Photo of muhallabieh with spiced syrup, rose petals and pistachios

Muhallabieh with spiced syrup.

The origins of Muhallabieh can be traced back to the Umayyad Dynasty in 7th-century Persia. Today, it is a popular dessert throughout the middle east. Muhallabieh is a delicate milk pudding that takes its flavour from a syrup topping.

Why You’ll Love Muhallabieh

Muhallabieh is fast and easy to prepare. As desserts go, it is light and low in calories, so it won’t weigh you down after a big meal. Try serving it after a rich lamb tagine.

It is also gluten-free, and can easily be made vegan by swapping dairy milk for almond or other plant milk. Best of all, it’s an absolute show stopper! It looks like a celebration in a glass. Decorated with colourful pistachios and rose petals, it epitomises the rich jewel colours of middle eastern cuisine.

Muhallabieh with spiced syrup topped with pistachios and rose petals

Switch it up

While rose water is the most widely used flavour for the muhallabieh syrup, our recipe is flavoured with bay leaves and cardamom. We add just a hint of rosewater once the syrup is cooled. You can use only rosewater if you prefer, or try vanilla bean or something else entirely. The toppings can be as varied as the syrup flavours. Keep reading!

Muhallabieh with spiced syrup topped with pashmak and rose petals

How to Serve Muhallabieh

Muhallabieh is best served in glasses. This allows you to show off the colours and the lovely white pudding.

To decorate the pudding, slivered pistachios and dried rose petals are our go-to. We love the colour combination of pink and green! We have topped it with pashmak (Persian fairy floss) before, but we found the rosewater flavoured pashmak too strong. Try green pashmak, which is pistachio flavour. You could also try curls of shaved coconut.

Happy cooking

Muhallabieh with Spiced Syrup

Muhallabieh is a delicate, pretty middle-eastern dessert that is fast and simple to make, light, gluten free and easily made vegan.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Middle-Eastern
Keyword: dinner party, easy dessert, gluten free, light, low calorie, vegan
Servings: 6 people


For the pudding

  • 50 g cornflour
  • 500 ml full cream milk
  • 200 ml water
  • 80 g caster (superfine) sugar

For the syrup

  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 120 ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cardamom pods bruised

To serve

  • 25 g slivered pistachios
  • rose petals fresh or dried


For the pudding

  • Whisk cornflour with some of the milk to make a paste the consistency of cream. Pour remaining milk, water and sugar into a saucepan and stir over gentle heat until the sugar dissolves. Once the milk mixture is steaming, whisk in the cornflour mixture. Keep whisking until the mixture boils and thickens.
  • Remove from heat and pour into individual serving bowls or glasses. Press cling film onto the surfaces of the puddings to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

For the spiced syrup

  • In a small saucepan, heat sugar, water, bay leaves and cardamom pods until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and leave to cool. When cool, add a splash of rose water. Strain before using.

To serve

  • Remove the cling film from the puddings. Spoon a little of the syrup over each pudding and top with slivered pistachios and rose petals. You will have leftover syrup, which will keep for several weeks in the fridge in a sterilised jar.


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