Halva Recipe | Traditional Greek Dessert and dairy free…

Halva Recipe | Traditional Greek Dessert and dairy free…

My halva recipe is a traditional Greek dessert. Sweet, sticky and dairy free! Super easy to make and a delicious sweet bite that’s great to have around the house (if it lasts long enough)!

I’ve slightly adapted my Halva recipe to include lots of crushed walnuts which I think adds a little extra texture and flavour to the Halva.. So, how do you make Halva?

There are a lot of Greek desserts that follow a similar path of cooking; something that seems to be quite dense (most likely the use of semolina opposed to flour in many of the Greek desserts) and then drowned in a deliciously sweet syrup of some kind. My Greek Walnut cake (karidopita) or my Greek semolina cake (Galombrama) are typical examples of Greek desserts that fit that profile and are extremely moreish…

Halva Ingredients – filling:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup semolina

18 walnut halves crushed quite fine


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup honey

3 cups water

3 cinnamon sticks

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 cloves

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Halva Recipe Method:

Start with the syrup; add all the ingredients together with boiling water and pop into a saucepan on the stove bring to a light simmer and don’t touch it.

Don’t stir it, don’t even look at it – it’s very self conscience this syrup and will go grainy at the mere thought that someone has stuck a spoon in it!

While your syrup is discretely warming through make your filling.

Add the olive oil to a saucepan and get hot enough that when you drop a few grains of semolina into it they start to fry on the surface. Pour in all the semolina and stir it.

The filling is not self-conscience and is in fact an extrovert that demands constant attention! Keep stirring…

Keep stirring for about 5-10 minutes until it starts to turn colour, add the crushed walnuts and keep stirring until you get a nice deep golden colour (don’t let it burn it will go bitter).

Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few moments.

This is the bit to be careful with. Slowly start to pour in all the syrup. Did I say be careful? Because it is hot, surface-of-the-sun hot, hot like flowing lava from a volcano! It will bubble but let it settle for a moment and start stirring.

Keep stirring for about 25 minutes and it will suddenly start to thicken. Keep going and don’t stop – you want this really thick, to the point your hand hurts and when you push the spoon around the mixture stays put.

Once you’ve reached a point that it is super thick let it cool and pour into a dish (or moulds) and leave to cool for a few hours. If you want pretty ones like in my picture; I poured the halva mixture into a baking tray and used a pastry cutter to cut out little portions.

You can sprinkle some chopped nuts on top or even a tiny little pinch of sea salt flakes.

Goes well with a decent Greek coffee (or an espresso if you must)!

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6 thoughts on “Halva Recipe | Traditional Greek Dessert and dairy free…”

  • Love all your wonderful recipes. Your Fava recipe is simply delicious as is this little pocket of golden deliciousness 🙂
    thank you for sharing your great recipes. your semolina cake is the ultimate. nothing else comes near it for taste sensation. keep up the good work. All the best. Claude

  • Hi Theo

    We are studying Greek food in our class right now and on Friday we would like to make your halva recipe as one of ou students is allergic to dairy. We were wondering how many halvas this recipe would make so we could adapt it to feed 20 of us!

    Thanks in advance!
    Class 4

    • Hi Class 4! How exciting to be doing Greek food! So, for this recipe you will probably want to quadruple the quantities for 20 people. However, it is quite rich and dense so you may find one portion (as in one from my pictures) may be enough for two people! So if you could get away with doubling the quantities and sharing one between two.. Let me know how you get on! Oh…and please be careful when you add the syrup it gets really hot and can bubble a bit!

    • Hi Rita, well that’s lovely to hear! I’ll keep the recipes coming and please feel free to share my blog with your friends! Theo x

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