Semolina helva with pekmez: quick semolina helva Turkish-style

helva recipe turkish

We have a craving for sweets! When that's the case, it's usually time for semolina helva. After all, what sweet treat is so quick to prepare and tastes as infinitely good as semolina helva?


If you can't resist a sweet craving, this Turkish semolina dessert (pekmezli irmik halvasi) can be prepared in no time at all. You already have most of the ingredients at home anyway. Although... that's (unfortunately) not 100% true for today's Turkish-style helva recipe.


Because we didn't want to deal with the quantities of household sugar this time, we made helva with pekmez*. And even though this will largely replace the usual semolina helva with sugar, we will certainly be presenting a few more Turkish-style helva recipes on our blog.


But back to the pekmez recipe: it really was so infinitely delicious that it will actually replace other helva recipes. Because the pekmez gives the semolina dessert a slightly tart note. The sweetness is also ideal.


Incidentally, we used Üzüm Pekmezi for the recipe - i.e. grape pekmez. This is the kind you usually get in Turkish stores. In Turkey, there is also pekmez made from black mulberries or carob and it is bottled fresh for you in the store.


Over time, you will generally find more information about typical Turkish ingredients there.

helva recipe turkish with pekmez

5 minutes work, 15 minutes wait, endless pleasure: quick Turkish semolina dessert

Turkish semolina dessert, aka semolina helva, is the perfect dessert when you have a craving. But you can of course also serve it to your guests, as our recipe makes a good 4-5 portions. Traditionally, semolina helva is served at funerals in Turkey anyway. But let's leave this bitter aftertaste to one side. 


You don't actually have to do anything for the Turkish-style semolina helva recipe. Mix the syrup, melt the butter, roast the semolina until brown, add the syrup, cook and leave to soak up. Then it's time to say: Afiyet olsun!


Semolina helva is also best served warm. This way it tastes nice and soft and creamy. You can put the rest in the fridge and simply reheat it with a little liquid. We ate some of it for breakfast, for example. We mixed the cold semolina halva in a bowl with a little milk and garnished it with grated coconut. 


Is halva vegan?

YES! At least if you make it vegan, which is very easy with the Turkish-style halva recipe. As you only need semolina, fat, pekmez and water anyway, simply choose the vegetable fat of your choice. Coconut oil, margarine - whatever you have at home. 


Semolina helva recipe: Turkish semolina dessert with pekmez


  • 150 grams/little less than 1 cup semolina
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine

For the syrup

  • 200 ml/1 cup pekmez 
  • 400 ml/2 cups water (or milk)
helva recipe turkish style


Step 1: Mix the pekmez and water in a small saucepan and heat the mixture. However, do not let it boil and remove the pan from the heat in good time.

Step 2: Melt the butter in a pan and fry the semolina in it. It should be a nice beige color. However, make sure you keep stirring and do not leave the stove. The semolina burns very(!) quickly!

Step 3: Pour the syrup over the roasted semolina and mix everything together. Allow the syrup to soak in, stirring constantly. When the semolina has swollen, turn off the heat and leave the semolina helva to stand for another 10 minutes. Best served warm!


Serving tip: Press the Turkish semolina dessert into a bowl and turn it out onto a plate.

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