Palestinian Knafeh Recipe

Palestinian Knafeh is a beloved Middle Eastern dessert known for its irresistible combination of crispy pastry, gooey cheese, and fragrant syrup. Originating from the Levant region, Knafeh is especially popular in Palestine, where it is often enjoyed during festive occasions, celebrations, and family gatherings. This decadent dessert, made with shredded phyllo dough (kataifi), sweet cheese, and a rose water-scented syrup, is a true treat that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Palestine.

Palestinian Knafeh


  • 1 lb shredded phyllo dough (kataifi)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lb sweet cheese (like Nabulsi or Akkawi), soaked in water to remove salt and shredded
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • Crushed pistachios for garnish


  1. Prepare the Cheese:
    • If using Nabulsi or Akkawi cheese, soak in water for a few hours to remove excess salt, changing the water several times. Shred the cheese and mix with the ricotta cheese.
  2. Prepare the Syrup:
    • In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
    • Add lemon juice and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.
    • Stir in rose water and orange blossom water. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Prepare the Dough:
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • In a large bowl, separate and fluff the shredded phyllo dough.
    • Pour the melted butter over the dough and mix well to ensure the dough is evenly coated.
  4. Assemble the Knafeh:
    • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish or a round baking pan.
    • Spread half of the buttered dough evenly in the bottom of the dish.
    • Evenly spread the cheese mixture over the dough layer.
    • Cover with the remaining dough, pressing it down gently.
  5. Bake the Knafeh:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  6. Add the Syrup:
    • Remove the Knafeh from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup over the hot Knafeh, ensuring it is evenly distributed.
  7. Garnish and Serve:
    • Allow the Knafeh to cool slightly before cutting into squares or wedges.
    • Garnish with crushed pistachios.

Enjoy your delicious Palestinian Knafeh! This dessert not only satisfies your sweet tooth but also connects you to the rich culinary traditions of Palestine. Perfect for special occasions and celebrations, Knafeh is a delightful way to experience the flavors and hospitality of the Middle East.

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