Authentic Middle Eastern Halva

If you have been to the Middle East before, then you probably already know what ‘Halva’ is. It is one of the most popular candy desserts in the said region. But to those of you who come across this treat for the very first time, it is a dense and sweet confection.

It has two most common variations: seed-based halva and flour-based halva. If you want something that is drier and with a more crumbly texture, I highly recommend going for the nut and seed halva. But if you want one that is ‘gelatinous’, then flour-based halva would be your best bet.

Nut and Seed Base

This type is made from tahini or sesame seed paste combined with heavy cream and honey or sugar. It is then flavored with bits of chocolate or vanilla, plus pistachios. Nut-based halva is popular in countries like Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, and Lebanon. This type is the most commonly sold in America.


The flour-based halva, on the other hand, is common in countries like Greece, Turkey, and Iran. The recipe usually requires butter, sugar, and semolina. It is flavored with saffron. It also involves aromatics like rosewater, and this is exactly what we are featuring today.

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Authentic Middle Eastern Halva

  • Author: Myles
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


This halva recipe would give you a taste of the Middle East. It is rich, sweet, and very aromatic. You can also use it as a base for your homemade brownies, chocolate chips, or even ice cream.



1/2 c. water

1/4 c. rosewater

1 c. granulated sugar

6 saffron threads (or 1/2 tsp. ground saffron)

1 c. all-purpose flour

16 tbsp. unsalted butter


  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil using a small saucepan. Stir and wait until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  2. Add the saffron and rosewater. Remove from heat once the texture is like that of syrup.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat.
  4. Slowly add the flour and mix with the butter to make a paste.
  5. Slowly add the sugar syrup. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour the mixture into ramekins or serving plates.
  7. Let cool before serving.


  • After adding the sugar syrup, be sure to pour the mixture IMMEDIATELY into the ramekins.
  • When serving, you can remove the halva from the ramekins and cut it into small pieces.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes

This Middle Eastern dessert is good on its own, but it is best served with a cup of coffee or tea right after a meal. Halva is a great dessert if there are special occasions. In fact, you can make and serve it even if there is nothing to celebrate. It is so easy to make!

Since Halva is a delicious confection, feel free to utilize it as the base for your homemade brownies. You can also utilize it when making chocolate chips. It can serve as an excellent flavoring for your homemade ice cream, too.

As you can see, Halva is very simple, but it makes a delightful dessert. Try it today! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Authentic Middle Eastern Halva”

  1. I love Halva. While living in Chicago, I always purchased it at grocery chains. Now I’m living in CA and can’t seem to find it anywhere. I would love to make the seed and nut variety rather than the flour recipe. I’ll have to search the internet.


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