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15 Classic Persian Desserts

Although they don’t receive the same widespread appreciation as French desserts or Caribbean cuisine, Persian desserts are unique, delicious, and full of flavor. 

Each dessert will have a slightly different flair depending on where it’s from, but there are a few things commonly found in many Persian treats.

Persian Rice Cake with Egg, Yogurt and Saffron
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For example, many of them feature rosewater and saffron as part of the ingredients.

Several more are made with almond or rice flour. Others use dates, raisins, and nuts to add more flavor. 

Unless you spend a lot of time sampling food from other cultures, it’s possible you’ve never tried Persian sweets.

After you try a few of these 15 recipes, you’ll never be able to say that again.

1. Persian Almond Cookies

Traditionally known as Ghorabieh Tabriz, these Persian almond cookies come from a Persian region famous for their pastries and baked goods. 

All the ingredients are easy to find, and the cookies, which are more like macaroons, take less than an hour to make.

They’re soft, chewy, and sweet without being overpowering. 

2. Persian Ice Cream with Saffron and Rosewater (Bastani)

This is the first of many recipes that’ll include either saffron or rosewater, and it’s as beautiful and as colorful as it is yummy.

The saffron gives it a lovely golden color and makes it smell incredible.

Throw a few pinches of crushed rose petals and crushed pistachios on top to make it even more colorful and flavorful.

Best of all, you won’t need an ice cream maker to make it. 

3. Halva

This soft, crumbly dessert will remind you of fudge in appearance, but its flavor is sweeter and has a hint of nuts.

Unless you want to add in extras, such as pistachios, pecans, cinnamon, etc., you’ll only need two ingredients to make it – maple syrup and tahini.

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You can find both on Amazon.

In addition to tasting fantastic, it’s also vegan-friendly!

4. Persian Chickpea Cookies with Pistachio and Rosewater

These super thick cookies are vegan-friendly, gluten- and dairy-free, filling, and have less than 100 calories per serving! 

They’re easy to make and flavored with rosewater, pistachios, and cardamom, so don’t let the chickpea flour in them scare you away.

They’re remarkably sweet and good. 

5. Saffron Zulbia

The only way I can describe this dish is to say it’s like a sweeter, crunchier, more ribbon-like funnel cake.

If made correctly, it’s also beautiful and seems almost to glow when the light hits it.

It’s very sweet, so you may want to serve it with unsweetened tea (the traditional pairing) or a cup of black coffee to offset the sweetness.

6. Persian Raisin Cookies

I have to wonder if Little Debbie got the idea for their Raisin Creme Pies from Persian raisin cookies because that’s almost exactly what these are, without the cream filling. 

They’re sweet, with crunchy edges and soft, moist centers filled with raisins.

Honestly, if you spread some whipped cream in the center, you’ll almost think you’re having a Little Debbie snack.

7. Ranginak (Persian Date Cake)

With only butter, flour, sugar, dates, walnuts, and various spices, you can make this yummy, slightly messy, and hard-to-describe Persian cake in only 30 minutes.

It won’t look precisely like the cakes you’re used to, but after one bite, you won’t care. It’s that good.

8. Persian Love Cake with Pistachios and Rosewater

If there’s one thing I love about Persian desserts – aside from how tasty they are – it’s how beautiful they look. Everything is just so pretty, and this cake is one of the prettiest.

Despite having no flour in it, the cake is surprisingly moist and soft, thanks mainly to the hot, homemade syrup you pour on it when it’s still warm. 

The syrup combines rosewater, sugar, and lemon juice, and it adds a delightful sweetness with just a hint of tang.

You can decorate it with dried rose petals, powdered sugar, or pistachios as you prefer.

9. Persian Saffron Pudding

This is another gorgeous dessert in which you use saffron. The saffron turns the pudding a striking golden color.

It’s gluten- and dairy-free, and it’s vegan-friendly. 

It takes a little longer to make than some desserts, but you can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it before serving.

Luckily, it tastes even better when it’s cold.

The pudding contains a few hard-to-get ingredients, such as star anise and whole green cardamom pods, but you should be able to find them at an ethnic market or on Amazon.

The orange blossom syrup is a little easier to make with only golden raisins, orange blossom water, sugar, water, and pistachios.

You can throw in a few saffron threads if you’d like.

10. Yazdi Cake (Persian Cardamom Muffins with Rosewater)

These small muffins are soft, fluffy, and not too sweet.

They feature cardamom, rosewater, almonds, and pistachios, which give them the traditional Persian flavor.

They take about 45 minutes to make, and they work well as breakfast pastries.

11. Persian Baklava with Walnuts and Rosewater

Baklava is probably one of the most well-known Persian desserts there is, and for good reason! Its flaky texture and nutty filling are exquisite. 

This recipe also calls for rosewater, cardamom, honey, sugar, and lemon juice. It’s sweet and dripping with flavor. You won’t want to pass it up. 

12. Qottab (Pastry with Walnut and Cardamom Filling)

If you like Italian wedding cookies, you’ll enjoy Qottab. They have similar textures and tastes, and they even look quite a bit alike. 

Qottab is a little softer and features a filling of walnuts, cardamom, and powdered sugar.

Still, the dusting of powdered sugar and the nutty, not-too-sweet flavor will remind you of wedding cookies.

13. Red and Green Fruit Salad with Persian Fairy Floss

This dessert is too pretty to eat but too delicious not to eat. Aside from the Persian fairy floss, which is similar to cotton candy, the dish is all fruit. 

It contains pomegranate seeds, strawberries, kiwi, and green grapes. Top the fruit with the light, fuzzy fairy floss, and the whole thing is just adorable.

Thanks to the green and red fruit and the white fairy floss, it’s also perfect for Christmas.

14. Persian Mulberry Marzipan Candy (Toot)

You already know a candy called “toot” will be fun to make and eat, and it is. 

To make the original version of the candy, you only need five ingredients – rosewater, pistachios, dates, cardamom, and almond meal. 

There’s also an apricot coconut variation that requires a few more ingredients but is just as tasty. Either recipe takes only about 25 minutes to make. 

15. Persian Rice Cookies

These round balls of yumminess are lightly sweet, a little crumbly, and will melt in your mouth. 

Like many Persian desserts, they’re gluten-free, and the rosewater and cardamom make them smell as good as they taste.

The ingredients are all easily obtained, and you can make the cookies in about half an hour.

15 Classic Persian Dessert Collection


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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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