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Katayef Recipe

Katayef/ Qatayef are stuffed Arabic pancakes, fried to perfection then dunked in simple syrup. Crunchy, sweet and so satisfying.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Egyptian, Middle Eastern
Servings 24
Calories 140 kcal


  • 2 cups 240 g all purpose flour.
  • 1 teaspoon 3g dry yeast.
  • 1 Tablespoon 14g sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon 1g baking powder.
  • 1 Tablespoon 6g dry powdered milk.
  • A pinch of salt.
  • 1 3/4 420 mL cups of warm water.
  • Oil for deep frying.
  • Thick simple syrup:
  • 2 cups 400 g sugar.
  • 1 240 mL cup water.
  • 1/4 cup 60 mL honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  • A dash of vanilla powder or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Filling: nut mixture of your choice used about two cups mixed nuts and raisins.


  • In a sauce pan over medium heat, add syrup ingredients, stir a little then let it boil.
  • When it boils, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and let it cool down to room temperature, it will thicken as it cools down.
  • In a deep bowl, combine first 6 ingredients, add water and mix well. (Note1)
  • Cover and let it set for 30 minutes.
  • Stir the batter a bit to check consistency if it is too thick then add a tablespoon of water. Batter should be thinner than pancake and not lumpy. (Note2)
  • Heat a griddle or a pan and scoop about 2 Tablespoons of the batter.
  • The batter will bubble at the surface and cooks, do not flip
  • When the surface is longer wet remove and it is golden brown, remove from heat. (Note3)
  • Arrange qatayef bubble side up on a baking sheet and cover with a towel. Set aside until you are finished with the rest of the batter.
  • Continue until you finish all the batter.
  • Hold the pancakes bubble side up, fill with little over a teaspoon of the nut mixture. Do not overfill as it will not close or tear and crack.
  • Fold pancakes in half and pinch the sides to firmly close. (Note4).
  • Heat oil for deep frying over medium heat.
  • For a crispy golden qatayef, fry for like 3 minutes on each side until they are dark golden brown. If you want a softer qatayef, fry them until they are just light golden brown.
  • Take them out of oil place on a paper towel for 5-15 seconds then quickly dip them in the cooled syrup while they are still hot. Toss to cover with syrup.
  • Take qatayef out and let them drip in a colander. The more you leave qatayef in the syrup, the more syrup it will soak and then it will become softer.


Note1:  a recent tip from mom is to make this in your blender and this worked like a charm much better than a whisk.
Note2: most probably you'll need to add from 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoon of warm water to the batter to make it thinner. I've tried with many flour brands and it always end this way.
Note3: It is somehow hard when you first make Qatayef to figure out the right temperature for you. Too hot and it will be burnt, too low it will be pale and takes forever to cook. Over the years my observation is go for the range from 285F to 320F. I had t experiment with a couple before I figured out the right temperature.
Note4: You can at this point freeze stuffed pancakes on a parchment lined baking sheet for a couple of hours then place them in a ziplock and keep in the freezer. Fry directly from frozen, there is no need to thaw. This makes Qatayef a very convenient make ahead dessert. It keeps for about 6 weeks in the freezer.
Mine was a notch less than 300F something like 295F.