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birds nests on a plate
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5 from 3 votes

Bird Nest Baklava (Osh El Bulbul)

Delicious Middle Eastern Baklava in the shape of bird nests.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 24 pieces
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner



  • cup sugar
  • cup honey
  • ¾ cup water
  • 6 cardamom pods (optional)
  • 3 slices citrus (dehydrated or fresh)
  • 2 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice

Baklava Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ lb Kataifi
  • ¾ cup pistachios
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom powder (optional)


Prepare the Syrup

  • Add sugar, honey, water, cardamom pods, and citrus slices to a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the syrup thickens. Add orange blossom water and lemon juice and set aside until needed.

Clarify Butter

  • Place butter in a measuring cup, cover it with a napkin, and secure it with a rubber band. Microwave the butter for 30 seconds then allow the water and milk solids to settle to the bottom of the measuring cup.

Form Bird Nests

  • Preheat the oven to 300° F and butter the pan.
  • Use kitchen scissors to cut 8" long strands of Kataifi dough and wrap the strand tightly along your finger to form a nest. Tuck the extra strands into the center, if possible, and gently transfer the bird's nests to the pan.
  • Brush melted butter over each nest then fill each nest with 3 to 4 pistachios. Spoon approximately 1 teaspoon of butter over each nest.

Baking Instructions

  • Cover the tray with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes on the middle rack. When the time is up, remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the birds' nests are golden brown.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and immediately pour the cooled and strained syrup over the hot bird's nests. Give them a few minutes to soak up the syrup before plating them.



  • Defrost Katiafi dough in the fridge overnight, if frozen, or defrost frozen phyllo dough on the counter for an hour or so. However, the preferred method is defrosting it in the fridge.
  •  Although you can clarify the butter on the stove, I've found it's much easier clarifying it in the microwave. Be careful not to dip into the bottom of the cup where the water and milk solids have settled.
  • I found that the pistachios stayed in the nests better when you insert them into the nests with the pointy end down.
  • A mini-muffin pan is not absolutely necessary. You can also pack the nests tightly into a buttered baking dish or pan.
  • Adding cooled syrup over hot baklava allows the syrup to get absorbed into the baklava instead of pooling on the bottom of the pan.
  • Although I stopped at 24 nests, you will most likely have leftover ingredients and may be able to make more nests than the recipe states. 
  • If you have leftover pistachios, you can grind them finely and stir some cardamom and cinnamon into them then sprinkle them on top of the birds' nests.
  • Store the bird's nests on the counter, either uncovered or covered with a thin kitchen towel. If you store them in a covered container their texture will get soft and even soggy. 


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g