What is Kunafa and How is it Made

what is kunafa

Kunafa is a sugar-soaked pastry that is common in a number of Arabic countries and territories, especially during Ramadan. Though the exact preparation and the spelling of the name varies by region, most kunafa are layered or filled with either cheese (anything from goat cheese to soft regional cheeses) or cream, soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with rose water or orange blossom water, and then topped with ground nuts like pistachios

The dessert is usually made with long, thin strands of shredded phyllo dough known as kataifi. In fact, the word, kunafa is used interchangeably to describe both the dessert and the dough. The dough is usually fried or baked with butter or oil until it is crisp. In some variations, the kunafa is made with a rich, cake-like semolina dough instead.

If you’re looking for an easy kunafa recipe, we’ve got one you should try. It uses kataifi dough (which can be found at many supermarkets) and ricotta cheese. If you can’t find the rosewater recommended in the recipe, try using vanilla extract instead. Or, simply make the sugar syrup without the rosewater; the resulting kunafa will still be sweet and delicious.

Kunafa Recipe



  • 250 grams Kunafa Dough (strands)
  • 200 grams Butter (Salted) , melted
  • 1/4 cup Pistachios , chopped
  • For Filling
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon Rose water
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese , grated
  • For Sugar syrup
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Rose water

How to make Delicious Arabic Sweet Kunafa Recipe (Knafeh)

  1. To begin making the Arabic Sweet Kunafa Recipe (Knafeh), preheat oven to 180 C. We shall start with preparing sugar syrup. In a saucepan add sugar and water and boil until it becomes sticky and comes to syrup consistency. It should have a two string consistency. Ensure you do this on low heat.
  1. Remove the sugar syrup from from the heat, add lemon juice and rose water. Stir and keep aside.
  1. Next for preparing filling. Heat milk and add corn flour whisking vigorously without forming lumps. Boil keeping it in low flame and once it thickens, add rose water and allow the milk custard to cool completely.
  1. For preparing kunafa crust, break the strands of kunafa dough (strands) with hands. Add melted butter and mix well with hands to coat the kunafa dough well with butter. Now divide the quantity of coated strands into two. You can also make Kunafa dough (strands) at home, but it takes time. 
  1. Take the baking pan lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. Add one half of the kunafa pastry to the bottom and press well into even layer.
  1. Pour the milk pudding and spread evenly. Sprinkle the shredded cheese above the pudding.
  1. Next add the other half of the kunafa pastry at top and press down gently. Add chopped pistachios at top. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  1. Place the Arabic Kunafa Pastry in the oven and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the top turns brown and crispy.
  1. Once the kunafa is baked, allow it cool and pour half of the sugar syrup at top.
  1. Take a knife and run through the sides. Place a plate at top and flip gently. Pour the remaining sugar syrup over the kunafa and add chopped pistachios.
  1. Slice and serve the Arabic Sweet Kunafa warm. The cheese may become hard so always make it hot before serving. Enjoy this royal dessert at home.

Try this delicious recipe of Kunafa at home.

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