What Is Biscocho? (It’s Not A Biscuit!)

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Due to the word ‘biscocho’ – pronounced ‘biss-kotch-oh’ – sounding very similar to the word ‘biscuit’, you may assume that this is what this Spanish delicacy is.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

What Is Biscocho? (It's Not A Biscuit!)

Additionally, many people may find themselves confusing biscocho with the other Spanish dessert, ‘bizcocho’, which can be easily done since the difference between the terms is a single letter.

In this article, we will be looking at what biscocho really is. We will also look at the bizcocho, and how the two desserts, or food items, differ.

So, let’s get into it.

What Is Biscocho?

Biscocho, or biskotso, is a firm, crunchy pastry that is frequently linked with the Visayan province of Iloilo.

It is essentially bread that has been toasted and then covered, filled, or coated with sweet or savory ingredients, including sugar, butter, and even garlic.

The treat may also be confused with ‘Bizcocho’, which is a completely different product altogether.

Bizcocho is a Spanish term used to describe cakes, pastries, and other forms of desserts. 

There are many different variations of biscocho to be found, as there are so many ways that they can be created.

These treat can be sweet or savory, depending on which ingredients were used to produce them. 

Below, we have listed a handful of these variations.

Biscocho de Caña

The most well-known type of biscocho is biscocho de caña.

The Western Visayas islands, notably the province of Iloilo, are renowned for this sweet delecacy.

Biscocho de caña are slices of stale bread that have been cooked to a crisp consistency without the addition of butter, and only a tiny quantity of sugar.

The pastries involved might be anything from sliced flat bread to slices of pan de monja, or monay.

Biscocho Principe

Another variety of biscocho from Iloilo is called biscocho principe, which is also spelled biscocho prinsipe. 

It resembles biscocho de caña, but this variation contains more sugar and butter.

Any variety of bread can be used to make the biscocho principio, but this Spanish pastry dish is most frequently made with pieces of stale ensaymada.

This is due to the fact that the ensaymada is already covered in butter.

Biscocho de Manila

Manila, Philippines, is the birthplace of the biscocho de Manila. 

The typical shape of these sweets is that of a little, round biscuit, and they are covered in white sugar for decoration and dusting.

Biscocho de Rosca

Technically speaking, rosca, or biscocho de rosca, is not a sort of biscocho but rather a cookie or a biscuit.

It originates from the Leyte Island communities of Barugo and Carigara.

Roscas, which is Spanish for ‘rings’, are initially fashioned like crescent moons, or rings.

Before being baked, each rosca is split down the middle to create two distinct elbow-shaped cookies. 

They are then baked together, creating the popular shape.

Biscocho de Sebo

A biscocho in the shape of a bow tie from Malolos, Bulacan is called a corbata de sebo, or a biscocho de sebo.

It has a greasy, stickier texture compared to other biscochos, and this is because lard is typically used to produce it. 

There is barely any sweetening in this treat, so it is not considered to taste as sweet as the other variations.

Garlic Biscocho

An alternative to the biscocho principe, the garlic biscocho is topped with butter and garlic instead of sugar.

Compared to all the sweeter, more dessert-like varieties that we have seen so far in this list, the use of garlic butter gives this variation more of a savory flavor.


The term ‘kinihad’ describes basic, finely cut, crisp bread which can also be served sweet or savory.

It comes from the Western Visayas’ Ilonggo regions. No butter or sugar is used during the production of the kinihad. 

In Hiligaynon, the term ‘Kinihad’ clearly translates ‘sliced’, or ‘to slice’. This name was given due to the appearance of the product, and how it is presented to eat.

Pasuquin Biscocho

Biscocho de pasuquin is formed like little buns, and it is available in both crisp and squishy varieties. 

It is flavored with anise, or an anise liqueur, rather than butter or sugar, giving it more of an acidic and faintly salty flavor compared to the sweeter flavor you’d associate more with a dessert.

The Pasuquin biscocho takes its name from the Ilocos Norte village of Pasuquin, where it first appeared.

The History Of Biscocho

What Is Biscocho? (It's Not A Biscuit!)

The word ‘biscocho’ is derived from the Spanish word ‘bizcocho’, which translates to ‘sponge cake’ or ‘biscuit’, even though this is not considered to be a biscuit.

The term ‘bizcocho’ comes from the original Spanish and relates to a Filipino sponge cake called ‘broas’.

Cookies and pastries can also be referred to using this phrase, and these treats are served in other nations, including Puerto Rico and Costa Rico.

The word ‘bizcocho’ is also used as a vulgar slang term in Mexico, being used to describe female genitalia. 

So, whilst the terms ‘biscocho’ and ‘bizcocho’, which were once synonymous, they have since evolved into two distinct food terms.

The word ‘biscocho’ can also be connected to the Italian word ‘biscotti’, which means ‘twice baked’.

This translation makes a lot more sense, as biscocho is created by baking the bread twice, giving it its hard, crunchy exterior.

In both native Tagalog and Ilonggo, the word is written ‘biskotso’. 

Spanish cuisine does not contain the chewy, twice-baked, sugar-coated Philippine biscocho, more appropriately known as biscocho duro.

The claims of those who invented the biscocho in the Philippines are numerous, and they typically change depending on the locale.

Today, the biscocho is renowned for being a hardened, crispy bread-like delicacy that, depending on the ingredients used, can be baked and served with either a sweet or savory flavor.

Final Thoughts

While you may assume that biscocho is a type of biscuit or cookie, due to its spelling and pronunciation, this is simply not true.

Instead, biscocho is a double-baked bread, served in smaller sizes.

They can be served sweet or savory, depending on which ingredients have been used to create them, and there are several variations of this baked treat.

The biscocho shouldn’t be mistaken for the bizcocho, which is a completely different word and food item. 

We hope you found this article interesting and informative.