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Lokma Recipe- Make A Delicious Turkish Sweet At Home in 90 Minutes

Lokma Recipe- Make A Delicious Turkish Sweet At Home in 90 Minutes

Doughnuts come in different shapes and sizes all around the world and one of the most popular doughnut-like variations in Turkey and the middle east is lokma. In this post, we’ll share the traditional lokma recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this Arabic-Turkish dessert, including its origins, history, variations, and much more.

But first things first…

What Is Lokma?

by Benreis CC by 3.0

Lokma is basically a deep-fried sweet dough dipped in sherbet (liquid sugar syrup). It’s a popular street food snack that’s usually eaten as a dessert or as a snack alongside a cup of Turkish coffee. In addition to sherbet, you can also top your lokma with chocolate sauce, cinnamon, or honey, as well as sesame or grated walnuts/pistachios. Lokma is typically fried in batches and served on special occasions.

Origins & History

lokma recipe
by elif ayse CC by SA 2.0

Many people think that the lokma is a Turkish dessert but actually the origins of lokma can be traced to the Arabian Peninsula. The dessert was first mentioned in a 13th-century Arabic cookbook but after the Ottomans conquered Arabia, they popularized the lokma recipe in other parts of their empire like Asia Minor and the Balkans.

The name lokma derives from the Arabic word lugma, meaning mouthful, bite, or morsel. In the Middle Ages, Arabs often referred to this dessert as “lugmat al-Gadi” (judge’s morsels). The Turkish name (lokma) and the Greek name (loukoumades) derive from the dessert’s original Arabic name. A couple of other facts that support this theory are the mentions of lugmat al-Gadi in medieval Arabic literature, more specifically in the collection of Arabic folklore tales One Thousand and One Nights, as well as the diary of Medieval explorer and scholar Ibn Battuta, who discovered a similar dessert during his travels in medieval India, known as “al-Hashimi”.

Since medieval times, lokma has always been prepared in large batches and served to large groups of people at special occasions, such as weddings, circumcision ceremonies, moving in parties, and even funerals. In more recent times, lokma has developed a reputation as a summer treat and you can often find street vendors selling lokma at the beaches across the Eastern Mediterranean.


lokma variations
by Scott Dexter CC by SA 2.0

From the Arabic Peninsula, the lokma recipe made its way to Ottoman palaces, the Caucasus, and even the Balkans. And as it was becoming more and more popular, a handful of regional variations of lokma started appearing. That’s why today, we can distinguish between an Arabic luqaymat, a Turkish lokma, and Greek loukoumades.

The Arabic lokma recipe is the closest to the original authentic recipe. The size of the doughnut is usually about the size of a golf ball, it’s prepared in a large frying pan, and is usually served for religious holidays, like Ramadan. Depending on the region, you can also find this sweet under other names, like awameh (عوامة) or zalabya (زلابيا).

Greek loukoumades are usually made by Greek Jews who traditionally prepare loukoumades for Hanukkah. The recipe was likely brought to today’s territory of Greece by Pontic Greeks who migrated from Anatolia around the Lausanne Conference.

Lastly, we have Turkish lokma which is probably the most popular variation of the three. The standard Turkish lokma is not very different than the Greek and Arabic variations; it’s made with flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, deep-fried, and covered in sweet syrup. However, throughout the years, Turkish people have come up with different variations of this delicious dessert.

For example, the lokma in Izmir (Izmir lokmasi) is made with a hole in the middle, in Ankara, there’s a dessert that’s very similar to lokma and locals call it bırtlak, while in many parts of Turkey, a different spherical lokma known as Palace lokma (Saray lokmasi) is also very popular. Lastly, there’s even a lokma mixed with cheese known as peynir lokmasi that’s very popular in the Aegean region.

Preparation Tips

making lokma
  • The dough mentioned in this lokma recipe is very light but if you would like your lokma to be firmer and crunchier, don’t use any eggs, and use roughly 90-100 ml of milk less.
  • Your lokmas can still be crunchy with this recipe too, though. All you have to do I double-fry your cookies at a slightly lower than deep-fry temperature or just by frying the cookies a couple of minutes longer.
  • The secret to making the perfect lokma is to continuously pour hot oil (using a spoon or other utensils) over the dough ball until it puffs up. This way, your dough balls will be crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside which is exactly how a perfect lokma should be.
  • For a rich color, you can add a little bit of Safflower (Turkish saffron) to the milk when heating up the yeast.
  • To create the lokma balls, grab a spoon in your dominant hand, dip it into oil and let the excess fall off. With your other hand grab some dough and close your hand around it, creating a fist shape. This way, you can squeeze the dough out through the hole between your index finger and your thumb and cut the dough away before dropping it into the hot oil.
  • Don’t add too many cookies inside the frying pan. There should be a little bit of space in between to allow the lokmas to move and cook well.
  • The longer you keep your lokmas in the syrup, the sweeter and softer they will be. Obviously, this is a personal preference; if you want your lokmas to be softer, keep them in the syrup longer, if you want them to be crunchier, don’t let them stay in the syrup or use less syrup.


serving lokma
by Wikiemirati CC by SA 4.0

Before serving, lokma is bathed in sweet syrup. Some people also like to add some cinnamon, cardamom, or powdered sugar but this is a matter of preference. Even though primarily dessert, lokma is a very versatile sweet- you can find it being sold among street food vendors on the streets of Turkey or even on the beaches. Many people also like to eat lokma alongside a cup of tea or Turkish coffee.

Are you a fan of Turkish desserts? Then you may also enjoy some of our other recipes, such as:

Muhallebi recipe

Tulumba recipe

Sekerpare recipe

Pismaniye recipe

Keskul recipe

Kabak tatlisi recipe

Kadaif recipe

Asure recipe

A Few Things You May Need

Yield: 20 Cookies

Lokma Recipe


In this post, we’ll share the traditional lokma recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this Arabic-Turkish dessert, including its origins, history, variations, and much more.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes



  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 cup Water, Warm
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil, (for frying)


  • 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • ¼ cup warm Water


  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups Water
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Rose Water
  • A few Saffron Threads


    1. Start with the syrup- mix some sugar and water in a pot and bring it to a boil.

    2. After 15 minutes of boiling, add some lemon juice, rose water, and a couple of saffron threads (optional) and boil for 10 more minutes.

    3. Remove the syrup from heat, keep it aside, and let it cool down.

    4. Prepare the yeast mixture by using the ingredients specified above.

    5. Pour the flour and cornstarch into a mixing bowl and mix well.

    6. Make a hole in the middle, add the yeast mixture, egg, salt, and sugar, and mix by continuously adding lukewarm water. In the end, you should get a batter-like substance, a little thicker than regular cake batter.

    7. Cover the batter and wait for 40-45 minutes until it doubles in size.

    8. Heat a large volume of oil in a deep frying pan.

    9. Take a little piece of dough and squeeze in a way in which you’ll see a small amount of dough between your forefinger and thumb. form a ball, and add it to the cooking oil.

    10. Use a teaspoon dipped in oil (cold oil, not the cooking oil) and use it to drop the dough ball into the cooking oil.

    11. Fry the dough balls for 3-4 minutes while continuously stirring and pouring more oil on top of the dough ball using a tablespoon. In the end, the lokma should be golden-brown.

    12. Repeat the process as many times as necessary. If you can handle it, you can also fry at least 5-6 lokmas at the same time but not more because your pan might get too crowded.

    13. Soak the lokmas into the cold syrup one by one. Keep the lokma inside the syrup for at least 2-3 minutes before removing it. Optionally, you can also use honey, cinnamon, cardamom, or powdered sugar as toppings.

    14. Serve alongside a cup of tea or Turkish coffee and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 Sweet

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 10.5gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 6.3mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 22gNet Carbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 15gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 1.5g

Did you ever try lokma? How did you like our lokma recipe? If you tried to make it at home, don’t forget to leave us a rating and if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.

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