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Writing about Thai food without mentioning Thai desserts would be missing out on the vast array of sweets that are an integral part of Thai cuisine.
Thai desserts reflect Thai cuisine in the way certain ingredients are used, notably rice, coconut and fruits.
Locally known as khanom or sweet snacks in Thai, they are part of the street food culture and available all-day.
While in Thailand exploring the local and authentic food specialties, we relished the soothing flavors of the sweets after eating spicy Thai dishes.
To help you navigate traditional Thai desserts, use our guide to the most popular Thai sweets.
Explore the diverse flavors and textures with these 22 authentic and popular Thai desserts.
Top Authentic Desserts in Thailand
1. Thai Mango Sticky Rice – Khao Niao Mamuang
Sticky rice is a very particular staple of Thai cuisine. It is grown mainly in Southeast Asia and made from a specific variety of rice (with opaque grains) that once cooked, sticks.
Making sticky rice is not easy and it is very time consuming.
There is an art to making the rice sticky enough so the grains stay together, yet not too sticky so when eating with your hands it doesn’t stick to you.
Many Thai desserts are made using sticky rice. Let’s start with Thai mango sticky rice, the most popular Thai dessert.
Mangoes are native to Southeast Asia and Thailand is the third producer of mangoes worldwide.
In Thailand, Mango sticky rice is available everywhere at different price points.
This delectable dessert is made with fresh ripe mangoes cut into slices and placed on top of a bed of sticky rice. A sweet coconut milk is then poured over the slices of fresh mango and rice.
The dessert is topped off with a sprinkle of fried mung beans. Typically, the vendor slices the ripe mangoes and prepares this classic Thai dessert before your eyes.
It is our favorite traditional Thai dessert and we always look forward to enjoying it in Thailand.
Your best bet to find mango sweet sticky rice in Thailand is at the local market. While you’ll also find it at restaurants, it’s typically double or triple the price compared to the markets or street vendors.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: One of the best ways to explore a wide variety of famous Thai desserts is on a food tour with a local guide. We took and love food tours with A Chef’s Tour, because they are led by cooks and chef and they go off the beaten path. In Bangkok, we recommend the Bangkok Backstreets Food Tour. And, in Chiang Mai, the Northern Flavors Food Tour will surprise you with tasty and unusual Thai desserts.
2. Durian Sticky Rice – Khao Niao Toorien
This is another version of the previous dessert. This time the famous Durian fruit replaces the mango. Durian is often called the “King of Fruits” in Southeast Asia.
There are more than 300 varieties of durian fruits in Thailand, though only a few are edible. A large fruit, durian is known for it’s thorned skin and pungent odor.
Durian sticky rice is prepared the same way as mango sticky rice. Though times the fruit is sliced ahead of time.
It is harder to find sticky rice durian than the mango version. Your best bet in Thailand is to ask a vendor with mango sticky rice if they can make you one with durian.
We had it several times from local street vendors during our travels to Thailand and it was priced the same as the mango version.
3. Bamboo Sticky Rice – Khao Lam
This is another famous dessert made with Thai sticky rice that must try while in Thailand. This time the sticky rice is roasted in Bamboo sticks over charcoal.
You will find this dessert with variations such as black beans or sesame, or with different types of sticky rice, like black sticky rice. The rice takes on the flavor of the bamboo giving it a unique taste.
Ultimately, the experience of eating bamboo sticky rice is what makes this dessert so appealing.
The easiest way to eat it is to crack the bamboo open from the top, and then pull down strips of bamboo slowly.
Once you have peeled down a few strips around, you can then grab a piece of sticky rice and eat it with your hands.
Interestingly, in Cambodia, bamboo sticky rice is a popular Cambodian street food. While it is prepared in the same way in Thailand, the rice used in Cambodia is a special, fragrant rice from specific provinces of the country.
It is not easy to find this unique Thai dessert. The best place to look for it is at street fairs or at some markets in Thailand.
4. Thai Sticky Rice Cake – Kao Tom Mud
This delicious Thai dessert is made of sticky rice with coconut milk and a delicious filling inside.
There is a saying that Kao Tom Mud symbolizes a couple’s life since they usually pair two Kao Tom Mud together tied with a bamboo strip.
We had khao tom mud dessert filled with black beans, tamarind and banana. You can also find others versions stuffed with taro as well.
Wrapped in a banana leaf, it is deliciously sweet and slightly chewy. You can easily a pair of khao tom mud in just two or three bites.
These popular Thai desserts are easily found at the local markets. They are also sold at street carts on sidewalks next to savory street foods.
5. Filled Coconut Cream – Khanom Sod Sai
These small triangular banana leaf wrappings will grab your attention as you peruse the street food stalls in Thailand.
After seeing these traditional Thai desserts everywhere, we were surprised to learn they were stuffed with “coconut.”
The street vendor, seeing the curiosity on our faces, offered to open one up and let us taste it.
The interior was a creamy filling and a brown colored center with tamarind flavors.
The consistency of this Thai dessert is similar to a jelly on the outside while the tamarind filling in the center was slightly chewy.
Easy to eat, these Thai coconut cake like desserts are not too sweet and the tamarind flavor balances out the coconut.
The most popular places to find this traditional Thai sweet is at the local markets or street carts.
This Thailand dessert is homemade and every vendor has their own way of making it. Try as many different kinds as you can find your favorite. Our preferred one is the one filled with tamarind.
6. Coconut Ice Cream – Itim Kati
Ice cream in Thailand is a popular treat to cool off from the heat and humidity.
Thai ice cream, also called I-tim in Thai, is typically made without the use of dairy products.
The flavors are quite unique and include durian, jackfruit, taro root and even corn.
Coconut ice cream is one of the most popular flavors. Coconuts and coconut milk are used in many Thai dishes and it is no surprise to see them used in desserts.
The traditional Thai ice cream is unique in that it is made completely with coconut milk.
The Thais, like most people in Southeast Asia, do not easily digest lactose, the sugar that occurs naturally in milk.
Without the lactose, coconut ice cream can be enjoyed without the side effects of dairy.
The texture is not as creamy as milk-based ice cream and not as icy as sorbet. It’s a blend of both with refreshingly sweet flavor.
When looking to cool off, traditional Thai ice cream is the perfect dessert.
7. Thai Popsicles
In Thailand, at local markets or on streets with many food stalls, you’ll likely come across a vendor with a large stainless steel pot.
Seated on a little chair, the vendor will be shaking this huge, circular stainless steel pot back and forth.
In the pot you’ll see several tubes, each filled with different flavored icy popsicles.
The flavors range from sodas like cola, grape, and lemon to fresh fruit flavors like orange, strawberry, lime juice or mixed fruits.
While intensely sweet, it is worth sampling these popular Thai treats.
The popsicle vendors typically place themselves and their large pots on the main alleys, ensuring that you do not miss them.
These popsicles are popular with locals and tourist alike and are a quick refreshing treat. Try a favor you’ve never had before and discover Thai popsicles.
8. Thai Crispy Pancakes – Khanom Buang
These crispy pancakes will grab your attention as much as they grabbed ours when we saw them for the first time. They are a traditional Thai dessert that are meticulously prepared.
The base of the crispy pancake is made of rice flour and mung bean flour. And, then coconut cream is spread on top of each small pancake.
On top of the crispy pancake and coconut cream, you have a choice of a sweet or savory topping.
The sweet fillings have grated coconut and egg yolk strips known as golden threads.
And, the savory filling also contains shredded coconut with the addition of chopped spring onions and shredded shrimp.
These are very enjoyable Thai desserts with an unusual combination of flavors. Our preference was for the sweet crispy pancakes. However, the savory ones are worth trying too.
In Thailand, you will find vendors selling them at popular street corners. They are typically sold as a set of 5 small crispy pancakes.
9. Thai Roti – Roti Gluay
Thai roti is the Thai version of the roti, an Indian flatbread made of wholemeal flour, that is traditionally served savory.
The Indian roti has been adapted in many Southeast Asian countries. In Thailand, the roti is said to have originated from the Southern part of the country where the Muslim community adapted the Malaysian roti to Thai tastes and preferences.
Thai Roti is often sold by Muslim vendors and you’ll see long lines of people waiting to place their orders. The most popular is the Thai banana roti also called Roti Gluay.
The roti is fried dough cooked in a large wok with lots of butter or margarine. Depending on your order, different sweet stuffings are added.
The most common filling is banana and sugar topped with sweetened coconut condensed milk.
This Thai dessert is hugely popular and is sold on street carts throughout Thailand.
It is another of our favorite Thai desserts that we enjoyed in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Thai roti is one of the simplest Thai desserts you can make at home. See the steps and how-to-video in this Thai Roti Recipe – How To Make The Best Crispy Thai Banana Pancake
10. Sweet Rolled Sesame Pancakes – Tuang Muan Sot
These tiny rolled up pancakes caught our attention when Wang Lang Market, one of the top markets to visit in Bangkok.
We were struck by their bright colors and unusual flavors. The typical flavors of these sesame pancakes are young coconut, taro, pandan or corn.
After trying them, we could not easily decipher the subtle flavors. The most prominent was the coconut flavors in the pancake.
The texture of this classic Thai dessert is soft with a sweet filling and crunchy sesame seeds on the outside.
You’ll find these delicious Thai sweets sold at markets and street stalls. They come in various colors and are typically sold in packages of 6.
Not too sweet, this is a delicious dessert worth seeking out on your Thailand travels.
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11. Black Sesame Dumplings in Ginger Soup – Bua Loy Nam King
This sweet treat is traditionally Chinese, and it is quite unlike the coconut heavy Thai desserts.
Instead, this dessert is created with round dumplings made of rice flour and stuffed with a black sesame paste on the inside.
The black sesame dumplings are served swimming in a warm spicy ginger soup.The dumplings are soft and chewy and the ginger soup has a nice spicy bite to it.
This is one of the popular desserts in Bangkok’s Chinatown that we discovered when taking a food tour in Bangkok at night.
Ginger has many health benefits and this Thai dessert is quite delicious with its unusual combination of flavors and textures.
It’s a dessert you can feel good about eating and a nice bite into traditional Thai sweets.
12. Thai Pumpkin and Custard Dessert – Sang Kaya Fug Tong
When you think of pumpkins, desserts is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, especially in Thailand.
While exploring traditional Thai cuisine, we were immediately intrigued when we saw slices of pumpkins stuffed with a creamy filling.
The creamy filling we learned is actually custard that is whipped up until airly looking but firm.
This very popular dessert known as Sang Kaya Fug Tong consists of a slice of pumpkin filled with custard.
The pumpkin is cleaned and cooked ahead of time and all seeds are removed. It is then stuffed with a creamy coconut custard and cut into slices for sale.
While it is unusual to look at, it is actually really tasty. We particularly liked it because it is not too sweet.
You will find Sang Kaya Fug Tong at local markets or at street stalls. Take a bite of this unusual dessert when in Thailand.
13. Round Egg Yolk Drop – Tong Yord
Traditionally, desserts in Thailand are not made using eggs. This one Thailand dessert is a delicious exception.
Made with egg yolk, sugar, rice flour, and jasmine water, these little balls are a special treat for events and festivities.
While quite tasty, be warned as they are overwhelmingly sweet. You will love them if you have a sweet tooth.
You will find these egg yolk drops or tong yord treat in the sweets section of local markets throughout Thailand.
Our favorite place for this Thai treat is Boonsap bakery in Bangkok, which is famous for their traditional Thai desserts.
This unusual egg-based delicious dessert is one to experience in Thailand.
14. Green Mango with Sweet Chili Spices – Mamuang Nam Pla Wan
Thailand is home to a great variety of exotic fruits due to its tropical climate and fertile plains. As a result, you can taste many different types of delicious fruits.
One unique fruit is mango and specifically green mango. As a dessert, it is cut into slices and topped with chili and powdered sugar.
We highlight it here on this Thai dessert list for its unique tastes. The green mango a little bit bitter and not too sweet.
Combined with the chili, it has a very nice spicy bite, one that is quite unusual for a dessert.
You will find the green mango dessert, already sliced and packaged at fruit stands in the markets or street carts.
This interesting combination of mango fruit and chili powder is a fun experience to have in Thailand.
15. Mung Bean Cake – Khanom Mo Kaeng
Mung bean cakes are a popular Thai dessert. They are a baked custard dessert that’s available in many different versions.
Some of the mung beans cakes are eggy, delicate and flan-like, almost like a mung bean pudding. While others are firmer and starchier in texture, like brownies.
Regardless of what version of mung bean cake you try, you’ll certainly enjoy the custard flavors and delicate texture.
We enjoyed them best when they are simply browned on the top. There are other versions that are topped with shallots, that we didn’t particularly like.
Mung Bean Cakes are sold by street vendors who typically have large selections of khanom or Thailand desserts.
16. Grilled Coconut Cakes – Khanom Ba Bin or Khanom Krok
These Thai-style coconut pancakes are a favorite street food. They are cooked on a hot griddle and served warm.
These pancakes are made with rice flour and flavored with coconut and palm sugar. They are light and moist, with an airy texture. Bite-sized and delicious, it’s easy to eat several at a time.
Khanom ba bin have their roots in special occasions and ceremonies, although you’ll find them everywhere today.
This traditional Thai dessert is most popular in the regions of the country where coconuts grow in abundance.
In Ayutthaya, the formal royal capital located just north of Bangkok, we first had them while exploring the area and local specialties.
We stopped at a stall where a lady had been making them for over 50 years. This particular vendor makes her coconut cakes “purple” using a local plant for natural coloring.
Outside of Ayutthaya, you’ll find similar desserts called Khanom Krok, or coconut griddle cakes.
These little cakes are cooked into little dishes and they come with a variety of toppings. You can have additional shredded coconut or crispy onions for savory toppings.
Easy to find, you’ll see Khanom Krok at local markets or street stalls, morning through evening.
Allow yourself to be tempted by the sweet smell and tastes of the coconut pancakes cooking.
17. Roti Sai Mai – Unusual Candy Floss Crepes Thai Dessert
Roti Sai Mai are typically associated with the ancient kingdom of Ayutthaya. They are small, thin, colorful, pan-fried pancakes flavored with pandan, strawberry or banana flavors.
Each roti or crepe is stuffed with Thai-style candy floss, or cotton candy, which comes in a variety of colors.
Served warm, the candy floss melts in your mouth.
We had a lot of fun making these candy floss crepes. The colors are playful and the taste is sweet.
Roti Sai Mai is sold by street vendors, typically of Thai-Muslim background around the Ayutthaya area. These crepes are made to order and always delivered warm.
If you are taking them to go, you’ll get a handful of crepes and the Thai style candy floss with palm sugar in a plastic bag.
Enjoy this delectable dessert while admiring the ancient and magnificent temples within the Ayutthaya Historical Park.
18. Black Sticky Rice Crepe
We didn’t see Thai black sticky rice crepes often while in Thailand, but it was prominent at a few local markets.
While in Chiang Mai, at the Friday Morning Market, we were immediately captivated by dark colored crepes grilling on charcoal.
As we watched them cook, we were even more surprised to see the flat piece of dough slowly begin to rise the longer it cooked.
After the crepe cooked, it was rolled up and sold by the piece.
This black sticky rice crepe get’s its color from the use of black rice. It’s also made with sesame paste and molasses making it a little hearty.
The sesame paste, high in vitamins, omega and fiber makes a tasty Thai dessert. If you see it while in Thailand, don’t hesitate to try it.
Like many Thai desserts, it’s not a super sweet Thai crepe, but has a nice nutty flavor. It’s especially delicious warm, right off the grill.
19. Takoh – Coconut Cream Jelly
Takoh is a unique Thai dessert made with coconut cream jelly. It’s made with tapioca flour mixed with heavy coconut cream, coconut pulp, and sugar.
Everything is mixed together and steamed to create an intense tasting coconut jelly.
Sometimes, you’ll find takoh served plain and without any toppings. Other times, the coconut cream jelly is served over a bed of tapioca pearls.
The coconut cream may also have pieces of other commonly used ingredients like taro, corn or even chestnuts.
These coconut cream jelly desserts are steamed in a banana leaf wrapper. The texture is soft and the flavor is an interesting combination of sweet and salty.
Wherever you’ll find khanom or Thai sweets, takoh will certainly be among the options. Unwrap the banana leaf and discover this traditional Thai dessert.
20. Nam Ponlamai Ruam Ban – Thai Shakes And Smoothies
Thailand is home to so many unique fruits and vegetables, and a smoothie drink is a wonderful way to enjoy them.
At any market stall, you can have fresh fruits of your choice blended to create a delicious and refreshing Thai dessert.
If you are struggling to choose a particular blend or flavor, go with the Nam Ponlamai Ruan Ban.
This smoothie is made with fresh, tropical fruits blended with crushed ice and sweet coconut water.
This fresh fruit smoothie drink is one of the freshest, healthiest Thai desserts available.
Be aware that sometimes a sweet syrup is added to the shakes, be sure to ask for “no added sugar” or “very little sugar.”
Some of the best fruit shakes can be found at Nang Loeng Market in Bangkok. However, you’ll find them everywhere as they are very popular.
21. Juices – Refreshing Liquid Thai Desserts
Almost anywhere you will go in Thailand, you will find many stalls selling fresh fruit juices and shakes.
As one of the hottest countries in the world, you will need to keep hydrated.
If you prefer to drink your dessert, you will find a wonderful variety of juices to choose from.
You can have your Thai juices squeezed fresh or sometimes, you’ll find the fresh juices already bottled to go.
When the temperatures are high, you’ll not miss the vendors at markets or street corners selling them.
There are interesting juice flavors like mango, orange, and lime. As well as exotic flavors like passion fruit, guava and pomegranate.
Enjoying bountiful fresh fruits in the form of juices is a delicious way to end a meal of spicy Thai food.
22. Mangosteen, Mangoes, Dragon Fruits – Thai Fruits Salad
A haven for fresh fruits, you’ll find exotic fruits everywhere you go in Thailand.
Few places have such a plentiful supply and amazing variety of fruits. And, the Thai people eat a large amount of fresh fruit.
Three of the most popular fruits to enjoy are mangoes, mangosteen, and dragon fruit.
The Thai mango is unique in flavor from the rest of the world’s mangoes, and there are several different varieties.
It is one of the most popular fruits in Thailand and is used in both sweet and savory dishes.
You’ll find mangoes used in several Thai desserts like as mango ice cream, thai mango cake, Thai mango coconut pudding, and of course, the famous mango sweet sticky rice.
Mangosteen, or mangkhut, is sometimes referred to as the “Queen of Tropical Fruits.” This is one of our favorite Thai fruits with a delicious interior that literally dissolves in the mouth.
The dragon fruit is another staple fruit in Thailand. There are several varieties and the ones with a red colored interior are delightful sweet.
Enjoy the fruits individually or make Thai fruit salads and relish the bountiful fruits.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Planning on visiting Bangkok? Download Food Trails Bangkok. The self-guided food trail to navigate the local food scene. For only $3.99, get the local insights on what and where to eat.
Thai desserts are an important part of Thai cuisine. It’s virtually impossible to name or taste them all.
Through this concise Thai desserts list, we have introduced you to the 22 most authentic kinds.
These Thai sweets also incorporate the main ingredients found in most Thai desserts: rice, coconut, and fruits.
On your culinary travels to Thailand, save room for the diversity of Thai desserts. The flavors and textures are unusual, yet delightful and delicious.
You’ll be surprised, as we were, how much you’ll fall in love with Thai desserts.
Have you had any of these Thai desserts before? Which Thai sweet dessert is your favorite or would you like to try? Please let us know in the comments below.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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