Turkish Delight

I love Turkish Delight - I love picking up a piece, shaking off the excess icing sugar, popping it into my mouth and savouring the rose flavour and slight chewiness. Delicious!!! I do prefer Turkish Delight made with starch but will happily eat the delicious treat when it's made with gelatine.

A week or so ago I really felt like some Turkish Delight and was going to make some but couldn't find my recipe (originally my Mother's). I decided to search the web for a suitable recipe as Mum is 91, has some memory problems, and is unlikely to remember where her recipe is.

There were heaps of recipes to choose from - I picked 7. The common ingredients were sugar, maize starch, cream of tartar, water and rose water. As the amounts of these ingredients varied in all the recipes I thought it best to try one of the recipes and then eat the Turkish Delight I'd made. After that attempt I decided that particular recipe wasn't what I was after - it was hard to get the lumps out of the starch during the cooking process and the delight wasn't chewy (and I remember my Mother's Turkish Delight being more translucent).

I went back to the drawing board to try and find a more authentic version - I found one :), unfortunately the amounts of the ingredients weren't included :(. 

One thing I learnt from the different recipes (& trialling them). 

The amounts of the ingredients in most recipes can be viewed as a guide only.

So...what is really important?

The chewiness in the Turkish Delight is all about cooking the starch for long enough with enough water. 

Enough = the length of a piece of string.

 The recipe below will make sufficient Turkish Delight to fill a slice tray. It will take approximately 1.5 - 2 hours to make (it really is worth it). 



1 kg Sugar

25 g Lemon juice

100 g Glucose syrup (or honey)

500 g Hot water


150 g Maize starch

1 tsp Cream of tartar

750 g Water


Food colouring 

Rose water or other flavouring


Extra Maize starch & icing sugar (equal quantities) for coating the pieces


Glucose syrup or honey - although glucose syrup is not normally in Turkish Delight my Mother's recipe had honey in it & I had run out of honey. Adding honey would make the Turkish Delight slightly sweeter. 

Water - the amount of water added to the recipes I viewed on the web varied a humongous amount. Most of them used less water than I have. For me less water meant more lumps and the delight not being as chewy. 


Combine the sugar, lemon juice, glucose syrup or honey and water in a heavy based saucepan. 

Gently heat the mix until all sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat, rapidly boiling the mix for approximately 15 - 20 min. The actual time will depend on your heat source. I check the temperature of the sugar syrup/mix and aim for 112 C. 

Turn the heat off under the sugar syrup.

Mix together the maize starch, cream of tartar and water in a non-stick medium sized heavy based sauce pan (the non-stick pan makes the Turkish Delight so much easier to make). 

Heat the starch & water mix. Stir it continuously to avoid getting lumps. It will thicken considerably and you'll need to stir it vigorously. 

Lower the heat. 

Pour some of the sugar syrup onto the thickened starch. Stir to combine - it might need to be vigorous stirring. 

Add more of the sugar syrup to the thickened starch, stirring to combine. When the mixture is smooth repeat the process of adding sugar syrup and stirring. Repeat until there is no more sugar syrup.

Turn the heat to medium and bring the sugar/starch mix to a boil.

Turn the heat down so that the sugar/starch is slowly boiling. Stir every now & then (maybe every 2 min) to stop the mixture from catching on the bottom of the pan.

Cook the sugar/starch for approximately 30 min (maybe 40 min).

Line a slice tray with baking paper. Lightly oil the baking paper. 

The colour of the mix will slowly change from opaque to translucent. The following photos show the change in appearance of the mix over an hour. 

Have a glass of iced water close to the saucepan. At approximately 30 min take a teaspoon full of the mix and put it in the water. Let it sit in the water for a couple of minutes. Bring the spoon out and test/taste the mixture. You will probably need to test the mix approximately 5 times.

  • Keep cooking if the mixture runs off the spoon before you bring it out of the glass.
  • Keep cooking if the mixture is really soft & not chewy at all.
  • Keep cooking if the mixture is slightly chewy. As you will need to add rose water & optional colouring, the mix needs to be quite chewy.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat if the mixture is really chewy. You need to add rose water & colouring.

Add approximately 1 tbs of rose water and stir the mixture. Cool a teaspoon of the mix in water before trying it. Add more rose water if necessary.

Add in approximately 1/4 teaspoon of red colouring (cochineal). 

Is the mixture still chewy? If not bring the mix to the boil again for 3 - 5 min. 




Pour the mix into the lined & oiled slice tray. Allow it to set for a couple of hours - preferably overnight (I usually can't wait that long). 


Mix the maize starch and icing sugar together. 

Sprinkle the icing mixture onto a cutting board. 

Use the baking paper to lift the Turkish Delight out of the slice tin. 

Flip the Turkish Delight onto the cutting board.

Use a sharp knife to cut the Turkish Delight into strips. 

Roll the strips in the icing mixture before cutting them into smaller pieces. Liberally coat all sides with icing mixture. 

Store the Turkish Delight in a container with heaps of the icing mixture. 

The Turkish Delight is best consumed within 2 weeks of making it. I find its chewiness decreases the longer it is left. If you live in a humid climate I'd probably coat the Turkish Delight with chocolate. 

Simply enjoy!