Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight, also known as Lokum, stands as a gem in the world of confectionery, tracing its origins back to the Ottoman Empire. This cherished sweet mesmerizes with its soft, chewy texture and the enchanting flavors of rosewater, lemon, or mastic. Traditionally dusted with powdered sugar, Turkish Delight offers a unique taste experience that has captivated people around the globe for centuries.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Turkish Delight

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 50 pieces 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Turkish Delight, or Lokum, is a storied confection from Turkey, celebrated for its soft, chewy texture and variety of flavors. Traditionally flavored with rosewater, lemon, or mastic, this sweet is often dusted with powdered sugar and can contain nuts or other fillings.



3 cups (600g) Sugar
~3 1/3 cups (810ml) Water, divided
2 teaspoons Lemon juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Rose water
3/4 cup (100g) cornstarch
Red food coloring (optional)

For Coating:

1/2 cup (62g) Powdered sugar
1/4 cup (32g) Cornstarch


1. Prepare Pan: 🍳

Grease the sides and bottom of an 8-inch (20cm) square pan with vegetable oil.
Line parchment paper, grease the parchment as well. Set aside.
2. Prepare Syrup: 🍯

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, 270ml of water, and lemon juice.
Set over medium heat. Allow to boil until the sugar dissolves.
Reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the mixture reaches 235-240F (112-115C) (soft ball stage). Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Prepare Cornstarch Mixture: 🌽

In a separate saucepan, combine cornstarch and 2¼ cups (540ml) water, stirring until no lumps remain.
Place over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture begins to boil and has a glue-like consistency.
4. Combine Syrup and Cornstarch Mixture: 🔀

Gradually stir in the syrup to the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 45-60 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly golden.
5. Add Flavors and Pour: 🌹

Stir in the rose water, food coloring, and vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread evenly and allow to cool for at least 4 hours.
6. Coat Turkish Delight: 🍬

In a big dish, mix powdered sugar and cornstarch.
Sprinkle some of the mixture over a clean surface.
Turn the dough over and cut into little squares.
Coat each square with the cornstarch mixture.
Enjoy your homemade Turkish Delight! 🎉


  • Ensure constant stirring during cooking to prevent lumps.
  • The mixture must reach the correct thickness; it should pull away from the sides of the pan.
  • Vegetarian (can be made vegan with appropriate sugar).
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Boiling/Stirring
  • Cuisine: Turkish


  • Calories: ~80 per piece
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 0g

FAQs About Turkish Delight

Can Turkish Delight be made without sugar? While sugar is a key ingredient in traditional Turkish Delight, sugar-free alternatives can be made using sugar substitutes like stevia or erythritol. However, the texture and flavor may vary from the classic version.

How long does Turkish Delight last? Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, Turkish Delight can last for up to 6 weeks. Avoid exposure to moisture to prevent it from becoming sticky or moldy.

Is it possible to make Turkish Delight in different shapes? Yes, Turkish Delight can be poured into molds of various shapes before it sets, allowing for creative and decorative pieces. Silicone molds work best for easy removal.

Can I use artificial flavors in Turkish Delight? While natural flavors like rosewater and lemon provide the authentic taste of Turkish Delight, artificial flavors can also be used to create a wide range of tastes, especially for experimenting with non-traditional flavors.

Turkish Delight

Gathering Your Ingredients

To embark on the journey of making Turkish Delight at home, you will need:

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons rose water (or a substitute as desired)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Optional: food coloring, nuts, or additional flavorings

The Art of Crafting Turkish Delight

Begin by dissolving granulated sugar in 1 1/2 cups of water over medium heat, adding lemon juice to prevent crystallization. In another pot, mix cornstarch and cream of tartar with the remaining water until smooth. Combine both mixtures and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes glossy. This requires patience and attention to achieve the perfect consistency.

Infusing Flavors and Setting the Delight

Once the mixture is ready, stir in the rose water and any additional flavorings or colorings. Pour the thickened mixture into a greased pan and allow it to set, undisturbed, for several hours or overnight. The setting process is crucial for Turkish Delight to develop its signature texture.

Cutting and Serving Turkish Delight

After the mixture has set, dust a cutting board with powdered sugar and turn out the set Turkish Delight. Using a sharp knife, cut the jelly into small cubes, then roll each piece in powdered sugar to prevent sticking. This step not only adds a sweet finish but also gives Turkish Delight its traditional look.

Customizing Your Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight is incredibly versatile, allowing for numerous variations in flavors and additions. From embedding pistachios, walnuts, or hazelnuts to experimenting with orange blossom water or mint extracts, you can tailor this confection to suit your taste preferences. The joy of making Turkish Delight lies in the freedom to create a personalized treat that reflects the rich culinary heritage of Turkey while catering to modern palates.

Storing and Preserving Turkish Delight

Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and soft texture of Turkish Delight. Once coated in powdered sugar, place the pieces in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Stored in a cool, dry place, Turkish Delight can last for several weeks, making it an excellent treat to have on hand for guests or as a sweet snack.

Celebrating Traditions Through Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight isn’t just a confection; it’s a cultural icon that has been part of Turkish hospitality and celebrations for centuries. Presenting this delicacy to guests is a sign of welcome and generosity, embodying the spirit of Turkish culture. Whether served during holidays, special occasions, or as a daily treat, Turkish Delight continues to be a symbol of shared joy and tradition.

Exploring Healthier Alternatives

For those seeking a healthier version of Turkish Delight, consider reducing the sugar content or substituting part of the sugar with honey or agave syrup. Additionally, incorporating natural food colorings derived from fruit and vegetable juices can add a vibrant touch without the need for artificial colors. Experimenting with these alternatives allows you to enjoy Turkish Delight while adhering to dietary preferences or restrictions.

The Global Journey of Turkish Delight

From its origins in the Ottoman Empire to its presence in international markets today, Turkish Delight has embarked on a global journey, introducing the world to a piece of Turkish culinary art. Its adaptability to various flavors and ingredients has allowed it to transcend cultural boundaries, making it a beloved sweet among diverse populations. The global appreciation of Turkish Delight is a testament to its timeless appeal and versatility.

Embracing Modern Twists on a Classic Sweet

Innovation in Turkish Delight recipes reflects the evolving tastes and creativity of modern confectioners. From chocolate-coated variations to cocktail-inspired flavors, Turkish Delight is continually being reimagined in delightful new ways. These modern twists on the classic recipe offer a fresh perspective on the traditional sweet, proving that Turkish Delight remains relevant and beloved in the contemporary culinary landscape.

Mastering the Art of Gift-Giving with Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight, with its elegant appearance and exquisite taste, makes for an ideal gift. Beautifully packaged in ornate boxes or wrapped in delicate foil, this confection symbolizes thoughtfulness and sophistication. Personalizing these gifts with favorite flavors or adding a handwritten note can turn a simple box of sweets into a heartfelt gesture, cherished by friends and loved ones alike.

Incorporating Turkish Delight into Desserts

Inventive chefs and home bakers have found ways to incorporate Turkish Delight into various desserts, elevating traditional recipes with its unique flavors. Chopped pieces can be mixed into ice cream, used as a cake filling, or even dipped in chocolate for a luxurious treat. These creative uses showcase Turkish Delight’s versatility beyond its standalone charm.

The Significance of Turkish Delight in Literature and Film

Turkish Delight has transcended culinary boundaries to make notable appearances in literature and film, most famously in “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, where it is a symbol of temptation and indulgence. Its cultural significance and exotic allure have captivated imaginations worldwide, embedding it in popular culture as a symbol of mystique and desire.

Learning Through Cooking: Educational Opportunities

Making Turkish Delight at home offers more than just a culinary achievement; it’s an educational journey through the rich history and traditions of Turkey. This cooking experience provides insight into the art of confectionery, the science of candy-making, and the cultural significance of food as a means of connection and celebration.

Turkish Delight

Celebrating with Turkish Delight Across Cultures

While Turkish Delight holds a special place in Turkish culture, its universal appeal has led to its adoption in various cultural celebrations around the world. Whether it’s marking a significant life event, observing a holiday, or simply gathering for a meal, Turkish Delight serves as a sweet reminder of the shared joy and unity that food can bring, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries to bring people together in celebration.

Fostering Innovation in Candy Making

The enduring popularity of Turkish Delight has inspired candy makers to push the boundaries of traditional confectionery. This has led to the exploration of avant-garde techniques and flavors, such as incorporating superfoods, experimenting with less common floral essences, or even infusing spirits for an adult twist. These innovations not only breathe new life into an ancient sweet but also cater to the evolving tastes and interests of modern consumers.

Sustainability Efforts in Producing Turkish Delight

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, producers of Turkish Delight are also adopting sustainable practices. From sourcing ingredients locally to minimize carbon footprint to using eco-friendly packaging, these efforts aim to ensure that the delight in Turkish Delight is matched by its respect for the planet. Embracing sustainability in production not only appeals to the eco-conscious market but also contributes to the preservation of our environment.

Turkish Delight as an Educational Tool in Culinary Arts

Culinary educators have recognized Turkish Delight as a valuable tool for teaching the principles of candy making. Its preparation involves a range of techniques, from the precision of measuring ingredients to the art of flavor balancing and the science of achieving the perfect consistency. Through making Turkish Delight, students can gain a deeper appreciation for the craft of confectionery and the importance of patience and attention to detail in cooking.

Hosting Turkish Delight Tasting Events

Turkish Delight tasting events have become a novel way for enthusiasts to explore the vast array of flavors and textures this confection offers. Such gatherings can provide an immersive experience, allowing participants to sample different varieties, learn about the history and making of Turkish Delight, and even discover their new favorite flavor. Hosting these events can spark lively discussions about food culture and culinary traditions, enriching participants’ understanding and appreciation of global cuisines.

The Role of Turkish Delight in Culinary Diplomacy

Turkish Delight has played a subtle yet significant role in culinary diplomacy, serving as a sweet ambassador of Turkish culture. By sharing this confection with the world, Turkey has invited people of different backgrounds to get a taste of its heritage and hospitality. Through the universal language of food, Turkish Delight facilitates cultural exchange and fosters a greater sense of connection and understanding among diverse communities, celebrating the power of cuisine to bridge differences and bring people together.

Turkish Delight


Turkish Delight, with its centuries-old heritage, continues to enchant the taste buds of people around the world with its soft, chewy texture and delicate flavors. This confectionery marvel, deeply rooted in Turkish culture, offers endless possibilities for flavor combinations, catering to both traditionalists and adventurers alike. Whether you stick to the classic rosewater-infused delight or venture into creating your own unique flavors, Turkish Delight remains a testament to the timeless appeal of simple ingredients transformed into exquisite sweets. Embrace the art of making Turkish Delight, and let every bite take you on a journey through the rich tapestry of Turkish history and culinary tradition.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating