23 Traditional Jewish Desserts

I’m willing to bet you’ve tried a few Jewish desserts already, even if you don’t know it.

Babka is the first thing that comes to my mind, as it’s one of the first yeast doughs I learned to bake!

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I’m sure you’ve tried rugelach and challah bread, right?

Even if you’re not celebrating Rosh Hashanah or Passover, these incredible desserts can often be found year-round in the stores.

Many Jewish holidays are centered around family and food, so there are plenty of tasty treats to choose from.

To save you some time, I’ve collected 23 of my all-time faves!

If you’re looking for some authentic ideas for the main course, try these traditional Jewish foods.

Chocolate Babka

Babka is a yeast-based dough traditionally braided and has a sweet filling, such as chocolate or cinnamon.

I happen to think chocolate babka is dangerously addictive, so I don’t make it too often.

Once you see how stunning it looks and take that first bite, you’ll see what I mean. What willpower?

For the best results, make the dough the night before so it can rest in the fridge.

Lekach (Honey Cake)

This sticky-sweet cake is mainly made to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, and it’s best when you make it in advance so the flavors can mature.

Between the ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, this cake is quite similar to a gingerbread recipe.

But the added honey and apple juice give it a much sweeter finish.

This cake is wonderfully moist, so it doesn’t need a glaze. Plus, the honey gives it plenty of sugar, so a sweet glaze might be too much for some.

If you want to add something to the top, try scattering over chopped nuts.

5-Ingredient Chewy Coconut Macaroons

Coconut macaroons are such a fun and simple little treat. They need just five ingredients and are gluten-free!

After whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks, you’ll very gently stir through some honey, vanilla, shredded coconut, and salt.

I like to toss the coconut a little before adding it to the egg whites so it’s not clumpy before going into the bowl.

This will help it to evenly mix in without you having to overwork anything.

Once they’re baked, a super simple way to dress them up is to drizzle them with dark chocolate.

Apricot Hamantaschen

These hat-shaped Purim cookies are a staple in my house during the holidays.

I love the buttery shortbread and the cute little package it turns into with the jam. It’s almost like a tiny galette!

When making your shortbread, be sure to stop processing when the dough looks like large breadcrumbs.

Unlike pastry, you won’t want to mix it into a ball of dough.

To keep it perfectly crumbly, finish working it on the counter, pressing everything together gently until it all sticks.

Mandel Bread

Much like biscotti, these cookies are crispy and perfect for dipping in your morning coffee.

Made using a similar method, these babies are twice-baked: once in a large, flat log to the point it’s just about cooked, and then they’re sliced and baked again to get that crunchy finish.

Though this recipe calls for chocolate chips, you can so easily swap them out for dried fruit or nuts if you prefer.

Sufganiyah (Hanukkah Jelly Donut)

Sufganiyot are round jelly donuts, much like you’re used to seeing.

They’re most traditionally served for Hanukkah but are delicious any time of year when you have the time to make them.

This dough needs to be rested twice but it can be made and enjoyed on the same day.

After the first rest (which is about two hours depending on the temperature in your home), these get rolled and cut before a second rest.

This second rest is what makes these big and fluffy!

I like to use up the scraps like donut holes and toss them in sugar right after they come out of the hot oil.

For the larger donuts, be sure to let them cool before filling.

Easy Halva Recipe

Halva is an Israeli gluten and dairy-free candy made with sugar and tahini.

It’s very dense and a little like a super moist fudge recipe, only there’s no condensed milk in sight.

Since this sets pretty fast, make sure you have everything scaled out and ready to go before you start.

Molly’s Sweet and Spicy Tzimmes Cake

If you’re a fan of carrot cake, you’ll love this lightly spiced cake.

Not only does it include shredded carrot, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, but it also contains sweet potato and apple for maximum flavor.

Using sweet potato in this cake will act much like bananas in banana bread: it will make it super moist!

Since it’s so moist, you don’t need to add frosting to this. That said, cream cheese frosting would be the perfect way to finish it!


If I had a dollar for every single rugelach I’ve ever made, I’m pretty sure I could buy an island!

These little crescent-shaped cookies are to die for, and they’re crazy easy to make!

The dough is very similar to shortbread, only it’s enriched with eggs for something a little more pliable.

The filling of brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts isn’t too sweet and just slightly nutty.

Of course, you can always throw in chocolate or other fruits, too.

Hanukkah Gelt (Homemade Golden Chocolate Coins)

As the name suggests, this chocolate “gold” is a typical Hanukkah gift, and you’ll need this mold if you want to get them just right.

Of course, you could always use a regular circular mold, but they won’t have the star or menorah designs.

If you use regular chocolate, it would be best to temper it, so the coins won’t melt.

Candy Dreidels

You’ll need just four ingredients to make these cute little dreidels, and they’re all store-bought and ready to go.

The most you need to do here is melt some chocolate!

The pretzels make nice, edible sticks, but you can also use lollipop sticks (cake pop sticks) if you want something more solid.

Since you can never have enough chocolate, I think the chocolate dipper “dreidels” are the best option.

I even found some Hanukkah sprinkles for cake decorating, which are the perfect finishing touch!

Jewish Apple Cake

This Jewish apple cake is very typical of what you would get in Germany or France.

It’s not overly sweet, and it’s loaded with fresh apples for taste and texture.

You’ll use oil instead of butter here for maximum moisture, and interestingly, the recipe also calls for orange juice, which adds a subtle citrus flavor to the crumb.

Dreidel Surprise Cookies

These dreidel cookies are super cute by themselves, and if you’re in a rush, they will be a hit at any party.

But if you have the time to go the extra mile, you’ll be the talk of the town!

It’s as easy as stacking a few cookies together and filling them with candies.

Another great option would be to fill them with Nutella, peanut butter, marshmallow Fluff, or caramel for something a little messier but just as tasty.

Egg Kichel (Jewish Bow Tie Cookies)

Egg Kichels are a type of cracker that is so light and airy, they’re also known as “nothings.”

You’ll notice the recipe calls for a lot of eggs. It’s not a typo.

You do need that many, and since this dough needs to be worked for around 20 minutes, you’ll definitely need a stand mixer.

Then it’s just a matter of rolling the dough in sugar and giving the strips a little twist to achieve the bow shape.

Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crack

There’s so much to love about this recipe! First of all, it’s ridiculous how easy it is to throw together.

But mostly, you just can’t beat the combination of crispy cracker with salted toffee and smooth chocolate over the top.

You do have to make caramel for this, but it’s very straightforward.

All you’ll do is add brown sugar and butter to a pot and let it come to a boil.

There’s no need to watch it like a hawk or use a thermometer.

I like a mix of dark and milk chocolate here, so you’ll get some fun color contrast, and I’ve even been known to drizzle over some peanut butter, too!

Sweet Lokshen Kugel

I remember digging into a piece of this at a potluck once, thinking it was some kind of cheesy, savory lasagna-type dish.

Boy, was I wrong!

This unique Jewish dessert is very much a sweet treat, using soaked raisins and a sweetened blend of cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese.

It’s almost like a cheesecake filling in that regard.

Once baked, the filling has the same custardy consistency you would get in a bread pudding, only it uses pasta to hold everything together.

Parve (Adaptable Shabbat Torte)

I was pleasantly surprised by this simple little recipe and how easy it is to modify.

You really can make it in a matter of minutes and use whatever fruit you have on hand that day.

I’ve made this with everything from plums and peaches to spiced apples and a blend of colorful berries.

Just remember to thaw and drain frozen fruits and toss them in a bit of flour, so they don’t sink.

Chocolate-Filled Hamantaschen

Using real chocolate in these cookies is great, but sometimes, it can burn if it’s not of great quality.

That’s why I love this clever recipe!

Not only will you get a rich and chocolatey filling, but it’s almost like two desserts in one!

It’s sweet and buttery shortbread, plus an intense pop of chocolate brownie in the middle.

Hanukkah Dreidel Surprise Loaf Cake

Full disclosure: this recipe will take a little time.

You’ll have to make one cake (the blue cake) and let that cool completely before you can cut it.

Top tip, use a cookie cutter to make sure they’re all perfectly sized.

Next, you’ll make the vanilla cake. Once it’s ready, pour half of the batter into a lined loaf pan and then line the dreidels down the middle.

Cover the blue cake with the rest of the vanilla and bake!

When it’s cool, cut into the cake to reveal the hidden blue dreidels.

Chocolate Challah Bread

Challah bread is a soft, white dough made using eggs for an even richer taste.

It’s usually braided and is excellent for sandwiches, bread pudding, or your morning avocado toast.

But it’s incredibly scrumptious when you add chocolate to the mix.

The dough itself is very easy to make, but the braid can get a touch complicated.

That said, so long as your lines cross over each other, I’m sure it will look fantastic!

Tahini Cookies

Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini has a very mild nutty flavor that is pretty savory and wonderfully smooth.

You’ve probably used it in hummus before and maybe a sauce for your chicken, but I promise, using it in cookies is a game-changer!

Of course, these cookies are sweet, buttery, and very moreish, but the tahini adds something special that’s hard to explain.

You’ll just have to give them a try to see how good they really are.

Chocolate-Matzo Layer Cake

Icebox cakes are a fantastic way to make something sweet and impressive with minimal effort.

And using matzo just means you’re skipping a step (making cookies), and it’s kosher to boot!

Between the coffee-soaked matzo and the creamy chocolate filling, this recipe is a lot like a tiramisu.

I like to top mine with a simple Baileys whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate ganache.

Marak Perot (Compote)

Marak Perot is a “fruit soup” used as a light and sweet way to end a heavy celebratory dinner.

The simple mix of dried and fresh fruits, water, and sugar gets gently simmered until it all reduces into a syrupy mix of sweet and plump fruits.

Lemon juice is added at the end to brighten the flavors.

This is best served chilled, and I like mine with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s also great with a slice of pound cake.

From moist apple cake to sufganiyot, here’s a closer look at Jewish desserts.

Go to Recipe

Chocolate Rugelach

Everything tastes better when it’s homemade, especially these chocolate rugelach. This cream cheese dough is filled with raspberry jam and chocolate, satisfying that craving for something sweet.

Originating from Poland, this traditional Jewish dessert is typically served during Rosh Hashanah. You can also serve this dense apple cake with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

Vanilla & Cinnamon-Kissed Apple Latkes

This sweetened version of the traditional potato pancakes combines cinnamon, orange juice, vanilla extract and apples. Top them off with cinnamon sugar and they’ll be a dessert you can’t stop thinking about!

Hanukkah Cookies

These cookies are perfect for celebrating Hanukkah. Made with cream cheese, these cookies have a richness that only gets richer with its buttercream frosting. You can pipe on frosting decorations or top with holiday sprinkles.

Chocolate-Covered Matzo

This dessert will easily become one of your favorite treats to make for Passover. The recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and guests won’t be able to resist the chocolate-covered crackers. Make it your own by adding toppings like sprinkles or nuts.

Passover Rainbow Cookies

You’ll like these Hanukkah doughnuts a hole lot. Filled with raspberries and topped with confectioners’ sugar, you’ll definitely want to grab seconds of this dessert. If you’re a chocolate lover, give this recipe a creative spin by using a Nutella filling.

Cranberry Rugelach

Traditionally a Polish treat, this doughy dessert will satisfy any sweet tooth. This rugelach’s filling consists of sugar, cranberries, walnuts, butter and cinnamon, but you can always try a variety of rugelach to find your perfect version.

Chunky Apple-Cinnamon Cake

This recipe is perfect for when you have extra apples lying around or when you’re looking for something easier to make than an apple pie. Packed with flavor, this cake incorporates orange juice, vanilla extract, brown sugar and cinnamon to make it worthy of any special occasion.

Apricot-Filled Triangles

Traditionally eaten during Purim, these pastries are a favorite of most and make a large enough batch for seconds. The best part of these buttery cookies is that they’re customizable to have any fruit filling of your liking!

This rich cake is made with a variety of fruits and vegetables like carrots, cranberries, apples and sweet potatoes for sweetness and plenty of spices to give it a little kick. Best served after a traditional Jewish dish, this makes the perfect dessert to have for Rosh Hashanah.

Egg Creams

Egg creams are an iconic Jewish drink. This fizzy, frothy drink is said to have been created in the 1900s by Louis Auster, a Jewish candy store owner in Brooklyn, New York. Interestingly, the drink contains no eggs—just 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup carbonated water and 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup. (Purists use the brand Fox’s U-bet!)

Walnut Honey Cake

This cake is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Light and fluffy, this cake doesn’t skimp on flavor with ingredients like orange juice, ginger, cinnamon and walnuts. You can even skip the frosting and get away with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

First-Place Coconut Macaroons

These macaroons are perfect for first-time bakers. Put the ingredients in a bowl, mix, bake and you’ll have a treat you’ll go coconuts over in no time. If you need a kosher version for Passover, try these chewy macaroons that are just as easy to make.

Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot Cookies

Literally meaning “almond bread,” this twice-baked cookie consists of almonds, orange zest and chocolate chips for a modern version of this 19th century dessert. Serve it with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and you won’t be able to resist dunking the cookies in for a sweet treat.

Taste of Home

Poppy Seed Cake

This uniquely delicious cake is often seen during Purim because the Yiddish word for poppy seed, mohn, is similar to the name of the villain of the Purim story, Haman. It can be in the form of a loaf, a Bundt cake or even a towering layer cake.

What’s a game of dreidel without gelt? These waxy chocolate coins wrapped in shiny gold foil have a rich history and are a staple during Hanukkah, especially for kids. You can easily find store-bought gelt or make homemade gelt when you prepare other recipes for Hanukkah.

Between weekly Shabbats and holiday meals there are plenty of good excuses to add a delicious dessert to the end of your meal. Jewish communities all around the world have cultivated their own special desserts for different occasions, and these are just some of the best that you could add to your very own table at home!

Originating in Poland and Ukraine, babka has become a classic staple at every Jewish bakery. With its fluffy dough, light and airy feel, and swirls of sweet filling, it’s easy to see why it’s such a well loved dessert. It was even given a shoutout in the popular sitcom Seinfeld when in “The Dinner Party” episode of 1994 they exclaim, “You can’t beat a babka!” Hard to argue with that! You can make your own here.


Krembo are one of the most popular confections in Israel, with over 50 million sold every year. Typically only available in Israeli stores during the winter months, Israelis eagerly wait all summer until these tasty treats return to the shelves. The classic krembo features a cookie base, with marshmallow fluff on top, all covered in a chocolate shell, and is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. To make your own version at home, check out this recipe.

Adapted from the European crescent-shaped pastries called “kipfel,” Ruglelach rose to popularity among American Jews in the mid 20th century. Literally meaning “little twists” in Yiddish, rugelach are crescent shaped, made from flaky dough and twisted with different fillings. Whether you prefer chocolate, cinnamon, or vanilla, it’s hard to resist these pastries.

Try making your own chocolate rugelach here.


The history of the strudel dates back to Vienna in the 17th century. With many of the top bakers of the time being Jewish, it wasn’t long before it became a staple in many Ashkenazi homes. The classic strudel is made with thin flaky dough, and contains a variety of scrumptious fillings, usually with fruits. Add it to your table with this recipe!


Moufleta is a Moroccan dessert, typically made for special occasions. Traditionally, Moroccan Jews make moufleta for the holiday of Mimouna, which is the Moroccan Jewish celebration of the end of Passover. This thin pastry is often rolled up with honey, butter jelly, or silan, and are absolutely delicious! You can make your own moufleta this year here.


Teiglach are small knitted pastries boiled in a honeyed syrup. They originated in the Middle East and were initially popular with Sephardic Jews, but eventually made their way to Eastern Europe and became associated with Lithuanian Jews. Today, they have ultimately become known as a classic Ashkenazi dessert. It’s become traditional in some Ashkenazi communities to make these yummy treats for holidays like Rosh Hashana, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Purim. Try this recipe to experience them for yourself!


If you’re looking for a satisfying fried dough treat, look no further than Zengula. These are the Iraqi version of a fried funnel cake or fritter, traditionally soaked in a sugar syrup. For centuries Iraqi Jews have traditionally made Zengula during the holiday of Hanukkah, as a way to celebrate the miracle of the oil. Try making them for yourself here!

Some have called Mandelbrot the Jewish version of Italian biscotti, and it’s easy to see why. Historians believe some of the first sweet biscotti were baked by Jews in the Jewish ghetto in Venice. Jews then took these cookies to other parts of Europe, adapted them, and it wasn’t long before they had a Yiddish name. Mandelbrot means “almond bread” in Yiddish, and are now considered a staple when it comes to Jewish baked goods. They can be filled with nuts, chocolate chips, and more! Try your own classic Mandelbrot with this recipe.


Popular throughout the Middle East, this pudding-like dessert has become beloved in Israel, and some even consider it to be the country’s national dessert. Malabi has become so popular among Israelis that there are even restaurants in the country purely devoted to this treat. Malabi is a milk pudding, traditionally flavored with rose water and a sweet, red syrup on top, but there’s plenty of variations to choose from. Try your own here!


Bourekas are a popular pastry that can be found in bakeries and markets across Israel. Bourkas are made with puff pastry, and are filled with savory ingredients, such as cheese, spinach, or meats. Bourekas are an excellent snack, and they’re common across the Mediterranean. Different types of bourekas can be found in Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans.


Another staple food here in Israel, falafel is made of a mixture of ground chickpeas and spices, which are then formed into balls that are then deep-fried. This Middle Eastern street food is common across the region, but it’s actually considered the “National Dish” of Israel. This tasty dish is best served in a warm pita bread, where you can fill it with toppings of your choosing (such as pickles, , spicy dips, and even french fries). Falafel is an excellent food to eat while exploring places on our list of the top 20 things to do in Israel


Unlike the hummus you might be used to at home, hummus here in Israel is rarely bought in a grocery store. This delicious chickpea-based food has been around the Middle East for centuries, and today, there is an entire culture around eating hummus in Israel. That’s because it’s an entire dish in itself. When you sit to eat at a hummus restaurant, you’ll be served a plate of fresh, warm hummus with fluffy pita. Our tip? Enjoy your hummus at one of Israel’s outdoor markets (like in Tel Aviv, or in Jerusalem), and pair it with a local Israeli beer. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to make your own hummus, don’t forget to check out Abraham’s Hummus Workshop.

Pita bread

No trip to Israel would be complete without trying authentic Israeli pita bread. While forms of this bread can be found across the world, pita bread originated in the Middle East. Here in Israel it is pillowly, fresh, and typically served warm. It can be opened in the center, and it is typically the base for falafel, shawarma, and sabich sandwiches.


Shawarma is a popular street food here in Israel that originated in the Ottoman Empire. When you go to buy shawarma, you’ll notice first that it’s a pretty impressive sight: this dish consists of thin slices of meat that are stacked high on a rotating metal spit. Shawarma is usually made with lamb, but you can also find it made from chicken. When you order it, thin slices of the meat will be cut off, and you can eat it in a pita or on a plate.


Shakshuka is a dish typically eaten for breakfast, and it features eggs as the main ingredient. This dish can be found all over North Africa and the Middle East, and it’s made by first preparing a flavorful tomato sauce. Then, eggs are cracked right into the pan, which is then covered to let the eggs cook. You’re left with a flavorful simmering dish that might be topped with some local This dish is best eaten with fresh bread, which you can use to mop up all of that tasty sauce.


Kanafeh is a sweet Middle Eastern dessert that’s made with a crunchy spun pastry and warm melty cheese. It’s a fragrant dish, and might be a bright orange, due to the rose water that it’s typically topped with. Kanafeh is served by the slice, and it arrives piping hot, usually with some pistachios on top. It’s a crunch, cheesy, and sweet dish.

While falafel might technically be the “National Food” of Israel, tahini is definitely a close second. This simple paste resembles peanut butter, except it’s made entirely out of ground sesame seeds. You can find tahini served with just about every meal here in Israel, from breakfast to dessert (tahini-flavored ice cream is a thing). When you buy it in the grocery store, tahini comes as a thick paste, which then is typically prepared at home with hot water, lemon and salt.


Sabich is a delicious sandwich, originally brought to Israel by Iraqi-Jews. This dish includes crisp fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, pickles, and Israeli salad. An excellent option for vegetarians, sabich is another street food that you can find in markets and restaurants around the country.

Israeli salad

True to its name, Israeli salad is a staple dish here in Israel, and you can find it at most meals, even breakfast. It’s simple and fresh, and consists of cucumbers and tomatoes, finely diced and served with parsley, olive oil, and lemon. Israeli salad is excellent to enjoy on the hot summer days here in Israel, and is commonly served as a side dish when eating out at restaurants.

A staple of Jewish food, challah bread originated in Eastern Europe, and is symbolic in modern Jewish traditions. For example, challah bread is typically eaten during Friday night Shabbat dinners, and is also eaten on Jewish holidays. This rich bread gets its unique texture from egg yolks, and it’s moist and flavorful. Challah is usually braided into long ropes, and might have a glazed surface.


Couscous is an interesting type of grain, because it resembles something between rice, quinoa, and pasta (it’s technically considered a pasta). It’s made of tiny little balls of semolina flour, which are then steamed. This dish might be served as a side dish at your next Shabbat dinner with some colorful vegetables.

Where to Eat Israeli Food

Hungry yet? If you’re wondering where to eat Israeli cuisine, there are plenty of places you can visit in order to try these amazing foods. In Jerusalem, be sure to visit the market, the most famous market in Israel that is full of restaurants and street food vendors. In Tel Aviv, you can visit , and Sarona Market, all of which have tons of places to eat. In Eilat, you can find many of these dishes along the main promenade, where there are tons of restaurants to choose from. And in Nazareth, the Old City is home to authentic and delicious places to eat. Plus, we offer a traditional cooking workshop

Don’t forget, while you’re visiting these places and eating your way through Israel, we have your accommodations all figured out. We have locations in , that are waiting to welcome you on your next trip to Israel.

Israel is famed across the world for its rich, diverse, multi-ethnic cuisine that draws inspiration from many different cultures to form a lush culinary tapestry. Situated alongside the Mediterranean coast, Israel boasts the perfect climate for growing ingredients that are as fresh as they are delicious.

And while sun-soaked fruits and veggies make for delicious salads, starters, and mains—there’s always room left for dessert in Israel!

Much like the rest of Israeli food, the range of sweet treats is broad in scope and includes many must-trys for any visitor with a sweet tooth. If you’re visiting Israel and are looking for a sweet snack or dessert to enjoy as you explore the rich culture and history of the Holy Land—here are the top 20 choices to look out for!

Chocolate Balls

Chocolate balls are a delicious sweet treat that will take any Israeli straight back to childhood birthday parties. They’re made from crushing up butter biscuits and mixing the crumbs with melted chocolate.

Once the mixture is incorporated, simply roll the delicious dough up into balls and top with coconut flakes, cocoa powder, or sprinkles! With such a simple recipe, and the fun of rolling up the balls, these easy treats are a favorite for kids to both make and devour.


Photo Credit: tastyandhasty

Photo Credit: kream_bo

Krembo is the name of a popular winter treat in Israel, consisting of a light and fluffy marshmallow filling atop a buttery biscuit base, coated in a delicious milk chocolate compound coating.

Originating in Europe as a traditional winter treat, immigrants to Israel brought the concept of Krembo to the country in the early 20th century, and the unique shape and colorful aluminum wrappers have since become truly iconic.

Editor’s Note: In Germany, krembos are known as Schokoküsse or Dickman, after the company who made, and they are on of the most popular local sweets.

Parra Chocolate

Photo Credit: benji50000

Parra Chocolate is the gold standard for milk chocolate in Israel. Born all the way back in 1934, Parra, which literally means “cow” in Hebrew, has since expanded its range of flavors to include white chocolate, hazelnut, nougat, puffed rice, strawberry cream, popping candy, and more!

Biscuit Cake

Photo Credit: hacohenbar

Biscuit cake is a quick and easy no-bake solution that Israelis put together when stuck in the desert.

Biscuit cake is made with common ingredients, such as whipped cream, cream cheese, and vanilla essence. This delicious creamy filling is then sandwiched between layers of crunchy butter biscuits for a satisfying sweet treat that has topped many an Israeli dinner table.

Photo Credit: laffa.nl

If it came to deciding the national dessert of Israel, malabi is perhaps the strongest contender of the lot. Made from a light, creamy, and delicious milk pudding topped with rose water jelly, malabi is much more than a dessert.

Around Israel, little stalls and kiosks serve malabi as the perfect antidote to the hot Middle Eastern climate. Popular toppings that go atop malabi include crushed pistachios, coconut flakes, and crushed cookies.


Kunafeh (or Knafeh) is a staple dessert in many cuisines across the Middle East, and Israel is no exception. Made from an irresistibly creamy cheese base topped with crunchy flakes known as “kadayif” and a deliciously sweet syrup, kunafeh is an absolute must-try for any visitor to Israel.

Kunafeh is a particular specialty of the Arab community in Israel, so if you happen to be eating in an Arab restaurant, make sure to leave room for dessert!


Photo Credit: hodosviki

Another Middle Eastern staple, not too dissimilar from malabi, is sahlab milk pudding! Deliciously creamy and sweet, this warm little pudding is sure to bring you comfort on cold winter days.

A silky smooth rice drink infused with cinnamon, sahlab is most often served topped with crushed pistachios for added flavor.


Speaking of staple desserts, baklava is one of the most iconic dishes belonging to many cuisines across the Balkans, Levant, North Africa, and the greater Middle East, including Israel.

This dessert can be traced far back, as baklava was one of the most popular desserts within the Ottoman Empire, which reigned over the region from the 14th century all the way up until the early 20th century.

Baklava is made from tonnes of layers of deliciously flaky filo pastry stuffed with crushed nuts and a sweet, sticky syrup. Enjoy with a cup of tea or black coffee for the ultimate after-dinner treat!


Photo Credit: Gilro

Gliliot is a classic Israeli treat that you’ll find in just about every kitchen cupboard and on every afternoon brunch table, served with a cup of tea or coffee. Gliliot consists of a light, crunchy wafer wrapped around a filling of smooth, rich hazelnut chocolate creme. Be warned, one is never enough!


Photo Credit: swweet_yami

Klik is a must-have Israeli snack food that every child goes nuts for. There is a whole range of different flavored Klik products, but the most common variations are chocolate-coated balls, chocolate-coated cornflakes, and chocolate-flavored wafer pillows stuffed with even more chocolate.

By now, you should get why children love them so much—chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

Found across the Levant, North Africa, and the Middle East, halva is a delicious dessert treat that is thought to have originated from Persia (modern day Iran), and is a popular sweet treat in today’s Israel.

It is made by cooking sweetened semolina infused with flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, or the most basic sesame flavor. Halva can be found in just about every Israeli supermarket, as well as in bakeries and confectioneries.


Photo Credit: soaresisare20

Since the 1930s, Israelis have enjoyed the unique flaky texture of the iconic Mekuplet bar. Made of a stick of flaky thin chocolate strands all wrapped together, the Mekupelet bar has a reputation for being as crumbly as it is delicious. If wearing white, proceed with caution!

Sesame Candy

Sesame seeds are an important ingredient for a variety of Israeli dishes, including starters, sides, and mains. Dessert is no exception, as Israelis love tucking into a delicious serving of sesame seed candy bars.

These bars are made of sesame seeds toasted together and hardened in honey, and can sometimes include types of crushed nuts for added flavor. In addition to being delicious, these candy bars are packed with a surprising amount of protein!

Babka is a sweet and comforting cake that came to Israel with immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. Consisting of a soft cake filled with layers of pastry and chocolate filling, babka makes the perfect accompaniment to a warm cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

Bamba Nougat

Photo Credit: checkthatforyou

The original Bamba serves as what could reasonably be called the most iconic snack food that Israel has to offer. A favorite of children and adults alike, Bamba is the most well-known brand of peanut-flavored puffs that can be picked up at any kiosk or supermarket.

The nougat-stuffed variation puts a sweet spin on the classic peanut-y puffs.

Red Bamba

Photo Credit: Israel Export Market

Nougat is not the only alternative flavor that Bamba has introduced to its loyal Israeli customers. The brand also offers “Red Bamba,” which is supposed to taste like strawberry.

Known for being very sweet, opinions on Red Bamba are usually a matter of love or hate. Try for yourself to see where you stand!

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Such is the case with the delicious honey cake that lucky Israelis will have served to them after a family dinner or special occasion. A no-nonsense traditional cake made with love and drizzled with honey, this is home baking at its best.

Candied Fruit

Take a stroll through any market in Israel and you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the dazzling display of colors adorning the stalls of candied fruit sellers.

From kiwi to mango, and everything in between, Israeli markets are jam-packed with delicious, naturally sweet dried fruits that make for a great snack to take with you on your adventures.

Rugelach are stuffed pastry treats that originated within the cuisine of Ashkenazi Jews in Poland. Since immigrating to Israel, they have brought the iconic treat to the Holy Land, where it has since become a staple of just about every bakery and café in the country. Similar to a croissant stuffed with chocolate, cinnamon, raisins or nuts, they make a perfect accompaniment to a warm drink or glass of fresh juice.

The sweets and treats of Israel are yet another one of the country’s rich offerings to explore, so if you’re visiting any time soon, remember to sample as many of the offerings on this list as you can—your sweet tooth won’t regret it!

Matan Maslawi

Matan Maslawi is a freelance writer born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. He currently resides in Berlin and when he’s not writing, he can be found sampling doner kebabs and practicing his broken Japanese.

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