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Al Atayef is a delicious Middle Eastern dessert that is popular during the month of Ramadan and other festive occasions. These fluffy pancakes are traditionally filled with a variety of fillings, including walnuts, ricotta cheese, and Nutella. Atayef can be fried or baked and are served drizzled with a sweet syrup that adds the perfect finishing touch. The recipe for Atayef is versatile and can be customised to suit your taste preferences. Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat to enjoy during Ramadan or a dessert to serve at a dinner party, Atayef is sure to impress.

Basic Ingredients for Al Atayef


Flour: Used to give the batter structure and texture.

Fine Semolina: Adds a slightly gritty texture to the batter, which helps the pancakes hold their shape.

Milk: Adds richness and moisture to the batter.

Sugar: Adds sweetness to the batter and syrup.

Salt: Enhances the flavours of the batter and syrup.

Baking Powder: Helps the pancakes rise and become fluffy.

Yeast: Helps the batter rise and become airy.

Hand-warm Water: Used to activate the yeast in the batter.

Vanilla: Adds a sweet, floral aroma to the batter.

Nutella Filling:

Nutella: Used to make the filling for Atayef. It is topped with ground hazelnuts.

Ricotta Filling:

Ricotta Cheese: Used to make the filling for Atayef. It is mixed with icing sugar and orange blossom and then topped with ground pistachios.

Walnut Filling:

Walnut: Made with toasted walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, orange blossom, and orange zest.

alternative ingredients

Fine Semolina: Use cornmeal or polenta instead if you can’t find fine semolina.

Milk: You can use any milk, such as almond or soy milk.

Sugar: You can use honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar as a natural sweetener instead of sugar.

Baking Powder: You can use baking soda instead of baking powder, but you’ll need to add an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to activate it.

Vanilla: You can use other flavourings, such as rose water or almond extract, instead of vanilla.

Vegetable Oil: You can use melted butter or coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

Orange Blossom: If you can’t find orange blossom water, use rose water or vanilla extract instead.

Walnuts: You can use other nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, for the filling.

Ricotta Cheese: You can use other soft cheeses, such as mascarpone or cottage cheese, instead of ricotta.

Nutella: You can use other chocolate spreads such as peanut butter or cookie butter instead of Nutella.

Brown Sugar: You can use white sugar, coconut sugar, or date sugar instead of brown sugar.

Preparation Tips for Al Atayef

  • Make sure your batter is smooth: Use a whisk or a stand mixer to combine the dry and wet ingredients for the batter until it’s completely smooth. This will help prevent lumps in the pancakes.
  • Let the batter rest: Once you’ve made the batter, rest for at least 20 minutes to allow the yeast to activate and the batter to rise. This will make the pancakes fluffy.
  • Use a non-stick pan: Use a non-stick pan to cook the pancakes to prevent them from sticking and breaking apart.
  • Cook the pancakes until they’re fully set: Cook them until they’re fully set and no longer wet on top. This will ensure they’re fully cooked and won’t fall apart when folding them.
  • Cover the pancakes: Once you’ve cooked them, keep them covered with a damp cloth or towel to prevent them from drying out and becoming brittle.
  • Don’t overstuff the pancakes: When filling the pancakes, make sure not to overstuff them, as this can cause the filling to leak out during cooking.
  • Fry or bake the pancakes: You can either fry the pancakes in a shallow pan with vegetable oil or bake them in the oven at 180°C for 10-12 minutes. Both methods will produce delicious Atayef, so choose whichever method you prefer.
  • Soak the pancakes in syrup: Once you’ve cooked the pancakes, soak them in the prepared syrup for a few seconds to allow them to absorb the sweetness.
  • Be creative with your fillings: Be bold and experiment with different fillings and toppings, such as fruits, whipped cream, or caramel sauce. Have fun and get creative!

Serving Tips for Al Atayef

  • Serve warm: Atayef tastes best when served warm, so make sure to serve them as soon as possible after cooking.
  • Drizzle with syrup: Drizzle the Atayef with the syrup and serve extra syrup on the side for those who like it sweeter.
  • Top with nuts: Sprinkle the Atayef with chopped nuts such as pistachios, almonds, or hazelnuts for a crunchy texture and flavour.
  • Add fruits: For a fruity twist, add the Atayef with sliced fresh fruits such as strawberries, bananas, or mangoes.
  • Add whipped cream: Dollop whipped cream or whipped coconut cream on top of the Atayef for a creamy and indulgent finish.
  • Serve with tea or coffee: Atayef is often served with Arabic coffee or mint tea, but you can also serve it with your favourite hot beverage.
  • Add ice cream: For a decadent dessert, add the Atayef with a scoop of your favourite ice cream, such as vanilla or pistachio.
  • Add a sprinkle of cinnamon: Sprinkle some ground cinnamon over the Atayef for a warm and spicy flavour.
  • Serve as a dessert platter: Arrange the Atayef on a platter with a variety of fillings and toppings so that guests can create their own custom Atayef.

storage tips

Store in an airtight container: Store any leftover Atayef in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out or becoming stale.

Refrigerate: If you’re not going to eat the Atayef right away, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheat before serving: If you’re serving leftover Atayef, reheat them in the oven at 180°C for 5-10 minutes or until warm.

Refrain from freezing: Atayef does not freeze well, as the syrup can become watery and the pancakes can lose their texture.

Store fillings separately: If you have leftover fillings, store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. You can use them to fill Atayef again later or for other recipes.

Refrain from overstuffing: This can cause the filling to leak out during storage and make the pancakes soggy.

Serve at room temperature: If you’ve stored the Atayef in the refrigerator, let them come to room temperature before serving to bring out their flavours and textures.

How to make Sweet Al Atayef

Al Atayef (Full Video)

Al Atayef

Servings: 36 pieces
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes



  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 ½ cups hand-warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp orange blossom


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom

Walnut Filling

  • 2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped or crushed
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp orange blossom
  • 2 tbsp orange zest

Ricotta Filling

  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp orange blossom
  • ¼ cup pistachio, ground


  • ½ cup Nutella
  • ¼ cup hazelnut , ground


  • Combine the flour, fine semolina, sugar, salt, baking powder and yeast in a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment. Add the milk and water and thoroughly whisk until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Place the bowl in a warm area, cover it with a kitchen cloth and allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and pour two largetablespoons of batter on the pan to make circles.
  • Once the Atayef bubbles, you know the batter has the right consistency. You need to add more water if it doesn’t, because the batter may be too thick. Remove the Atayef once the bubbles have fully formed and the surface has dried.
  • Transfer to a tea towel, but make sure that you fold down the towel to cover the Atayef, otherwise, they will dry out quickly, which can lead to Atayef that is difficult to fold and seal.
  • Prepare the sugar syrup in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add water and sugar; bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolved. Lower heat and leave to simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat, stir in orange blossom or vanilla essence; leave to cool.
  • Walnut Filling: In a small bowl, combine the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon powder, orange blossom and orange zest. To stuff the Atayef, hold each pancake with your hand, add 1-2 tbsp of the filling (but do not over stuff them), then fold the atayef so it looks like half a moon and press the edges together to seal.  Atayef can be either fried or less commonly baked.
    To fry: heat vegetable oil (about 1cm) on a pan, then drop the stuffed Atayef and fry until the edges are slightly golden brown and crunchy; remove from pan and soak them in the sugary syrup for a few seconds (or drizzle them with it).
  • Ricotta Filling: In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, icing sugar and orange blossom. To stuff the Atayef, hold each pancake, fold it in half and pinch halfway.  Add 1 teaspoon of the filling and dip in ground pistachios.
  • Nutella Filling: To stuff the Atayef, hold each pancake, fold it in half and pinch halfway.  Add 1 teaspoon of the filling and dip in ground hazelnuts.

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