Kinafa is a traditional Lebanese sweet that's popular for breakfast, mainly on Sundays. Usually the whole family gathers to enjoy this warm dish as lazy and rich breakfast.






Skill level

Average: 2.7 (60 votes)


  • 3 cups (660 g) caster sugar
  • 1½ cups (375 ml) water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp rosewater, plus 1 tbsp extra
  • 1 cup (160 g) coarse semolina
  • 4 cups (1 litre) full-cream milk
  • 300 ml single cream
  • 50 g unsalted butter, plus 1 tsp extra for greasing tray
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Cooling time 30 minutes

To make the sugar syrup, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce the syrup for around 7 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add lemon juice, orange blossom water and 1 tsp rosewater. Set aside to cool, then chill until cold.

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Combine semolina, milk, cream, butter and 1 tbsp rosewater in a large saucepan. Place over high heat, bring to the boil, all the while stirring. Lower the heat and continue stirring for 5 minutes, or until smooth and firm.

Spread the extra butter on the bottom of the baking tray (about 20 cm x 30 cm), then scatter with half the breadcrumbs. Scatter with mozzarella and pour the cooked semolina mixture on top. Gently smooth the surface and cover with remaining breadcrumbs.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm and pour the sugar syrup on each piece individually as desired.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.