Turkish Delight

Reddish-pink Turkish delight squares dusted with confectioners' sugar and stacked on a plate

The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Rest Time: 8 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
130 Calories
0g Fat
33g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 130
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 17mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Turkish name for this confection, lokma or lokum, means morsel, and these sweet squares are exactly that: a delicately chewy treat, perfectly sweetened, and infused with the fascinating and sweet flavor of either rosewater, bergamot, lemon, or mastic. Dates, pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts are bound in a gel-like concoction that is then perfumed with other flavors and colored by food coloring or natural ingredients. The squares are dusted with icing sugar, cream of tartar, or copra (dried coconut meat) to avoid sticking and caking, and are usually sold by the pound or in decorative, festive boxes with different flavors.

Vegan and gluten free, freshly made Turkish delight needs top-quality ingredients for best results, as store-bought sweets are commercially produced with flavor and quality often sacrificed for value. Check Middle Eastern online retailers or local specialized supermarkets to find rosewater or other Middle Eastern flavors that can be hard to find in standard food stores.


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"Making candy comes with its own special tricks and this recipe is a good introduction to more difficult recipes. If you are up for a challenge, it’s quite fun to make. It is delicious and beautiful, and the powdered sugar makes it quite yummy. I’d be interested to try it with orange flower water, too." —Colleen Graham

Turkish Delight Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 cups granulated sugar

  • 4 1/2 cups water, divided

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1 1/4 cups cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rose water

  • 2 drops red food coloring, optional

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Prepare a 9 x 9-inch pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

    Ingredients for Turkish delight recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  2. Place the granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups of the water, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring the mixture to a boil.

    Sugar being dissolved in water and lemon juice and stirred with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  3. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming and insert a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature.

    Sugar syrup boiling in a saucepan with candy thermometer inserted; sides of pan being brushed with a pastry brush

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  4. Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling, without stirring, until it reaches 240 F on the candy thermometer. This process can take from 45 minutes to an hour. When the sugar syrup is around 225 F, gather the rest of the candy ingredients.

    Sugar syrup boiling in saucepan with inserted candy thermometer measuring temperature

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  5. Place the remaining 3 cups of water in another, slightly larger saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cream of tartar and whisk until the starch dissolves and there are no lumps.

    Cornstarch and cream of tartar being dissolved in water in a pot and stirred with a sauce whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  6. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring or whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.

    Boiling cornstarch mixture being stirred with a sauce whisk and turning into a thick white paste

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  7. Once the sugar syrup is at 240 F, remove it from the heat. Without too much delay, slowly and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking until it is fully incorporated. Whisking it in slowly will help avoid lumps.

    Sugar syrup being poured into cornstarch mixture while stirring with a sauce whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking it every 8 to 10 minutes, for about an hour, until the candy has turned a light golden yellow color and is very thick and gluey.

    Thick and smooth sugar and cornstarch mixture boiling and bubbling, being stirred with a sauce whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  9. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the rosewater and the food coloring into the preparation.

    Rose water and red food coloring being incorporated into shiny sugar and cornstarch mixture with a sauce whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  10. Pour the candy into the prepared pan and allow it to set uncovered overnight.

    Turkish delight mixture poured into square baking pan lined with aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  11. The next day, remove the candy from the pan using the foil as handles. Dust a clean and nonporous work station with powdered sugar and flip the candy onto it. Carefully peel off the foil from the back and dust the top with more sugar. Use an oiled and sharp chef’s knife to cut the Turkish delight into small squares. Dust each side of the square with powdered sugar to prevent stickiness.

    Fully set Turkish delight cut into squares and dusted with confectioners' sugar from a small metal sifter

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

Storing Turkish Delight

  • Turkish delight is best soon after it is made, as it doesn’t keep very well. For best storage, keep it at room temperature in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers of squares, and dust the sides with more powdered sugar before serving.

Why Isn't My Turkish Delight Setting Up?

Turkish delight is meant to be soft and chewy, but what if your candy isn't solid enough for cutting into squares? You can re-melt the mixture and start again, but you'll need to add a stabilizer, such as xanthan gum, to promote solidification.

Problems often arise when cooking this mixture, so the use of an accurate candy thermometer is required. Make sure you boil the sugar mixture until it reaches 240 F. Once you've combined the two preparations, cook the final mixture until it is very thick and golden. Let it sit several hours before cutting.