10+ Most Delicious Lebanese Desserts That Will Make You Forget About Your Diet

@smileygirl230 | @bateek.w.jebneh

When people ask us why we love Lebanon so much, or why we stay in Lebanon despite all its imperfections, we have various answers: the people, the traditions, the lifestyle, the history, etc, and our cuisine is one of them.

And when it comes to our desserts, we don’t seem to want to stop bragging. Even if nowadays our cuisine is found in most countries of the world, there is something special about our desserts when made locally with local products and by local chefs, (that includes our moms).

Whatever your preferences, we got to admit that the Lebanese desserts are so tempting that we can’t resist them, diet or no diet. We bet that by the time you reach the end of our selection of the most delicious ones, you’ll be craving for more than one of them.

#1 Knafeh

A classic is a classic for a reason; people love it and are never tired of it. This classic in Lebanon is the warm cheese Knafeh drizzled with sugar syrup.

The Knafeh can be eaten as a platter or beautifully placed inside a kaak for breakfast… However, little do we stick with it for breakfast only.

A lighter version of this traditional dessert is the Knafeh with Ashta (Lebanese cream), a specialty of Tripoli, the capital of northern Lebanon and of the traditional desserts.

#2 Lebanese Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is known worldwide in different recipes. If you’ve ever tasted the Lebanese one, the Riz B-halib, you will know the difference right away.

The taste of Blossom Water and Rosewater is undeniably remarkable and so is the lightness of the texture. Point is, one cup is never enough.

#3 Namoura

Namoura, or Lebanese Coconut Semolina Cake, is a traditional dessert of rich flavor and texture, and that is regularly made at home. It’s chewy soft, with a golden crispy crust, and deliciously flavored with blossom water (or alternatively with fresh orange juice), and drenched in Lebanese syrup.

#4 Jazarieh

A traditional treat that’s mostly a specialty of the north of Lebanon, especially Tripoli and the coastal town of Qalamoun, Jazarieh consists of grated pumpkin shreds with a variety of nuts and soaked in Lebanese syrup.

While its name connotates with Jazar (carrots), the recipe doesn’t include carrots. The name was given to this sweet-sweet dessert because of its orangy color.

#5 Layali Lubnan (Lebanon’s Nights)

Layali Lubnan is also called Ashtaliyeh for it’s mainly made of the Lebanese Ashta cream in two versions: the unsweetened semolina and milk dense mixture then topped with Ashta cream and a generous layer of pistachio nuts.

Probably the most succulent dessert of them all, this dessert is sweetened only upon serving, with honey or syrup, which leaves the degree of sweetness upon lucky you.

#6 Sfouf Cake

With almost a few rare exceptions (if any), all Lebanese grow up with the Sfouf regularly at home and in our lunch boxes. You could find it at almost every Lebanese kid’s birthday party, probably because it’s quick and easy to make and it’s kind of softly dry.

The yellow color of the Sfouf comes from the Tumeric spice. Its particular texture is due to the incorporated tahini; all of which is beautifully flavored with anise and blossom water, and optionally topped with sesame seeds (or almonds).

Another traditional version of the Sfouf is the one made with Molasses, which gives it a brown color and a different taste.

#7 Daoukiyeh

Daoukiyeh was created in the ’80s by Al-Daouk sweets pastry shop in Lebanon and was thus given the name. It is very distinguished in taste and in style. It consists of Ashta and pistachio paste, and a generous layer of a variety of nuts.

#8 Fried Kellaj

Kellaj is one of the most popular desserts during the Ramadan season. It’s a light-dough filled with Ashta cream, deep-fried, and soaked at once in syrup for a moment. A pure delight!

Just a few more days and you would be able to enjoy the Kellaj anywhere in Lebanon as Ramadan is edging close.

#9 Maamoul

If you’re Lebanese or you live in Lebanon, you know the drill. No Eid without Maamoul. No Christmas and no Easter without Maamoul, and even at traditional weddings you’ll find the Maamoul on the buffet.

Bottom line: Maamoul is THE dessert of Lebanese celebrations!

But we eat it at any time. It is found all year round in patisseries, bakeries, and even supermarkets nowadays. They come in three different versions of stuffing: buttery dates, walnuts, or pistachio.

#10 Atayef

Atayef is a kind of light pancakes (not same recipe!) wrapped around Ashta cream and drizzled with syrup or honey at consumption. They are light and soft to the palate, refreshing, and with a hint of sweetness.

The Atayef are usually served around specific holidays in Lebanon, especially during Ramadan and Saint Berbara Day.

There is another version of this dessert as well! The deep-fried Atayef stuffed with a mixture of nuts and soaked in syrup. (Very tasty, very sweet, and… watch the calories!)

#11 Baklawa

While it is a traditional sweet in Lebanon, Baklawa originated in Turkey and was introduced into our culture, and the Levant cuisines, during the Ottoman’s long-ruling of the region.

These sweets come in all shapes and forms and in different recipes. You always don’t know which one to pick, so you end up taking one from every kind.

#12 Znoud El-Sit

Literally translates into “the lady’s arms”, Znoud El-Sit are deep-fried crispy rolls stuffed with Ashta, and soaked in syrup, and are more deliciously consumed when freshly warm.

Crispy, creamy, and heavenly, these particular rolls are sinfully tempting to anyone who tries to resist them. It gets worse; you will even struggle to stop once you start eating them.

#13 Halewet El-Jebn

And how can we ever resist the Halewet el-Jebn! Traditionally, this dessert used to be presented in thin layers of soft cheese-dough that looked like shredded cotton fabric. The clotted cream or Ashta would be dropped on the top, or on the side with the syrup.

The recipe evolved into rolls stuffed with Ashta, although some areas in Lebanon still serve it the old way. The taste is the same: Heavenly succulent!

#14 Mafroukeh

A creamy semolina dough sweetened to perfection, topped with a layer of fresh Ashta and plenty of silver almonds and some pistachio nuts, that’s the succulent Mafroukeh.

Many, especially in Tripoli, love the Mafroukeh on Sunday mornings at the legendary sweet shop of Al-Hallab.

Another version was born from this recipe, and its the pistachio Mafroukeh, a favorite of the gourmet lovers, yet the traditional remains the most loved by all.

#15 Osmalieh

Another favorite dessert of the Lebanese, the Osmalieh is as crunchy as baked vermicelli-like pastry dough could be. The Ashta is layered in between. The recipe also contains syrup. Sweet, crunchy and creamy!

A more modern version saw to give it a twist that makes it easier to eat:

And we won’t end the list without two summer favorites of the Lebanese!

#16 The Lebanese “Bouza” (Icecream)!

This is not your normal ice cream. It’s creamy-rich with a gummy texture. It’s made from Ashta, milk, mastic gum, sahlab, and sugar.

The Bouza bel-halib, (or milk ice cream) is presented generously wrapped with pistachios, an absolute feast in your mouth.

And you have the Lebanese fruit Bouza made from fresh fruits and is as rich and velvety.

#17 The Lebanese Fruit Cocktail

A top favorite of our summer days, the Lebanese Fruit Cocktail is a delicious energy booster made of fresh fruits and freshly squeezed orange juice or strawberry juice.

Rosewater and orange blossom water are added to the juice before pouring it over the fruits. It’s then topped with Ashta and some pistachio nuts, and optional almonds.

Who could say no to that?