Halvas: The Greek semolina dessert

Greek halvas

Right in time for the Greek Easter fast! The Greek halvas brings me very fond  memories. It was the first dessert I made for my husband the first time I invited him for dinner at my house and look how far we’ve come. Thirteen years later, we don’t make halva so very often. Indeed, that bag of semolina had been sitting there for quite some time. But its time came and it came out beautiful. I prefer halva with olive oil rather than butter, I love the cinnamon in it and a darker roast.  I don’t like to add raisins or nuts. Just the simple version.


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 500 grams semolina (one bag)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

How to make: Heat the olive oil. Add the semolina and roast until it becomes very light brown. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon while you’re roasting the semolina and  keep the fire low to avoid burning it.  It’ll take a good amount of stirring.  Combine the sugar with the hot water and when the semolina is roasted, add it all at once. Start stirring again. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or more if you like but don’t overdo it. Too much cinnamon can make it bitter. Keep stirring until the mixture detaches easily from the walls of the pot. Put the halva in a mold and let it cool off. When it’s cool turn it upside down on a serving plate. Ready!

Notes and tips: Despite common wisdom, it is not necessary to dissolve the sugar in the hot water before adding it to the semolina. You can add both to the mix all at once. When you add the hot water, be sure to wear long sleeves and be alert to stay away from the pot. The hot water will make the mixture very hot and bubbly. Watch out!

13 thoughts on “Halvas: The Greek semolina dessert

  1. Welcome mia maria 🙂 I don’t make it often, either. It’s kind of heavy on the calories but once in a while it’s fun to have it. BTW I saw your minced crab balls recipe and my mouth is watering…

  2. Hello Eleni,

    Did you use this recipe for the Greek Easter party? I loved your halva at that party, and I want to make one for a potluck party! The potluck party will take place in a swimming pool tomorrow afternoon. The reason why I chose halva is that there are some vegetarians for the potluck party.

    Many thanks and have a great summer with your family and friends!

    • I’m sorry it took me so long to respond! I am teaching an intensive summer course that’s very demanding on my time. This halvas recipe is different from the one I served at the Easter party but just as good and, indeed, the traditional version. Did you make it? The one I made for the Easter party had orange and coconut. Come back or subscribe to the blog to get an email notification. I will post it soon!

  3. Hi! I made the traditional version of halvas similar to yours. After I read your reply to my post, your suggestion about adding orange and coconut to the halvas recipe sounds wonderful! I will try this new recipe next time!

      • In addition to the above ingredients of your halvas recipe, I added ground clove, the rind of one lemon and walnuts with Vefa Alexiadou’s halvas recipe in mind. I do not like to add raisins. When you are ready to post your halvas recipe for your Greek Easter party, let me know!

  4. I make this all the time from your recipe. It’s exactly like yiayia use to make from Lemnos. I new got the recipe from yiayia but this tastes exactly like hers. So thankful I have found this.

  5. Pingback: Χαλβάς σιμιγδαλένιος με αμύγδαλα και αποξηραμένα φρούτα - Pizza Roma

  6. Pingback: Χαλβάς σιμιγδαλένιος με αμύγδαλα και αποξηραμένα φρούτα | lefkadaonline.gr

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