Persian food is usually known for its incredible kebabs and indulgent savory dishes. But Persian desserts are no less than any local feast. During Nowruz and other festivities, you will find that people in Iran buy or make traditional Iranian sweets at home.
What Is Special About Persian Desserts?
Persian sweets might not be as famous as French or Caribbean desserts, but they are unique, flavorful, and delectable. Each one is different from the others, depending on the place of origin. From Iranian baklava to ice cream and traditional cakes to rice puddings, Iranian desserts have a lot of options for everyone.
Iran is famous for the excessive use of saffron in almost all desserts, which makes them hard to resist. They are also known for their excessive sweetness and a touch of rosewater.
The followings are some of the best Persian desserts and Iranian sweets to try.
Most Famous Iranian Dessert
Masghati (Apricot And Pistachios Candy)
Masghati is very famous in Iran, it mainly consists of starch which gives it a soft and jelly-like texture. Saffron, nuts, and rosewater are added to the Masghati which gives it a sweet and nutty taste.
The recipe or ingredients of the Masghati can be slightly different in different regions of Iran but the main ingredients are mostly the same.
These Iranian sweets are mostly found in the southern areas of the country. It is also good for vegetarians as masghati is a gluten-free option. Although if you are a diabetic patient then you should probably avoid it because it is prepared using a lot of sugar.
Persian Ice Cream
Bastani Sonati (Persian Saffron Ice Cream)
If you have never tasted this Iranian ice cream even after visiting the country, you have missed something really important. It is an essential part of Iranian sweets. It is everyone’s favorite and is considered the national ice cream of the nation.
Bastani sonati is an outstanding escape from the typical vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream. It has very simple ingredients and preparation techniques. But the natural flavor of saffron, rosewater, and mastic makes it a cherry on top among other Iranian desserts.
The luscious yellow color and playful aroma of rosewater, mastic, and saffron, give this ice cream a funky and complex character. Mastic is a hardened resin that brings a gooey and slightly chewy texture. You can try the ice cream scoops in a serving dish or sandwiched between two thin wafers.
Persian Desserts – Pudding
Persian Halwa (Persian Pudding)
Halwa is one of the most popular desserts throughout the Middle East. It is a very soft and crumbly Persian dessert with a rich and satisfying taste. The appearance of halwa will remind you of fudge pudding but it is a lot sweeter than typical fudge.
There is a wide range of this Iranian dessert. Almost all varieties have roasted or dried nuts with fantastic color and consistency. But the best one is made with maple syrup and tahini or semolina.
Persian halwa not only tastes great but is also vegan-friendly. In Iran, halva is usually made for religious events or served to guests after funeral services. But you can also eat it from local sweet shops and bakeries.
Sholeh Zard (Saffron Rice Pudding)
Sholeh zard is an Iranian style of rice pudding. Its name means yellow pudding. You might hear some people pronounce it as Sholeh Zard.
This old-fashioned sweet Iranian food owns a delicate texture. It is packed with a classic flavor of Persian sweets. The fancy treat is served in a goblet topped with powdered cinnamon and pistachios.
You can even smell the sweet aroma of saffron and rose water in the air when this delicacy is being served. In Iran, people usually make this simple and fulfilling treat, especially for Ramadan. But you can always try traditional Iran sweets throughout the year.
Faloodeh Shirazi (Rice Noodle Dessert)
Faloodeh is a semi-frozen chilled regional treat. This Persian dessert is a popular summer street food in Iran. It is made with vermicelli, sweet rose water syrup, and lime.
While the combination might sound weird, Faloodeh delivers a complex mixture of flavors that you can’t miss. The classic Iranian dessert tastes sweet with a slightly sour taste of lime.
This fancy delight is perfect to enjoy in hot weather to refresh your soul. You can get it from any local ice cream shop.
Persian Baklava (Flaky Layered Pastry)
The list of popular desserts in Iran is incomplete without the legendary Iranian baklava. This sweet treat owns a luscious taste that you can’t miss. It is not only popular in Iran but also widely eaten throughout the globe.
The confectionery is a flaky layered Iranian pastry, rich with the goodness of toasted nuts, sweet juicy syrup, and spices. It is served gracefully and topped with pistachios and sometimes even rose petals. This wonderful combination offers a unique taste other than sweetness.
The fancy Persian pastry delivers a pleasing fragrance of nuts and rosewater syrup, that further increases your appetite. Best thing is that it is not hard to find. If you see a Middle Eastern sweet shop anywhere in the world, they typically will have this classic dessert in stock, and freshly made.
Qottab (Stuffed Pastry)
Qottab or Gholab is an Iranian cake inspired by an ancient savory pastry called Sanbosag. The snack is similar to Italian wedding cookies in their texture and taste. The only difference is that they are soft and have different fillings.
These Persian pastries are stuffed with walnuts, almonds, cardamom, and powdered sugar. After filling, it is deep fried and served dusted with sugar and nutty powder.
This slightly sweet cake remains a common snack throughout the year. But it is especially popular during the new year. Yazd is known to be the city that serves the best-tasting Qottab.
Noon Khamei (Persian Cream Puffs)
Noon khamei is a delicate cream puff, also known as naan e khamei. It is an iconic cream-stuffed Persian pastry, which is hard to refuse.
These are fresh Iranian pastries with a light shell and fluffy whipped cream. As you bite the delicate shell, it collapses into a soft cream. They are also dipped in sweet syrup or chocolate.
The whipped cream used in these cream puffs is slightly sweet and has an aroma of rosewater. The combination gives a unique flavor to traditional cream puffs.
Ranginak (Persian Date Cake)
You might have not heard of this Persian cake before, but it is very rich and satisfying. It is hard to describe the taste but it has a very strong flavor of dates.
You can easily find this classic Iranian dessert in the south of Iran. This region is known for growing various dates which makes ranginak a common dessert in the area. The messy cake is just loaded with walnuts and dates.
This traditional Iranian cake only contains butter, flour, dates, walnuts, and sugar. Only a little amount of sugar is added to it because dates make it sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. Although it doesn’t have the texture of typical cakes, you will love it the way it is.
Yazdi Cupcakes (Persian Cardamom Muffins)
Yazdi cupcakes are mini Persian cakes that are fluffy, soft, and not too sweet. Although cupcakes originated in the United States, the ones you find in Iran are native to Yazd, an Iranian city. It is somewhat dryer than typical sponge cakes.
Yazdi cupcakes are not only an Iranian dessert, they can also be eaten for breakfast. They are also prepared for different ceremonies in Yazd province. The typical Persian aroma and flavor come from the cardamom, rosewater, pistachios, and almonds.
Along with a nice fragrance, the dense crumbs have a tender texture and rich flavor. You will find the best Yazdi cakes in the local bakeries of Yazd.
Persian Zulbia (Persian Funnel Cake)
Zoolbia also known as Zulbia or Zoolbiya is another delicious addition to the plethora of delish Persian desserts. It has a spiral shape similar to the popular South Asian confectionery Jalebi. The sweet snack is usually made during Ramadan.
This Iranian dessert is a traditional deep-fried pastry made with saffron, syrup, and fermented batter. The first bite feels like a sweeter and crunchier funnel cake. It is soft from the inside and crunchy from the outside.
This sweet Persian candy has a glowing texture and goldish color. It is best to enjoy it with a hot cup of tea to balance the sweetness.
Iranian Desserts – Cookies
Nan Berenji (Persian Rice Cookies)
Persian desserts are known for their wide range of unique options that will leave you spoilt for choice. This next item is an Iranian rice cookie loved by almost all natives. It is ranked among the most famous and popular Iranian sweets.
Nan Berenji or Naan-e-Benji originated in Kermanshah. It is a common sweet for the Iranian new year celebration. This peculiar Iranian delicacy usually comes in white but some places made it tinted yellow.
The flat disk of the cookie is made with rice flour, poppy seeds, and rose water and garnished with poppy seeds. The cookie is healthy and gluten-free. It offers a superior flavor of cardamom with sweet fragrant rose water.
Shirini Keshmeshi (Persian Raisin Cookies)
Shirini Keshmeshi is another local favorite among Iranian desserts. If you like chocolate chip cookies, you will enjoy this Iranian treat. It is particularly popular among the young ones.
The confectionery is a Persian raisin cookie. Just like other Iran sweets, it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It delivers the rich sweetness of raisin pops along with a buttery taste.
This cookie is commonly made during the Nowruz celebration, and people also like to have it as an evening snack.
Koloocheh (Persian Walnut Cookies)
You can see that Iranian sweets are not limited to a single option but offer a range of varieties. Koloocheh is another traditional Parsi-style cookie. It is enjoyed throughout the year but widely eaten during the Persian new year.
This feast has a golden color and is made in a unique style everywhere across the country. The beautiful cookies are stuffed with the nutty filling of dates and walnuts. Some chefs also add crushed coconut with other spices to enhance its flavor.
The mouth-melting Iranian dessert item has a round-shaped crunchy outside with a soft sweet interior. It is the perfect light and fulfilling snack to start your day in Iran.
Ghorabieh (Almond Macaroon)
If you have a friend who visited the city of Tabriz, then you might be familiar with this Persian dessert. Here we are talking about visitors’ favorite Ghorabieh. It is perhaps best described as an Iranian version of a macaroon made with almonds.
This cookie snack is also trendy in Azerbaijan. It is a popular serving for weddings and other happy occasions. They are soft and chewy just like a perfect macaroon has to be.
Ghorabieh has been the finest product of Tabriz Ghanadies for centuries. The bakery produces delicious Ghorabieh every day in bulk. You can also grab a bite of this mini Persian cake from this famous Iranian bakery if you ever visit Tabriz.
Toot (Persian Mulberry Marzipan Candy)
Toot is a Persian version of mulberry marzipan candy. It is a popular treat for Nowroz and other cultural holidays. In Iran, toot is often topped on cakes and cookies.
This Iranian candy is super delicious and vegan-friendly. It is gluten-free and made without baking. The main ingredients are rose water, pistachio, dates, cardamom, and almond.
This Iranian dessert has a smooth texture with a fragrant smell. There is also an apricot and coconut version, which are also tasty treats to delight your taste buds.
Sohan (Persian Saffron Brittle)
Iran is famous for its aromatic sweet varieties. Our next Persian dessert is also a delicious pastry filled with pleasing aromas. Sohan originated from Qom and looks similar to brittle.
This candy is made with a wonderful combination of nuts, flour, and spices resulting in a rich and sweet taste. Further, it is graced with rose petals and pistachios that make you crave it even more. Sohan delivers a buttery flavor with a crunchy texture.
The floral fragrance candy is especially popular in Isfahan and its surrounding areas. You can grab it from the local bakery and enjoy it as a sweet toffee.
Persian Gaz (Persian Candy)
As you are getting some Iranian candies for souvenirs or personal indulgences, don’t miss out on Persian Gaz. This Iranian sweet originated from the Isfahan region and is popular throughout the country.
Persian Gaz is also more widely known as Persian nougat internationally. It is because the toffee is made with sugar, egg whites, and toasted almonds. The combination results in a nutty-tasting candy with a rosy and savory hint.
The toffee is often made on Nowroz in a round shape. The modern way to serve them is by cutting them into small rectangular shapes. The locals used to present these Iranian candies as a gift to the guest.
Noghl (Sugar Coated Almonds)
Sugar-coated almonds, Noghl are very popular among locals, for good reason. This Iranian candy is mostly served along with tea or coffee.
The roasted almonds are submerged in a mixture of sugar, rose water, and water. On cooling, this mixture makes a sweet and crunchy white coating on the almonds.
Noghl is considered a sweet of good luck and happiness in Iran. This is why it is often found in wedding celebrations. In some places of Iran, guests throw noghl on the bride and groom as a part of the wedding ceremony.
Persian Fairy Floss
Persian fairy floss is an Iranian candy similar to cotton candy. This traditional Persian dessert has an extremely delicate texture. You might feel like eating delicious and sweet strands of woven wool.
This fairy floss is made of sugar and natural flavoring. It offers a heavenly flavor of sesame with floral notes of damask rose. Every bite smoothly melts in your mouth.
In Iran, this confectionery is even garnished on ice creams, fruits, and cakes. Some people like to enjoy it as it is. You can try it in both ways as per your preference.
Discovering Persian Desserts And Iranian Sweets
Iran has a tea-loving culture which is incomplete without occasional confectionaries. Furthermore, Iranians like to have something sweet at the end of the main course.
Just like Iranian food varies in different towns, their desserts also have a variety of recipes in every city. Wherever you go, you will find a particular flavor of every Iranian delicacy. Saffron, rosewater, and cardamom are the key ingredients of almost all Persian sweets.