Baklava in Turkey

Page update - Apr 23, 2023

What is baklava? How and what is it made from in Turkey? What are the best varieties, types and forms of baklava, and how are they called in Turkish? What special varieties are there, and which ones are worth tasting if you are in Turkey? Where and how to buy, what are the prices? Read the answers on this page.

The prices on this page were updated in April 2023. Baklava prices in Turkey are rising even faster than the Turkish lira (currency) is falling. Over the past year and a half, the Turkish lira has fallen by half (from 9.5 to 19.2 lira per dollar). At the same time, baklava has become 2.5 times more expensive on average.

The fact is that the price of baklava is primarily influenced by the price of nuts, pistacio first. Baklava is now (April 2023) cooked only from nuts from the last harvest of summer 2022. The nuts are fresh, which means the baklava is the tastiest but most expensive. All the current prices are below on this page.

What is baklava

Baklava (the name in Turkish is the same "Baklava") is a traditional Turkish sweet pastry. It is made from nuts placed between layers of very thin "yufka" dough (we usually call it "filo" in Greek). Turkish baklava is baked in the oven, and poured by syrup or honey after baking.

Turkish baklava is similar to Turkish börek, which are both made from yufka dough. Some even call baklava a subspecies of börek. However, it is more accurate to say that börek and baklava are siblings.

Baklava is considered by the Turks as one of their three great culinary inventions. The other two are döner kebab and lokum.

How to cook the classic version

Baklava is most often made in the form of a large puff pie. Thin dough is greased with melted butter or vegetable oil. Rectangular pieces of dough are placed on a baking tray, placing grated pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds between layers.

Almonds are used in baklava varieties from the Aegean coast of Turkey. Hazelnuts are used in varieties from the Black Sea coast. Walnuts are in varieties from Central Anatolia. Pistachios are in varieties from Southern Anatolia.

Chestnuts are also used in the varieties from the Marmara Coast and Bursa. The varieties from Thrace and Edirne (European part of Turkey) use sesame seeds.

The filling is not put on every layer. There are many variations: with one layer of filling in the center only, with two layers at the top and bottom, with several thin layers. It all depends on the imagination of the cook.

Before baking, the large baklava cake is cut into pieces, most often diamond-shaped, less often triangular, rectangular or in segments like in the photo nearby, click on the photo to enlarge. If not cut before, it will be impossible to cut the baklava nicely after baking.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180-190°C(350-375°F). Immediately after baking, sprinkle with honey or syrup, which seeps in the dish. Most often orange blossom or rose syrup is used.

In Turkey, it is common to sprinkle baklava with ground nuts on top. Less commonly, it is topped with ice cream, whipped cream or kaymak.

Main forms and types

Baklava varies:

- In form: puff cake, small rolls, envelope pie, sliced large rolls.

- The type of nuts used: pistachio (fıstıklı), walnut (cevizli), hazelnut (fındıklı), almond (badem).

- Type of filling: honey (bal) or syrup (şuruplu).

- By appearance: square (kare), open (açık), carrot-shaped (havuç) and mussel-shaped (midye).

You can also find more than ten interesting and tasty types of baklava, which are very rare even in Turkey. We will talk about these types in detail in the second part of our review.

Where and how to buy and prices of baklava in Turkey

There are 4 options for tourists to buy baklava: in supermarkets, in shops in hotel areas, in local pastry-shops and bakeries, in elite patisseries.

In supermarkets, factory-made baklava usually costs 150-250 Turkish liras per kilo (pistachio variety is 200-300 Liras). Such baklava is considered lower quality. But it has an obvious advantage: it can be stored for up to 6 months. For the current exchange rates of the Turkish lira, see our review "Money in Turkey". Generally, Turks don't much like factory-packed baklava, and so it's not even found in every supermarket.

Hypermarkets and large supermarkets, which have their own bakery, cook baklava on the spot. And it is a great option first of all for its price - 100-120 liras per kilo (pistachio variety is 150-200 liras). The quality and taste depend on the skills of the confectioner in the current shop. Some delicious baklava (NOT pistachio) may cost as little as 100 liras per kilo.

In the shops in the hotel areas, baklava can be of any quality. You can either get the best baklava from a good bakery or the cheapest baklava with almost no nuts. Simply put, it's a lottery. The prices are around 200 liras per kilo (around 300 liras for a pistachio variety).

In bakeries and pastry shops, where baklava is handmade and made by themselves, the quality is high. The baklava is always fresh and tastes great. The prices are 150-250 liras per kilo (from 300 for pistachio variety). The shelf life is only 10-15 days.

The best baklava in Turkey is baked in specialized and elite pastry shops. However, not all resorts have branches of these bakeries. The prices are 250-350 liras per kilo (350-500 per pistachio variety). The shelf life is only 10-15 days, with some types not more than 5 days.

If you want the best baklava, you have to look for an elite pastry shop.

There are four restaurants in Antalya city that offer the famous Gaziantep Ünlüoğlu Baklavaları pastry. You can taste any variety on the spot and then buy the ones you like. How their bakeries look like, see in the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge it.


1. Yeşilbahçe Mah, Metin Kasapoğlu Cd. Narenciye Kavşağı No:181/4

2. Fener Mah, Tekelioğlu Cd. Astur Sitesi A/6 Blok88/C.

3. Atatürk Bulvarı H Koşar Apt. No:224/1 Altınkum

4. Uncalı Mah, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bulvarı Bulut Apt. D:144/9

Mustafa Güloğlu Baklavaları is another good bakery in Antalya at Liman Mahallesi 1.Cadde Atatürk Bulvarı, No:208/B Konyaaltı.

The rest of the Mediterranean resorts (Kemer, Belek, Alanya, Side) do not have any elite pastry shops or their branches. You either have to go to Antalya or buy at local bakeries. However, baklava at the local bakeries is also of high quality. Feel free to taste and take your pick.

The origin of the dish

Baklava in its modern form was invented in Turkey. It most likely didn't appear at any particular time, but rather evolved over several centuries.

In the Ottoman Empire, baklava was considered an elite dish, and its best forms were prepared in the sultan's kitchens of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. And it was there that new types and forms were invented. Since the times of Suleiman the Magnificent, there was a tradition of "Baklava Alayı". On the 15th day of the month of Ramadan, the janissaries paraded and received baklava as a gift from the Sultan.

Nowadays, a reenactment of the ceremony is staged annually in Istanbul for all to see. For photos of the reenactment, please click on the photo below to enlarge it.

But which dish became the prototype of baklava? There are three main versions.

According to the first version, the recipe was brought by Turks from Central Asia. There was a dish In Turkic cuisine called "layered bread", which probably resembled a modern lavash with stuffing or pie made of layers of lavash. Unfortunately, almost no information about the traditional Turkic cuisine has been preserved.

In the second version, baklava originated from the layered Roman and Greek dish "placenta", which was a pie made of layers of dough and cheese and honey filling.

According to a third version, baklava originated from the Persian dish "lauzinaj". This dish consisted of slices of thin dough filled with almonds.

All versions have their proof and we will never know the truth.

The 12 most colorful and interesting varieties

We recommend you taste these 12 varieties, if you happen to come across them in bakeries, pastry shops, restaurants or at the hotel buffet.

Chikolatali Baklava (Çikolatalı Baklava)

Chocolate baklava can be made in different ways. There is a variation of the usual baklava, but with chocolate spread between the layers of dough. There is the variant of dough layers with cocoa added. There are combined versions. In all cases, nuts are present in the filling, just like in a regular variety.

Chocolate is not a traditional ingredient in Turkish cuisine, and the chocolate variety is a 20th century invention of Turkish confectioners.

The chocolate variety is rarely found in bakeries or pastry shops. The price varies from 180 to 300 liras per kilo. It is also extremely rare in hotels. If you see one, be sure to taste it.

Durum Baklava (Dürüm Baklava)

The name translates to "baklava roll", even though it does not look like a common roll at all. Honestly, it doesn't look like a classic baklava either.

Durum Baklava is a piece of sorbet made from nuts and syrup that is wrapped in yufka dough and baked. Quality and price are judged by the number of layers. The pinnacle of pastry art is to use just one layer, and this layer should be almost transparent so that the nuts are visible. The filling is often artificially colored to make it bright green, which looks colorful and a little frightening.

It is a complex dish and not every pastry shop takes the risk of cooking it. The price is 220-500 Turkish liras per kilo. It is very-very rare in hotels.

Sutlu Nuriye (Sütlü Nuriye)

This is classic baklava, but it is poured with milk instead of syrup after baking. It takes on a lovely white color and is less sweet.

Legend has it that it was invented in Turkey after the 1980 coup d'etat. The military seized power at the time and set maximum prices for baklava. Confectioners in Istanbul were forced to work at a loss. They replaced the expensive syrups with milk to reduce the cost of the dish. Thus a new dessert, sutlu nuriye, was born.

Most of the confectionery shops make the sutlu nuriye at the same price as the usual varieties (if made from the same nuts). In hotels, the sutlu nuriye is very rare.

Schiobiyet (Şöbiyet)

It is a cross between a baklava and a cheburek (or kutab). They are small cakes made of yufka dough, filled with grated nuts and a filling made of cream and semolina. After baking, they are soaked in syrup and sprinkled with nuts. They are usually made in a triangular shape.

Schiobiyet is considered a homemade dish and is therefore rarely found in bakeries or pastry shops. If the filling is based on cream, the price is 300-400 liras per kilo. If milk is used, the price goes down to 200-300 liras. Schiobiyet is rarely cooked in the hotels. If you see one, you must try it; it tastes very special.

Sade Baklava

The name translates to "plain" meaning "without nuts". Don't get the idea that there is no filling at all. A filling of cream and semolina is usually placed between some layers of dough. This type of baklava is suitable for those with nut allergies or those who simply don't like nuts.

Sade baklava is very rare in bakeries and pastry shops and is not considered baklava by many Turks. You will find it quite often in All Inclusive hotels as part of the buffet, which is no surprise as it is tasty and not expensive. If you do come across sade baklava in a bakery, you'll be surprised to find that it's no different in price to regular baklava.

Gaziantep Baklava and Antep Baklava

Gaziantep Baklava and Antep Baklava are protected under the laws of Turkey and the European Union and have PGI status. Only baklava made from pistachio from the Gaziantep region in the east of Turkey and made in Gaziantep factories may be called "Antep Baklava" or "Gaziantep Baklava".

About half of all pistachios in Turkey are grown in Gaziantep province. Gaziantep city is called "pistachio capital of Turkey" and "baklava capital of Turkey".

Baklava from Gaziantep is transported all over Turkey, as far as Istanbul (1,150 km or 715 miles). It can only be bought in some shops or tasted in expensive restaurants. There are also dozens of websites where you can order it with delivery. The prices in restaurants start at 350 liras per kilo, with delivery orders starting at 300 liras per kilo.

Djevizli Dolama (Cevizli Dolama)

The name translates to "walnut wrapping". It is the name of several variants of baklava, the most interesting being the classic "nest" shape.

A small nest is made of thin yufka dough, in which a candied walnut is placed. The nests are baked and then soaked in syrup. It has a very colorful appearance but tastes nothing fancy.

The appearance of this dessert scares a lot of people because it resembles an open skull. And indeed it does! There's no dispute with that. See the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge it.

This is probably the reason why djevizli dolama never appears on the buffet in hotels, and why it is so rare in pastry shops. The price is around 350 lira per kilo, a high price due to the rarity and complexity of the dish.

Kuru Baklava

The name translates to "dry". This baklava has more nuts, less syrup, and lemon juice is added to the syrup. Milk, cream or butter are excluded from the recipe. As a result of these tweaks, the shelf life increases to 30 days.

The "dry" recipe is not popular in Turkey. Turks do not feel the need to store baklava for a long time. They prefer to eat it as soon as possible while it is still fresh and tasty.

Objectively, dry baklava tastes inferior to the classic recipe. However, the dry version can be very convenient for tourists, as it is easier to bring home.

The price starts at 300 Turkish liras per kilo. Kuru baklava is rare in bakeries, and almost never in hotels.

A word of caution! Not all kuru baklava in Turkey is kuru baklava (with a long shelf life). There are varieties that are called "kuru" but do not have a long shelf life.

Vishneli Baklava (Vişneli Baklava)

A cherry (sweet or sour) variety. Usually made as an "envelope" or "boat" with a cherry cream filling (sometimes without the cream, only cherry). More popular with housewives is the recipe for a roll with whole cherries inside.

Cherry rolls are said to have a very special flavor because of the sourness given by the cherries and the contrast of the flavors of the cherries in the filling and the lemon in the syrup. Cherry baklava is said to be particularly good with whipped cream or kaymak.

Note: Cherries with pit out are usually used. However, cherries with pit do come in some varieties. You must be careful!

It is very rare to find cherry variety in an All Inclusive hotel. You won't find it very often in pastry shops either. If you see one, don't pass up the chance to taste it.

Yozel Baklava (Özel Baklava)

The name translates to "special", although there's nothing seriously special about it. It's a baklava with a double nut filling, and that's where its special features end. Yozel baklava is usually made with pistachios, with other nuts being very rare.

Yozel baklava should be eaten very carefully as it easily falls apart in two. Almost all baklava has this property, but yozel has it particularly.

As nuts are the most expensive ingredient, the price of yuzel baklava is higher, starting at 350 Turkish liras per kilo. It is very popular and can be found in almost every pastry shop.

In the All Inclusive hotels, yozel baklava is almost unheard of, as it is an expensive dish.

Kestaneli Baklava (Kestaneli Baklava)

The name of any baklava stuffed with chestnut. The classic version of baklava is made in the form of an envelope or a ball, with a candied chestnut in the center.

This type originated in the city of Bursa, from the Marmara region, where many chestnuts are grown. Candied chestnuts ("kestane şekeri") are an important and famous regional product of Bursa. These chestnuts are sold in shops and are highly recommended to taste. They are not firm at all.

As chestnuts are very cheap in Turkey, this variety is also one of the cheapest, starting at around 100 Turkish liras per kilo. However, this sort is rare even in pastry shops, and you won't find it in hotels at all.

Gelin Bohchasi (Gelin Bohçası)

The name translates as 'bride's wrap'. It resembles a wedding dress, only it is typically green in color because it is made from pistachios. The recipe comes from the Kahramanmarash region of eastern Turkey.

It's 6 layers of yufka dough laid with grated pistachios. A mixture of crushed pistachios and cream and semolina is placed in the center. Then wrap up into an envelope and bake.

Since there are a lot of pistachios in gelin bohchasi, the price is higher - starting 200 Turkish liras per kilo. It is considered a rare variety in Turkey and not every pastry shop offers it, so be sure to taste it if you find it. At the hotel buffet, the chances of finding it in a hotel are almost zero.

Tips for tourists

- If you buy baklava in factory packaging, check the date of production first. Get the freshest baklava, preferably no older than 7-10 days;

- If you go to a bakery not in resort areas, take Turkish liras, as dollars are unlikely to be accepted. Read our in-depth review "How to exchange currency in Turkey";

- In elite bakeries, baklava can be packaged in beautiful gift cardboard or metal boxes. Usually there are samples of gift packages on display. If you don't see them, don't hesitate to ask the staff;

- If you want to order a gift set, pastry shops will specially prepare fresh baklava, so that all the pieces in the set are the same color and size. In this case, however, you will have to wait a little longer;

- Turkish confectioners have developed gluten-free varieties and even a type of baklava for diabetics. But it is almost impossible to find them, unless you order them online from Karaköy Güllüoğlu;

- If you choose to bring baklava from Turkey, there are no problems at customs. Turkish customs officers do not pay any attention to the food, although there are legal restrictions for tourists;

- Read our pages about other oriental sweets in Turkey, "Halva in Turkey" and "Lukum in Turkey".

Have pleasant tasting Turkish desserts, and read our interesting pages about Turkey (find the pages list below). © 2020-2024