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25 of the Most Delicious Eid al-Fitr Foods from Around the World

traditional eid al fitr food and sweets turkish dessert baklava
25 Traditional Eid al-Fitr Foods and SweetsAegeanBlue - Getty Images

Eid al-Fitr is one of two major holidays on the Muslim calendar. Though both holidays are often called Eid, there’s a difference between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr comes first — taking place in the 10th month of the Muslim calendar. Eid al-Adha, on the other hand, is celebrated in the 12th month of the Muslim calendar, taking place 70 days after the first holiday. (If you need help remembering, think of Fitr = First, Adha = After.)

Apart from their timings on the calendar, there are other major differences between the two holidays. Eid al-Fitr takes place after Ramadan fasting and has culturally gained the moniker, “The Sugar Feast” or “The Festival of Sweets,” because of the sweet treats enjoyed on this holiday. In contrast, Eid al-Adha takes place after the Hajj pilgrimage and is known as “The Sacrifice Feast,” with holiday menus having a stronger focus on meat and savouries.

The tradition for consuming sweets on Eid al-Fitr likely started from early Muslims in Medina, Saudi Arabia using available cooking ingredients such as dates and honey for their festivities. The sugar content of both foods are a great energy boost after a month of fasting. As Islam spread to more geographic regions, each culture used its available ingredients and culinary know-how for their Eid al-Fitr celebrations, resulting in the myriad of dishes we have today.

In celebration of Eid al-Fitr, here are some of the sweet delicacies different Muslim cultures make for this special time of year.

Eid al-Fitr is one of two major holidays on the Muslim calendar. Though both holidays are often called Eid, there’s a difference between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr comes first and takes place in the 10th month of the Muslim calendar. Eid al-Adha, on the other hand, is celebrated in the 12th month of the Muslim calendar and occurs 70 days after the first holiday. (If you need help remembering, think of Fitr = First, Adha = After.)

Apart from their timings on the calendar, there are other major differences between the two holidays. Eid al-Fitr takes place after fasting Ramadan and has culturally gained the moniker “The Sugar Feast” or “The Festival of Sweets” because of the sweet treats enjoyed on this holiday. In contrast, Eid al-Adha takes place after the Hajj pilgrimage and is known as “The Sacrifice Feast” with holiday menus having a stronger focus on meat and savory foods. A tradition for consuming sweets on Eid al-Fitr likely started from early Muslims in Medina, Saudi Arabia, using available cooking ingredients such as dates and honey for their festivities. The sugar content of both foods is a great energy boost after a month of fasting. As Islam spread to more geographic regions, each culture used its available ingredients and culinary know-how for their Eid al-Fitr celebrations resulting in the myriad of dishes we have today.

In celebration of Eid al-Fitr, let’s take a look at some of the sweet delicacies different Muslim cultures make for this special time of year.

Baklava

The Oxford Companion of Food states that although North Americans typically know phyllo pastry by its Greek name, the dough is traced back to Turkic origins. In Ottoman Istanbul, the city would host a Baklava Parade on the 15th of Ramadan. Today, the dish still remains a big part of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. Many families opt for store-bought baklava nowadays; but some families, particularly those with Turkic and Balkan origins, make a big tray of baklava from scratch for Eid al-Fitr, passing down family recipes generation to generation.

eid alfitr food closeup of baklava, a dessert made with filo pastry and chopped nuts and sugar syrup
Sanjay Borra

Mango Custard

Mango custard has become a cherished Eid al-Fitr delight, especially in Muslim countries where the love for mangos is deeply rooted. Mango pulp seamlessly replaces fresh fruit during off-seasons, and when combined with cake, it becomes a mango trifle.

eid alfitr food mango custard
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Sweet Samosas

In Morocco, these are known as briouat, whereas in the Arabian Gulf, the name sambusa hilwa is more common. In each version, phyllo dough is shaped into triangular pockets and then stuffed with a sweet filling. Fruits such as pears and apples or syrup-soaked nuts are popular stuffings. Alternatively, phyllo might be rolled into a cigar shape (instead of a triangle) and stuffed with a sweet cream, similar to a cannoli.

eid alfitr food overhead view of sweet samosas
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Crème Caramel

Crème caramel enjoys popularity as an Eid al-Fitr dessert, particularly in Middle Eastern and South Asian regions. Its silky caramel layer atop velvety custard is a cherished treat for the holiday and easy enough to make at home (and also readily available to buy).

eid alfitr food creme caramel
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Kanafeh

A favorite at Middle Eastern restaurants, this dessert is a top pick for Eid al-Fitr in Levant cultures. For this dessert, shredded phyllo dough is paired with a white cheese, such as Nabulsi or Akkawi cheese. It’s served with a drizzle of fragrant sugar syrup, usually as a rectangular slab of cake.

eid al fitr food arabic sweet konafa or knafeh with white cheese and pistachio
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Vermicelli

Saviya is a popular dessert with South Asian Muslims on Eid al-Fitr. It is made by stir frying vermicelli, ghee, sugar, and aromatic spices such as cardamom. Many families enjoy saviya right after Eid prayer for brunch or breakfast. A similar counterpart, transparent khurma, is equally popular. It also uses vermicelli as a primary ingredient, but the vermicelli is cooked in a milk base (often overnight). The dessert is akin to a sweet noodle soup; based on personal preference, some serve it cold and others serve it hot.

eid al fitr food vermicelli milk pudding
ShashikantDurshettiwar

Stuffed Dates

Dates are delicious on their own, but for Eid al-Fitr, many people prefer to dress them up with stuffings. Common stuffings include whole nuts, nut butters, cream cheese and sweet pastes made from nuts, honey, and rose water.

eid al fitr food dates stuffed with peanut butter and pistachios on a white background
vaaseenaa

Filled Cookies

In Egypt, kahk — a crumbly butter cookie stuffed with a date paste ball and sprinkled with icing sugar — is a family favorite for Eid al-Fitr. In other countries, such as Palestine, a date stuffed cookie called maamoul takes precedence on the Eid table. Yet still in Indonesia, cookies stuffed with pineapple jam are the popular choice for Eid.

traditional eid biscuits kahk very popular in egyptian and sudanese cultures especially for eid al fitr
Sherif A. Wagih

Butter Cookies

Vanilla, chocolate, lemon, cardamom, and almond are just a sampling of butter cookie flavors enjoyed on Eid al-Fitr. Names and offerings differ from region to region. For example, you might find ghraybeh in the Middle East, naan khatai in South Asia, or crescent-shaped sable cookies in North Africa.

eid al fitr food crescent shaped sables butter cookies
Larry Washburn

Agar Agar Pudding

Agar agar pudding holds a cherished place in Sri Lankan Eid celebrations, where its cool, jiggly texture and sweet flavor make it a delightful and traditional festive treat. Families often share this unique dessert as part of their joyous Eid festivities.

RELATED: Eid al-Fitr Gifts for Everyone in the Family

eid al fitr agar agar pudding
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Kuih Lapis

In Southeast Asia, kuih lapis, or kue lapis, is a steamed cake so labor-intensive it’s saved just for special occasions like Eid al-Fitr (natively called Hari Raya or Lebaron). Made of rice flour, sago, coconut milk, eggs and sugar, it’s a colorful cake with a jelly-like texture, similar to custard. Lapis is just one type of kuih (traditional snack) enjoyed for Eid; many more kuih varieties exist.

eid al fitr food kueh lapis sagu in a square bowl isolated on white background
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Nishallo

In Uzbekistan and neighboring Central Asian cultures, the month of Ramadan brings with it the good news of nisholda or nishallo. Egg whites are whipped and combined with sugar and plant roots, usually licorice root. Almost like a marshmallow fluff, it’s served with naan for a sweet finish to a meal.

eid al fitr food licorice nisholda or nishallo
FotografiaBasica

Nougat

Similar to licorice, the Oxford Companion of Food traces nougat’s roots back to Central Asia and Iran. Later spreading to Arabia and Andalusian Spain, nougat has been a favorite treat for Eid al-Fitr from at least the 10th century.

eid al fitr food nougat with almonds and hazelnuts on a golden background where it is reflected
Francesco Marzovillo

Turkish Delight

Although its name might suggest origins in Turkey, Turkish delight is said to have originated in Iran. Called lokum in Persian, these tiny bites come in a variety of flavors and textures, from jelly-like to marshmallow soft.

eid al fitr food turkish delight in a bowl
bernashafo

Semolina Desserts

There are endless ways semolina makes its way into Eid al-Fitr desserts. In some cultures, semolina is stir fried with eggs, ghee, and sugar to make a sweet dish called halwa. In others, cooked semolina is combined with date pastes and set into molds to make a type of fudge. Semolina is also used as a base for traditional puddings — or when mixed with olive oil and honey, it’s semolina cake for Eid!

eid al fitr foods semolina halwa
vm2002

Fatira and Cambaabur Bread

In Africa, thin, crepe-like pancakes take centre stage for Eid al-Fitr. In Ethiopia, fatira is a pancake enjoyed with honey for breakfast on Eid. In neighbouring Somalia, cambaabur is a pancake sprinkled with sugar and yogurt.

traditional moroccan tea, cookies, almond sellou and pancakes at eid al fitr the end of ramadan
PicturePartners

Sweet Buns

In Yemen, khaliat nahal are beautiful buns glazed with honey and baked in a honeycomb pattern for Ramadan and Eid. In Iraq, kleicha are buns rolled with a date jam for a sweet Eid breakfast.

eid al fitr food sweet buns traditional spiced date filled biscuits
mirrorr

Donuts

Fried foods are popular throughout Ramadan, and on Eid al-Fitr, fried sweets are a crowd pleaser! Churro-like donuts with various names are found throughout Muslim cultures. In Libya, they go by the name sfinz and are topped with date molasses and sprinkled sugar.

eid al fitr foods donuts
Adina Vlasceanu / 500px

Petit Fours

Petit fours have gained popularity as elegant Eid al-Fitr desserts. These bite-sized, intricately decorated pastries are enjoyed by communities in areas like North Africa, Lebanon, and France.

eid al fitr food petit fours
Owen Franken - Getty Images

Sweet Porridge

In Senegal, lakh is a type of sweet porridge made from curdled milk and millet. It’s traditionally consumed right after returning home from Eid prayer. Adding baobab fruit is a common way the porridge is dressed up for the occasion. Other West African cultures similarly enjoy a sweet porridge, also known as thiakry or degue, on Eid.

eid al fitr food sweet porridge
santhosh_varghese

Mithai

Common to South Asian cultures, mithai is an umbrella term for traditional sweets. A box of assorted mithai is a go-to hostess gift for Eid parties in these cultures.

eid al fitr food mithai
Jupiterimages

Sweet Rice

In Iran, rice is cooked with saffron and sugar to make a dessert called shole zard. Dried fruits and dates added to the rice provide an extra touch of sweetness for the religious holiday.

eid al fitr food persian rice pudding dessert called sholeh zard
MichaelRLopez

Bean Pie

An all-American dessert, the bean pie, or navy bean pie, originated in New York City through the Nation of Islam, a Black nationalist and social reform movement. With its custard-like filling and crispy pastry, it’s a favorite dessert in African American culture.

eid al fitr food muslim navy bean pie
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Sesame Seed Halva

Sesame seed halva is a beloved Eid indulgence in the Middle East, celebrated for its rich, nutty taste and dense, crumbly texture. It comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate! Another fun way to enjoy this halwa on Eid al-Fitr? Stuff it in medjool dates.

eid alfitr food tahini halva
Burcu Atalay Tankut - Getty Images

American Treats

In North America, American favorites like chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, brownies, pies, and cheesecake have evolved into traditional Eid al-Fitr sweets. Embraced by Muslims born and raised in the region, their popularity lies not only in their deliciousness but also in their practicality. These treats are something everyone can enjoy, particularly kids.

RELATED: Tempting Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes to Make Tonight

eid al fitr food batch of homemade, chocolate cupcakes
mtreasure - Getty Images

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