What are some traditional desserts in Palestine?

Introduction to Palestinian Desserts

Palestine is a country that boasts a rich culinary heritage full of delicious flavors and unique dishes. Among the many highlights of the Palestinian cuisine are the traditional desserts, which are an integral part of the country’s food culture. Palestinian desserts are known for being sweet, rich, and flavorful, often incorporating ingredients such as honey, rose water, and nuts. Many of these desserts have been passed down through generations and are still enjoyed today.

Best Traditional Desserts in Palestine

One of the most beloved desserts in Palestine is knafeh, a pastry made from shredded phyllo dough, cheese, and sugar syrup. Another popular dessert is baklava, a sweet pastry made from layers of phyllo dough filled with nuts and soaked in honey syrup. Halawet el-jibn, which translates to “sweetness of cheese,” is another favorite, made from a creamy cheese filling wrapped in a delicate layer of semolina dough and drizzled with sugar syrup and rose water.

Ma’amoul is another traditional dessert that is often enjoyed during holidays and special occasions. These small, buttery cookies are filled with a variety of fillings, such as dates, pistachios, or walnuts, and are usually dusted with powdered sugar. Other Palestinian desserts include atayef, a stuffed pancake-like pastry, and qatayef, a deep-fried pastry filled with nuts or cream.

Recipes for Palestinian Desserts

Here is a recipe for knafeh, one of the most popular Palestinian desserts:

Knafeh Recipe


  • 1 package of shredded phyllo dough
  • 1 pound of akawie cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup of rose water
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pistachios


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the shredded phyllo dough and melted butter.
  3. Grease a 9-inch baking dish and spread half of the phyllo dough mixture evenly on the bottom.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the grated cheese and chopped pistachios.
  5. Spread the cheese mixture over the phyllo dough layer, then top with the remaining phyllo dough mixture.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. While the knafeh is baking, prepare the sugar syrup by combining the sugar, water, and rose water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until thickened.
  8. Once the knafeh is finished baking, pour the sugar syrup over the top and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

In conclusion, Palestinian desserts are a delicious and important part of the country’s culinary heritage. From knafeh to baklava, these sweet treats are enjoyed by Palestinians and food enthusiasts around the world. By trying out these traditional dessert recipes, you can experience the flavors and traditions of Palestine from your own kitchen.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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