Home Desserts 10 Traditional Lebanese Desserts

10 Traditional Lebanese Desserts

Unless you have family from or near Lebanon or have a history rooted in the Lebanese culture, you may not know a lot about Lebanese desserts or Lebanese cuisine in general.

As far as Asian cuisine goes, Lebanon’s delicious fare is often overshadowed here in the U.S. by China, Japan, and India.

However, that doesn’t mean their food isn’t good.

Phyllo Dough Filled with Pistachio Nuts
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On the contrary, Lebanese food, and the desserts, in particular, are quite delicious, and it’s a shame more people don’t get to enjoy them.

While this list may not help you become an expert overnight, it will give you a little taste of the kind of delicacies and sweet treats you can find in this Middle Eastern region.

I hope you love them all as much as I do. 

1. Maamoul

If you’re looking for an incredible dessert that tastes great and won’t send your sugar skyrocketing after you eat it, check out this recipe for maamoul (Arabian date-filled cookies).

They take a little time to make, but the recipe yields 20 cookies.

You can keep them fresh for several weeks before they get stale and lose their flavor. 

You’ll use several ingredients to make these cookies, but at heart, they’re simple, soft cookies with date fillings and coatings of powdered sugar. 

They have so much flavor; you’ll never believe they’re low in sugar.

2. Shaabiyat

If you’ve ever enjoyed baklava, then you’ll already have an idea of what shaabiyat is. 

Both treats are made with crispy, flaky phyllo dough, and both have delicious buttery and syrupy toppings.

The only difference is in their fillings. 

Baklava usually contains pistachios and butter.

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Shaabiyat features a gooey, cheesy filling that’s slightly sweet and supremely creamy.

Thanks to the rose and orange blossom water, this layered treat also smells as good as it tastes.

3. Lebanese Baklava

Don’t worry! Lebanon is also famous for its baklava.

As fantastic as the shaabiyat tastes, it still isn’t as good as good old-fashioned baklava in some people’s eyes. 

(For me, it’s a hard choice. They’re both pretty yummy.)

Lebanese baklava is pretty much like any baklava you’ve had.

It’s layered phyllo dough with crushed pistachios and a homemade, sugary syrup with rosewater, of course.

Still, even if you’ve had it a hundred times before, there’s never a bad time to enjoy baklava.

4. Halawet El Jibn (Sweet Cheese Dessert)

I think I could simply quote the recipe’s description and have you drooling from merely reading it. That’s how tasty this dessert is. 

Each piece is a small, pillowy cube of sweet cheese.

You’ll stuff each little roll with clotted cream and top it with crushed pistachios and sweet, aromatic rose petal jam.

Once you drizzle them all with a sugary syrup made from rose and orange blossom water, there won’t be a single person in the room who can resist them.

They are incredibly scrumptious, and despite how sweet they are, you cannot eat just one, so you may want to double the recipe.

5. Layali Lubnan 

This dessert may look unappetizing, but that’s just the unfortunate color of the pistachios mixed with the syrup. It’s actually quite delectable.

It’s a relatively simple dessert that only takes about 20 minutes to make, although you’ll need to let it chill for a couple of hours before serving it.

You’ll start with a soft semolina pudding layer and top it with homemade ashta.

(If you’ve never had ashta, it’s a rich, silky topping, similar to whipped cream.)

For the final topping, you’ll add the crushed pistachios. Then, coat the whole thing in the orange blossom water/sugar syrup. 

It may not look as beautiful as some of the other desserts on this list, but it smells phenomenal and tastes just as good. 

6. Kanafeh

Kanafeh is one of my favorite Lebanese desserts because it looks so unique, and like most Lebanese desserts, it smells unbelievably amazing.

Some of the ingredients in this recipe may be hard to find in mass merchandise stores, but you can usually find them at Asian markets or online.

You’ll want to make sure you have the exact ingredients to make it, though. Otherwise, it won’t look or taste the same.

7. Nammoura (Semolina Cake)

Nammoura is like sweet cornbread; only it’s 100 times better.

The texture is almost identical to cornbread, but this cake is so much sweeter than even the sweetest cornbread.

And that’s before you pour a sugar and rosewater syrup over the whole thing! (You can also use honey if you prefer.)

The cake uses pretty standard ingredients, aside from maybe the semolina and rose water.

The complementary tastes of the rose water, coconut, almonds, and vanilla extract are perfect together.

The crumbly texture may seem a little strange in a cake at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it.

Plus, it tastes so good, you won’t be overly concerned with the texture, anyway.

8. Znoud El Sit

This unique dessert is almost like a mixture between cannoli, crepes, and baklava.

It’s an odd combination, but it tastes spectacular, and the crunchy exterior is delightful.

It doesn’t take long to make, but the process is exacting, and you may not get it right on the first try. Don’t worry about that, though. 

Whether they look nice or not, they still taste the same, so the more you mess up, the more you simply have to eat! 🙂

9. Aish el Saraya Recipe (Lebanese Bread Pudding)

This bread pudding probably isn’t like any bread pudding you’ve ever eaten, but you’ll love it just the same.

You’ll make the base from rusks – a hard, dry, and sweet bread – and soak them entirely in a syrup made of rose water, orange zest, and lemon juice.

Then you’ll add another layer of both.

The next layer is a thick, creamy, deliciously scented custard. Finally, you’ll stick it in the fridge and let it chill. 

If you’ve ever had a cream puff cake or a whipped cream pound cake, that’s kind of what the consistency is like in this bread pudding.

It’s light, cool, and refreshing.

Plus, the chopped pistachios on top give it a wonderful nutty crunch.

10. Sfouf

This simple cake is moist and fluffy, and it features a fantastic sweet and nutty taste. It takes only 15 minutes of prep work and another 40 to cook. 

Plus, it requires fewer than 10 ingredients!

It’s easy to make, contains no eggs, and makes an ideal light treat after a big, heavy dinner.

10 Best Traditional Lebanese Dessert Collection

For something fun and unique, try these Lebanese desserts! Baklava, semolina cake, and bread pudding are just a few of the tasty treats on this list!


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Lebanese Desserts

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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