10 Local Iranian Desserts You Need to Try

Sohan | © Mostafameraji

Rice and kabob take the limelight in Iranian cuisine, but what about desserts? While travelers to Iran won’t find desserts in the traditional sense, the tea-loving culture does have a sweet tooth, breaking out the treats for any occasion and especially to enjoy with tea. Three main ingredients to be found in any combination in these desserts are saffron, rosewater, and cardamom. Here are 10 local Iranian desserts and sweets you need to try.

Loved by over 40s


Zoolbia are deep-fried funnel cakes, soaked in a light rosewater-saffron syrup. Bamieh, okra in Persian, are reminiscent of churros and immersed in the same syrup. The combination is particularly popular during the month of Ramadan, providing a much-needed blast of sugar after a day of fasting. These pillows of fried decadence are best washed down with a hot glass of freshly brewed Persian tea.

Golden zoolbia and bamieh topped with emerald pistachios


Date palms are especially plentiful along the Persian Gulf and the warmer southern regions of Iran, making ranginak a rich, flavorful dessert typical of the south. Soft, chewy dates are stuffed with toasted walnuts and then drenched in a mixture of toasted flour, butter, cinnamon, and cardamon, and finally topped with crushed pistachios. The colors and textures make this dessert a feast for both the eyes and taste buds.

Faloodeh Shirazi

Noodles as dessert? After trying faloodeh, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it. These semi-frozen vermicelli noodles bathe in a rosewater syrup and are then served with lime juice and/or sour cherry syrup. Visit any ice cream shop across Iran, and you’ll find faloodeh to cool you down, especially during those scorching summer months. It’s no wonder, then, that the most famous and delicious version comes from Shiraz.

Faloodeh Shirazi topped with sour cherry syrup

Bastani Akbar Mashti

In the 1950s, Akbar Mashti became famous for his bastani, and today, the most well-known and traditional ice cream in Iran still carries his name. This concoction of saffron vanilla ice cream with rosewater and pistachios is sure to make your mouth happy, but not as much as the luscious chunks of frozen cream in the mix. Try it in a cup or, like a local, between two wafers. You can even opt for a makhloot, half faloodeh-half ice cream, to get the best of both worlds.

Bastani Akbar Mashti saffron and rose ice cream

You Might Also Like…
Unique Local Restaurants To Try Out In Tehran
The Best Cafes in Mashhad, Iran
Where To Find The Most Delicious Chelo Kebab In Tehran


This rice pudding is made with just the right hint of saffron to give it the perfect shade of yellow. Words or designs are then dusted on in cinnamon, allowing children and adults to showcase their creativity, and almonds slivers give it the final finishing touch. A typical dessert during religious ceremonies and the month of Ramadan, sholezard is made in large batches at home and given to friends, family, and the needy as nazri, a charitable offering.

Sholezard saffron rice pudding

Shirini Yazdi

Yazd is known for its sweets, and any travelers to this desert city must visit the national treasure of Haj Khalifa Confectionery in Amir Chakhmaq Square. Here, you can try the famous Iranian baklava pastries (different from the Greek and Turkish varieties), ghotab (donut hole-shaped cookies), loze nârgil (coconut diamonds), and pashmak (candy floss).

Shirini Yazdi


Koloocheh is a cookie stuffed with cinnamon, sugar, and crushed walnuts, although there are some variations depending on the region. In Kerman, for instance, there is kolumpeh, which also includes minced dates in the center. The tops are indented with circular shapes, pressed into the dough prior to baking. While koloocheh is tasty at any time, it also makes for a hearty breakfast on the go or a filling midday snack.

Distinctive circular patterns pressed into Koloocheh before baking


Qom’s most famous confection is a saffron brittle made with wheat sprout, eggs, rosewater, sugar, butter, and cardamom. The top of this toffee-colored goodness is studded with pistachios, balancing the sweetness. Given the crunchy, buttery texture, this candy is highly addictive, which makes it easy to polish off an entire tin in one sitting, especially when there is a glass of piping hot tea nearby.

The highly addictive Sohan saffron brittle


No trip to Esfahan is complete without gaz, Persian nougat with pistachios. Gaz is made with the sap of the angebin plant, native to the Esfahan region; the higher the percentage of sap, the more pure the gaz. Combined with rosewater, egg whites, and pistachios, this gooey nougat is packaged in individual wrappers or dredged in flour to create gaze ârdi, a favorite of Iranians.

Gaz, Persian nougat with pistachios


Iranian halva differs from other Middle Eastern versions. Wheat flour is slowly toasted in oil or butter with sugar, rosewater, and saffron. This dense paste is then decorated with slivered almonds and pistachios, the tops imprinted with the edge of a spoon, and the sides molded with the fingers. Traditionally served during religious holidays or funerals, its texture and sweetness will have you calling for some exceptions.

Iranian Halva
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.