20 Egyptian Sweets And Desserts In Egypt

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Egyptian cuisine has some beautifully spiced mezze-style food. But what about the sweets and desserts in Egypt? I know for me, no meal is complete without a sweet treat. A beautiful dessert will round off a delicious meal, and my stomach will finally tell me it is finished.

Egypt has some beautiful desserts and pastries of their own, as well as putting their own unique twist on some of their neighbors’ sweet imports. But as in every other culture on earth, sweets and desserts can be eaten any time, and who can deny the calling of your sweet tooth when it calls?

You may know several of these famous Egyptian sweets and desserts already, but let’s get right in and discover some of these appealing dishes.

Popular Desserts In Egypt

There are so many delicious desserts in Egypt that it can be hard to pick just one to eat at any given moment. If you happen to be in Egypt for an extended holiday or visit, you’ll have plenty of time to give them all a try. We are sure you will find one or more Egyptian desserts that you will fall in love with.

Om Ali (Egyptian Bread Pudding)

Om Ali directly translates to Ali’s Mother in Egyptian and is perhaps one of the most famous desserts of Egypt. If you’re only to have one dessert in Egypt, make sure it is this delicious dish. Traditionally made with stale bread milk, it can also be made with several layers of pastry.

The puff pastry version is made with several layers of pastry, soaked in milk before having nuts, raisins, coconut flakes, and sugar mixed in, and all baked in the oven. Regularly topped with pistachios for a delightful crunch, this Egyptian dessert is not one you will forget in a hurry.

Sweet Couscous

Sweet Couscous may seem like a surprise to you couscous lovers out there. But trust us when we say it is a delightful surprise. This simple yet delicious dish is a classic Egyptian dessert, using mainly Couscous, butter, and powdered sugar. Of course, there are many variations to this dessert if you want to branch out on the classic.

With nuts, fruits, seeds, and sweet spices being added to give this dish so much variety, you’ll be spoilt for choice; what will be your go-to option? This Egyptian dessert is traditionally eaten around New Year, the white color symbolizing the wish for a peaceful year. Sweet Couscous is also a popular breakfast dish throughout Egypt

Sweet Potato

Yes, you read that correctly. Sweet Potato is a staple of desserts in Egypt, especially in the capital Cairo. Popular amongst the food stalls, you can have your oven-baked sweet potato topped with various sweet toppings from cream, chocolate, nuts, and caramel sauce to ice cream and more.

It is a notably healthier option, maybe without the ice cream topping, and extremely cheap to buy.

When you see one of these stalls, be prepared to queue, as they are very sought after by the locals, which is always a great sign of how amazing a simple dish can be.

Rice Pudding

A classic dish in a lot of countries around the world, the Egyptians also love the rice pudding. Made with rice, water, and milk, the Egyptians boil this dish before storing it in the fridge to help bind it.

Give this dish a try out in Egypt, and you will find delightful toppings such as ice cream and pistachios as a lovely addition. Raisins, nuts, and cinnamon are also pretty common ingredients added in the rice if you fancy mixing it up with your Rice Pudding.

Halawet El Jibn (Sweet Cheese Rolls)

Extremely popular across many Arab countries, this exquisite dessert is relatively unchanged in Egypt. It is a simple dessert, with it being a sweet cheese roll stuffed with clotted cream. They are regularly garnished with sugar syrups and pistachios.

Either orange blossom or rose water is also used to add extra flavor to this little Egyptian dessert, enhancing its fragrance and taste. Halawet El Jibn is made with a specific Arab cheese. Majdoola or Akkawi, as well as Mozzarella, are favored cheeses to use.

Mahalabia (Sweet Milk Pudding)

If your sweet tooth is not so sweet, this custard-style milk dessert may be right up your alley. Mahalabia (also known as Muhallebi) is an ancient Egyptian dessert enjoyed not only in Egypt but across the whole of the Middle East.

Made from milk, sugar, rosewater, and cornstarch, it is exceptionally light and not overly sweet. If you feel you would like a sweeter version, some variations will also include fruit purees as an extra layer on top, as well as dustings of cinnamon, pistachios, and various other flavors.

Layali Lubnan (Semolina Pudding)

Technically this is a Lebanese import but still popular throughout Egypt, especially in the larger cities. Little has changed when it comes to the main ingredients of this pudding across many Arab countries.

It is very aromatic and light, with a thick and soft semolina pudding base and a firm and smooth cream layer on top. Usually drizzled with syrup and pistachios, it is a simple yet sweet dessert in Egypt.

Cakes In Egyptian Desserts

Egyptian cakes are a must-have treat whilst visiting. With a lot of influence from other cultures, the Egyptians have put their own unique twist on these cakes.

Basbousa (Sweet Semolina Cake)

This sweet cake is very common in a lot of Arab countries and dates back to the Ottoman Empire. It is one of the more popular desserts in Egypt during special festive occasions. However, you will still be able to find this sweet cake at plenty of bakeries all year round.

Basbousa is a simple yet tasty dessert made with semolina, coconut, yogurt and syrup. Flavored syrups are very popular to use with this Egyptian dessert, creating even more delicious versions of this cake.

Nuts are often used as a topping, adding a lovely extra crunch to this soft treat. This cake will be served in small diamonds or squares to serve, and we believe that you will be going back for more after your first taste.

Cassata (Ice Cream Cake)

This is a very colorful and truly indulgent ice cream Egyptian dessert. Heavily influenced by the Italians, the Egyptians have made the Cassata a very unique dessert. This ice cream cake is made with sour cream, flavored with vanilla, chocolate, and mangoes. It is then frozen into a delectable dessert in Egypt. Popularly served with fruit or cake, you may find slight variants of Cassata in the Northern regions of Egypt.

Aisj El Saraya (Middle Eastern Style Tiramisu)

Aisj El Saraya translates to ‘the royal court’s bread’. From the visuals of it alone, it’s easy to understand why. This cake is as tasty as it looks and comes made with layers of caramelized bread before being topped with pistachios and cream.

It has a unique and pleasurable mixture of sweetness and tartness. Even with its bread layers, it is very light, and the caramelization adds a lovely flavor. This is a Lebanese cake that the Egyptians have made their own, and be sure to grab a slice. 

Hegazeya (Nut Cake)

This Egyptian dessert was founded originally in the northern city of Alexandria. It is a simple cake made with pastry batter, which has a delightful mix of semolina, cinnamon, and nuts sitting in between the two layers of pastry.

As with a lot of desserts in Egypt, this Nut Cake is garnished with a healthy portion of pistachios. One slice of this cake may not be enough. Hegazeya is usually only found in Alexandria, so if you are staying in the area, go and seek this delightful cake in Egypt out before you leave.


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Pastry Desserts In Egypt

Pastries are very popular in Egypt; bakeries and stores will be full of them, but be quick, they will sell out quickly!

Balah El Sham (Egyptian take on a Churro and Donut)

One look at this Egyptian dessert, and it is easy to see why it looks like a churro, just a smaller and slightly thicker version. It has a similar sweet and soft interior to a Donut, whilst its exterior is very much like a Churro and crunchy when you take a bite.

It is essentially choux pastry that has been deep fried and then dunked in sugar syrup. Some variations of the Balah El Sham also get filled with fruit, chocolate, whipped cream, or some other delectable sweet ingredient.

Katayet (Stuffed Fried Pancakes)

Also known as Qatayef, these little pancakes are another dessert in Egypt that is popular during Ramadan. They are made from yeasted dough, stuffed with cream and nuts before being fried to golden perfection, then soaked in syrup.

Many places where they are made and sold will either make them fully closed or with an opening at the end; they are the same Egyptian dessert and just as lovely.

New variations of these crunchy pancakes are also filled with fruit, chocolate, or just nuts on their own. As they only tend to be sold during Ramadan, they will be a bit more difficult to find at any other time of year. Shops and bakeries will sell out of these very quickly, so grab some when you can.

Kunafa (Sweet Cheese Phyllo)

This is one of the more popular Eygptian desserts and food in Egypt and is also found throughout many of the Arab nations. The Egyptians have put their own unique spin on this sweet by stuffing this phyllo-style pastry with cream cheese.

Over the years, this pastry has been transformed with dozens of new flavors. Particularly popular during the holy month of Ramadan, a lot of shops and cafes are known to compete against each other to produce a fantastic new version of this dessert every year. You will surely find so many variations of this pastry it will be hard to pick a favorite.

Sweet Feteer – (Sweet Flakey Pastry)

Also known as Feteer Mashaltet, this is a very popular flakey layered pastry. This is a traditional Egyptian dessert but can also be served with savory stuffings alongside a mezze-style meal. In its simple yet delicious form, it is served as it is with ghee, milk, and honey before being dusted with powdered sugar. But of course, there can be many various stuffings, including white honey and cream, Egyptian cheese, chocolate, and more.

Egyptian Sweets

We can’t forgo discussing some traditional Egyptian sweets, and these are just a few favorite desserts in Egypt. Make sure you try some on your travels when you find them. 

Ghorayeba (Egyptian Shortbread)

Quite similar to their Scottish cousins, with having a similar buttery and melt-in-your-mouth sensation, these cookies are a go-to Christmas, and Eid treat. Ghorayeba is simply made with ghee, flour, and powdered sugar. As easy as that!

They are not overly sweet and have more of a velvety and soft bite compared to the more firm crunch you can get with Scottish Shortbread. These are left simply flavored as they are, with some variations having shaved or whole pistachios as a garnish. Grab a box, and you may just eat this Egyptian sweet all in one sitting.

Kahk (Egyptian Biscuit/Cookie)

A popular Egyptian sweet around Eid, these butter cookies are available everywhere during this holiday. It is a simple yet tasty cookie made from ghee, honey, butter, sesame seeds, and various nuts, before being dusted with powdered sugar.

Egyptians make so many variations of this cookie, adding plenty of different ingredients, and the flavorings will differ from bakery to bakery. This Egyptian sweet has been known to have been eaten since the time of the Pharaohs, showing just how ancient this cookie is.

Egyptian Jaleb/Mashabek (Twisted Funnel Cake)

Known both as Jaleb and Mashabek, its name translates to twisted funnel cake but is more of a sweet than a cake. This Egyptian sweet is a sweet batter that has been deep fried.

Either soaked previously in honey or simple sugar syrup, the batter becomes satisfyingly crunchy after frying. This twisted sweet is very popular across the whole of Egypt and very cheap to buy. A delicious and affordable dessert in Egypt.

Halva (Egyptian Style Fudge/Candy)

There are so many variations of this candy throughout the Arab countries. In Egypt, every region will again have their own recipe, but one popular kind that you will find is made from nut butter or seeds.

Different variations of this cube-style sweet will also contain tahini, sesame seeds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and more. The Egyptian varieties are very soft and crumbly, hence why they are similar to fudge. No matter what flavor of Halva you choose, its sweetness will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.

Zalabya (Egyptian Sweet Fritters)

This is a pastry you will find everywhere in the street food stalls across Egypt. Traditionally they look like the inside of a ring donut that has been cut out, but only larger. This is where the similarity ends.

The texture is lighter and fluffier on the inside whilst having a nice crispy skin. When you bite into a Zalabya, you will get a delightful simple sugar syrup taste.

This yeasty dough will have been lightly fried and dunked in sugar syrup before being dusted with powdered sugar or dipped in chocolate. When buying from a stall on the streets of Egypt, you will see them cooked in front of your eyes, and you will get to choose your topping.

Discovering Delicious Egyptian Desserts In Egypt  

The desserts of Egypt are incredibly varied and equally as delicious as they are colorful. A visit to Egypt would be incomplete if you didn’t manage to try even a small handful of these Egyptian desserts.

There are desserts and sweets for all tastes, from Sweet Goulash to the Katayet to even the Middle Eastern take on Churros with Balah El Sham. With some desserts in Egypt being more popular during Ramadan, they may not be as easily found outside of this holy period of the Islamic Calendar. So if you can find those elusive desserts, grab a portion when you can.

We hope that this gives you plenty of mouth-watering options for your visit to Egypt. Keep an eye out on the bakeries, numerous food stalls, and restaurants and explore the many delights of the Egyptian food. Your sweet tooth will thank you for it.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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