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Desserts are one thing that cannot be missing at any holiday table or gathering, and if you’re bored of eating the same pies and cakes over and over again, I’ve got a suggestion for you.


One of the biggest food trends in 2020are Arabic treats, and as globalization makes the world a smaller place, we are increasingly searching for exotic and exciting new cuisines. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love Arabic desserts because they consist of a bit of everything. From baklava and to pistachio cake, to sweet cheese pastry and Kunafa, there will definitely be an option for everyone!

Here are 21 addictive Arabic sweet treats for dessert. Browse through them, pin your favorites and let us know what you end up making in the comments!

Lebanese Semolina Pudding (Layali Lubnan)

A very popular dessert throughout the Middle East, this Lebanese Semolina Pudding (Layali Lubnan) includes sweet-tart cranberries, thick coconut cream, ground pistachios, and a floral-scented syrup. This vegan recipe can be whipped up quickly, then it chills in the fridge until you are ready to dig in.

Get the recipe: Lebanese Semolina Pudding.

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Kanafeh (Sweet Cheese Pastry)

A pastry consisting of hot cheese in between layers crispy shredded phyllo dough in a sweet syrup that is common in Greece, Turkey, Israel and many other countries in the area.

Get the recipe: Kanafeh (Sweet Cheese Pastry)

Photographer: Kevin Lynch

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Lebanon Maamouls

Maamoul are typical Lebanese shortbreads, usually stuffed with dates, but which can also be filled with pistachios, almonds or walnuts.

Get the recipe: Lebanon Maamouls

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Harissa is a semolina based dessert, some recipes add coconut while others add a cream filling but in its most basic form harissa is a semolina cake drizzled with syrup and decorated with nuts. Simple yet completely addictive!

Get the recipe: Harissa

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Atayek (Middle Eastern Pancakes)

Atayef or Qatayef are Middle Eastern pancakes filled with white cheese or nuts then soaked in a rose sugary syrup. They are only made and served during the Holy month of Ramadan.

Get the recipe: Atayek (Middle Eastern Pancakes)

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Easy Homemade Ashta Cream

The easiest and quickest way to make a shortcut, Arabic-style clotted cream, perfect for topping or filling into your favorite Middle Eastern desserts.

Get the recipe: Easy Homemade Ashta Cream

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Phyllo Milk Pie (Mesh Om Ali)

Pleated sheets of phyllo dough, soaked and flavored with a luscious combination of sweetened condensed milk and cream, topped with puffs of ground cinnamon and a sprinkle of nuts.  Crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside…simply one of the best easy desserts you will ever make!

Get the recipe: Phyllo Milk Pie (Mesh Om Ali)

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Orange Saffron Syrup Cakes

These orange saffron syrup cakes are inspired by the humble yet exquisite Basbousa, a moist semolina and coconut baked confection with a coarse pudding-like texture (I make a mean one, here’s the recipe!). Baked to soft and sweet perfection, these mini cakes are then drizzled with a delicious syrup that soaks right in.

Get the recipe: Orange Saffron Syrup Cakes

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Muhalabieh (Middle Eastern Milk Pudding Dessert)

Muhalabieh is a creamy Middle Eastern milk pudding infused with rose water, and topped with crushed pistachios.

Get the recipe: Muhalabieh (Middle Eastern Milk Pudding Dessert)

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Pistachio Baklava

Thirty crisp layers of buttery phyllo and heaps of fragrant pistachios, combine to make an utterly delicious, light yet rich baklava that tastes like it came straight from a Turkish bakery.

Get the recipe: Pistachio Baklava

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Pistachio Cake with Mohallabieh Cream

The flavor combination of pistachios, rosewater and cinnamon gives it an Arabic touch to it.

Get the recipe: Pistachio Cake with Mohallabieh Cream

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Sweet Cheese Qatayef Asafiri

Qatayef Asafiri is a delicious, fragrant and beautiful Arabian pancake stuffed with sweet cheese filling and ground pistachios. A great addition to your pancake repertoire!

Get the recipe: Sweet Cheese Qatayef Asafiri

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Syrupy Lemon Olive Oil Semolina Cake

The combination of lemon zest and semolina flour give the cakes a lovely sunny yellow colour, and the drenching of syrup provides a strong kick of lemon flavour and keeps them deliciously moist and soft.

Get the recipe: Syrupy Lemon Olive Oil Semolina Cake

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Halawa (Tahini Halva) Truffles

Easy, homemade Halawa (Tahini Halva) made from scratch and revamped into the most elegant little truffles.  Roll them in either pistachios, sesame seeds or dunk them in glorious chocolate.

Get the recipe: Halawa (Tahini Halva) Truffles

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Sfouf (Semolina Turmeric Cake)

A cake that is beautifully yellowish in color from the all natural spice known as Turmeric, is known in Lebanon with “Sfouf” which literally means : “rows” in Arabic .

Get the recipe: Sfouf (Semolina Turmeric Cake)

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Cashew Filled Baklava Rolls

A fun take on baklava, these baklava rolls, filled with a spiced cashew mixture, make the perfect dessert for your next party! Be sure to see the easy step-by-step tutorial below the recipe.

Get the recipe: Cashew Filled Baklava Rolls

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Chocolate Baklava Bracelets (Asawer El Sit)

Delicately crisp phyllo rings with a creamy chocolate center, a sprinkling of sea salt and crunchy pistachios!

Get the recipe: Chocolate Baklava Bracelets (Asawer El Sit)

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Rose Mehalabya (Milk Pudding)

Arabic style milk pudding infused with a touch of rose and orange blossom waters, adorned with rose syrup topping and garnished with caramelized pistachios. Talk about eye candy!

Get the recipe: Rose Mehalabya (Milk Pudding)

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Ricotta Kunafa Rolls

Creamy ricotta cheese wrapped inside golden, crunchy strands of sticky sweet kunafa. A sprinkling of vibrantly green pistachios add the finishing touch to this handheld delicacy.

Get the recipe: Ricotta Kunafa Rolls

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Easy Pistachio Chocolate Baklava

A lightened up and easier-to-make version of the traditional Baklava.

Get the recipe: Easy Pistachio Chocolate Baklava

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Maamoul (Middle Eastern Date-Filled Cookies)

Ma’amoul are a very famous kind of cookies in the middle eastern area,and usually are prepared in celebration of both Eid Al-Fiter and Eid Al-Adha. Ma’amoul are typically filled with different fillings and come with various shapes. They can be stuffed with date paste,ground flavored pistachios and ground walnuts that could be flavored with cinnamon.

Get the recipe: Ma’amoul (Middle Eastern Date-Filled Cookies)

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Felicia Lim is the author of the food blog Dish by Dish, where personal stories intertwine with simple, healthy recipes (most of which are gluten-free or grain-free). 

Drop by her blog and say hello, preferably with a cookie in one hand, or a steeping mug of tea in the other!

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