Egyptian Zalabya Recipe: A Lip Smacking African Dessert


Egyptian Zalabya recipe is one of the classic desserts that you can’t get enough of. By looking at it, you will be forgiven if you mistake it for a doughnut. However, despite the close resemblance, they differ in taste and texture significantly.

Unlike doughnuts that are soft inside and crunchy outside, Zalabya is crispy outside and airy doughy interior. When you bite a Zalabya, your taste buds will burst due to its perfect blend of syrup that is addictive. Once you have one, you can’t stop.

However, though it may seem simple to prepare, for you to get the authentic taste of an Egyptian Zalabya, you have to get your recipe right. Blending your ingredients wrongly can mess up the entire recipe. This can be a challenge for a beginner, but our guide will help you pull through.

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But before we get to the meat and potatoes, let’s first have a look at the history of Egyptian Zalabya.

History of Egyptian Zalabya Recipe

Egyptian Zalabya is one of the earliest recipes that date back to the 10th century. The treat was among the recipes that appeared on the oldest Arabic cookbook Kitab al-tabikh. At first, the recipe was popular among Muslims, but other people slowly adopted this dessert as time went by. And today, it is part of most culinary art in Egypt and beyond.

The treat graces major celebrations like Ramadan, Diwali, and major holidays for Christian communities and Hindus. Its unique taste makes it stand out from any regular fritter you may get out there. So how do you achieve the authentic taste of an Egyptian Zalabya?

Zalabya Recipe
File: wikicommons/Laurel L.Russwurm

Well, stay with me as I take you through the secret to a tasty Zalabya.

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4 cups baking flour (double sifted)

5 ml salt

2 ½ tsp dry yeast

Oil for frying

2 tsp sugar

Sugar Syrup

1 tsp cardamom powder

2 cups sugar

1 ½ tsp orange blossom water

½ cup lemon juice

1 tsp cinnamon powder


  1. In a large bowl, mix all the syrup ingredients. Stir until they are properly combined.
  2. Transfer the syrup to a saucepan and simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes under medium heat.
  3. Put the dough in a dough mixer; add all the remaining dry ingredients. Mix at low speeds for two minutes, then add three cups of warm water. Change the speed to medium and continue mixing until you get a consistent dough.

Zalabya Batter
File:wikicommons/Mohsen Karam-Ali
  1. Transfer the dough into a basin and cover it for one hour to allow it to rise.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan. As your oil heats up, divide your dough into small rounded balls.
  3. Deep fry the dough until it turns golden brown, then transfer them into the sugar syrup.  Serve hot or cold with a drink of your choice. Most people love enjoying Egyptian Zalabya with tea, coffee or fruit juice. Enjoy your fritter within three days.
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