Breakfast and Brunch, Desserts, Middle Eastern Recipes, Palestinian Cuisine, Ramadan

Knafeh Na’ameh (Nabulsi Knafeh)

Palestinian knafeh na'ameh made with stretchy cheese, slightly crunchy dough, and simple syrup

Knafeh is a mix of savory cheeses enclosed within golden, slightly crispy homemade Knafeh dough and drizzled with a sweet sugar syrup. This authentic Palestinian Knafeh Na’ameh (Nabulsi Knafeh) is a superior dessert.

Also known as Knafeh Nabulsieh, Palestinian Knafeh Na’ameh is a regional dessert that can be found in the fanciest restaurants as well as tiny street kiosks.

In its authentic form, it has a top-bottom crust made with farek or a semolina and flour-based dough. The middle layer is filled with a combination of Ackawi, Nabulsi, and mozzarella cheese.

If that’s not a group of ingredients that screams Palestinian and traditionally delicious, then nothing does! If you want authentic Knafeh Khishneh instead, then you must try my recipe.


cheesy knefe bi jibin topped with pistachios
It is a must to garnish your cheesy Knafeh with vibrant green pistachios!


Knafeh Childhood Nostalgia

One of my earliest memories of eating good knafeh was standing outside a small Habiba knafeh shop in Amman. My mom would take me with her to have this incredible-tasting knafeh as we stood outside. The store was too small to have indoor seating, but it made the experience more memorable.

My love for knafeh started at the door of that tiny, hidden shop many, many years ago.


Knafeh Nabulsi Supermacy

Knafeh Na’ameh, also known as Knafeh Nabulsieh, is a traditional Palestinian dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries. A sweet, cheesy dessert made from a combination of soft, melty cheese, and a slightly crispy layer of homemade dough.

Then, you soak it in sweet syrup and flavor it with fragrant orange blossom water. This delicious dessert is a must-try for anyone who loves Middle Eastern sweets!


a slice of knefeh with a layer of cheese and a top layer of semolina browned  and sweetened with simple syrup
This perfect mixture of sweet and savory will give you a rush of sheer joy.

The Secret History of Knafeh

Knafeh is a staple in the Middle East, especially in the Levant countries, Turkey, and Egypt. It is also enjoyed in Balkan region, though it’s slightly different from the authentic, Palestinian recipe. In Turkey, you’ll hear it as “Kunefe.” In Egypt, you’ll find it evolved with mango or Nutella!

The history of Knafeh Nabulsiyeh is debatable, however, it is believed that it originated in the city of Nablus, which is one of Palestine’s most popular cities. Nablus proudly holds the Guinness World Record for the largest Knafeh EVER, which is 74 meters long and 1.05 meters wide.

Depending on who you ask, you might hear that the origin of this dessert dates back to the Ottoman Empire!

Over time, Knafeh Nabulsiyeh has become the signature dessert of Palestinians, further spreading to become the most beloved dessert in the region. The crispy and crunchy texture, combined with soft, melty cheese filling and fragrant syrup, makes for a truly unforgettable dessert.


Top Tips

If your cheese comes in a tub of water brine, it needs to be soaked in water for a minimum of 6 hours, with water being changed every hour. Otherwise, it’ll be too salty.

You can substitute Panela cheese for Nabulsi cheese or you can use sweet cheese as well if you like. If you have baladi cheese (like Arz brand) it can be used instead of Nabulsi as well.

I like using a mixture of fresh mozzarella and shredded mozzarella for that sought-after cheese pull.

Keep an eye on it while it’s baking so as to not brown or burn the cheese.

Prepare the simple syrup in advance to allow it to cool before serving.


sweet and delicious homemade knafeh nabulsieh topped with crushed pistachios
You will keep asking for more!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How do you make knafeh dough?

You make Knafeh na’ameh dough by mixing the flour, semolina, cornstarch, baking powder and powdered milk together. Then, add the melted ghee and the water and knead for 5-10 minutes, until you reach a smooth dough ball.

Can I freeze knafeh?

Absolutely! You can put it all together and freeze it as is. Bring it up to room temperature before baking.

How do I get my cheese to not be salty?

Certain cheese brands are saltier than others. Cheese that comes in a saltwater brine is also more salty than that which comes in a block. You MUST soak the cheese in cold water for a minimum of 6 hours. Then, replace the water every 1 hour.

Can I prepare Nabulsi Knafeh advance?

Yes! Prepare a batch an throw it in your freezer. When you decide to reheat it, throw it in the oven for a little while and dive in.


knafeh nabulsi recipe made with semolina and a mix of cheese for the ultimate dessert
The scrumptious sweetness will exceed your expectations.

Ingredients

Knafeh Dough (farek)

Fine semolina

All-purpose flour

Baking powder

Powdered milk

Water

Cornstarch

Powdered food coloring

Cheese Mixture

Nabulsi cheese (without black seeds), you can substitute more Ackawi or Panela cheese.

Shredded mozzarella

Ackawi cheese

Fresh mozzarella


palestinian knafeh made with semolina and mixture of cheese and sweetened with simple syrup
Knafeh is a Middle Eastern love language.

Before making the dough, preheat your oven to the highest setting. Mine was 500 F.

Start by making the dough. Mix the flour, semolina, baking powder, and cornstarch together. Add the powdered milk and mix. Now, add in the melted ghee and the lukewarm water and knead for 5-10 minutes, until smooth.

Roll the dough into a 15-inch circle and place it into a oven-safe tray with parchment paper.

Now, turn OFF the oven. Then, place the tray with the dough in it in the turned-off oven for 40-45 minutes. Once it finishes, remove and allow to cool at room temp. Then, break the dough into pieces and place into a food processor, and process until fine.


Spread the ghee and food coloring into the pan evenly.

Take about 4 cups of the knafeh dough and spread it evenly across the pan. With the palms of your hands, press down firmly to ensure the dough sticks to the pan. Make sure to do this, otherwise, the dough will stick.

Shred your fresh mozzarella smaller and cut up the ackawi and Nabulsi cheese into small pieces.

Add 1/2 the amount of mozzarella on top as the first layer in the center of the knafeh.

Top with the remaining 1/2 cup knafeh dough evenly over the cheese layer across the pan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 450F for 30- 35 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and the edges are browned.

Remove it from the oven, and run a knife along the edges to loosen the knafeh. Flip it into a larger or same-size pan. Top with simple syrup, make sure to get the edges as well.

Return it to the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Remove, and garnish with pistachios.

Serve in individual pieces topped with Qater (simple syrup) and garnished with crushed pistachios.


Palestinian knafeh na'ameh with browned semolina, melted cheese, and shredded pistachios
This is the most satisfying dessert for your sugar cravings.

Must-Try Desserts:

Knafeh Cheesecake

Easy No Bake Knafeh Cups

Authentic Walnut Baklawa

Aish El Saraya Dessert

Halawat el Jibn (Sweet Cheese Rolls)

Middle Eastern Rice Pudding (Riz Bi Haleeb)

Baklava Cheesecake Bars

Hilbeh | Fenugreek Cake

Sahlab Dessert Recipe

Palestinian Knafeh Khishneh


If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. You can follow me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.


cheesy knefe bi jibin topped with pistachios

Knafeh Na’ameh (Knafeh Nabulsi)

Authentic Knafeh Na'ameh or Knafeh Nabulsieh, is a Palestinian dessert made with stretchy cheese, slightly crunchy dough, and simple syrup.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, party meal
Cuisine Egyptian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Palestinian
Servings 12 people

Ingredients
  

Knafeh Dough (farek)

  • cups All purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Fine semolina
  • cup Powdered milk
  • 4 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon Baking powder
  • cup Melted ghee room temp, not hot
  • 1 cup Lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons Lukewarm water

For the pan:

  • tablespoons Ghee softened but not melted
  • teaspoon Powdered food coloring adjustable quantity

Cheese Mixture:

  • ½ pound Ackawi cheese
  • ½ pound Nabulsi cheese
  • 8 ounces Fresh mozzarella
  • 4 ounces Shredded mozzarella

Instructions
 

How to Make the Knafeh Dough

  • Before making the dough, preheat your oven to the highest setting. Mine was 500 °F
  • Start by making the dough. Mix the flour, semolina, baking powder and cornstarch together. Add the powdered milk and mix. Now, add in the melted ghee and the lukewarm water and knead for 5-10 minutes, until smooth.
  • Roll the dough to a 15 inch circle and place into a oven safe tray with parchment paper.
  • Now, turn OFF the oven. Then, place the tray with the dough in it in the turned off oven for 40-45 minutes. Once it finishes, remove and allow to cool at room temp. Then, break the dough into pieces and place into a food processor and process until fine.

ASSEMBLY

  • Spread the ghee and food coloring into the round 14 inch pan evenly.
  • Take about 4 cups of the knafeh dough and spread it evenly across the pan. With the palms of your hands, press down firmly to ensure the dough sticks to the pan. Make sure to do this, otherwise the dough will stick.
  • Shred your fresh mozzarella smaller and cut up the ackawi and Nabulsi cheese into small pieces.
  • Add the 1/2 the amount mozzarella on top as the first layer in the center of the knafeh.
  • Add 1/2 the ackawi and Nabulsi cheese into the pan over the dough, then add remaining half of mozzarella sandwiched between the two layers of Acakwi and Nabulsi.
  • Top with 1/2 cup knafeh dough evenly over the cheese layer across the pan. You will have some left over dough, freeze for later.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 450 F for 30- 35 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and the edges are browned.
  • Remove it from the oven, and run a knife along the edges to loosen the knafeh. Flip it into a larger or same size pan. Top with simple syrup, make sure to get the edges as well.
  • Return it to the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Remove, garnish with pistachios.

Notes

You can substitute Nabulsi and Ackawi cheese with Panela cheese or queso fresco if they’re not available. Do not use halloumi. 
Freeze the dough after its shredded for easy use! Thaw before layering.
You can use the full amount of dough on a larger pan, or a rectangle pan. I find it works best in a 14 inch round one. 
Keyword fine knafeh, knafa, knafeh, Knafeh Cheesecake, Knafeh Cheesecake Recipe, knafeh naameh, kunefe, nabulsi, nabulsieyh, palestinian knafeh
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3 thoughts on “Knafeh Na’ameh (Nabulsi Knafeh)

  1. Candice says:

    5 stars
    Literally couldn’t wait to make this and so happy I didn’t wait !!! Even the ppl in my family who don’t like knafa loved this recipe. It was so good, not over bearing, and seriously destroyed most if not all professional places I’ve tried. Amazing, perfect recipe must try!!! 100000/10

  2. Yara says:

    5 stars
    Its was perfect!! I have always been intimidated to make this style – its the best in my opinion with the crust top!! I’m so happy that this was broken down so easily! These directions paired with the video was so helpful for me to understand!! My boyfriend was so happy because he loves it made this way most and was so impressed because he hasn’t seen it made at home. He said all the flavors were there 🥹 I also made it with your simple syrup recipe! Thank you for bringing a taste of home into the USA. 🙏🏻

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