10 Famous Ramadan Desserts From Around The World
Image Credit: Freepik

Ramadan is one of the most significant and widely celebrated festivals in the world. The significance of Ramadan goes beyond religious beliefs. It is also cultural and communal. The month brings families and communities together like no other.  

Here are some of the desserts that are eaten during Ramadan around the world:  

Qatayef  Image Credit: Freepik

Qatayef is a favourite Middle Eastern dessert, especially during Ramadan. These pancakes are stuffed with nuts, fried until golden brown, and then soaked in sweet syrup. Qatayef has a long history! Some think they started with the Fatimid Dynasty. But these tasty treats go way back to the 600s CE and the Abbasid Caliphs. Legend says one Caliph had a craving for a dessert that would keep him full. His chefs got creative and invented Qatayef! Today, most people buy qatayef from bakeries, while others like making these yummy pancakes at home.   

Zoolbia and Bamieh  Image Credit: Freepik

Bamieh and Zoolbia are two of the most beloved Ramadan sweets in the Middle East. These fried treats are drenched in a sweet syrup flavoured with saffron and rose water. No Iftar is complete without them! Bamieh starts as a choux pastry dough piped into star shapes and fried. Zoolbia uses a thin batter squeezed through a bottle to make lacy squiggles. When fried, they turn out crispy and delicate, similar to funnel cakes but lighter. Bamieh and Zoolbia are a delicious duo for breaking the Ramadan fast.  

Basbousa   Image Credit: Freepik

This tasty treat comes from Egypt. It's made with semolina flour and soaked in a yummy syrup. The recipe goes way back to the days of the Ottoman Empire. Their classic Revani cake evolved into basbousa over time. This cake is a must-have during Ramadan. It's one of the most popular desserts in the Middle East.   


Image Credit: Freepik

Back in the 1100s, nomadic Turks used to make layered breads. Their word "yuvgha" meant folded bread, so Turks probably invented baklava. Traditional Turkish baklava contains phyllo dough, pistachios, butter, and syrup with sugar, water, and lemon. Eating baklava during Ramadan started in the 1400s. The Ottoman sultans served saffron baklava at their charity hospices in the 1500s.  

Mahalabia  Image Credit: Freepik

Mahalabia has a sweet and flowery taste that comes from milk, sugar, cornstarch, and flower water. It's a pudding from ancient Persia. As the story goes, back in the 7th century, a general named al-Muhallab had a cook from Persia. This cook made a milk dessert so delicious that it's still popular today. When chilled, mahalabia is sprinkled with chopped nuts and cinnamon. Its floral aroma and creamy texture make it a delightful treat.  

Kunafa  Image Credit: Freepik

Kunafa is a delicious Middle Eastern pastry with a complicated history. The cheesy, syrup-soaked dessert likely originated in the Palestinian city of Nablus centuries ago. Though the exact origins are disputed, Kunafa 's roots predate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The people of Nablus are proud of their orange-hued version, made with local white cheese. However, Israel has claimed the pastry as its own, ignoring Palestine's role in developing it. This causes understandable tension. Regardless of pronunciations and spellings, kunafa remains a sweet staple across the Arabic world. The pastry brings delight despite the bitter disputes over its origins. Kunafa is a special treat during Ramadan.   

Sheer Khurma  Image Credit: Freepik

The name comes from the Persian words "sheer,"  meaning milk, and "khurma,"  meaning dates. It's a nutritious blend of ingredients that can be served warm or chilled. The dates add a natural sweetness and flavour that sugar alone can't match. Originally, this simple yet delicious pudding combined Iranian milk with Afghan dry fruits and nuts. Nowadays, fried vermicelli and caramelised sugar are commonly added too. Sheer khurma is a tasty dessert that got its start in Persia, but became a hit all across Central Asia and India. This sweet, creamy pudding took a trip on the famous Silk Road trading route, and folks in different places couldn't get enough of it. The Silk Road helped spread this treat far and wide.  

Phirni  Image Credit: Freepik

Phirni is made from ground rice or rice flour cooked in milk. Phirni likely came from ancient Persia or the Middle East, a long time ago. Persians call it Sheer Birinj, which means "food of the angels." The Mughal rulers made phirni super popular in India. Islamic culture says phirni was served to Prophet Muhammad when he went up to the seventh floor of heaven to meet Allah. So phirni is seen as a divine, holy food in Islam.  

Atayef  Image Credit: Freepik

Atayef are a lot like pancakes. They're made with flour, finely ground wheat, yeast, milk, baking powder, salt, and sugar. You can add vanilla, rose, or flower flavourings too if you want. Atayef is a fried dessert from the Middle East. People there have been cooking it since way back in 750 AD. Folks eat tons of atayef during Ramadan. It's a classic dish for the holiday.  


Image Credit: Freepik

Luqaimat is a fried dough ball soaked in syrup or honey. Some say that it came from Saudi Arabia, but others say it came from Iraq way back in the 1200s. Back then, it was called "luqmat al qadi," which means "judge's snack." The idea was that eating these puffy treats would help get the judge on your side in court. These tasty morsels spread all over the Middle East. Today, you can find them in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, India, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. No matter where they started, luqaimat is a delicious dessert that brings back sweet childhood memories.