It’s safe to say that Egyptian desserts are some of the most delicious and authentic sweet treats in the world’s cuisine. These delicacies are a large part of their thousand-year culture. In fact, some of them have been around since the glorious era of ancient Egypt.
Whether you’re taking a trip to Egypt or plan to incorporate their exotic sweet treats into your diet, you’ve arrived in the right place. In this culinary guide, I’ve gathered the best-tasting dessert recipes along with their brief introductions so you can pick out your favorite.
There’re clearly no shortages when it comes to Egyptian delicacies. As you scroll down, you’ll figure out that lots of these treats are full of nuts, pistachios, syrup, and raisins. Take a visit to the grocery store, and you’ll easily find these ingredients to recreate your dish.
So if you’re down to discover what Egyptian cuisine has to satisfy your sweet tooth, let our journey begin!
Table of Contents
Top 23 Best Egyptian Desserts To Try
Before diving deeper, let’s walk you through a comprehensive list of the most delicious Egyptian desserts that you can enjoy to the fullest.
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Cakes & Pastries And Pies
3. Egyptian Sweet Couscous
4. Feteer Meshaltet
5. Halawet El Jibn
7. Kar’ Assaly
9. Aish El Saraya
10. Layali Lubnan
12. Roz Bil Laban
13. Umm Ali
Cookies And Candies
14. Ancient Egyptian Date Candy
18. Balah El Sham
19. Luqmat al qadi
Other Refreshing Desserts
22. Egyptian Baked Sweet Potatoes
What’s The Most Famous Dessert In Egypt?
As far as the best desserts in the worldwide cuisine go, Egyptian desserts rank high at the top of the list. Full of honey, raisins, dates, and other fruits, here’s a rundown on the greatest sweet delicacies that are bound to satisfy your craving hits.
Delicious Egyptian Cakes & Pastries And Pies
Egypt is proud to produce some of the world’s most iconic cakes, pastries, and pies. For those looking for a decadent and comforting dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth, here are your best bets.
As one of the most difficult oriental desserts to make from scratch, Baklava is the perfect dish to serve on special occasions like holidays and weddings. Baklava can contain dozens of phyllo pastries and walnuts stacked on top of each other and drizzled with honey syrup.
Perfectly done Baklava is supposed to be quite sweet, nutty, and buttery. Biting into this decadent dessert gives you such an experience that one simply can’t resist. However, since it’s packed with lots of sugar, it’s not the healthiest dish to eat on a regular basis.
For best results, the filo dough needs to be rolled by hand, which requires plenty of physical strength. Thus, most people buy ready-to-go dough for a batch of homemade Baklava.
Simple yet decadent, Basbousa is a famous sweet semolina cake. From the look, it’s a beautiful, rustic, and dense treat shaped like little squares. Besides semolina, Basbousa only has a few key ingredients like coconut, syrup, yogurt, and sugar.
It’s safe to say that this delightful dessert is so easy to whip up at home and put your own twist to it. You can top it off with some rosewater or scoops of your favorite ice cream to balance out the sweetness or serve it alongside a cup of coffee in an afternoon fare.
When done properly, Basbousa is super soft and moist, with a pleasant sugar rush. This classic treat dates all the way back to the Ottoman empire and is still widely served across the country, especially on festive occasions.
Let’s see how you can whip up a mouth-watering batch of Basbousa in minutes right here!
An Egyptian specialty for the New Year feast, sweet couscous tastes exactly as it’s called. It’s a sweet, sugary, and creamy delight that makes a major staple in Egyptian and North African cuisines. Traditionally, the dish’s white color represents wishes for a peaceful new year.
Many people tend to mistaken couscous for grains. But it is, in fact, a type of pasta made out of little semolina balls. Sweet couscous is essentially one of the easiest Egyptian desserts to whip up. All you need is three ingredients: couscous, butter, and powdered sugar.
Simply bring the mixture to a boil and stir it thoroughly until it’s all fluffy and melted together. You can finish it off with some kufeta, raisins, or any of your favorite toppings. If you need a healthy alternative to oatmeal, opt for sweet couscous, and you’ll probably never go back.
Dating back to thousands of years, you’re basically looking at a dish prepared to offer to the Gods in the ancient Pharaonic era. Feteer Meshaltet is a flaky layered pastry made up of dough and ghee or butter.
From the first glance, this delicacy may remind you of a croissant, and it’s arguably the ancient origin of the French pastry. Feteer is typically covered in honey or garnished with jam or cheese for an extra crunchy texture.
To make this Egyptian specialty from scratch, you’ll need physical strength to roll and stretch the dough. What’s more, it can be made sweet or savory to be easily adapted to your liking. When carried out perfectly, this layered pie will leave you with nothing but a heavenly taste.
Halawet El Jibn is basically sweet cheese rolls, a famous dessert with a Lebanese origin, and has now gained a big reputation among the Arab countries. It’s super elegant, exquisite, and can be a bit of a challenge to recreate the exotic texture when made from scratch at home.
The sweet cheese dough is filled with clotted cream, then garnished with rose petal jam and pistachios. To top it off, most people often add a drizzle of orange blossom or syrup to enhance the appealing fragrance.
The authentic recipe calls for a specific type of Arabic cheese, which can either be Akkawi or Majdoola. However, some good-quality mozzarella cheese will work just as fine in a pinch.
If you’re a cheese lover, Kanafeh is a Middle Eastern dessert made for you. This classic delicacy is a combination of shredded buttery phyllo dough, ricotta cheese, simple syrup, and garnished with ground pistachios.
Visually, this dish resembles a single layer of Baklava covered in cheese, which leads some to say the two are close cousins. Kanafeh has a pleasant, sweet fragrance and tastes even better than it smells.
One bite into this is cheesy, delicate, and not cloyingly sweet that can make you swoon right on the spot. Though the dish is a big staple during the Ramadan period, it’s actually an amazing dessert that you can get at any time of the year visiting an Egyptian sweet shop.
Homemade Kanafeh has never been easier. And you’ve got help from this easy instruction!
Despite being a pumpkin pie, Kar’ Assaly doesn’t really fit into the traditional Western concept of pie. This Egyptian recipe consists of pumpkins, butter, raisins, nuts, and a generous amount of sugar. It’s often topped off with a creamy béchamel sauce.
Boiling the pumpkin plays a major part in this dish, and the rest of it is only a breeze. Though the dish is already sweet, decadent, and filling, many peeps tend to add in a bit of extra flavor with some chocolate chips or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a mesmerizing mouthfeel.
When the chilly weather arrives, bake some Kar’ Assaly and wrap yourself in the warm embrace of this classic Egyptian treat. If you’re preparing this dish to serve a crowd, a good trick is to have several added layers of nut mixtures and cooked pumpkins.
When it comes to the holy month of Ramadan, Qatayef is the biggest dessert staple. This delicacy is of Fatimid origin and is often found in Arab countries. It looks and tastes like a mini stuffed and fried pancake that’s best served warm.
Qatayef is a versatile homemade treat. You can make it sweet and mesmerizing or turn it into a savory main course. The sweet pancake is often stuffed with nuts or cheese, drenched in a generous amount of syrup before fried until golden.
The secret to making perfect Qatayef is the batter, which can’t be either too thin or thick. Nothing says Ramadan like a batch of delicious Qatayef, and it’s mostly not available at other times of the year. So if you visit Egypt during this time, make sure to enjoy some Qatayef!
Heavenly Egyptian Puddings To Try Out
Everyone has a soft spot for puddings. These gorgeous and creamy pudding recipes from Egypt are bound to wrap up your meals in the best way.
Aish El Saraya is one of the most celebrated desserts across the Middle East. With its name merely means “the royal court’s bread,” this dish is fit for a king. In essence, this delicious bread pudding consists of layers of caramelized toasted bread and topped with cream and pistachios.
Visually, this delight is a feast for the eyes and is most commonly prepared to please a crowd. Aish El Saraya has a blend of sweetness and tartness that perfectly complements each other. If you love Umm Ali, this dish is another must-try in Egyptian cuisine.
Though sometimes considered the Middle Eastern version of tiramisu, Aish El Saraya has a much older history. This fragrant, light and delectable dessert is commonly served following dinner with a hot cup of tea.
Layali Lubnan has a Lebanese origin, with its name merely translates to “Lebanese night.” The dish’s goodness has crossed boundaries to be one of the most celebrated desserts in the Middle East. It sounds, smells, and looks so appetizing you’d just have to take a bite or two.
Essentially, the treat is a type of semolina pudding. It consists of two layers: a thick, soft, and sliceable semolina pudding at the bottom and a firm, smooth layer of cream topping. It’s almost always drizzled with syrup and chopped pistachios to create that stunning visual appeal.
If you’re looking for an a simple and delish make-ahead dessert to beat the summer heat, this might be it. You can whip it up quickly in around 30 minutes and pop the pudding into the fridge for as much as 5 days before serving.
What can be better than enjoying some sweet, chilly custard on a hot summer day? Mahalabiya is the traditional Egyptian milk custard. The dish has long been beloved by all ages. Once you know how easily and simply it’s made, you’ll want to try it right away.
The perfect Mahalabiya recipe calls for only four main ingredients: cornstarch, milk, sugar, and rosewater. The dish is typically served chilled. You can also garnish it with some raisins, crushed nuts, and pistachios of your choice.
A fresh batch of milk custard is light, creamy, rich, and super refreshing. Mahalabiya is normally served after a heavy meal or as a delicious treat to your friends and family. It’s also very slightly sweet, so you can absolutely enjoy it even if you’re not a fan of sweet treats.
The name of this dessert is quite self-explanatory. Roz Bil Laban merely means rice and milk, which indicates rice pudding in Egyptian. To make this old-fashioned treat, you’ll need water, milk, rice, and other ingredients like cinnamon, nuts, or raisins to jazz up the look.
The process of making Roz Bil Laban somewhat resembles that of risotto. In which, you stand at a stove and stir the mixture well until it thickens. The end result is a hearty, creamy, and filling dish to enjoy on a relaxing night in or when you need some comfort food.
It doesn’t take lots of work to prepare Roz Bil Laban. And this classic delicacy is favored by both adults and children. The whole process will take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour of preparation. I recommend giving it a try and be creative with the toppings to suit your taste.
Umm Ali claims its throne as the national dessert of Egypt. And it’s a must-try delicacy once you’ve set your foot in this country. The name “Umm Ali” merely translates to “Ali’s mother” in Egyptian, which represents the gory history behind this dessert.
If you’ve never had this treat before, think of it as an equivalent version of North America’s bread pudding. It’s made of puff pastry layers and flavored with pistachios, almond flakes, raisins, and sugar, then baked in the oven at the end.
The result is a unique crusty and golden brown appearance. More than meets the eye, Umm Ali has a flaky, nutty, and earthy flavor that’s so pleasurable to eat. You can easily find this dessert in any Egyptian patisserie or dairy shop for after-dinner indulgence.
Here’s an in-depth take on how to recreate the authentic Umm Ali delicacy in your kitchen!
Tasty Cookies And Candies For Snack Time
Egyptian candies and cookies come in a variety of flavors and shapes. What they all have in common is that these treats are mesmerizingly sweet and perfect for savoring besides a hot drink.
In both ancient and modern Egyptian cuisines, dates are typically featured in a wide variety of dishes. This ancient date candy recipe was discovered in a tomb during an archeologic excavation, with its origin dating all the way back to 1600 BCE.
To carry out this recipe, you’ll need ingredients like fresh dates, cinnamon, groundnuts, and honey. You can form a paste with dates and water, then add the cinnamon. Next, kneed the paste in walnut to form a ball. Finish it with a few dashes of honey for extra sweetness.
With lots of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants, this candy treat is a healthy option to incorporate into your diet besides being incredibly tasty. However, owing to its high sugar content, you might want to watch out not to overindulge in it, especially if you have dental issues.
Often referred to as Egyptian-style shortbread, Ghorayeba tastes like a childhood favorite. These buttery cookies are meant to melt in your mouth the second you bite into them. It’s safe to say that no Eid or Christmas feast is completed without a lovely cookie jar full of Ghorayeba.
What makes these cookies a go-to for lots of local home cooks is the fact that they require so little work. With three easily available ingredients: ghee, flour, and powdered sugar, you can get a taste of Egyptian cookies in the comfort of your kitchen.
However, to achieve the pleasantly sweet flavor, delicate texture, and smooth finish, these cookies turn out to be quite a challenge. You can bake them plain or cater them to your taste with some ground nuts. And when you succeed, the end result will be so well worth it.
It’s safe to say that halva is the quintessential delicatessen in Middle Eastern cuisine and is extremely popular around the world. This block-shaped candy is made from nut butter or seeds. It has a flaky and crumbly texture that seems like a cross between fudge and honeycomb candy.
Most Egyptians grew up with halva being a big staple in their childhood. This treat can be enjoyed straight from the tub. Whether it be for an easy and sweet breakfast or a pick-me-up treat for a boost of energy, halva always gives a rich and sweet mouthfeel to satisfy your craving.
There’s a variety of ways to cater halva recipes to suit your taste and diet needs, like vegan or gluten-free. In fact, homemade halva is so easy. You don’t have to attend online cooking classes to recreate this oriental delicacy at home.
If you need a quick guide on how to prepare homemade halva, you can find it right here!
As the fasting month of Ramadan ends, Egyptians celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their traditional Kahk. It’s the name for Egypt’s small, round biscuits made of honey, ghee, butter, sesame seeds, and different types of nuts.
The cookies are bathed in powder sugar and a buttery crisp that’s a pleasure to eat. While sometimes made plain, Kahk is mostly stuffed with fillings like nuts, pistachios, malban, or raisin. The recipe varies among families and plays a major role in Egyptian culture.
It’s astounding to know that Kahk has been around since the era of Pharaohs. In ancient times, the sultan’s wife used to make these cookies for the high-priests in religious feasts. If you get the chance to visit the country during this holiday, you won’t want to miss these famous cookies!
Deep-Fried Desserts For Your Sweet Tooth Indulgence
Get ready to fully eat your heart out with these Egyptian deep-fried treats. What’s even better, you can easily make these guilty pleasure foods at home without any trouble.
A sweet delight as old as time, Balah El Sham seems like a marriage between churros and doughnuts. With a tough, crunchy exterior and a sweet, tender interior, this treat is simply irresistible to the taste.
From the look, Balah El Sham somewhat resembles a mini churro. It’s a choux pastry dipped in sugar syrup. Many street vendors also cut it open and stuff it with whipped cream, nuts, or fruits for some extra flavors.
This finger food is extremely popular in Middle Western cuisine. To get the most mouth-watering taste out of it, you should eat it while it’s still warm. The dessert has craved its way in most Iftar, given how delicious and easy-to-prepare it is.
Luqmat al qadi, also goes as the name Lokma, is believed to be one of the oldest recorded desserts in the world. It’s a crowd-pleasing and notorious sweet treat served year-round in Middle Eastern cuisine.
In essence, Lokma is a decadent pastry coated with honey or syrup and fried to develop a golden brownish color. The end result is a sweet and palatable treat that’s soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
It was once served to the winners in the ancient Greek Olympics, so it’s not much of a stretch to say that this deep dried dough ball will make you feel like a champion. With one bite, Lokma will melt in your mouth and keep you coming back for more.
Here’s a short tutorial to help you make some delicious Luqmat al qadi at home like a breeze.
Egyptian Meshabek is a distinctive dessert that originated from the city of Damietta and is now widely popular across the country. Meshabek literally means “twisted” in Egyptian, so you can imagine it as twisted, thick threads of tastiness.
Unlike most Egyptian sweet treats, Meshabek is made with a unique look that catches people’s attention. It’s a round, transparent crystal treat made from deep-fried batter and soaked in syrup. The sweetness and crispy texture with a hint of tanginess will make your mouth water.
Not only is it available in big sweet shops and patisseries, but Meshabek is also popularly sold by street vendors for quite an affordable price.
With one dollar, you can get over 500 grams of local Meshabek. However, due to its popularity, make sure to buy from a trustworthy shop, so you can get a good authentic taste.
Refreshing Egyptian Desserts With Fruits And Ice Cream
Whether to satisfy a hot summer craving or cozy up on a chilly winter day, Egyptian cuisine has a vast array of dessert options that can instantly brighten up your day.
Authentic Bastani’s root traces back to ancient Persia but is now widely popular in other Middle Eastern as well. The frozen treat has an exotic, bright color and an intoxicating aroma from saffron that make it seem like an art form rather than just a summer dessert.
This saffron ice cream has its primary flavors from rosewater, vanilla, saffron, milk, and pistachios and is garnished with flecks of frozen cream to create a contrast of texture.
If you’re attempting to make a batch of Bastani at home, the secret to success from locals is to use pure, high-quality rosewater and saffron. You can freeze it in advance for up to 1 week to prevent these ice creams from going bad before eating.
With some easy-to-find ingredients, you can treat yourself to a batch of Bastani right in your kitchen, and here’s how!
When the weather turns chilly, it’s not rare to find street vendors selling baked sweet potatoes in the cities of Egypt. While this sweet delight may be a global staple, there’s a good chance you haven’t tried it with a delicious Egyptian twist.
Anytime you crave some healthy foods to satisfy your sugar craving, baked sweet potatoes are something you can never go wrong with. Whether served hot, cold, mashed, drizzled with some coconut oil or butter, these vegan goodies taste like heaven in your mouth.
What’s more, the dish offers a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fibers, making it the perfect snack or side dish to incorporate into your regular diet. The next time you walk by the little smokestacks of baked potatoes on the street, don’t be shy to grab some!
Khushaf is an ancient Egyptian dessert featuring dried fruits and nuts as the main ingredients. Though the dish doesn’t have a fantastic look, it’s actually one of the most flavorsome and easiest to put together.
To prepare this recipe, simply pick your favorite dried fruits and soak them in a bowl of water or apricot juice, depending on how sweet you’d like it. Leave it to marinate and refrigerate for 1-2 days. The final result is a delicious and healthy dessert that’ll please a crowd.
During the fasting month, Khushaf is a popular treat to eat when you break your fast. The high sugar and protein levels from the nuts give you a boost of energy. Once you’ve created the perfect Khushaf recipe that suits your taste, you’ll never eat dried fruits the same way again.
Treat Yourself To A Delicious Egyptian Dessert!
That was my take on the best Egyptian desserts that have stood the test of time, coming with their distinctive stories and authentic flavor profiles. Now, if you’re planning to turn your Egyptian travel into reality, you’ll know which cuisine delight to try.
With Ramadan being the most important month in the Islamic calendar, you’ll notice there’re certain desserts that are popularly served during this period only.
From sweet semolina cakes to decadent puddings and syrup-bathed cookies, you won’t want to miss out on this delicacy once you’ve set foot in this country during the holy month.
While it’s safe to say you can only get a taste of authentic Egyptian desserts in Egypt, you can always give it a try and recreate these oriental recipes in the comfort of your home. Lots of these dishes are super easy to make and might be the perfect way to wrap up your next meal.
So if you’re down for a cuisine adventure, whip up an Egyptian dessert today! Keep me updated on your experiences, and let me know which one is your new favorite go-to in the following comment box!