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14 Delicious Lebanese Desserts

By | Last Updated: 28th June 2021

When it comes to desserts, the Middle East people like to have them equally rich and filling as their savory dishes. One such example is the small country of the Middle East, Lebanon. The desserts, mainly rice-based or dough-based, are stuffed or topped with an assortment of nuts, including pistachios, pine nuts, or cashews. Visually appealing, most of them appear crunchy outside and soft and creamy within. Clotted cream or ‘ashta’ go as fillings in many mouth-watering Lebanese desserts, and the sweet aroma of orange blossom water and rose water pervades in all of them.

Lebanese Desserts

1. Lebanese Rice Pudding

Lebanese Rice Pudding


Also known as Riz Bi Haleeb, this traditional rice pudding has a creamy texture, primarily made with rice, milk, and sugar. The orange blossom water and rose water added enhances its flavor and aroma. Toppings of crushed pistachios and shredded coconuts add to the dish’s crunchiness, mainly served cold or at room temperature.

2. Ma’amoul



These are tasty cookies filled with nuts like pistachios and walnuts or dates or a combination of both. The two versions of the cookies are mainly differentiated from one another in terms of their shape. The walnut ones have a dome shape with a round top, while the pistachio ones appear oval-shaped and elongated. On the other hand, the date varieties have a flat top against their dome-like body. The addition of powdered sugar to all types of ma’amoul intensifies the sweetness further.

Lebanese people mostly enjoy this delicious dessert during Eid or other special occasions and holidays along with tea or coffee.

3. Kunāfah



This sweet and savory cheese dessert is a favorite among many, served during holidays or special occasions. The buttery shredded phyllo dough with a layer of cheese filling makes it crunchy outside and smooth and cheesy inside. Soaking it with flavored sugar syrup enhances its taste and adds to the sweetness. For extra crunchiness, garnish it with crushed pistachios and enjoy it hot or when it cools down.

4. Znoud el sit

Znoud el sit


Translated as “woman’s upper arms,” Znoud el sit is a fried dessert that has a funny resemblance to the shape of what it means. It is a roll made from a thin sheet of phyllo dough and stuffed with Ashta, a sweet and thick cream, having rose and orange blossom water flavorings. It attains a crispy golden texture when fried, contrasting well with the smooth and creamy filling. It is then drenched in sugar syrup and sprinkled with pistachios, eaten cold or even at room temperature.

Especially consumed as an iftar dessert during the holy month of Ramadan, you can find it in any Lebanese sweet shop.

5. Layali Lubnan (Lebanese Nights Dessert)

Layali Lubnan


Popularly known as Lebanese nights, this one is a creamy pudding having semolina, milk, and sugar as its main ingredients. Upon preparation, it is kept aside for a well until it gets chilled, attaining a firm texture. Flavorings of lemon juice, vanilla, and rose water enhance its aroma, while mastic thickens its texture. The traditional version has toppings of clotted cream and pistachios. However, the recent ones have toppings off fruits and several nuts.

 Mostly eaten during Iftar or Easter, it has a spongy texture, with the creaminess and flavorsome sweetness dominating throughout.

6. Ashta



Ashta, or Kashta as some say, refers to clotted cream with a sweet aroma. Besides serving as a prominent filling in kunāfah, layali lubna, etc., one can also have it as an individual dessert. The ingredients include raw milk, lemon juice, rose water, and orange blossom water. Serve it at room temperature or when cold with sliced fruits, honey, and nuts of your choice. The smooth texture of this thick cream immediately melts in your mouth, giving you a subtle hint of the flavored waters used in it.

7. Sfouf



This yellow-colored cake is a sought-after sweet delicacy, mainly enjoyed on birthdays or other special occasions. Turmeric and semolina are the key ingredients and are also responsible for their color and taste. Despite its crumbly texture, the dessert melts in your mouth in an instant. It is not just lip-smacking but also a healthy one, having the goodness of turmeric and nuts like almonds or pine nuts that go as toppings on it. Team it up with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy.

8. Mafroukeh



This traditional Lebanese dessert is a pretty simple one requiring no baking at all. It consists of a semolina layer topped with a creamy spread. The combination is made tastier and aromatic by pouring some orange blossom water. Before serving, make sure to decorate it with roasted nuts, including pistachios, cashew nuts, and almonds. The traditional ones appear flat, though the present versions vary in shape and size. The nuttiness of semolina and the nuts blended with the creaminess create a perfect taste indeed.

9. Meghli



Meghli is a traditional brown-colored rice pudding spiced with cinnamon, caraway, and anise, garnished with various nuts like almonds and pistachios. It holds importance as Lebanese people prepare it for the arrival of a newborn baby. Its brown color is also symbolic of fertile soil, while the nut toppings denote the seedlings. The combination of sweet and savory, coupled with the crunchiness of nuts, is something not to forget. The serving method also varies from one place to the other. It is served cold in Lebanon, while in Jordan or Syria, people eat it warm.

Meghli stands for ‘boiled’ in Arabic, and the dish is named so because of the extended time the ingredients take to cook or boil on a low flame. People in Lebanon even eat meghli during Christmas to celebrate Christ’s birth. 

10. Namoura



A traditional semolina-based cake, Namoura is well known in the Middle East. Each country has a slightly different variation than the other. The dish also has various names in different parts like Basbousa in Egypt, Harissa in Palestine, etc.

The cake batter has a thick and sticky consistency, made by mixing semolina, yogurt, yeast, sugar, milk, butter, and orange blossoms water. Before putting it into the oven, don’t forget to cut it in diamond or square shape, as per your choice. The end result is a syrup-soaked mouth-watering dessert that you can relish once cooled down at room temperature.

11. Jazarieh



The word ‘Jazarieh’ might mean ‘carrot’ in Arabic, but except for its orange color, the dessert has nothing more to do with it. Instead, the main ingredient is pumpkin, shredded and turned into a simple yet tasty dessert having a jam-like texture and glistening appearance. Scented and made more flavorful with orange blossom syrup, it is impossible to resist once served. Enjoy it at room temperature with some nuts sprinkled on top.

12. Qatayef



This pancake-like dessert has a filling of cream cheese sprinkled with crushed pistachios or other nuts, topped with syrup. It is a common find in every Middle East bakery, particularly in the month of Ramadan. The dessert’s soft and creamy texture with the slight crunchiness of the nuts makes it hard to resist once you have the first bite.

13. Ayesh el Saraya

Ayesh el Saraya


Though it means ‘Palace bread’ in Arabic, this bread pudding is simple and easy to prepare. The base made of bread and syrup appears on the base. Clotted cream sits on the top layer, infused with scented waters. As for the toppings, sprinkle crushed pistachios and some rose petals to make it visually appealing. Eaten chilled with a drizzle of extra syrup on it, you will find the soft pudding instantly melting in your mouth, leaving behind the sweet and aromatic taste to relish.

14. Borma



Borma or Burma, as alternately called, translates to ’rounded’ in Latin, absolutely justifying its shape. Its overall appearance is unique indeed, circular with a twisted pattern, open at both ends. The basic ingredients include flour, water, sugar syrup for the dough for the base, and a variety of nuts for the filling.  It has a thick, crunchy texture, with the taste varying from sweet to nutty.

 Many more Lebanese sweets are equally delectable, such as the famous Baklava, halawet-el-jibn, shaabiyet, and the list goes on.


Popular Lebanese Dessert: Kunāfah, Layali Lubnan, Ma’amoul

Lebanese Holiday Dessert: Ma’amoul, Znoud el sit, Qatayef

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