Discovering Turkey's Sweet Side: A Guide to 10 Must-Try Desserts

Posted on Jan 25, 2023

Discovering Turkey's Sweet Side: A Guide to 10 Must-Try Desserts

LIFESTYLE • 4 min • Posted on Jan 25, 2023

Turkey is renowned for its delicious desserts, and the variety of sweet treats is imposing. From the famous baklava to lesser-known delights like Güllaç and Un helvası, there is something for every taste and preference.


1. Baklava 
Baklava is considered the pinnacle of Turkish desserts, made from crispy layers of phyllo dough filled with ground pistachios and drenched in sweet, honey-like sugar syrup infused with lemon. It is a sensory experience that is hard to resist and available everywhere in Turkey. Notoriously made in southeast Gaziantep, the name ‘baklava’ was registered by the European Commission as a Protected Geographical Indication. Today, you can find different versions of baklava with walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, fresh clotted cream fillings, and even a chocolate version! 

2. Künefe 
Künefe is another iconic dessert, also known as Knafeh, to Arabic speakers. It is made with string pastry (shredded wheat or kadayıf) soaked in sweet sugar syrup, and the surprise is the creamy, unsalted goat’s cheese inside. It is mostly popular in the Arab world, but the Turkish version hails from Hatay, a region that borders Syria.

3. Lokum
Lokum, also known as Turkish Delight, is another must-try. Not only literature, but this creative candy has also inspired artists of different industries, from being a precursor to the jellybean to even being included in perfumes. The Turkish Delight lives up to the name, the comfort of the throat, and it is offered as something to drown away the bitterness of Turkish coffee. You can find them in different flavors and with nuts, shredded coconut, or even exotic flavors like a rose.

4. Tavukgöğsü
Tavukgöğsü, or Chicken pudding, is another unique dessert that surprises many. It is a milk-based pudding that is shaped like a log and traditionally topped with cinnamon. It is considered one of the signature dishes in Turkey, and it has its roots in the Roman Empire. You can also find a meat-free version, usually called Muhallebi, and it is a must-try for vegetarians.

5. Fırında sütlaç
Fırında sütlaç is a different type of rice pudding that is cooked in the oven, and it goes through the Maillard reaction to create a caramel-colored, sweeter version of the rice pudding. The darker and more burnt versions are tastier than the slightly caramelized ones. It is typically served cold, but it is also delicious when warm.

6. Ayva tatlısı
Ayva tatlısı, or quince dessert, is a must-try for those who appreciate the sweeter things in life. This traditional Turkish treat is made by simmering quince in a sugary syrup and is often flavored with spices like cinnamon and cloves. The result is a delicately soft, aromatic dessert that will warm you up on a chilly winter's day. Don't be fooled by its unassuming appearance - this dessert packs a punch of flavor and is often served with a dollop of cream and sprinkled with nuts. It's a sweet tradition that will quickly become a yearly favorite.

7. Aşure
Aşure, also known as Noah's pudding, is a traditional Turkish dessert with a unique history. Legend has it that the pudding was created when the ark rested on Mount Ararat and supplies ran low. In Turkey, it's common for people to offer a plate of Aşure as a symbol of peace and love. This dessert is truly one-of-a-kind and can vary depending on the recipe. It's a combination of pudding and porridge and can include a variety of ingredients such as grains, nuts, dried fruits, and pine nuts. The pink porridge is also typically vegan-friendly and may have up to 12 or more ingredients. A must-try for any dessert lover looking for something unique and flavorful.

8. Katmer
Katmer, also known as Groom Katmer, is a traditional sweet treat that is often given as a symbol of a sweet marriage. The groom's father would send a helping of katmer to the newlyweds' home on the first morning of the wedding. It's a buttery and sugary pastry that is similar to börek or baklava, but it's made by layering the dough, giving it a flaky and buttery texture like a croissant, but sweeter and with a pistachio coating.

9. Güllaç
Güllaç, also known as the "edible cloud," is a soft and delicate dessert with a gentle, light flavor. It's considered the precursor of the famous baklava and is made with thin layers of corn-starch-based pastry, immersed in warm milk with rose water, and flavored with pistachios and pomegranate seeds. It's a beautiful and tasty treat perfect for winter and is often sold during Ramadan in shops with instructions. Eating Güllaç will transport you to the Ottoman era and make you feel like a sultan. It's also thought to symbolize the story of Hades kidnapping Persephone.

10. Un helvası
Un helvası, also known as flour helva, is a soft and silky treat that's shaped like small biscuits. Made with flour roasted in butter, it's the perfect balance to the bitter taste of tea or coffee. A popular tradition is to eat flour and semolina versions of helva after fish to cleanse the palate. It's also known as the "halva of the dead" as it's commonly given out at funerals. If you're a fan of Halloween, consider this orange-flavored treat the perfect trick-or-treat candy.

In this blog, we have listed the best Turkish desserts and sweets. We hope you will enjoy reading about them! If you are looking for a tasty way to spend your vacation in Turkey, these dishes may be just what you need. So visit Turkey to taste the best Turkish desserts!