When it comes to culinary flavors, the Palestine region is a true melting pot of inspiration, offering Palestinian Desserts with a rich blend of tastes.
Palestinian cuisine deserves a specialized focus, with its flavorful meals offering various culinary characteristics derived from the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions.
Food takes center stage in the Palestinian culture, with food seen as more than mere ingredients for nourishment.
Spending time to dine with family and friends is a valued moment for Palestinians, which is why you may find so many diverse options on their tables.
Aside from the amazing dishes made with rice and meat you can enjoy, Palestinian desserts have also become quite famous, with their sweets and pastries becoming stand-out options.
So whether you’re planning to visit or simply to experience these unique treats yourself, you can opt to try these recipes at home and munch on these delectable Palestinian desserts!
The #13 Maamoul Cookies are multi-shaped treats that are an absolute crowd pleaser!
Knafeh is a popular Middle Eastern pastry dessert that originates from the old city of Jerusalem and can still be prominently found in Nablus, Palestine.
This traditional Palestinian dessert is made from semolina dough with a butter filling and mild white cheese.
This dessert can be found throughout the region, from Libya, Egypt, Syria, and countries in the Middle East, Balkans, and North Africa.
It has different names, such as Kunafeh or Konafi, and the dish has become famous.
This sweet cheese pastry is served as a thin slice of cake and drizzled on top with sugar syrup.
Sweet, soft, and crunchy, this delicacy is best served warm with pistachios, providing a pleasing experience with each bite.
One of the most unique desserts you can find in Palestine is this famous black seed paste cake called Qizha.
Made from crushed nigella seeds, this black sesame cake is known for its harsh and pungent flavor, with a sweet and minty aftertaste.
Qizha can be combined with other condiments or baked into pies and pastries.
Tamriyeh is a golden fried piece of heaven, with this pillow of paper-thin dough stuffed with semolina providing a delicious crunch and plenty of flavors.
The soft dough is fried until golden brown and crispy and then dusted with powdered sugar for extra sweetness, making it a satisfying snack or dessert to be savored.
Mtabbak is a traditional puff pastry dessert that offers crispy dough stuffed with unsalted goat cheese and drenched in sweet syrup.
Often prepared at home during cold winter months, this treat provides instant comfort and satisfaction.
Aside from being a savory and tasteful pastry, it uses drizzled syrup infused with orange blossom water, making this dish an aromatic culinary dessert.
Khabeesa is a dessert pudding made from semolina and cardamom infused with rose water.
This traditional sweet dish can be found throughout the Middle East and is commonly served during Eid, after the month-long fasting of Ramadan.
It’s best served warm with butter, coconut flakes, and pistachios to provide more texture and complex flavors.
An iconic dessert from the city of Al Khalil in Palestine, Malban is a fruit roll made from grapes that are abundant in the region.
Local farmers typically preserve fruits harvested in the summer by drying the fruit puree and preserving them for colder seasons.
To create Malban, grapes were juiced and cooked without adding sugar, with the mixture dried in sheets to create a thin, chewy fruit pastel with bursts of crunchy sesame, seeds, and nuts.
Palestine is deeply rooted in religious culture, which is intertwined with its culinary traditions.
The Barbara, or Burbara, is a sweet soup dessert that Christians in Palestine cook up in celebration of the feast of Saint Barbara in early December.
Saint Barbara used to disguise herself and hide in the wheat fields to escape the Romans persecuting her.
This is why this wheat-based dessert is ingrained in the traditional recipe, which looks like rice pudding made from wheat, raisins, anise, fennel, and cinnamon, topped with almonds, pomegranate, and sugar.
Qatayef is small folded pancakes filled with nuts and spices, smothered in a sweet syrup that can tantalize your tastebuds.
These iconic treats are closely connected to Ramadan, with these legendary pastries often served during this time in Bethlehem.
It can be prepared in different ways, from baking and frying, and can be sweet or savory, filled with nuts, cheese, fruits, or even Nutella.
Whichever way it’s presented, the Qatayef is a delicious treat that you have to try, bursting with syrupy sweetness from the inside.
Basbousa is a classic Middle Eastern semolina cake with many variations in the region.
It’s also called Harisseh in Palestine, which the Lebanese call Namoura and the Armenians call Shamali, with Persian, Kuwaiti, and Greek versions.
This sweet yellow cake is traditionally cooked with semolina, soaked in sugar water, and topped with coconut and sticky syrup made from orange-flower or rose water.
This cake is easy to make and can be whipped in one bowl without needing a mixer.
10. Halawet El Jibn
Halawet El Jibn is a popular dessert made from semolina dough, with sweet cheese rolled with custard and heavy cream, with flavors from infused orange blossom and rose water.
Garnished with crushed pistachios and other nuts, this is a favorite dessert for many people, providing plenty of comforts as it holds a lot of sentiment and memories as a traditional treat.
11. Roz Bil Laban
Roz Bil Laban is a typical rice pudding recipe in the Middle East, which is often topped with cinnamon or other garnishes.
This basic stove-top rice pudding can also be infused with aromatic and herby flavors from vanilla to rose water.
This easy-to-make dessert is most commonly served cold but can also be served warm.
Translating to “crispy donut ball,” an Awwami is a dough ball coated with sesame seeds and deep fried to a crisp before dipping into cold syrup water.
Crunchy from the outside, and soft and moist on the inside, these delicious sweet dumplings are typical in the Middle East and are often consumed alongside a cup of unsweetened Arabic coffee or tea.
Awwami is often served during the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast while the sun is up and feast in the evening.
13. Maamoul Cookies
Maamoul Cookies are ancient traditional shortbread pastries famous in the Middle East that are stuffed with dates, pistachios, or other preferred nuts.
These treats are made by hand or using wooden molds to form into different shapes.
They can be in a crescent form, shaped as a dome, round like a ball, or flattened as a disc, and are delicious cookies that are naturally sweet due to the dates stuffed inside.
Often served during religious holidays such as celebrating Eid, these date-filled cookies are scrumptious and are a highlight of the holidays.
14. Aish El Saraya
Aish El Saraya, which translates to “The Palace Bread,” is a regal and popular no-bake dessert in the Middle East.
A variation to the bread pudding, it’s made by placing bread at the bottom of a dish before layering it with sweet syrup and cream and topping it with colorful pistachios.
The simple syrup and cream used in this dessert are infused with orange blossom, making it aromatic and flavorful.
Easy to make and created for kings and queens, this elegant dessert can make you feel like royals at home!
A popular dessert in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and the Mediterranean, the Baklava is a flaky and multi-layered dish made from phyllo pastry dough, nuts, butter, basil, and drizzled with sweet honey syrup.
The Baklava is known for its richness, with the right balance of crunch and chew that makes it mouth-watering.
The inclusion of butter, nuts, and syrup infused with cinnamon, honey, and lemon juice makes this beloved pastry a combination of textures and sweetness, providing a nice crunch to the moist Baklava.
The Ghraybeh is a shortbread cookie traditionally made from ground almonds and rose water, filled with a fruity jam.
Known for its buttery, flaky, and creamy texture, the Ghraybeh is a novel pastry loved by many.
These cookies are often given as gifts during Ramadan and Eid, adding to the festive celebrations, which are often enjoyed with a feast.
One of the most preferred Palestinian desserts, the Muhallebi is a delicious milk pudding famous in the Middle East.
Traditionally made from rice, sugar, rice flour, and milk, the ingredients are cooked together in a pot to thicken with constant stirring to avoid burning.
To elevate its flavors, the pudding can be infused with rose water and topped with pistachios and cinnamon to provide more flavor.
The bottom line
Palestinian desserts are unique and have plenty of variety, highlighting the exceptional cuisine and culture of the region.
These iconic desserts are definitely a must-try, providing a rich, luscious experience with every bite, especially if you have a fondness for sweet, sticky, and delectable treats.
- Halawet El Jibn
- Roz Bil Laban
- Maamoul Cookies
- Aish El Saraya
- Pick one or more options from our list of Palenstinian Desserts here!
- Start creating your new favorite sweet treat.
- Share and comment! Did you make any changes to make it even better?