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Lebanese kanafa cut into squares on a round dish
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5 from 252 votes

Lebanese Homemade Knafeh

This Homemade Lebanese Knafeh is a simplified version of the Middle Eastern dessert made with layered shredded dough and mozzarella cheese soaked with syrup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 276kcal
Author Yumna Jawad


For the simple syrup:

For the Knafeh

  • ½ 16 ounce box shredded phyllo dough (kataifi), thawed
  • ½ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter melted


  • Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease a round 11-inch pan.
  • Make the simple syrup, combine the water, sugar and lemon slices in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thickened but still clear colored, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the rose water, and set aside to cool.
  • Use a food processor to chop the shredded phyllo dough into smaller pieces. Transfer the phyllo dough into a large mixing bowl. Pour the butter into the bowl. Use your hands to mix the butter with the dough, rubbing handfuls of the dough between your palms.
  • In another large bowl, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and sugar.
  • Evenly spread the buttered phyllo dough into the prepared pan and firmly press it into the bottom and edges. Spread the cheese mixture onto the dough, leaving the edges around the pan empty.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is slightly golden and the edges of dough are brown and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove the Knafeh from the oven. Place a large platter or baking sheet over the baking dish. Using oven mitts, carefully invert the baking dish onto the platter so the phyllo is on top. Pour the syrup over the Knafeh. Cut into pieces and serve while hot.


Storage: Put leftovers in a sealable container, and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can eat the leftovers cold, or reheat them in the oven to maintain the crunch of the crust.
Sourcing: You can find the shredded phyllo dough at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients.


Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 258IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 1mg