Turkish Tulumba Tatlısı

Turkish dessert tulumba tatlısı

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 25 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
397 Calories
28g Fat
36g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 25
Amount per serving
Calories 397
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%
Sodium 19mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 25mg 1%
*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.)

Tulumba tatlısı (too-LOOM-bah TAHT-luh-suh) is a crispy, syrupy, and ultra-sweet Turkish dessert composed of mini oblong balls of fried dough that are soaked in syrup. The dough contains starch and semolina, which keeps it light and crispy. A popular street food, it is prepared by vendors who fry it up fresh on the spot and serve it warm. You'll also find it served in many restaurants, and it's a beloved recipe to offer in big gatherings, from weddings to holiday celebrations, as it's both delicious and budget-friendly.

One of the most traditional Turkish recipes, this dessert has conquered palates all over the region, with variations on it found from Greece to Iran. Tulumba is a very technical dessert, but it is also achievable by the beginner cook as it mainly needs attention to detail and following the right order in the steps. If done correctly, this is a wonderful sweet dessert, so much so that you won't need more than a few little balls.

Don't rush or cut corners, and mainly, don't use oil that's too hot when frying the dough. It won't cook faster, and it might burn. The secret to classic tulumba lies in the temperature of the oil, so a food thermometer is a great tool to have when frying tulumba. When fried well, the puffy balls are cooked through, with a crunchy exterior and moist interior. To make this classic Turkish sweet at home, you'll need a pastry bag with a star tip and a deep skillet for frying.


For the Syrup:

  • 3 1/2 cups water

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Dough:

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons semolina

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying

  • 1/2 cup ground pistachios, optional

Steps to Make It

Make the Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Turkish dessert tulumba tatlısı recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a saucepan, stir the water and sugar together. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

    Sugar dissolved in water in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Reduce the heat and let the syrup simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and simmer for 1 additional minute. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool off.

    Lemon juice added to the syrup in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Dough

  1. In a large saucepan, add the water, butter, and sugar. Turn on the heat and stir continuously until the butter is melted.

    Water, butter, and sugar in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Stir in the flour using a wooden spoon until loose dough forms. When the dough begins to collect around the spoon, remove the pan from the heat.

    Batter in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Carefully, break 1 egg at a time into the dough and stir each in vigorously with a wooden spoon. Work fast as the heat from the dough can quickly transform the eggs into scrambled eggs.

    Batter in the saucepan, with eggs

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the semolina and cornstarch, combining well.

    Semolina and cornstarch added to the batter in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

    Batter in a pastry bag

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Fry the Dough

  1. Pour about 3 inches of vegetable oil into a deep frying pan and heat to 350 F, checking it with a thermometer.

    Oil in a pan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Once the oil is hot, squeeze out small lines of dough directly into the hot oil. Squeeze the dough and cut with a pair of kitchen scissors into 2-inch long tubes. Use a strainer or spoon to turn the pieces over and around so they brown evenly.

    Two-inch tubes of dough in a pot of oil

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. When the tulumba are evenly browned, remove them from the oil and drain them on paper towels.

    Turkish dessert tulumba tatlısı on a paper towel

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add them to the cool syrup and let them soak it up for a few minutes, draining them with a slotted spoon and placing them on a serving platter. Repeat the frying process until you've used all the dough.

    Turkish dessert tulumba tatlısı in a bowl of syrup

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. When serving, pour some extra syrup over the top. Garnish the tulumba with the optional ground nuts. Keep leftovers refrigerated for up to three days.

    Turkish dessert tulumba tatlısı, garnished with ground nuts

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Enjoy!