Armenia is such a unique country. The culture here is a medley of rich traditions and sweet celebrations. When this cold and mountainous nation needs a pick-me-up they turn to delicious Armenian desserts.
Sweet treats are a big part of Armenian food. Bakers in Armenia are some of the best in the world and their take on sweets is sensational. Be sure to bring your sweet tooth when visiting to discover all the exceptional Armenian desserts.
What Is Special About Armenian Desserts
Armenian desserts are so harmonious. Every element is in perfect balance. From grain to butter to fruit to nuts, everything there is to love about the sweet life can be found on the dessert menu in Armenia.
Armenian pastry is world-renowned for its flakey and buttery richness, but the pastry is far from all they have to offer.
Armenian sweets use warm spices, creamy dairy, and earthy nuts to build mouthwatering flavor. A common thread in Armenian desserts is dried fruit. The locals love eating dried fruits.
Most Famous Armenian Dessert
Pakhlava (Armenian Baklava)
Many Armenian dishes have an international influence and this icon is no exception. Pakhlava is the Armenian interpretation of the Greek classic baklava.
This sweet treat is a testament to the diverse nature of Armenian desserts. When Armenians taste something great, they put their own twist on it.
Pakhlava is an Armenian pastry made from layers of phyllo sheets filled with buttery cinnamon and nuts. The flaky pastry layers are sliced into rectangles or triangles and then soaked in sweet syrup.
The soaking syrup is what sets pakhlava apart from baklava; the syrup for pakhlava uses the warm flavor of cloves to bring out the best in this Armenian dessert. Pair this treat with a cup of coffee for the true Armenian dessert experience.
Traditional Armenian Desserts
Soorj (Armenian Coffee)
No Armenian dessert is complete without a cup of Armenian coffee. While coffee may not be considered a dessert on its own, locals love to enjoy Armenian cakes and pastries with coffee.
Your cup of joe here is no average drink, though, it is truly elevated. The beans are made into a powder that is so fine it does not need to be strained out before drinking.
The powder is boiled with a touch of sugar in a traditional Armenian coffee pot and served hot. One sip and you will understand why it is so special.
Gatnabour (Rice Pudding)
Creamy, luscious, and perfectly spice gatnabour is the perfect Armenian dessert for rice lovers. Gatnabour is Armenian rice pudding with such a dreamy flavor you will start to crave this treat.
This Armenian dessert is made in a similar way to other cultures’ rice puddings but the flavor sets it apart. Short-grain rice, milk, and cinnamon make up the signature base on gatnabour. Variations include the addition of rose water and often dried fruits. This Armenian dessert is sure to strike a warm note with your taste buds!
Popoques (Walnut Cookies)
This whimsical Armenian sweet is a mind-bending tasty treat. Popoques are tiny walnut-shaped cookies with a sensational sweet filling.
The shape of these cookies is so spot on one might mistake these for a fresh nut. However, when you crack into this Armenian dessert you will not find walnuts, but rather a sweet caramel filling. It is an unexpected and delicious surprise that you will not be able to stop eating!
Zadigi Kahke (Easter Cookie)
Christian roots run deep in Armenian. Nearly all of the current residents cite practicing Christianity and Armenia has one of the first established branches of the Christian church. Easter is a huge celebration here and Armenian desserts are in on the celebration.
Zadigi kahke is the traditional Armenian Easter cookie. They are made with a farina dough that is seasoned with warm spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon. The cookies are often decorated with sesame and cumin seeds. These cookies are the perfect balance of sweet and spiced with a celebratory appearance.
Anoush Abour (Christmas Pudding)
This Armenian dessert is the image of abundance. Anoush Abour is a Christmastime treat with so many notes of true Armenian flavors.
This delicious treat is composed of a sweet soup with grains, barley, nuts, and fruits. It is a hearty and colorful dish that satisfies the sweet tooth without too much excess sugar. This bountiful Armenian sweet dish can be seen nationwide around the Christmas holiday season.
Mikado Cake (Custard Cake)
If you are familiar with tres leches cake, these decadent Armenian cakes may feel familiar. Mikado cake is a lush and creamy custard cake. What makes this cake so special is the layers of wafer-thin cake.
The cake is made almost like an Armenian flatbread, extra thin, then layered with over-the-top delicious cream filling. It is a truly luxurious Armenian dessert.
Meshgengouz Gargantag (Nutmeg Cake)
Few flavors are as warm and welcoming as earthy nutmeg and this classic Armenian dessert is a celebration of that flavor. These gorgeous Armenian cakes can be found in bakeries nationwide. They have a satisfying dense yet moist texture and the addictive flavor of sweetened nutmeg. Pair a slice of this complex cake with Armenian coffee.
Trchni Kat Tort (Bird’s Milk Cake)
This Armenian treat is for real chocolate lovers. It is a show-stopping dessert that has been imported to Armenia and they have perfected its chocolatey flavors. This is a beautiful layered cake made with rich and sumptuous ingredients. These Armenian cakes are made with a soft chocolate sponge with layers of custard filling and a decadent ganache topping.
Beeshee (Armenian Donut or Zeppole)
This irresistible Armenian dessert is the perfect balance of crunchy and soft. Beeshee is sort of like an Armenian donut. The dough is a yeasted sweet dough that is dropped into a fryer and cooked to crispy perfection.
These poppable Armenian sweets can be eaten for breakfast like donuts or later in the day. No matter when you choose to enjoy this treat, have it with a cup of coffee to eat like a local.
Nazook (Sour Cream Pastry)
This Armenian pastry is a local favorite. It looks a little like a rugelach but it is a taste all of its own. The amazing pastry is made from flaky layers of sour cream pastry folded with butter. The finished dough is rolled with a sweet walnut filling and then baked into golden bites of deliciousness. Nazook is easily one of the most beloved Armenian desserts.
Ponchik (Armenian Filled Donut)
Bakeries throughout Armenia serve this decadent treat. Ponchik is a filled donut-like Armenian dessert. Unlike beeshee, ponchik is made from a slightly sturdier dough that can hold a filling. The sweet yeasted dough is fried and then filled.
Typical fillings include sweet custard and rose-infused jam. This Armenian sweet is just lip-smackingly delicious!
Kadayif (Shredded Phyllo Dough Treat)
Kadayif is a common dessert in many middle eastern countries. It uses an Armenian cooking staple, phyllo dough, to craft the most irresistible dessert. This Armenian pastry is crafted in a similar fashion to pakhlava.
Shredded phyllo dough is tossed with butter and pressed in a sheet pan to make a cake-like layer. Walnuts are tossed over the phyllo then the shreds are soaked, like pakhlava, in a sweet syrup. The final flavor is so rich and syrupy that you will want another bite of this rich Armenian dessert.
Gata (Buttery Pastry)
Gata and nazook are cousins, but gata is the original Armenian pastry. This delicious Armenian dessert is made from layers of buttery pastry. The pastry is filled with a mixture of butter, sugar, and warm spices and rolled.
What differentiates this Armenian sweet from its cousin nazook is the dough for nazook typically uses additional sour cream and is filled with nuts. Gata is the more simple, yet sensationally tasty variation of this Armenian dessert.
Choereg (Sweet Bread)
In this predominantly Christian country, Easter celebrations are over-the-top and no Easter is complete without this Armenian dessert.
Choereg is a bright and sweet Armenian Easter bread. It is made from a rich yeasted dough that often incorporates mahleb or rose water. The dough is beautifully braided and dotted with sesame and cumin seeds. This celebratory bread is a sweet Armenian dessert classic.
Armenian Sweets And Candy
T’tu Lavash (Fruit Leather)
Armenian locals love to eat dried fruit and the best way to get it is as t’tu lavash or fruit leather. These strips of dried fruit may not be what you picture when you think of fruit leather, but this Armenian sweet takes it to another level.
The strips are supersized, sun-dried, and full of fruity flavor. A common flavor for this Armenian dessert is the local apricot, which is known for its bright color and licorice flavor notes.
Matzoon Cookies (Yogurt Cookies)
Matzoon is a traditional Armenian form of yogurt. This yogurt-like dairy has a mildly tart taste that works very well in cookies. Matzoon cookies use this dairy to make a tangy, crumbly, and delicious Armenian sweet.
These are more-or-less simple sugar cookies with the addition of the tart matzoon. This Armenian sweet is perfect for an afternoon coffee.
Kourabia (Shortbread Cookie)
This Armenian sweet will comfort your heart in cold local weather. Kourabia is a traditional Armenian shortbread cookie that simply melts away when you eat it. The dough is a traditional shortbread dough but seasoned with earthy and sweet almonds.
These cookies are wonderfully short and easy to eat by the dozen! Pair these sweet Armenian desserts with a cup of local coffee. You will feel the cold melt away just like these cookies!
Pryaniki (Honey Spice Cookie)
This local favorite has Russian origins but Armenians make them all their own. These cookies are buttery spice cookies that use the sweetness of honey to add brightness and flavor.
The spicy flavor in this Armenian dessert comes from a mix of anise, allspice, and nutmeg. It is a warm blend that makes you feel at home. The finished cookies are glazed to perfection and are often served with Armenian coffee or hot tea.
Shakarshee (Armenian Sugar Cookie)
Shakarshee is a walnut-infused sugar cookie. Everyone loves the bite of a sugar cookie! This simple Armenian dessert is locally loved for its sweet and nutty flavor. The dough is short and buttery with just the right level of sweetness.
The cookies are finished with a beautiful whole walnut for an excellently nutty presentation. This Armenian sweet is perfect for an afternoon snack with hot coffee.
Discovering Traditional Armenian Desserts
Every day in Armenia is a treat. There is so much to see and experience but the local adventure is not complete without sampling Armenian desserts.
Armenian sweets have so much balance and complexity you will find it hard to put them down. After a long day enjoying the mountainous scenery and the famous landmarks in Armenia, grab a cup of coffee and prepare yourself for a buffet of amazing Armenian desserts!