Top 25 Algerian Desserts
Algeria is not only renowned for its tumultuous history and diverse landscapes but also for its incredibly rich and flavorful cuisine. The North African country’s culinary traditions blend Arab, Berber, Turkish, and French cuisines into a melting pot of flavors as diverse as their people.
Algerian food is simply delicious and chekhchoukha, couscous, and zviti are a must-try when visiting this beautiful country. Traditional Algerian desserts are as good as the local savory dishes.
From the honey-drenched Makroud to the fragrant Kalb El Louz, redolent of orange blossom and almonds, this article sheds light on the tastiest Algerian desserts and sweets!
Makroud el Louz is a type of Algerian cookie made without flour. The dessert is made with almonds, eggs, sugar, and the very special orange flower water.
After baking they turn a light brown color and are then covered in powdered sugar. The true beauty of Makroud el Louz lies in its texture—it should dissolve seamlessly in your mouth.
Makroud is so good that it ranked amongst the tastiest cookies in the world according to Taste Atlas, a culinary website.
Griwech is a beloved Algerian dessert that is a testament to the nation’s love for intricate and flavorful sweets. This dessert is a fried pastry, skillfully shaped into a flower or knot.
The pastry dough is deep-fried until golden and crisp, which provides contrast to the honey it is drenched in. The soaking process lends the griwech its signature sweetness, making it a favorite with those with a sweet tooth.
Whether served at a festive gathering or enjoyed with a quiet cup of tea, griwech is a dessert that enchants with its honey-soaked goodness and is a joy to behold with its intricate design.
3. Kalb el Louz
Kalb el Louz, also referred to as the Heart of Almond, is a sumptuous dessert that beautifully combines the flavors of the Mediterranean and North Africa. It is a rich, sweet semolina cake that is generously drenched in a delightful syrup flavored with orange blossom water, giving it a unique, refreshing citrusy undertone.
Once soaked, the cake is garnished with almonds, which not only add a pleasant crunch but also enhance the almond essence that is at the core of this dessert. Every bite of Kalb el Louz is an indulgent treat, offering a delightful blend of sweetness, citrus notes, and nutty flavors.
4. Baklava (Baklawa)
Baklava, an amazingly delicious treat, is widely adored in many Middle Eastern and North African countries, and Algeria is no exception, though this multi-layered pastry finds its origin in the Ottoman Empire.
The dessert has a filling of finely chopped almonds, giving it a delightful crunch that contrasts the pastry’s flaky layers. The almonds used aren’t plain almonds: they’re usually toasted and mixed with a sprinkle of cinnamon, adding a warm and comforting touch.
However, what sets Algerian baklava apart is the generous use of orange blossom water, which is both mixed with the nuts and used in the syrup that the baked pastry is soaked in. This adds a bright, citrusy aroma, creating a complex flavor profile that’s simultaneously sweet, nutty, spicy, and floral.
The baklava is then cut into diamond shapes and often topped with additional nuts.
5. Tcharek Msaker
Tcharek Msaker, also known as “masked face,” is a cherished Algerian dessert, very popular during the holy month of Ramadan.
At their core, the crescent-shaped cookies have a sweet, nutty filling made from finely ground almonds. The exterior is a tender, crumbly cookie dough that provides a perfect contrast to the almond heart.
Once baked, tcharek msaker is traditionally coated with a dusting of powdered sugar, which not only adds to the sweetness but also gives them a snow-capped appearance, making them a visually appealing treat that’s hard to resist.
A beloved staple in Algerian festivities, especially during Ramadan, zlabia is a sweet delight that’s hard to resist. This dessert is a deep-fried pastry that’s then soaked in syrup, creating an inviting contrast of textures.
It’s known for its deliciously crunchy outside and its syrup-soaked, soft interior that melts in your mouth. Each bite offers a burst of sweetness, making it a satisfying treat after fasting.
Mhalbi is a delightful creamy dessert made from rice. Its soft, pudding-like texture is an absolute treat for the palate. Mhalbi is traditionally flavored with rose water, imparting a fragrant floral note that adds complexity to its overall flavor profile.
The dessert is typically garnished with either cinnamon or crushed pistachios, adding a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. The warm, aromatic cinnamon and the nutty crunch of pistachios pairs beautifully with the creamy sweetness of the rice pudding.
8. Boussou La Tmessou
Boussou La Tmessou, or The Sighing Kiss, are petite shortbread-like treats famed for their crumbly texture that practically melts in your mouth, giving an irresistible buttery goodness.
With their compact size, they’re easy to enjoy in a single bite, making them an ideal companion for a cup of tea or coffee.
Known for their delightful star shape, arayeches are a staple in Algerian patisserie. The pastry’s external simplicity belies the richness that awaits within, a hearty filling of sweet almond paste that provides a luxurious contrast to the crisp exterior.
But the highlight of arayech does not stop there. To elevate it further, the pastry is cloaked in a tangy lemon-flavored icing that adds a refreshing citrusy note.
10. Chrik (Constantine Little Brioche)
Chrik, a tempting treat from the city of Constantine in Algeria, are small, fluffy brioche buns that add a sweet touch to any breakfast table or dessert tray.
Don’t let their humble size fool you: these buns are rich in flavor, subtly sweet, and boast a soft, airy texture that practically melts in your mouth. A sprinkling of sesame seeds on top adds a hint of crunch, further enhancing their appeal.
Dziriette is a hidden gem in the vast treasure trove of Algerian cuisine. Picture this: tiny morsels of delight, filled with an enticing almond dough that whispers of the ancient secrets of the Maghreb.
Each bite is a journey, soft and luscious, delivering a kind of pleasure that’s more than the sum of its parts. And that glossy sugar icing! It’s not just about boosting the sweet factor, but also about adding a visual flare, making the Dziriette shine like an edible jewel.
Samsa is known for its distinctive triangular shape and enchanting taste. Its main ingredient is a finely ground almond filling that provides a rich, nutty core to the pastry. Coated with a layer of sweet, sticky honey, samsa gleams with an inviting golden hue that tempts every sweet tooth.
The final touch, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, adds a subtle crunch that beautifully contrasts the soft almond filling. Samsa is not only delicious, but it also captivates with its unique shape and delightful texture, pleasing both the taste buds and the eyes.
Ghribia, also known as Algerian shortbread cookies, are a popular treat. These round, subtly sweet cookies have a crumbly texture that melts in your mouth.
Made from a simple mix of butter, sugar, and flour, and often flavored with vanilla or almond, ghribia is traditionally made for festive occasions, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
Tamina is a classic Algerian dessert often prepared to celebrate special occasions, particularly the birth of a new baby. A comforting and hearty dish, tamina is a sweet pudding-like treat made primarily from toasted semolina, honey, and butter.
Its simplicity in terms of ingredients belies its rich and creamy texture and taste. The semolina is carefully cooked in butter until it turns a beautiful golden color, and then honey is added for sweetness. It’s often garnished with cinnamon or crushed nuts, adding a fragrant aroma and extra crunch. Tamina’s warm, sweet, and grainy nature makes it a truly comforting and traditional delight.
Mbesses, also known as m’besse, is a traditional Algerian dessert that serves as the perfect sweet ending to any meal. It’s a moist and dense cake made primarily from fine semolina, butter, and sugar, resulting in a satisfyingly hearty texture.
What makes mbesses stand out is the unique flavor infusion from orange flower water, which adds an aromatic depth and a touch of elegance to this humble treat. The cake is often adorned with sliced or ground almonds, providing a delightful crunch that contrasts the soft interior.
16. Baghrir (Ghrayef)
Baghrir or ghrayef, often referred to as the “thousand hole pancake,” is a light, spongy treat made from semolina or flour, yeast, and warm water. It is combined to create a batter that, when cooked, results in a pancake dotted with unique tiny holes.
These little pockets are perfect for soaking up the sweet, warm honey-butter sauce that’s traditionally drizzled over the top. Enjoyed as a breakfast dish or a dessert, baghrir offers a delightful experience with each fluffy, syrup-laden bite that leaves a lingering sweetness in the mouth.
Mkhabez is an Algerian dessert that captures attention with its aesthetic appeal and holds it with its rich, sweet flavor. Traditionally made for special occasions, mkhabez is a delicate, almond-based cookie covered in royal icing that gives it a stunning, glossy finish.
The dough is often flavored with citrus or rose water, adding an aromatic undertone to its sweetness. Each cookie is typically adorned with intricate designs, making it not just a dessert but a piece of edible art.
Djouzia is a classic dessert from Constantine. It’s best known for its combination of rich, earthy flavors. These are luscious bonbons made primarily from roasted peanuts all held together by the natural sweetness and stickiness of honey.
To elevate its taste, djouzia is often enhanced with a hint of cinnamon and the zestiness of orange blossom water. Each morsel has a pleasant, crunchy texture that pairs perfectly with its nutty sweetness.
19. Corn de Gazelle
Corne de gazelle, or gazelle’s horns, is a beloved Algerian dessert cherished for its elegant shape and delicate flavors. As the name suggests, these pastries are shaped into slender crescents, encapsulating a sweet filling of ground almonds.
The dough, often scented with orange blossom water, wraps around the almond paste, creating a beautiful contrast in textures when baked. The outside becomes slightly crisp while the interior remains soft and rich.
Qatayef or ktayef is a special treat typically enjoyed during Ramadan. These enticing sweet dumplings are made from a soft and fluffy pancake-like batter, which is cooked only on one side resulting in a unique, pocket-like shape. The pockets are then filled with a variety of delicious fillings, most commonly a sweet mixture of crushed nuts, sugar, and cinnamon.
Some versions also use creamy cheese or custard filling. Once filled, the qatayef is sealed and often deep-fried until golden, then drenched in a sweet syrup.
21. Almond Cigars
Almond cigars, known as Cigares aux Amandes in Algeria, are truly delightful sweet treats. These delicate pastries are made by tightly wrapping a thin layer of phyllo dough around a fragrant filling of ground almonds, sugar, and often a touch of cinnamon or orange blossom water.
The ‘cigars’ are then baked or deep-fried to achieve a crispy, golden exterior that perfectly contrasts with the soft, sweet almond filling inside. Once cooked, they’re typically dipped in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds or crushed nuts.
Sablet biscuits are a beloved Algerian dessert, popular for their delicate crumbly texture and sweet, buttery flavor. They’re a variety of shortbread cookies, named after their sandy texture, derived from the French word sable.
These treats are made from a simple blend of flour, butter, sugar, and sometimes eggs, giving them a melt-in-your-mouth quality.
The dough is often flavored with vanilla or almond extract to enhance the taste. Baked until lightly golden, sablet biscuits are typically round in shape and can be adorned with a dusting of powdered sugar or glazed with jam. Accompanied by a cup of tea, they offer a delightful moment of extravagance.
23. Chbah Essafra
Chbah essafra, or Yellow Flower, is an iconic dessert from Algeria that brings forth a colorful and tantalizing culinary experience. It’s a golden-hued, sweet pastry made with a simple dough of flour, butter, and eggs. The dough is shaped into a flower-like pattern, hence the name, and then deep-fried until it has a crisp, golden brown texture.
After frying, chbah essafra is soaked in a fragrant syrup of sugar, lemon, and a hint of orange blossom water. The result is a delightful mix of crispy and syrupy sweet, a treat that truly embodies the warm spirit of Algerian hospitality.
Mchawek, a stunningly ornate Algerian sweet treat, is a testament to the country’s rich culinary craftsmanship. This dessert showcases small, diamond-shaped pastries made from sweet dough.
The pastries are generously filled with a fragrant almond mixture and sometimes infused with a touch of orange blossom water. Each mchawek is carefully scored with decorative patterns before being baked until golden and delicious.
Once baked, a generous dusting of powdered sugar adds an enticing snowy appearance to these delights. Mchawek’s contrast of a lightly crispy exterior with a soft, nutty interior makes it a beloved choice for special occasions and festive celebrations.
25. Braj (Bradj)
Braj, or bradj, is a delightful Algerian dessert that brings together simple ingredients to create a sumptuous experience. These are semolina cakes, often flavored with grated lemon or orange zest, that offer a harmonious blend of texture and taste.
Each cake is typically prepared as an individual round piece, offering a slightly crispy outside and a soft, tender inside. Once baked, bradj are often soaked in a sweet syrup that enhances their flavor profile. They are commonly enjoyed during the holy month of Ramadan, offering a satisfyingly sweet conclusion to an iftar meal, but they’re delicious and appreciated year-round.
So there you have it, a delightful parade of Algerian sweets that make the country a true haven for dessert lovers. Each of these treats, from melt-in-your-mouth cookies like Makroud el Louse to the uniquely textured braj, offers a delicious glimpse into the rich culinary culture of Algeria.