Palestinian Knafeh

The Sweetheart of the Middle East.


I still remember our trips to my homeland Palestine year after year. There were special places my parents would always make sure that we visited on every single trip. Jafar Sweets, a very famous Knafeh place in Jerusalem, Palestine is still one of my favorite places in Palestine that was always a must during our travels. I can still taste Jafar’s Knafeh, the shredded fillo/phyllo dough stuffed with cheese and soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup. Knafeh, also pronounced as Kunafah, is an iconic dessert across all the Levantine countries! Making Knafeh always reminds me of my trips as a child with my family. My entire family is Knafeh lovers! Every time I make Knafeh, I tell my children the stories from the memories I have about Jafar Sweets.


Learn how to make a delicious tray of Knafeh by watching my recipe video on my YouTube Channel, where I teach my eldest daughter how to make Knafeh! Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more recipes!





Palestinian Knafeh
KNAFEH. The Sweetheart of the Middle East
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 1 package of shredded fillo/phyllo dough
  2. 1 pound of Mozzarella cheese
  3. 1 pound of Ricotta cheese*
  4. 2 tsp Kunafa pastry coloring
  5. 3 tablespoons of butter
  6. ¼ cup pistachios
Sweet Syrup
  1. 3 cups of sugar
  2. 2 cups of water
  3. 2tbs lemon juice
  1. Break up the phyllo dough into thin pieces.**
  2. Melt the butter and then rub it into the phyllo dough and make sure that the butter reaches all the dough.
  3. Add the Kunafa pastry coloring over the phyllo dough and make sure to rub it in so that it reaches all parts of the dough.
  4. Shred the Mozzarella cheese and mix it with the Ricotta cheese.
  5. Spread 1/3 of the phyllo dough on the bottom of the tray, making sure the tray is covered.
  6. Spread the cheese over the dough and cover the entire tray; the easiest method is to make patties out of the cheese and cover the tray completely.
  7. Spread the rest of the phyllo dough over the cheese, making sure the cheese is entirely covered.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 375º F.
  9. Place the Knafeh tray on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. In a medium sized saucepan on high heat, combine your sugar and water. Continue stirring until the syrup boils. Once it boils, turn down the heat to low and add 2tbs of lemon juice. Keep stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. The syrup should be transparent.
  11. After the Knafeh is done baking, remove pan from oven. Pour the hot syrup over the Knafeh while it's hot, making sure to evenly coat the dessert.
  12. Garnish with pistachios.
  13. Let it cool and enjoy!
  1. * In the Middle East, it is preferred to use sweet cheese, but I have found that ricotta cheese adds a distinct and flavorful taste to the Knafeh.
  2. ** To save time, you can place the fillo/phyllo dough in a food processor to break it up instead of doing it by hand.
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