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plates of irmik helvası

Irmik helvası

  • Author: Amélie
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes (includes resting time)
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Turkish
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Sweet and tender semolina is balanced with crispy nuts and caramel notes in this traditional Turkish dessert. Making irmik helvası is quicker and easier than it seems, so do try it! 


  • 170g sugar (1 cup)
  • 425g water  (1 ¾  cup)
  • 1 tbsp frying oil
  • 30g blanched almonds (¼ cup), chopped (or use pine nuts)
  • 70g butter (2.5 oz), cubed + extra for the molds (if using)
  • 170g irmik (1 cup), you can use medium semolina (fine semolina will work too)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp raw shelled pistachios, blitzed into a powder (optional)


instructions for irmik helvası

  1. First, you need to make the syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir once with a wooden spoon to help dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and keep simmering for 10 min.
  2. Heat the oil in a separate nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring often, until they turn golden, about 3 min.
  3. Add the butter to the nonstick pan and let it melt. Add the semolina and salt when the butter starts to sizzle. Sauté for 5 min stirring often (to prevent the semolina from burning) until the semolina has slightly browned and smells nutty.
  4. Take the nonstick pan off the heat and pour the hot syrup on the semolina mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon and cover the pan with a lid.
  5. Place the nonstick pan over low heat and cook for 10 min, or until all the syrup has been absorbed. Don’t hesitate to check and stir the helva near the end of the cooking time.
  6. Remove the lid, place paper towels or folded kitchen towel over the pan and replace the lid. Let the irmik helvası rest for 15 min.
  7. Stir the semolina, spoon onto serving plates and sprinkle cinnamon and pistachios on top.


For a ‘neater’ look, spoon the semolina into buttered ramekins just after it’s done cooking. Press the semolina until it’s compact and place the serving plates on top. Invert the ramekins onto the plates after 15 min.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 697
  • Fat: 31.5g

Keywords: no-bake dessert, turkish dessert, semolina dessert