Carioca With Caramel Coating Recipe Pinoy Food Guide

Easy Carioca With Caramel Coating Recipe

Carioca or Karioka is a popular Filipino dessert street food that can be described as fried rice balls usually coated with sugar or caramel.

Have you ever had those moments when you see a particular food and you’re reminded of your childhood or your teenage years? For most of us, I think, eating and trying out street food with your friend are one of the most cherished moments in our lives.

And what better way to relive those moments than to try some of the best street food you experienced at home? Check out this recipe of the carioca below!

What is Carioca?

Carioca, also called carioca balls, are sweet and soft balls almost looking like a squid ball or buchi. This is made of glutinous rice mixed with either water or coconut milk to make a dough, and is partnered with a caramelized syrup coating.

This is quite a popular street food and an afternoon snack after school or after work here in the country.

How to Make Carioca?

This is one easy merienda you can quickly whip up for your family in only a couple of minutes so let’s get right to it. All you need to have for this recipe are four ingredients: glutinous rice flour, water, sugar, and some cooking oil. 

The only real trouble here is trying to adjust the right amount of ratio for the glutinous rice flour and water. You have to make sure that the dough will neither be too dry nor too wet so you can enjoy soft and chewy carioca.

This recipe has equal proportions and is a little bit on the softer side but you can adjust according to what you want.

Once you’re done with the dough, just shape them to 1-inch balls and proceed to deep fry them until golden brown.

Carioca Tips:

  • For this recipe, we are just using the plain old ingredients for the carioca such as water. If you find this a little bit boring to your liking, you can swap the water with grated coconut and one cup of coconut milk and you will have much more flavorful carioca balls.
  • Take note that you must remember to poke holes through the dough balls you made from the mixture because this gives more airflow for the balls as you deep fry them, and will prevent heat from building up inside, causing the balls to explode or the oil to splatter all around.
  • Just try to fit enough balls in the pan when frying to avoid overcrowding. This is because it can affect the oil temperature and will make for lesser quality when it comes to the texture and the overall flavor.

Caramel Syrup

The carioca balls are nothing without its signature caramelized sugar syrup, so you best don’t forget this! Luckily, this is really super easy to make and is just made of everyday items such as granulated sugar—you can use white or brown—and water.

  • You can simply just mix them and boil them in a saucepan. Make sure that you don’t stir to ensure a smooth texture for the syrup.
  • Another method you can do this is to use a microwave instead of bringing it to a boil in the saucepan. This is much easier to handle and safer if you plan to do this with your family with kids.
  • This is best used as a coating for the carioca balls when still hot because it gets to be thick and sticky really quickly, so make sure to generously coat the carioca as soon as you’re done with boiling it.

For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:

Carioca With Caramel Coating Recipe Pinoy Food Guide
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Easy Carioca With Caramel Coating Recipe

Coated Fried Rice Balls
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: Rice
Servings: 10
Calories: 176kcal


  • Frying Pan


  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour, or sweet rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cooking oil

Coating Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water


  • In a mixing bowl, add in the glutinous rice flour and pour in the water. Stir until well-blended. The consistency should be neither too dry nor too wet.
  • Scoop a portion of the dough (about 1 tsp) and shape into balls. Repeat for the rest of the mixture and poke the carioca balls using bamboo skewers.
  • In a cooking pan or frying pan, pour in and heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add in the ball gently into the pan. Stir occasionally until the balls float on top. Cook until golden and crispy.
  • Coat the carioca balls with the sugar syrup (see instructions below) and transfer to a wire rack to let cool.
  • Transfer to a serving plate or arrange 3 to ⁠4 pieces in bamboo skewers (barbecue sticks). Serve and enjoy!

Coating Instructions:

  • In a saucepan, add in the sugar and pour in the water. Stir until the sugar is well dissolved.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until the syrup is golden brown.


Don't forget to check out more information like cooking tips, suggestions, and notes on the sections above in case you jumped to this recipe.


Nutrition Facts
Easy Carioca With Caramel Coating Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176
% Daily Value*
Sodium 12mg1%
Carbohydrates 42.6g14%
Fiber 1.2g5%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 1.8g4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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