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muhellebi (milk pudding ) decorated with pistachios
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5 from 2 votes

Muhallebi (Mahalabia) Middle Eastern Pudding

Mahlabia is a Middle Eastern pudding recipe that's sweet, creamy, and easy to prepare!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 382kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • cup shelled pistachios (or less, see note)
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater


  • Whisk cornstarch into cold milk until smooth. Add sugar and cardamom powder and whisk to combine.
  • Simmer the milk over medium heat, while whisking. When the mixture gets too thick to whisk, stir with a spoon or spatula.
  • The pudding will begin to boil and pop. The whole process should take 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the stove and stir in the rose water and half of the toasted pistachios, if desired (see tip in notes).
  • Pour the milk pudding into decorative ice cream cups or dessert bowls (affiliate link). Refrigerate for a few hours until set.

Serving Suggestions

  • Just before serving, decorate the Mahlabia with pistachios, edible dried roses, or dust lightly with cinnamon. Enjoy!



  • Keep in mind if you stir some of the nuts into the pudding, their texture will change and they will become soft. If you prefer to keep them crunchy, don't mix any into the pudding and you'll only need half the amount.
  • Toast the pistachios in a pan for a few minutes to bring out their flavor.
  • Mahalabia can be altered to fit any taste! If you don't have rose water, you can use vanilla extract, almond extract, or even lemon extract.
  • The thickening agent can also be substituted. Although cornstarch gives you a silky-smooth texture, you can substitute cornflour instead, if you don't mind a slightly grainier texture.
  • Although you can eat Mahalabia while warm, the preferred way to enjoy it is chilled.
  • If preparing ahead of time, do not add the nuts on top. Wait just before serving so they can retain their crunch.
  • Store in the refrigerator and cover with plastic wrap or foil to keep the milk pudding from absorbing other flavors in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 136mg | Potassium: 583mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 324mg | Iron: 1mg