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Best Basbousa Without Syrup Recipe

Basbousa is an Arabian dessert, and it means “just one kiss” in the Arabic language. Basbousa has a cake-like texture but denser and richer. Usually, it is soaked in simple syrup and has a lot of butter, but today’s recipe is super quick to prepare and there is no soaking in syrup is involved, that’s less sugar for you, and no butter! Enjoy the flavor of coconut and the fine crumbs by using fine semolina and baking powder. This Basbousa recipe is the best I ever made. Please watch the video tutorial in the recipe card.

Basbousa served on a white plate.

Basbousa Ingredients?

Shredded coconut: You can use sweetened and unsweetened shredded coconut. In case you decided on using unsweetened coconut, then add one and a half to two extra tablespoons of sugar to the recipe.

Semolina: I have used fine semolina, however in most Egyptian Basbousa recipes, coarse semolina is used instead.

Sugar: Use white sugar in the recipe or raw sugar but don’t use brown sugar since it might change the texture of the basbousa, making it sticky and chewy.

Milk: Adding milk to the basbousa recipe makes it lighter and moist, but you can make it using heavy cream, evaporated milk, or coconut milk.


Milk powder.


Baking powder and vanilla.

Almonds: We will use whole almonds (with or without the skin) to garnish the basbousa. Feel free to use another nut or even leave it out.

Ingredients to make Arabian basbousa.
An image of basbousa ingredients displayed on a table.

How to make Basbousa?

In a few minutes, you will make the best basbousa with coconut and with no butter. A light and delicious version made with simple ingredients.

  • In a bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Beat the ingredients until well combined.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, semolina, oil, milk, milk powder, baking powder, and coconut to the previous batter and mix well.
  • Use butter or oil to grease a nine-inch baking pan and then dust with flour.
  • Pour the mixture in the baking pan and garnish with almonds.
  • Bake the basbousa in a preheated oven 350F/180C. Bake for 25 minutes or until it is golden in color.

If you love desserts that have coconut, then you must try my coconut cake with frosting, or my impossible coconut pie.

Slice of basbousa showing how tender it is from the inside.

How to store basbousa?

You can place the basbousa after slicing it in an airtight container, and it will stay fresh for two days in a cool place. If your kitchen is hot, then it’s best to freeze it.

To freeze the basbousa, cut it and wrap each piece with a plastic wrap. Place the wrapped pieces in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. The basbousa will stay fresh for up to one month. Don’t forget to write the date on the Ziploc bag before freezing.

To thaw, place the wrapped and frozen basbousa on the countertop and let it thaw, might take up to two hours depending how hot or cool your kitchen.

Showing freshly baked basbousa.

What’s the difference between coarse and fine semolina?

You can use both coarse and fine semolina in cooking Basbousa too; the difference is the texture of the basbousa and the time of cooking. The coarse semolina usually takes a longer time to cook because the moisture you add to the batter takes time to penetrate the coarse semolina. The texture is grainy and wet sand-like, almost like wet beach sand, if you use coarse semolina.

Some prefer the fine semolina others go gaga after the texture of the coarse one. But, it’s best to follow the type of semolina mentioned in the recipe you are about to make, so the result doesn’t change.

Tips to make the best Basbousa.

  1. Follow the recipe to the T.
  2. If you like the texture of the coarse semolina and want to use it in this recipe, then you will need to add an extra two tablespoon sugar to the batter. The cooking time might differ, keep an eye on it while baking.
  3. If your oven heats quickly and the cakes you bake have dark brown sides and bottom, then lower the oven temperature to 325F/165C instead of 350F/180C.
  4. You can use coconut milk instead of whole milk, but don’t use coconut water.
  5. Make sure the almonds or the nuts you decide to garnish with is not rancid.
Basbousa batter in a baking pan ready to get baked.

What to serve with Basbousa?

Arabs serve Basbousa with black coffee. You can also serve it with a chilled glass of milk. Basbousa is a rich Arabian dessert that mostly enjoyed at festivals and special occasions, and usually, there are other desserts served with it on such occasions hence it is normal to see smaller pieces of basbousa served at weddings, at Eid, and after Iftar in Ramadan.

Basbousa, an Arabian dessert made of semolina and coconut. This version of basbousa need no syrup and is lighter than the original recipe since it has no butter and the amount of oil used is less. #basbousa #arabicdessert

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  1. It looks so beautiful and less sugar is always good 🙂 Happy New Year, Muna.

  2. It seems easy to make, I love that you reduced the sugar by removing the syrup and it looks yummy.