Whether you’re craving a sweet finish to your meal or just looking to treat yourself, these 25 Middle Eastern desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth beautifully.
Desserts from the Middle East are a thing of beauty.
I’m talking about the kind of desserts that make you close your eyes and savor every bite.
The kind of desserts where you can’t stop thinking about them for weeks after you try them for the first time.
The kind of desserts that will make you want to binge on their entire menu of sweets for days on end.
And in this blog post, I’ll be sharing 25 Middle Eastern desserts with you.
I’ve got some classics here like Baklava and Halva, but also some lesser-known ones like Balah El Sham.
I guarantee you; they’re so good that it’s impossible to choose just one as your favorite.
But if I could only pick one, I’ll go with #24.
It’s simple yet so luscious!
Table Of Contents
- 1. Maamoul (Traditional Arabic Cookies)
- 2. Ghraybeh (Middle Eastern Butter Cookies)
- 3. Halva (Halawa)
- 4. Stuffed Dates
- 5. Kataifi
- 6. Ashure (Noah’s Pudding)
- 7. Booza Ala Haleeb (Lebanese Milk Ice Cream)
- 8. Pistachio Cookies
- 9. Muhalabieh (Middle Eastern Milk Pudding Dessert)
- 10. Basbousa (Semolina Cake)
- 11. Walnut Baklava
- 12. Karabij & Natef (Walnut-filled Cookies & Cream)
- 13. Riz Bi Haleeb (Middle Eastern Rice Pudding)
- 14. Honey Cake With Pistachio
- 15. Luqaimat (Middle Eastern Crunchy Fritters)
- 16. Usbu Al Zainab (Crunchy Cheese Fingers)
- 17. Balah El Sham (Fried Choux Pastry)
- 18. Halawet El-Jibn (Clotted Cream Dessert)
- 19. Sahleb (Middle Eastern Pudding)
- 20. Mesh Om Ali (Phyllo Dough Crinkle)
- 21. Qatayef With Nuts (Middle Eastern Pancakes)
- 22. Shirini Latifeh
- 23. Aish El Saraya (Middle Eastern Bread Pudding)
- 24. Knafeh (Sweet Cheese Pastry)
- 25. Qhotab (Walnut Turnover Pastry)
- The bottom line
- Desserts Of The Middle East
Maamoul is a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth butter cookie that is filled with succulent date filling.
It’s comforting, light, and sweet and has the fragrance of rosewater that makes them irresistible.
These delectable treats go great with tea or coffee in the afternoon or as a dessert after dinner!
Ghraybeh is the perfect dessert for your next Middle Eastern-themed party—or any party, really!
They’re made with only three ingredients, but they have a rich flavor and a fine texture.
These cookies are so incredible that you’ll wonder why you ever ate store-bought cookies again!
Halva is made from tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds.
It’s very simple to make at home—just mix together some tahini with powdered sugar and dry milk to taste.
You can also add vanilla extract if you’d like!
And if you’re feeling adventurous, you could make it sweet or savory by adding nuts or other mix-in options like dried fruit or chocolate chips to make your own signature flavor.
Who doesn’t love a sweet, naturally-sweet dessert? I do!
That’s why I’ve included this toothsome stuffed date in the list.
It tastes just right with a good balance of sweet, salty, crunchy, and nutty flavors.
And it has the distinctive taste of dates, coconut, and cardamom that you will come to love.
When you bite into one of these kataifi treats, you’ll get a taste of all that is good in this world: sweet, buttery goodness with a hint of cinnamon.
It also has the crisp, flaky texture of phyllo and the rich crunch of nuts.
The best part?
It is drenched in addictive spice-flavored sugar syrup that makes each bite melt in your mouth like butter on toast!
Ashure is a wholesome, hearty dessert that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family.
It is made of softened wheat berries, white berries, chickpeas, and dried fruits.
Chickpeas add a nice chewy texture and earthy flavor.
And the raisins and dried figs add sweetness and antioxidants, while pomegranate seeds provide crunch.
If you’re looking for a cool, creamy treat made with the finest ingredients and tastes just like homemade, Booza ala Haleeb has got you covered!
It is a Lebanese milk ice cream that’s so velvety smooth, and good, that you’ll want to lick the bowl clean.
Besides, this soft-serve ice cream is perfect on its own or as an accompaniment to your favorite dessert.
These sweet, crunchy treats are a great way to round off a meal.
They’re made with almonds and rolled oats, with an added touch of honey and egg to make them extra rich and tasty.
And you know what?
This recipe has no added refined sugar.
That’s right—these pistachio cookies have the same nutty, toasty flavor you love, but without all the added sugar.
Now, you can enjoy your cookies with less guilt and more pleasure!
Muhalabieh is the Middle Eastern version of rice pudding, flavored with rosewater and sprinkled with crushed pistachios for an elegant presentation.
It’s also a recipe that’s easy and affordable.
Plus, the texture is a little bit like soft tapioca, but the taste is sweet and floral—a perfect treat to serve at a dinner or brunch party!
Dense, moist, and sweet—basbousa is a traditional Arabic dessert that you’ll fall in love with.
It is made from coarse semolina, ghee (clarified butter), honey, and yogurt.
And it has a crumbly texture that is great for soaking up syrup or honey.
You can also top it with orange blossom simple syrup for an extra boost of flavor.
11. Walnut Baklava
This walnut baklava is luscious, crispy, and flaky.
It’s a wonderful combination of crunchy walnuts and soft phyllo dough.
You can make this recipe by brushing each layer of phyllo dough with melted butter to ensure it’s crusty.
Then you’ll fill the layers with walnuts and cinnamon, finishing off with a drizzle of saccharine honey syrup.
This dessert will impress your friends at your next gathering!
For a cookie that is both sweet and nutty, Karabij & Natef is the best choice.
It is a shortbread cookie with a filling made from crunchy nuts mixed with rose water.
You’ll also love how these cookies are just sweet enough, with notes of rosy flavors and a drizzle of a creamy, gooey syrup that tastes like marshmallow creme.
Riz Bi Haleeb is a creamy, succulent Middle Eastern rice pudding with a hint of orange blossom water.
It’s the perfect dessert if you’re looking for something sweet and distinctively Middle Eastern.
And it’s a cool way to bring some of the flavors and culture of the region into your home kitchen.
Honey Cake With pistachio is not just a cake; it’s a flavor explosion.
It’s sweet, obviously, but it’s also savory—with just a hint of saltiness and earthiness from the pistachio and tahini.
It also uses evaporated milk and semolina to give it that perfect balance between sweet and savory.
Then it’s drenched in honey and rose water syrup.
A cake that tastes like heaven.
Luqaimat is one of those Middle Eastern desserts that taste as decadent as they look.
They are fried dough cakes that have been dipped in simple syrup.
The outsides are crunchy, and the insides are soft and pillowy.
It’s so addicting that it’ll be hard to stop once you start eating them.
Usbu Al Zainab are cheese rolls made with tiny bits of cheese rolled in samosa pastry fried till golden brown and served with sugar syrup.
The result is an absolutely scrumptious dessert snack that will please even the pickiest palates.
Just remember: these rolls are best served fresh out of the fryer, so make sure you grab one before they all run out!
Balah El Sham is a fried choux pastry soaked in heavy sugar syrup.
It’s warm and crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.
And it tastes divinely good.
You can also make balah el sham with a lot of stuffings like whipped cream, chocolate, or pastry cream.
But perhaps the best part about Balah El Sham is that it’s versatile.
You can dip it in melted chocolate, nuts, or salted caramel for an extra special treat!
Halawet El-Jibn is a Middle Eastern dessert made of cheese pastry dough rolled and filled with clotted cream, then topped with crushed pistachios or any dry nuts.
It is covered in flavored sugar syrup.
And it’s a delightful cheesy treat that’s sweet, creamy, velvety—and utterly irresistible.
Sahleb is a Middle Eastern winter drink that’s creamy, comforting, and sensational.
It also has a hint of exotic flavors from rose water and orange blossom water that will transport you to a faraway palace.
And it goes down easy— just dust it with a bit of cinnamon and sprinkle it with finely chopped nuts on top.
Mesh Om Ali is a creamy combination of flaky and crispy on the outside, tender and juicy in the middle.
It’s made with folded sheets of phyllo dough doused in an amazing combo of milk and eggs.
And it’s topped with pistachios and drizzled with simple syrup, which has all the flavors of
traditional baklava, but with a flaky, crispy crust that will have you going back for seconds (and thirds).
Ramadan’s most iconic treat of the Middle East is here.
These qatayef are soft and fluffy, stuffed with nuts, and fried to golden perfection.
Well, it can be filled with just about anything you like.
But I think nuts are a great choice because they add earthy and musty flavors and a crunchy texture to the dish.
Also, when qatayef are done cooking, they are soaked in a thick sugar syrup that will make your mouth drool just thinking about it.
22. Shirini Latifeh
Shirini Latifeh is an Iranian dessert that means soft.
That is pretty obvious since it’s a delicate and airy pastry that is filled with vanilla and rose-scented whipped cream.
If you’re looking for a Middle Eastern dessert that’s not heavy and rich, Shirini latifeh should be at the top of your list.
Aish el Saraya is a dessert from the Middle East that translates to “palace bread.”
This is a bread pudding, and the base is made from toasted or stale white sliced bread, so it’s only suitable.
The bread is soaked in a fairly thick syrup, which provides the core of the dish’s sweetness.
But it’s the ashta or milk pudding/clotted cream topping that provides the richness you’re looking for in a sweet treat like this.
You can also put some pretty pistachios on top to add color, flavor, and texture.
What’s the one thing you’ll always want to eat?
I’ll tell you: Knafeh.
It’s a Middle Eastern dessert with a shredded filo dough crust, topped with a sweet cheese filling and covered by rose water flavored simple syrup.
It’s crispy on the outside, cheesy, and creamy on the inside.
And it’s something you’ll never get tired of eating—especially when you make it.
Qhotab is a sweet treat that has a soft, brittle crust made from wheat flour and butter.
It’s filled with creamy, fragrant cardamom and rose water walnut paste.
And it’s suitable for any occasion—from weddings to baby showers, birthdays to anniversaries and other special events.
So, if you’re searching for something that will leave your guests speechless (and salivating), Qhotab is the way to go!
So, there you have it: 25 amazingly delicious and unique Middle Eastern desserts that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Hopefully, the list above proves that sweet treats from the Middle East are in their own special category of lusciousness.
And if you try at least one of these recipes, I’m sure you’ll agree!
- Maamoul (Traditional Arabic Cookies)
- Ghraybeh (Middle Eastern Butter Cookies)
- Halva (Halawa)
- Stuffed Dates
- Ashure (Noah’s Pudding)
- Booza Ala Haleeb (Lebanese Milk Ice Cream)
- Pistachio Cookies
- Muhalabieh (Middle Eastern Milk Pudding Dessert)
- Basbousa (Semolina Cake)
- Walnut Baklava
- Karabij & Natef (Walnut-filled Cookies & Cream)
- Riz Bi Haleeb (Middle Eastern Rice Pudding)
- Honey Cake With Pistachio
- Luqaimat (Middle Eastern Crunchy Fritters)
- Usbu Al Zainab (Crunchy Cheese Fingers)
- Balah El Sham (Fried Choux Pastry)
- Halawet El-Jibn (Clotted Cream Dessert)
- Sahleb (Middle Eastern Pudding)
- Mesh Om Ali (Phyllo Dough Crinkle)
- Qatayef With Nuts (Middle Eastern Pancakes)
- Shirini Latifeh
- Aish El Saraya (Middle Eastern Bread Pudding)
- Knafeh (Sweet Cheese Pastry)
- Qhotab (Walnut Turnover Pastry)
- Skim through our Middle Eastern Desserts list.
- Select the recipe you’re looking for.
- Prep the ingredients as instructed.
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