Yazd Baklava & Loz

Persian Desserts & Sweets You Must Try

Time to read: 8 Mins | Published on August 4, 2020
Join us on a delicious expedition through the Persian deserts and sweets, their origins, and stories.

Warning!

Reading this article may cause you to feel blood sugar drop!! Since, we’re going to outline a mouthwatering list of Persian desserts, sweets, puddings, and else. Who knows; you may want to try making them by finishing this expedition.

Persian Pastry

The Persian sweets vary regarding the region you’re visiting. During the centuries, Iranians have found out about the Persian dessert recipes, developed them, and forwarded them to the next generations. Some of these recipes even date back to ancient Persia. Some recipes are common everywhere. But, some depend on the available ingredients, such as Persian sweets with rose water, dates, rice flour, and wheat germ. Some sweets and desserts are sugar-free, and some are vegan ones.

People are buying sweets in Haj Khalifeh Rahbar Confectionery in Yazd

Iranian people are very interested in eating sweets and that is why you will find different types of sweets in Iran.

The Exclusive Ingredients

Let’s give you a clue to recognize a pure Persian sweet. Cardamom, saffron, and Kashan rose water: wherever they join together, expect a yummy time! You will find these three buddies in most of the traditional Iranian sweet recipes.

Saffron

Our crimson gold, the Persian saffron, is one of the main ingredients in Persian desserts and sweets. It is from the eastern regions of Iran.

A Saffron flower next to a container of saffron

94% of the world’s saffron is grown in Iran.

Rose Water

The next essential ingredient is rose water. You can find it in different regions of Iran. But, Kashan rose water is the prototype. If you happen to visit the city in early May, you’ll have the chance to see the Kashan rosewater festival.

rosewater in Kashan

Kashan rose water is the prototype.

 

Cardamom

And, cardamom. Though it’s not originated from Iran, it plays a vital role in Persian dessert recipes.

Cardamom

Cardamom is used in Iranian desserts and drinks because of its wonderful aroma.

Best Persian Foods!

If you like Iranian sweets, then you should not miss the best Iranian food!

Desserts or Sweets? That’s the question

The Persian sweets have always had an independent place from Iranian meals. They weren’t only a concluding part of lunch or dinner. It wasn’t among Iranian customs to taste desserts right after their main course. Rather, there has been a separate ceremony after the main course: drinking the Iranian brewed tea together with the Persian pastries.

Only recently, having desserts at the end of food has found its way towards the Persian dishes. Mostly, they are western forms of pastries like fruit-flavored jellies, various kinds of cakes, tiramisu, etc. Yet, that traditional ceremony of tea and Persian sweets still has saved its own top place.

 

Tea and its Friends

From the simple sugar cubes to the enriched local Persian sweets, they never let the aromatic Iranian tea be alone. As soon as you get to know the Iranian hospitality culture, you can make sure that after having tried the best Iranian dishes, you are going to the next level – the tea party.

 

The Origins of the Persian Sweets & Desserts

Actually, you can find various kinds, forms, and tastes of cakes and cookies in every region and city of Iran. Yet, some Persian sweets and their related cities have become more well-known and popular. Here we are going to introduce them.

 

1. Koolooche

It is a flat soft cake made out of wheat flour, eggs, milk, nut powders. Various kinds of baked or fried flat cakes, pancakes, or cookies are available in different cities. But the most famous kinds of Koolooches are for the northern region.

A number of Fuman Koolooches in a tray

Fuman Koolooches are one of the most famous souvenirs in northern Iran 

2. Nougat

The great and noble city of Tabriz in the northwest of Iran offers you this specific sweet. It’s a chewy sweet made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts, and whipped egg whites. Nougat became more famous when Google named its android seven after it.

Nougat

One of the most famous types of nougat is Isfahan Gaz.

3. Nan Berenji

The famous pastry in the western regions (Kordestan and Kermanshah) is Nan Berenji. Small cookies made with egg yolk, saffron, cardamom, rose water, sugar, and rice flour. These cookies are gluten-free.

Nan Berenji

Nan Berenji is a souvenir of Kermanshah

The funny point here is that wheat is one of the western regions’ products but their prominent sweet souvenir is out of rice flour. But its vis-à-vis in the northern parts; they plant rice but their Koolooches are out of wheat flour.

4. Aard Nokhodchi Cookies

These Persian sweets are small cookies with chickpea flour as their main ingredient. So, they are among gluten-free cookies. We mix this flour with butter, brewed saffron, sugar, and cardamom and then bake it. They are buttery soft and melt-in-your-mouth.

Aard Nokhodchi Cookies

You will usually find this sweet in every house on Nowruz

5. Sohan

Going towards the central parts of Iran, the ingredients get more enriched with exclusive Persian ingredients, saffron, and rose water. Here you must try Sohan the special dessert and souvenir of Qom. It is out of wheat germ, egg, rose water, sugar, butter, and cardamom.

Sohan on a tray next to a cup of tea

You can find Sohan in Qom and Isfahan

6. Gaz

One of the most famous souvenirs of Iran and amongst the traditional Persian sweets. It is a chewy sweet made from sugar, egg white, rose water, stuffed with pistachio, almond, and walnut. Gaz is Isfahan‘s renown sweet. But it’s also made in other central and western cities like Share-Kord and Kerman.

A dish of Gaz with a few pistachios

Gaz is Isfahan’s renown sweet.

7. Baklava

A delicious dessert sweet in the Middle East, Central Asian countries, as well as Greece. It has a long history with hundreds of developed recipes from ancient times.

In Persian sweet recipes, Baklava has changed its characteristics to a native version. Iranian Baklava is drier and lighter than Turkish or Arabic ones. It’s smaller, in diamond-shaped cuts, flavored with a rosewater syrup and stuffed with grounded almonds and pistachios as well as cardamom. Yazd and Qazvin are two main centers of Persian baklava.

3 pieces of Qazvin baklava

Iranian Baklava is drier and lighter than Turkish or Arabic ones.

8. Qottab

Small pieces of almond and walnuts filled crescents that are deep-fried and sweetened by rolling in the sugar powder. They are specific sweets of Yazd.

A few Qottabs in one dish

Qottab is one of the most famous sweets in Iran

9. Faloodeh

A traditional dessert which is served cold and is suitable for summer. It consists of thin vermicelli-sized noodles made from starch. Faloodeh is floated in a semi-frozen syrup containing sugar and rose water. Some prefer to have it with lime juice or cherry sorbet. This unique Persian dessert originates from Shiraz. Thus, some call it Faloodeh Shirazi.

Two dishes of Faloodeh

Faloodeh is floated in a semi-frozen syrup containing sugar and rose water.

10. Saffron Ice Cream

A freshening dessert made from milk, eggs, sugar, rose water, saffron, and pistachios crumbs. It is an ancient Iranian dessert. This creamy ice cream was first invented during the Achaemenid dynasty (500 BC). It is also called traditional ice cream. A good Saffron ice cream has an extreme flavor of saffron as well as flakes of frozen cream.

You can try Faloodeh and Saffron ice cream together, but remember to omit the lime juice.

saffron ice cream with Pistachio

This creamy ice cream was first invented during the Achaemenid dynasty (500 BC).

11. Kolompeh

A stuffed small, flat and round cake from Kerman. It is filled with smashed dates, cardamom powders, and other local flavors. Crushed pistachios are used for decoration.

Kolompeh; Kerman cookie

Kolmepeh is a special sweet of Kerman city

12. Ranginak

This no-bake Persian dessert is an excellent end to a Middle Eastern meal. It is a well nutritious and energizing dessert made from dates, walnuts, butter, and roasted flour. It is also called dates cake. There are different recipes for Ranginak based on the mentioned ingredients in the southern region of Iran. This region’s main product is various kinds of dates.

Ranginak decorated with pistachio slices and Damask rose

There are different recipes for Ranginak based on the mentioned ingredients in the southern region of Iran.

Sweets for Special Occasions

Like every other culture in the world, we have special desserts or sweets for special occasions like New Year, festivals, mourning ceremonies, and memorials. These occasions are included in Iran holiday packages where you may have the opportunity to experience the process of making Persian sweets and desserts like Samanu and Shole Zard.

Nowruz

The ancient festival of Nowruz is also a festival of baking colorful Persian sweets for entertaining the guests. These sweets and pastries vary in different regions of Iran. But, Persian sweets Baklava, Qottab, Nan Berenji, Aard Nokodchi are common ones you’ll see in most of the Iranian houses.

Besides, there is a special and ancient Iranian dessert that is specific to the new year ceremony: Samanu. This Iranian sugar-free dessert dates back to about 500 AD. Traditional Samanu only has two ingredients: wheat germ and water. Thus, it is also a vegan Persian dessert. It has a special process of preparation that takes about a week. Samanu is one of the elements of the Nowruz Haft-sin table.

Samanu with sliced almonds and pistachios

Samanu is a special and ancient Iranian dessert that is specific to the new year ceremony.

Yalda

Every year we celebrate Yalda, the last night of the fall. Based on an ancient custom, Iranians stay together at this longest night of the year to avoid loneliness and darkness. They tell stories, recite poems, and eat nuts and a sweet dessert, Baslogh. It’s a small half-round sweet made of starch, sugar, cardamom, and designed with walnut.

Baslogh with Walnut

The process of preparing Baslogh takes about three months.

Ramadan

When you have been fast a whole day, and you want to break it at sunset – as Muslims do during the holy month of Ramadan – you need energizing things to eat. In Iran, besides the special meals we serve for this purpose, there are sweets and desserts as well that can be good starters after hours of hunger.

The main Persian sweet that decorates our dish is Zoolbia (Jalebi) and Bamieh. A crispy juicy sweet made of flour and sugar syrup.

A person buying Zoolbia & Bamieh

Also, some kinds of puddings are common these days.

Shir Berenj (rice pudding) is a pudding in which white rice is cooked in milk, rose water, honey, or sugar.

The next favorite pudding is Shole Zard (saffron pudding), cooked rice with saffron, cardamom, rose water. It is also a special dessert for mourning ceremonies like the Muharram festival.

Shole Zard with Damask Rose and Cinnamon in a copper dish

Shole Zard are usually decorated with Damask rose, cinnamon and sliced ​​almonds and pistachios

And, Halva is the last one on our list. Roasted flour mixed with a sweet syrup of rose water, cardamom, and saffron is its most common recipe. There are hundreds of recipes for Halva in Iran and other countries in the Middle East.

Halva

Halva is usually served at funerals or mourning ceremonies.

Please Your Sweet Tooth

We have traveled through all the directions in Iran to bring you the famous Persian sweets and desserts, their preparation, and history. But, these were just a small list of the Persian sweets. There are still many more left that you can discover through Iran’s cultural tours and navigating deep into the cities and villages.

Persian Desserts and Sweets

Atieh Ayyar

Author

3 comments for Persian Desserts & Sweets You Must Try

The interesting thing about Iranian pastry is that each region has its own sweets according to the raw materials, climate and climate of that region. I love the sweets of the Middle East, especially Iran and Turkey

Iranian sweets are AMAZING!!! I went iran about 3 years ago and wondered how amazing Yazd sweets are. They had special dessert which called “Baklava Shami” that was great. Thanks for this artilce, it remindes me of my trip to Iran.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Learn more