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Is Turkish Delight Vegan? A Guide To Turkish Delight!

Posted by Aaron Seminoff on

If you've never tried this sweet and colorful gel treat, it's about time you did. Not only boasting a great name for a delicious dessert, Turkish Delights have the added prestige of being the original inspiration for the jelly bean. While it's true that they're delicious, however, is Turkish Delight vegan? The good news is that there are just a few things to watch out for if you want to be sure that it's a cruelty-free treat.

What's in Turkish Delight?

A dessert dating back hundreds of years, Turkish Delight has many different recipes that change across time and cultures. However, there are some core ingredients that never change. In the end, it's a scrumptious balance of chewy and soft, sweet and fragrant. Here is a list of the ingredients typically found in a Turkish Delight:

Turkish Delight Ingredients:

  • sugar
  • water
  • corn flour
  • cream of tartar
  • rosewater (or similar aromatic extract)
  • food coloring
  • icing sugar for dusting

The original recipe for a Turkish Delight is historically vegan. However, the recipe does get altered sometimes. Although most Turkish Delights today are still vegan, more commercial brands will occasionally use gelatin (an animal product) as a kind of shortcut in the cooking process. However, this is pretty rare and a quick glance at the ingredients can help you determine whether it's vegan or not.

Some bakers will also use a milk mixture that you have to watch out for. An inquiry into whether they use honey to sweeten the treat is also important if you want your delight to be truly vegan. However, the best Turkish Delight is made right in your kitchen where it is guaranteed to be vegan!

How to Make Your Own Vegan Turkish Delight

How to make vegan turkish delight

There are so many great ways to make a vegan Turkish Delight, it's almost impossible to narrow it down to just one recipe. Luckily, it's a versatile dessert that can always be easily customized for your own unique taste. Be prepared to spend many hours making this recipe. Even though it is a laborious process, the dessert definitely pays off in the end.

For some helpful tips on how to go about making a truly delightful Turkish Delight, check out this video:

There are some ingredients in the video that are different, but the overall process is the exact same. The woman cooking in the video uses her Turkish father's original recipe with some fun twists.

What You Will Need

  • large pot (heavy base)
  • medium saucepan
  • wooden spoon
  • 8 inch square tin (or similar measurements)
  • plastic cling wrap
  • cookie sheet (any large size)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • A few drops red food coloring
  • 1 cup icing sugar for dusting


Before you begin, it's important to prepare your tin ahead of time. Spray the tin with some cooking oil, then line it with 2 sheets of plastic cling wrap. Press it into the pan. Spray the tin one more time. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of water, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and sugar, stirring occasionally. Once boiled, reduce heat to low and continue stirring every few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, blend together the remaining 2 cups of water, 1 cup of corn flour, and a teaspoon of cream of tartar. An immersion blender works really well for this. Blend until you leave a trail in the mix, then take it off the stove.

fig jam with vegan turkish delight

Add the sugar syrup to the corn flour mixture. This process can be a bit tricky. It can be helpful to have another set of hands pour the syrup into the pot as you mix the ingredients together. For best results, add syrup in small amounts while stirring quickly. Do NOT use the blender to combine them. A wooden spoon is best. Once syrup is added, beat the mixture for at least ten more minutes. The texture should be thick but fluid.

Put the mixture back on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Be sure to stir it every five minutes. Yes, it's laborious but so worth it! Put on some music or your favorite Netflix show to help pass the time. Over time, the mixture should begin to bubble and darken in color.

After an hour, remove the pot from heat and add rosewater (or whatever aromatic extract you like). Stir thoroughly, then add a drop of food coloring. You can technically use any color you wish, but red is the traditional color. Don't add too much or else it will be too dark! Stir well.

Vegan food coloring for dairy free turkish delight recipe

Pour mixture into the prepared tin. Leave out to cool and set over the next few hours or overnight.

While the Mixture is Setting...

Meanwhile, grab a cookie sheet and your icing sugar. Cover the pan in a layer of it. Once it is cooled, transfer it to your sheet by simply lifting it out of the tin. Give the pan some shakes to make the icing sugar stick. Carefully turn the Delight over to cover the other side and shake again. For a sweeter treat, leave it in the icing sugar mixture for longer so it can absorb the flavors. Lift out and cut into shapes (typically square pieces).

Congratulations! Your Turkish Delight is finally ready to enjoy. Pair it with a cup of hot tea or perhaps a cup of vegan-friendly hot cocoa for a truly divine, melt-in-your-mouth experience!

Let us know how your Turkish Delight attempt goes in the comments below! We want to hear what you did to pass the time while stirring. Feel free to share any alterations or additions you made to the recipe as well.


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