. Khao Tom Mud (Banana in Sticky Rice)
Khao tom mud is another delicious Thai dessert made with sweetened sticky rice and coconut milk, this time with bananas.
To prepare, baby bananas (kluay kai) are stuffed in a sticky rice mixture and then wrapped in banana leaf before steaming. It’s basically the Thai equivalent of Filipino suman, but with bananas.
5. Kluay Kaek (Thai Banana Fritters)
I’ll never forget one of my very first trips to Thailand. A college buddy of mine and I had just eaten pad thai at a beachside restaurant in Koh Samui. The sun was just starting to set when we tucked into the most delicious plates of Thai fried bananas with coconut ice cream. That meal was from over twenty years ago but I still remember it like it were yesterday.
Kluay kaek refers to Thai banana fritters enriched with toasted sesame seeds and shredded coconut. Sweet, warm, and crunchy, they’re delicious on their own but even more so when served with ice cream, especially Thai coconut ice cream.
6. Khao Mao Tod
If kluay kaek sounds appealing to you, then you’ll definitely want to try khao mao tod as well. It refers to a similarly fried banana dessert made with shredded coconut, sesame seeds, and unripe rice grains for extra crunch.
Unlike the ubiquitous kluay kaek, khao mao tod is a dying dessert that’s harder to come by these days. If you ever come across this rare Thai treat, then you should definitely try it.
7. Roti Kluay (Thai Banana Roti)
Thai roti is one of the most popular desserts you can find in Thailand. It consists of crispy parcels of flatbread filled with different ingredients and served with sweetened condensed milk.
Like crepes, Thai roti can be made with a variety of different fillings like apple, strawberry, chocolate, or Nutella. One of the best and most delicious is roti kluay, or Thai roti filled with bananas.
8. Pa Thong Ko
If you like donuts, then you need to try pa thong ko. It’s basically the Thai equivalent of Chinese youtiao.
Pa thong ko are commonly sold as street food in Thailand. These Thai donuts are typically eaten for breakfast with jok (Thai congee) or as a dessert snack with sweetened condensed milk or pandan custard.
The pa thong ko pictured below are from a Michelin-recommended stall in Bangkok’s Chinatown. It was one of the stops on this awesome Bangkok street food tour.
9. Tub Tim Grob
As previously mentioned, two Thai desserts made it to CNN’s list of the world’s 50 best desserts. Mango sticky rice is one, tub tim grob is the other. Tub tim grob literally means “crispy rubies” and refers to an incredibly delicious Thai dessert made with crunchy ruby-colored water chestnuts.
To be honest, I didn’t think this shaved ice dessert would be anything special but it blew me away. Water chestnuts are diced into small cubes before being soaked in grenadine or red food coloring. They’re then coated in tapioca flour and boiled in water before being served with coconut milk and ice.
Milky and refreshing, the texture of the water chestnuts is absolutely delicious. Seriously, you need to try this on your next trip to Thailand.
10. Bua Loi
Bua loi refers to a simple but delicious Thai dessert made with sticky rice flour balls served in a sweet and warm coconut milk soup. The rice flour dumplings can be made with a variety of flavorings and coloring agents like taro root, pandan juice, beet juice, and kabocha squash.
11. Ruam Mit
Ruam mit is a popular Thai dessert that reminds me a bit of cendol, but minus the gula melaka (palm sugar). It consists of a dozen or so ingredients like multi-colored vermicelli noodles, tapioca pearls, sweet potatoes, lotus root, and jackfruit served with shaved ice in sweetened coconut milk.
Like Filipino halo-halo, there’s no set recipe for ruam mit so you’re likely to find a different set of ingredients in every bowl of this delicious and refreshing Thai dessert.
Interestingly, ruam means “to combine” while mit translates to “friends”, which like halo-halo (mix-mix), is the perfect way of describing this eclectic mix of colorful ingredients.
12. Oh Eaw
Oh eaw (or o-aew) refers to a Thai shaved ice dessert that originated in Phuket. It’s named after its key ingredient – a type of jelly made from the seeds of the o-aew plant. If you’re familiar with Taiwanese desserts, then you’ll know it as aiyu jelly.
Along with the jelly, oh eaw is commonly served with grass jelly and red kidney beans. The various ingredients are served in a bowl with crushed ice before being drizzled with sweet syrup.
You can enjoy oh eaw in Bangkok but it’s best to try it in Phuket. This refreshing Thai dessert was introduced to the island by Hokkien Chinese immigrants who settled in Phuket during the tin mining boom of the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.
13. Khanom Tom
Khanom tom is a traditional Thai dessert of boiled rice flour dumplings filled with shredded coconut, palm sugar, and coconut milk. Shaped into colorful balls, the dumplings are coated in shredded coconut and infused with other ingredients like pandan leaf and butterfly pea flower extract for added color, aroma, and flavor.
14. Khanom Tako
Khanom tako is one of our favorite Thai desserts. It’s commonly available at Thai restaurants outside of the country so it’s something we often enjoy even when we’re not in Thailand.
Khanom tako is a Thai dessert pudding made with a jelly-like base smothered in a coconut milk topping. A small cup made with pandan leaves is filled with a mung bean flour pudding before being poured over with the coconut milk topping. The end result is an aromatic Thai dessert with a sweet coconut sauce on top and a firmer, more gelatin-like layer at the bottom.
The picture below was taken at Khlong Lat Mayom floating market in Bangkok. As you can see, tako can be made with a variety of additional ingredients and toppings like sago pearls, chopped fruit, water chestnuts, sweet beans, and sweet corn.
15. Khanom Sot Sai
Khanom sot sai (or khanom sai sai) refers to a traditional Thai dessert made with balls of grated coconut and palm sugar coated in a salted rice flour and coconut cream mixture. The coated balls are wrapped in banana leaf parcels before being steamed and served.
Though less prominent today, khanom sot sai is an ancient Thai dessert that was once an important part of traditional Thai weddings.
16. Khanom Mor Kaeng
Khanom mor kaeng is a traditional Thai dessert similar to flan. It’s a soft and custard-y dessert made with coconut milk, eggs, palm sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and some type of starchy ingredient like hulled mung beans, lotus seeds, or taro. After baking, the dessert is commonly topped with crispy fried shallots.
The invention of khanom mor kaeng is credited to Maria Guyomar de Pinha, a Japanese-Portuguese-Bengali woman who lived in Ayutthaya in the 17th century. She’s said to have created many Thai desserts influenced by Portuguese cuisine like khanom mor kaeng, thong yip, and foi thong.
17. Khanom Chan
Khanom chan is a steamed Thai dessert that dates back to the Sukhothai period. Like thong yip and foi thong, it’s one of nine auspicious desserts that were traditionally served at important Thai ceremonies like weddings and housewarmings.
Khanom chan is made with tapioca flour, rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, and supplemental ingredients like jasmine flowers, pandan leaves, and butterfly pea flowers. Khanom chan translates to “layered dessert” and typically consists of nine alternating layers.
The word “nine” is auspicious because it sounds like the Thai phrase for “to move forward”. Gifting someone with khanom chan is a symbolic act of blessing.
18. Thong Yip
As described, thong yip is one of nine auspicious traditional Thai desserts served at important ceremonies like weddings and housewarmings. Invented by Maria Guyomar de Pinha, it’s an egg-based dessert that’s given as a gift to symbolize wealth and prosperity.
19. Khanom Bueang
Khanom bueang are Thai crepes that are commonly sold as street food in Thailand. Resembling tacos, this ancient Thai treat is usually filled with meringue before being topped with other ingredients like foi thong, grated coconut, or scallions.
20. Khao Taen
If you like Rice Krispie treats, then you should keep an eye out for these sweet crispy rice cakes known as khao taen or nang let. Drizzled in cane sugar syrup, it’s like a lighter, less gooey version of the classic American treat.
Khao taen is a popular Thai snack that’s commonly sold at street food and market stalls. We bought a bunch from Khlong Lat Mayom market in Bangkok and polished them off within the first couple of days. Like Rice Krispie treats, they’re highly addictive.
21. Khanom Krok
Khanom krok refers to a small coconut rice pancake or dumpling that’s commonly sold as street food in Thailand. It’s made with a batter consisting of rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar cooked in a cast iron pan with multiple indentations, similar to the pan used to make Japanese takoyaki.
These Thai coconut rice dumplings are typically made with two batters – one salty and the other sweet. Depending on the vendor, it can be made with additional ingredients as well like shredded coconut, green onions, taro, and sweet corn. Once cooked, the two halves are joined together and dusted with powdered sugar before serving.
If you’re familiar with Indonesian food, then you can think of khanom krok as the Thai equivalent of surabi.
22. Thai Coconut Ice Cream
No list of traditional Thai desserts can ever be complete without coconut ice cream, one of the best and most popular flavors of ice cream in Thailand. A ubiquitous Thai street dessert, this delicious ice cream flavor is made with heavy cream, egg yolks, and sugar enriched with sweetened shreds of coconut, coconut milk, and coconut cream.
On a sweltering Bangkok afternoon, Thai coconut ice cream takes like the best thing on earth.
23. Luk Chub (Thai Mung Bean Candy)
If you like marzipan, then you’ll probably want to try these pretty glass-like candies known as luk chub. You can think of it as the Thai version of marzipan, but instead of almonds, it’s made with sweetened mung bean paste.
Luk chub is said to have been introduced to Thailand by Portuguese traders in the 16th century. At the time, almonds weren’t available in Thailand so they improvised and made them with mung beans instead.
Like Italian frutta martorama, luk chub is shaped and colored to look like miniature Thai fruits and vegetables using natural dyes like pandan leaf extract and butterfly pea flowers.
24. Thai Fruits
Anywhere else, I’d say that a plate of fruit would be a boring dessert but not in Thailand. Here, it’s something to look forward to.
Thailand is home to a plethora of amazing tropical fruits but in my opinion, Thai durian should be tops on everyone’s list. Love it or hate, it isn’t called the “king of fruits” for nothing so you can’t leave Thailand without trying it at least once.
Durian would be my first choice but mangosteen isn’t far behind. Known as the “queen of fruits”, it’s the yin to durian’s yang and something we can’t stop eating whenever we’re in Thailand. Thai mangosteen are seriously delicious.
Lanzones rounds out my top three favorite Thai fruits. When they’re in season, we always look for them on every visit to Thailand.
25. Cha Yen (Thai Iced Tea)
If pad thai is the most famous dish and mango sticky rice the most popular dessert, then cha yen or Thai iced tea is arguably the most famous drink from Thailand. It refers to a refreshingly delicious iced drink made with black tea, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and sugar.
Thai iced tea is known for its two-tone orange and cream color derived from pouring the tea and milk one after the other. I read that the tea gets its deep orange color from specific brands of black tea made with the same food dye used to color Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THAI DESSERTS
Savory Thai dishes like tom yum goong, pad see ew, and som tam are enough to make us book flights to Bangkok, but even more so when we have Thai desserts like khanom tako and fried bananas with coconut ice cream waiting for us at the end of each meal.
Food is a big reason why millions of people flock to Bangkok every year. Thai cuisine is one of the world’s most enticing, and Thai desserts have a lot to do with that.
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Cover photo by mangothara. Stock images via Depositphotos.