16 Iftar Recipes for Ramadan

Middle Eastern Beef Shish Kebab Recipe

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observants fast and abstain from some other specific activities, from sunrise through sunset. All practicing adults must avoid all food and drink during that time, except small children, the elderly, sick, or mentally ill people. Pregnant and nursing women don't have to fast, but many who don't perform good works or feed the hungry during Ramadan to observe the holiday. Below, here are some foods enjoyed during the meal before sunrise, called suhoor, and the meal celebrated after sunset, or iftar.

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10 Iftar Recipes for Ramadan

  • 01 of 16

    Middle Eastern Cheese Board

    Middle Eastern Inspired Appetizer Cheese Board

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter 

    Many iftar tables feature a varied and plentiful cheese board, especially preceding the mail meal. Such a spread can take some ingenuity to assemble at home and components vary widely. Include dates, figs, hummus, labneh balls, and a number of fresh vegetables both for replenishing water and adding fresh crunch. Serve it all with pita or little bread rounds for dipping and scooping.

  • 02 of 16

    Pide Bread

    Turkish Ramadan Flat Bread (Pide)

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    Many cultures bring their own foods to their Ramadan celebrations, which notably includes Turkish pide bread. This soft, leavened, hand-shaped bread goes wonderfully alongside the rest of the iftar, or evening meal. Bake it fresh and hot at home for Ramadan, or any time of year.

  • 03 of 16

    Fattoush Salad

    Fattoush

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    Many people keep their Ramadan meals light and hydrating, especially if it's warm out. A fresh, vegetable-forward fattoush salad hits all of those notes. The Middle Eastern answer to panzanella, fattoush uses pita instead of crusty bread, tossed in a lemon and olive oil dressing with vegetables like romaine lettuce, green pepper, tomato, and cucumber. Add a little sour sumac for a unique, authentic taste.

  • 04 of 16

    Middle Eastern Beef Shish Kebab

    Middle Eastern Beef Shish Kebab Recipe

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    These hearty kebabs are sure to hit the spot. The brightness of the veggies against the darkness of the beef on a bed of hot white rice is just plain appetizing. And the marinade makes the beef tender, and delicious.

    Continue to 5 of 16 below.
  • 05 of 16

    Ful Medammes

    Bowl of Fuul, a traditional Egyptian dish of pureed fava beans
    Bowl of Ful, a traditional Egyptian dish of pureed fava beans. Getty Images/Clive Streeter

    Protein-rich fava beans mashed with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and tahini makes the hummus-like fuul medammes, a delicious iftar or suhoor dish. It tastes great as a dip with warm pita bread, spread on a bit of crusty bread, or with water-rich crudités like cucumber, radishes, or carrot sticks. Pass it down the table in a shallow dish, to encourage sharing among family and friends.

  • 06 of 16

    Moroccan Chorba

    Moroccan Chorba
    By Katrin Morenz from Aachen, Deutschland (Winter-Minestrone) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    This Moroccan comfort food soup will help satiate Ramadan observers, since it uses nutrient-rich potatoes, parsnips, chickpeas, and lamb chops or other stew meat. Fragrant spices like saffron, turmeric, and ginger will call the entire family to the table to break the fast. Some variations substitute vermicelli instead of the chickpeas, which does not need to soak overnight.

  • 07 of 16

    Halwa Chebakia Cookies

    Halwa Chebakia

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Flower-shaped sesame cookies drizzled with honey mark the special meals during Ramadan that bring families and communities together. Because halwa chebakia take some time to create, many women enlist the help of friends, sisters, or cousins to help. Turn it into a Ramadan activity with a beautiful and delicious outcome.

  • 08 of 16

    Moroccan Chicken Briouat

    Chicken-Briouat-4000-x-3000.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Savory chicken cooked with saffron, ginger, and cinnamon makes a delicious filling for Moroccan briouats. The filling is wrapped in a paper-thin Moroccan dough called warqa and the pastry is then fried until crispy. Phyllo (fillo) dough or spring roll wrappers can be substituted for the warqa. They are quite popular in Ramadan, when they are served to break the fast.

    Continue to 9 of 16 below.
  • 09 of 16

    Harira Soup

    Classic Moroccan Harira Soup

    The Spruce 

    This hearty harira soup packs a lot into a bowl, with lentils; lamb, beef, or chicken; chickpeas, celery, and tomatoes. As many recipes exist as do families who have made it for generations, but this fragrant and delicious version will make a lovely addition to your iftar. To round it all out, spoon it over a little white rice or vermicelli.

  • 10 of 16

    Pakora Fritters

    Bhajias (Pakoras) - Fried Indian Snack

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

    Some families ease into iftar with a series of snacks, including fritters like these fried pakoras or bhajias. Try them with paneer, cauliflower, or potato for an interesting mix. Adjust the spice level by adding more or less chili powder, depending on your diners' tolerance.

  • 11 of 16

    Dairy-Free Fruit Custard

    Easy mango custard dessert recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    A cooling, hydrating mango fruit custard makes an invigorating way to start or end the day during Ramadan. Try this dairy-free mango custard to maximize the sweet tropical fruits with a distinctively delightful flavor that requires very little added sugar. Coconut milk also lends a creamy texture without adding much fat.

  • 12 of 16

    Iskender Kebab

    Iskender Kebab

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter 

    You can make the traditional halal kebab meat at home without a doner spit, using this tasty tomato-forward recipe. Pair tender lamb shank with the tomato mixture atop some pita or flatbread, for a hearty open-faced sandwich. Dollop some tzatziki or Greek yogurt on top for cooling contrast.

    Continue to 13 of 16 below.
  • 13 of 16

    Oven Doner Kebab

    Doner Kebab

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Traditionally, doner kebab meat roasts on a rotating, circular spit that creates a crispy texture and a deliciously tender center. If you don't have one at home, this oven-roasted version works just as well. Make the tender meat into pita sandwiches or serve sliced on platters for a do-it-yourself sahoor or iftar presentation.

  • 14 of 16

    Malabi Rose Water Milk Pudding

    Malabi Rose Water Milk Pudding

    The Spruce/Ahlam Raffii

    If your Ramadan meals include rose-scented desserts, try adding this unique pudding to the mix. With a lightly floral flavor and a stick-to-your-ribs milky texture, it can carry you all the way through the day.

  • 15 of 16

    Khasta Kachori

    Kachori

    Uniquely India / Getty Images

    These lentil-stuffed pastries taste great hot or cold, and many people enjoy them as a fast snack on the go. Because of their starchy filling and crispy outsides, they also make a satisfying dish. Best of all, they keep well in the fridge so you can make a big batch and serve them all week long.

  • 16 of 16

    Fresh Fruit Salad

    Easy Fruit Salad on a platter with a serving spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Fresh fruit appears on many Ramadan tables because of its high water content, satisfying sweetness, and celebratory flavor. Try this Thai-inspired fruit salad for a tropical twist or just as inspiration for your own favorite combination. What fruits you can find in-season will depend on your location, so feel free to get creative.