Iranian Desserts to Try in Iran

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Pashmak is another famous souvenir of Yazd that is belonged to the Yazdi family of sweets. Iranian desserts

When you step into the vibrant land of Iran, one of the unique experiences awaiting you is the country’s delightful range of traditional sweets. These ‘Iranian desserts’ or ‘Iranian sweets’ are a crucial part of Iran’s rich culinary heritage. Here, we delve into the sweet treats that tantalize tourists’ taste buds and leave an indelible mark on their gastronomic journey in Iran.

Masghati: Iran’s Delicate Jelly-like Sweet

Masghati, one of Iran’s most renowned desserts, is a soft, colorful, jelly-like confectionery that captures the essence of traditional Iranian flavors. It’s made from a blend of liquids such as water or milk, mixed with starch and sugar. Once cooled, the starch solidifies the liquid, forming a delicate, firm dessert that is deliciously sweet.

Three pieces of Larestan's Masghati. Bought in Shiraz.
Iranian desserts
Photo by طاها, on Wikimedia Commons

The base of Masghati is a canvas for various traditional Iranian spices and ingredients, from rose water and cardamom to saffron and pomegranate seeds, sometimes even crushed or chopped nuts. Each addition transforms the simple base into an exciting array of flavors, making each bite a delightful surprise.

Nogha: A Nougat Worth the Bite

Step into the Azerbaijan-Iran region, and you’ll find Nogha, a popular variety of the famous Iranian nougat, Gaz. Today’s Nogha typically uses a readily available blend of sugar and beaten egg whites to replicate the texture and flavor of the original Gaz. However, the original method involved melting and sieving the solid exudate of an insect from wild tamarisk trees. Nogha’s rich sweetness and distinctive texture make it an irresistible treat that you must try when visiting Iran.

Faloodeh: The Ancient Sorbet of Iran

Faloodeh, believed to have originated in Shiraz, is an ancient Iranian dessert dating back to 400 BC. This traditional sorbet features frozen sugar syrup infused with rose water and mixed with thin vermicelli noodles. Enjoyed with a drizzle of fresh lime juice, chopped pistachios, or sweet cherry syrup, Faloodeh is a refreshing summer dessert that perfectly encapsulates the charm of Iranian cuisine.

a bowl of an Iranian called faloodeh.
Photo by Dad hotel on Unsplash

Halva Ardeh: The Sweet Breakfast of Iran

Another unique ‘Iranian dessert’ you should not miss is Halva Ardeh. This dense, sweet Iranian paste is traditionally prepared with a base of sugar and ground sesame or tahini. Sometimes studded with pistachios but more often topped with pistachio slivers, this sweet delight is not only a snack but a common breakfast staple in Iran. Don’t confuse it with other ‘Halva Irani’ varieties that use different combinations of flour, lentils, butter, nuts, rose water, and saffron.

Halva ardeh for sale in the market-iranian desserts
Photo by Catherine Breslin on Unsplash

Sholeh Zard: The Luxurious Saffron Rice Pudding

Sholeh Zard, an ancient Iranian saffron rice pudding, was once a special-occasion dessert. The rice, cooked in water, is enriched with saffron and sugar, with common additions including slivered nuts and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon. Served in individual-sized portions and garnished with ground cinnamon, slivered almonds, or pistachios, Sholeh Zard is a luxurious treat that offers a tantalizing taste of Iran’s rich culinary traditions.

Noghl: The Sugar-coated Almonds of Iran

Noghl, popular Iranian sugar-coated almonds, are a symbol of happiness and good luck in Iranian culture. These bright white treats play an essential role in Iranian wedding traditions, served at the end of every wedding, usually alongside tea. However, they are not just limited to special occasions – Iranians enjoy them throughout the year, particularly during the Nowruz (Iranian New Year).

Almond Noghl, an Iranian dessert to try in Iran
Photo by MRG90, on Wikimedia Commons

Bastani Sonnati: The Saffron-infused Ice Cream

Bastani Sonnati, or traditional Persian ice cream, is a real treat during the summer months in Iran. This ice cream is characterized by its luxurious texture due to the addition of heavy cream and egg yolks and its unique flavor, achieved with saffron, rosewater, and chunks of frozen cream.

Pashmak: Iran’s Angelic Cotton Candy

Pashmak, often referred to as Persian cotton candy, is a sweet Iranian dessert that melts in your mouth. Made from sugar, sesame, and flour, Pashmak resembles fine, white hairs and is sometimes flavored with vanilla, chocolate, or pistachio.

Zulbia: The International Dessert from Iran

Zulbia, known in some parts of the world as ‘Jalebi’, is a crispy, syrup-soaked dessert that’s loved by people all over the globe. Its crispy texture and intense sweetness, combined with the sourness from the syrup, create a symphony of flavors that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Gaz: The Nougat that Defines Iran

If you have to pick just one dessert that represents the sweet side of Iran, it would have to be Gaz. This nougat-like confectionery is unique to Iran, made primarily with the sap of the Angebin plant, sugar, egg whites, rose water, and a mixture of chopped pistachios and almonds. A chewy sweet treat, Gaz is not only a dessert but a symbol of Iran’s culinary heritage.

Iranian desserts-Gaz the Persian Nougat
Image by Freepik

Where to Find Iranian Desserts

If you’re seeking to indulge in mouthwatering Iranian desserts, you may wonder where to find them. If you are traveling in Iran, it is a good idea to look for Persian desserts and give them a shot. Here are some of the best spots and ways to encounter these sweet delicacies:

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar

One of the prime locations to find traditional Iranian sweets is Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, a sprawling marketplace teeming with shops selling everything from rugs and antiques to spices and sweets. You’ll find vendors selling a wide variety of Iranian confections, including Gaz, Faloodeh, and Bastani Sonnati. Exploring this historic market is an adventure in itself, but the treasure trove of sweets it offers makes the experience even more special.

people walking in tehran grand bazaar-iranian desserts

Isfahan

Isfahan, known as the “cultural capital of Iran,” is also famed for its sweets. Gaz is a regional specialty here, made with the sap of the wild Angebin plant, which grows in the nearby mountains. The city is dotted with numerous confectionery shops where you can taste and buy an assortment of sweets, including Sohan, a brittle toffee made with saffron, rosewater, and pistachios. Naghshe Jahan square is where you can find all these Persian desserts.

Qeysarie Bazaar
Photo by Dolphinphoto5d, on Wikimedia Commons

Shiraz

Shiraz, the city of poetry and wine, is also known for its contribution to Iran’s dessert repertoire. The birthplace of Faloodeh, this ancient dessert can be found in many of Shiraz’s ice cream parlors and sweet shops. One must not leave Shiraz without trying a bowl of this refreshing treat.

Tabriz

If you happen to visit Tabriz, make sure to taste the local dessert – Tabrizi Lovuez. It’s a sort of sweet dumpling made with rice flour, sugar, rose water, and cardamom, often served with sour cream and walnut. Tabriz is also famous for Nogha, a delightful nougat that you can find in local sweet shops.

Supermarkets and Confectionery Shops

Across Iran, supermarkets and local confectionery shops stock a variety of Iranian sweets. If you’re in a city or town, it’s worth seeking out these shops, as they often offer the widest variety of sweets, including the ever-popular Pashmak, Noghl, and Zulbia.

Sweet Memories: The Unforgettable Iranian Desserts

Visiting Iran is like stepping into a world of unique flavors, traditions, and culture. With this selection of Iranian desserts, you are sure to find a treat that will make your trip to Iran a memorable one. From the jelly-like Masghati to the saffron-infused Sholeh Zard, the sweet treats of Iran offer a glimpse into the rich, diverse culinary heritage of this beautiful country. Enjoy these sweets as you journey through Iran, and take home sweet memories of your gastronomic adventure.

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