Muhallebi (Mahalabia) Milk Pudding


Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6-8

The Muhallebi Milk Pudding is also known as  Mahalabia and is a must try for a quick dessert fix. If you like a milky pudding, then you’re going to like this one! It is delicious and extremely easy to make, takes only a few minutes preparation. It is however a make ahead dessert with a chill time of at least 3-5 hours. Overnight for best results!

What are the ingredients?

Muhallebi is essentially a sweet creamy dessert, in many ways similar to the French blancmange. It is made with a combination of milk and sugar that is cooked and thickened with cornstarch or rice flour. Traditionally, found cardamom is used for flavour and a dusting of cinnamon as garnish. However, most recipes usually use orange blossom, vanilla, or rose water and is typically served cold.

Mahallebi Turkish milk pudding

Where does Muhallebi Milk Pudding originate from?

The earliest recorded recipes date back around a thousand years. Since the beginning, there have been multiple ways of making this delicious milk pudding or custard. The main ingredient is always fresh milk, but the thickener and toppings vary.

This simple treat is believed by some to have Turkish origins and is enjoyed in slightly different forms across the Arabian Peninsula, Middle East, and North Africa. Milk puddings are common across the world. Muhallebi is certainly not specifically Turkish and Mahalabia not specific to the Arab World. Depending on the region, it can be garnished with typical local ingredients such as pistachios, date syrup, almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon, or raisins. 

muhallebi milk pudding

I found this recipe from a magazine, adapted from the cookbook ’Syria : Recipes from Home’and made some changes by adding evaporated milk.

Muhallebi Milk Pudding Variations:

The adapted recipe had only whole fresh milk as the main ingredient. I usually love a creamier taste so I tried the recipe with half whole milk and half evaporated milk. Sometimes I use double cream instead of evaporated milk. Both ways work well and I found that it had a richer, smoother velvety texture in the latter choices. 

Cornflour can be substituted with Rice Flour. Using corn starch will yield a smooth consistency, while rice flour will have a bit of texture. 

Mahalabia with condensed milk: Replace the cream with condensed milk and omit the sugar.

mahalabia milk pudding

How to serve and Party Tips

If you’re not a fan of cardamom or floral flavours, you can add a bit of vanilla or almond extract; In fact, any flavouring is fine and a matter of personal preference. You can also skip it all together for just a plain sweet milk pudding. It’s a dessert very much similar to the pannacotta as well, minus the gelatine. 

Let your imagination flow and get creative with the Garnish and Toppings. You can use any nuts, raisins, rose petals or even fruit puree and much more! Here are some suggestions :

Crushed pistachios or toasted almonds are used as a common garnish. If you have a nut allergy or don’t fancy them, then just leave them out. 

Crushed rose petals are another common topping used is many middle eastern desserts. Gives some contrast colour to the dessert.

Fruit Puree such as mango or passion fruit gives a a nice mild tangy flavour in contrast to the sweet pudding. 

Seasonal Fruits. – Try berries in Summer and Pomegranate in Winter…equally aesthetically pleasing and and delicious!

Chocolate! Not traditional but always a favourite. You can use chocolate shavings or spoon over some chocolate ganache. 

Balsamic fruit. I use chopped strawberries mixed with pomegranate molasses and some castor sugar— a sharp tangy contrast with the sweet creamy Mahallabia makes it an exciting fusion of flavours.

Dried fruit or desiccated coconut or Rose jam or Date Syrup. Take your pick!


For a wintry feel, serve it hot and sprinkle a little cinnamon or mix it with your other garnishings before topping.

mahalabia milk pudding

Notes : 

This is a Make Ahead Dessert. Make the puddings at least 3-5 hours before serving. Overnight for best results. They keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Be sure to use a heavy bottom saucepan or milk pan to avoid the milk from burning and causing bits in the mahalabia.
If you are going to chill it overnight, cover the cups/dishes with cling film or saucers to prevent the Mahalabia from drying out and forming a crust-like layer. This also prevents it from absorbing any other food smells in the fridge. 

You may also like :

Quick no bake Yogurt cheesecake in a glass

Turkish Pumpkin Candy Dessert

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Coconut Water Jelly

Vegan Coconut Rice Pudding

Creamy Blueberry Coconut Popsicles

Mahallebi Turkish milk pudding

Muhallebi (Mahalabia) Milk Pudding

Nurdiyanah Magness
The milk pudding known as muhallebi or mahalabia is as good as they come. Light, gently flavoured and super easy to make at home. It is a Make Ahead dessert and is a must try! If you like Milky Puddings as I do, then you're going to like this one! It is delicious and takes only few minutes to prepare.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling time 5 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine Middle Eastern, North Africa, Turkish
Servings 4
Calories 210 kcal


  • heavy bottom saucepan or milk pan


  • 500 ml fresh whole milk. 2 cups
  • 500 ml evaporated milk OR double/heavy cream 2 cups
  • 150 gm Castor Sugar 5 oz – adjust as per desired sweetness. I used 100gm
  • 70 gm cornflour/cornstarch OR rice flour 6 tbsp
  • 2-3 tsp rose water OR orange blossom water OR 1/4 tsp rose extract
  • 4 pods green cardamoms finely crushed seeds (optional)

Garnish (optional)

  • crushed pistachios or toasted almonds
  • edible rose petals Check Notes for more choices


Calories: 210kcal
Keyword dessert, gluten-free, mahalabia, make ahead, Middle Eastern, muhallebi, party, pudding, sweet, turkish, vegetarian
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  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total time: 15 minutes
  • Serves: 6-8

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