Lokum is a wonderfully sweet holiday candy that’s slightly chewy, like gumdrops. Make this classic Turkish delight recipe easily at home!
Making homemade candies, cookies, and other homemade treats is a great way to bring joy to others, especially during the holiday season.
It doesn't need to be elaborate or expensive to make, either. A simple treat to let someone know that you're thinking of them can bring a smile to their face.
Instead of ordering gifts online this year, consider making and giving homemade treats instead!
Fill a tray or basket with beautiful, classic holiday treats like maamoul (date-filled semolina cookies) or Greek honey cookies. For something delicious but a little bit more elaborate, make mini mung bean cakes.
Sometimes the simplest sweet treats are the best, like orange sesame snaps. Not only are they tasty, they're literally a snap to make. Be sure to also use my recipe to make a batch of Turkish delight candy, also known as lokum.
Cuisine: Middle Eastern / Turkish
Turkish delight reminds me a lot of gum drops; the candies are soft and slightly chewy.
To prevent pieces of the confection from sticking together, they're dusted in powdered sugar and cornstarch or sometimes finely crushed nuts.
Loukoumi is the Greek name for Turkish delight, and it's called rahat in Bosnia and Romania. In Brazil, it's delica Turca.
Turkish delight, lokum, lokoum, lokoumi, delica turca, rahat
Difficulty: Medium 🥄🥄
The most traditional flavor for a Turkish delight recipe is rosewater. Mine is flavored with pomegranate juice and orange water, and I also used crushed pistachios.
You can add any flavor extract or fruit juice that you'd like. If the extract doesn't have color, you can also add food coloring.
Video: Making the Turkish delight recipe
Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post to see how the lokum recipe comes together.
Lokum recipe instructions and tips
This is just a summary of the steps involved, with helpful tips for you. Full instructions are in the recipe card below.
There are quite a few steps involved in making this recipe.
The steps aren't terribly difficult, but making the Turkish delight recipe does involve cooking hot sugar syrup, So, its best if you aren't distracted.
- Cook the sugar syrup.
Making sugar confections like caramel sauce, toffee and taffy requires cooking sugar to a precise temperature. In the case of lokum, the sugar syrup is cooked to the soft ball stage of 240° Fahrenheit (116° Celsius).
There really isn't a safe way to gauge the temperature of cooked sugar without risk of burning yourself. Using an instant read candy thermometer is crucial.
- Combine pomegranate juice and cornstarch mixture.
Be sure to whisk the cornstarch thoroughly. If there are any clumps of cornstarch that aren't combined, they'll become rock hard later.
- Whisk the syrup into the cornstarch mixture.
Stir often, this mixture cooks on low for 45 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a heatproof dish and chill until the candy sets.
Keep in mind that the cooked lokum is VERY hot, and it will remain that way for quite some time.
Be sure that the dish you use is heatproof so that it doesn't crack.
Coating and cutting the candy
- Dust your work surface with a combination of cornstarch and powdered sugar. If you don't, your candies will stick.
- Flip the Turkish delight over and remove the parchment paper.
- Cover the bottom with powdered sugar mixture. You don't need a lot; just enough to ensure that the pieces don't stick together. I like to leave some of the lokum showing through.
- Slice into strips and cut into squares.
This lokum recipe makes candies that are quite sweet. You may want to cut tiny squares.
Turkish Delight Recipe Tips
- Stir well to dissolve the cornstarch.
Be sure to whisk and stir the lokum mixture well, because if there are any lumps of cornstarch, they'll become rock hard after the mixture sets up.
- Optional coatings
To prevent pieces from sticking together, traditional Turkish delight is coated in a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and powdered sugar.
If desired, you could use finely crushed pistachios or any nut of your choice instead. To give the dessert an extra sweet kick, you could use colored sugar crystals. Or, add a drop of food coloring to the cornstarch mixture to match the flavor.
- Storing lokum
Store the candies in an airtight container. To prevent the powdered sugar from dissolving, keep the container at room temperature. They'll stay fresh for up to 4 weeks.
If you need to chill the candy, you can. Just know that the lokum will have a much firmer, almost hard, consistency at first. As it comes to room temperature, it will soften.
Lokum Recipe FAQ
The origin of this Middle Eastern confection is debatable. In Tim Richardson's book, Sweets: A History of Candy, he states that lokum was "invented by Arab apothecaries some time around the ninth century."
Others allege that lokum was invented in the 18th century, by confectioners at the Ottoman palace.
The flavor of the candy varies depending on the flavorings used. The traditional Turkish delight flavor is floral, from rosewater. Other popular flavors include lemon, orange, pomegranate, and honey.
The consistency of lokum is soft and chewy, similar to gumdrops.
Lokum Recipe (Turkish Delight) +Video
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon orange water optional (or rose water)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup pistachios roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoon powdered sugar (See Note 1)
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- Coat the inside of a 8x8" pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a square of parchment paper. Set aside.
- Dissolve the sugar, water and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and continue cooking until syrup reaches the Soft Ball stage with a temperature of 240°F (about 15 minutes).
- In another saucepan or Dutch oven, whisk together the base ingredients of pomegranate juice, water, cornstarch, orange or rose water and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, whisking often, until thickened.
- Carefully whisk in the syrup in half cup increments, making sure there are no lumps until all is incorporated. Continue to cook on low for 45 minutes, stirring often. This will reduce and thicken considerably.
- Stir in ¼ cup pistachios. Carefully pour the Turkish Delight confection into pan, spreading to edges. Let rest at room temperature 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- In a medium bowl mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Use a rubber spatula and run it around the inside edges of pan to loosen. Turn the pan over onto a cutting area sprinkled with some of the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Remove the parchment paper and discard. Cut into 36 squares (I use a pizza cutter or sharp knife).
- Sprinkle the exposed cut Turkish Delight with some of the powdered mixture. Scoop it all into the bowl, and gently with your hands, toss to coat evenly. Store the coated Turkish Delight in an airtight container, and keep at room temperature for up to 4 weeks.
- To prevent pieces from sticking together, Turkish delight is coated in a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and powdered sugar. If desired, you could use finely crushed pistachios instead.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.