Best Syrian Cookbooks

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Key Takeaways

Syrian cuisine presents an evolution of food spanning centuries of influences and change that have imbued Levantine recipes and culinary practices from the region with boldness and depth of flavor that few other Middle Eastern styles can match. Syria is a region both rich in history and equally rife with strife. Yet, despite persecution, attempted genocide, civil war, and ceaseless militant activity, Syria’s cuisine and culture persist as a proud beacon manifesting through dishes that are a testament to the resilience and innovative spirit of its denizens and Arab diaspora. We have curated a collection of the very best Syrian cookbooks in print, ensuring that there are ample options for all tastes and types of cooks. Whether you’re in the mood for a bite of parsley-laden Tabbouleh salad, iconic Kibbeh combining spiced ground meat and bulgur wheat into a stuffed delight, or walnut and red bell pepper dip Muhammara on just about anything from Manoushi bread and pita to grilled meats, pasta, and vegetables, there’s no better source of guidance than these upcoming best-sellers. 

The Top 12 Best Syrian Cookbooks

As you explore our top 12 best Syrian cookbooks, you’ll find recipes that harbor the essence of sun-kissed Levantine landscapes, guiding you gently, yet assuredly, through a symposium of authentic Syrian gastronomy that leaves no aspect of regional cookery untouched. 

Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews by Poopa Dweck & Michael J. Cohen

  • Total Pages: 400
  • Total Recipes: 150 
  • Recipes Preview: Tamarind-Stewed Meatballs, Okra In Tomato Sauce With Meat, Eras bi’Ajweh (Date-Filled Crescents)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Lemony Allspice-Cumin Potato Salad
  • Affordability: Low

As the Aleppian Jewish community made its way from the ancient city of Aleppo to New York and various Latin American cities in the early 20th century, it carried with it a treasure trove of culinary traditions and a vibrant cultural heritage that are superbly showcased by Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews. It’s the perfect book for those of Syrian, Jewish, or Sephardic heritage who are looking for a true taste of home. Complete authenticity is exhibited throughout all recipes, and there’s brief history and cultural context provided for every last one. 

The quality of publishing matches the come-back-for-more flavor of the recipes. It’s dishes that exemplify Syrian cooking, and as such, many of the gourmet offerings will call for a visit to or order from a specialty store. Instructions and ingredient composition from an author largely considered to be a master of all Middle Eastern foods lead cooks, regardless of their degree of experience or familiarity with Syrian cuisine to picture-perfect results. For those with Sephardic roots specifically, there’s no other book that’s quite like it. 

About The Author: Poopa Dweck is a passionate first-generation Syrian-Jewish American who has dedicated her life to safeguarding and rejoicing in her community’s rich heritage. Dweck collaborates with writer, journalist, and reporter Michael J. Cohen to create a vibrant reflection of Aleppian-Jewish cuisine and the evolution of its culture and culinary influences. 

Our Syria: Recipes from Home by Dina Mousawi and Itab Azzam

  • Total Pages: 256
  • Total Recipes: 175
  • Recipes Preview: Fresh Thyme and Halloumi Salad, Chicken Shawarma Wraps, Pumpkin Kibbeh
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Labneh
  • Affordability: Moderate

Our Syria: Recipes from Home presents a selection of dishes curated from home recipes collected from those displaced by war. If you’re the type of cook who wants to understand the history and culture behind each dish to its fullest, this is the ideal book for you, as ample context is provided for each outstanding recipe. The storytelling is superb. Surprisingly, many of the recipes featured are vegan or easily adaptable to a vegan diet, and all are elevated versions of food Syrians and foodies in favor of Middle Eastern flavor in general will love. 

A certain degree of experience in the kitchen will be beneficial as some of the instructions can be rather vague, but they’re far and few between, which is to be assumed from a classical cookbook. However, the way that Our Syria shows readers how to combine familiar ingredients that most likely have on hand in exciting new ways is one of the best parts of this cookbook. By cooking the recipes featured cooks will learn valuable new skills and flavor combinations. It’s some of the most authentic Syrian cuisine seen explained plainly and concisely with ample tips there to guide you. 

About The Authors: Dina Mousawi is a London-based actor and presenter who grew up in Iraq. Most will recognize her for hosting the UK hit series, the T4 Summer Show. Itab Azzam is a Syrian TV producer, most notably the force behind BBC Four’s SYRIAN SCHOOL documentary. The two initially began working together on a theater project involving Syrian refugees. After discovering a shared love of the cuisine, Mousawi and Azzam collaborated and collected recipes and stories from the Syrian people encountered, eventually resulting in the creation of a celebrated cookbook that stands proudly as a testament to the culinary artistry of the region and Levantine people. 

Art of Syrian Cookery: A Culinary Trip to the Land of Bible History-Syria and Lebanon by Helen. Corey

  • Total Pages: 186
  • Total Recipes: 240
  • Recipes Preview: Kibby (Minced Lamb/Beef Dish), Hashweh (Rice Dish Featuring Nuts And Ground Meat), Djej Mahshi (Stuffed Chicken)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Lahm Mishwi (Marinated Roast Lamb)
  • Affordability: Moderate

With photographs, a comprehensive glossary, and multiple indexes, The Art of Syrian Cookery is an invaluable window into Bible history and Syrian culture in its complete sense. Customs influences on Syrian recipe composition and even sample menus are provided. The author’s impressively detailed account supplied here as the original release from the sixties was inspired by her Damascus-native mother, grandly showcasing the evolution of the cuisine of Syria intertwined with Middle Eastern customs and history. Even the most exotic dishes like flaming apples and grape leaf rolls have been simply adapted for the American kitchen. This brilliant cookbook not only offers delectable recipes but also delves into the significance of foods in Orthodox Church Feasts.

So many of the recipes feature ancient ingredients that can be traced via concordance to biblical times, and the author explicitly details when antiquated ingredients have been given a breath of fresh life. If you are fond of Middle Eastern cuisine to any degree or want to have a well-rounded understanding of Syrian cuisine, the Art of Syrian Cookery presents a plethora of must-try recipes and interesting must-know insight. This edition is the original release and is sure to be treasured by book collectors, but the author also has a newer, updated edition entitled Helen Corey’s Food From Biblical Lands: A Culinary Trip to the Land of Bible History, which may be preferred by some. 

About The Author: Helen Corey is a pioneering Syrian-American cookbook author, television producer, and educator. Her work both emphasizes the biblical roots of Middle Eastern cuisine and the power of food in fostering cross-cultural and inter-faith dialogues. As a dedicated member of the St. George Orthodox Church in Terre Haute, Indiana, she has served as both an ambassador and trustee, contributing significantly to her community’s cultural and spiritual legacy.

Scents and Flavors: A Syrian Cookbook by Charles Perry and Claudia Roden

  • Total Pages: 352
  • Total Recipes: 635
  • Recipes Preview: Sour Orange Drink, Sitta Al-Shuna (Taro Dish), Himmasiyyah (Pistachio Porridge)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Madfunah (Stuffed Eggplant)
  • Affordability: High

Scents and Flavors: A Syrian Cookbook is a literary treasure that’s a cornerstone of Syrian history that’s been preserved since the thirteenth century. The book’s title aptly captures its essence. It’s not just a cookbook but rather a sensory odyssey through the heart of Syrian culture. From the very beginning, the authors transport readers to the bustling markets of medieval Syria, where aromatic spices and exotic ingredients meld with tales of tradition and innovation, exuding appreciation for the history and culture through every word and page. Ancient recipes, poetry, and historical anecdotes are seamlessly blended, and each dish comes with an elaborate story, grating a glimpse into the lives of those who crafted these culinary masterpieces centuries ago.

Anyone who’s a fan of food history simply has to pick up a copy of Scents and Flavors: A Syrian Cookbook. The recipes themselves are a revelation. From the fragrant allure of rosewater-infused pastries to the savory delights of lamb-stuffed dumplings, this cookbook offers a diverse range of hard-to-beat dishes that span generations. There are even steps for preparing medieval incense, fragrances, soaps, and more handy lifestyle items waiting. The translation is a true representation of Syrian history put forth so clearly that many of the recipes featured are capable of being enjoyed as they were intended despite being made in a modern kitchen with today’s ingredients. 

About The Author: Charles Perry is a multi-faceted scholar renowned as one of the world’s foremost experts in medieval Arabic cuisine. After studying Middle Eastern history and Arabic immersion in Shemlan, Lebanon, Perry ventured into journalism and served as Rolling Stone Magazine’s resident editor. Later in life, he transitioned into food and ended up writing for the Los Angeles Times. Perry collaborates with Claudia Roden, a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and cultural anthropologist stemming from Sephardi/Mizrahi heritage.

Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead: Recipes and Recollections from a Syrian Pioneer by Habeeb Salloum

  • Total Pages: 336
  • Total Recipes: 200+
  • Recipes Preview: Shorbat’ Adas (Lentil Soup), Fatayer Bi-Sabanekh (Spinach Pies), Tabbouleh (Herbaceous Salad)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Hummus Bi-Tahini (Mashed Chickpeas Blended With Tahini)
  • Affordability: Moderate

In Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead: Recipes and Recollections from a Syrian Pioneer, the author weaves a captivating tale of his family’s journey from Syria to the Canadian prairies in the 1920s. This stylish new edition of this ever-popular cookbook offers readers a look into the resilience of early Syrian pioneers who survived the harsh conditions of the Dust Bowl by growing crops from their homeland. An unending love for traditional Arab cuisine shines through this massive collection of authentic recipes, making this cookbook not only a culinary treasure but also a testament to the enduring spirit of Syrian immigrants. From childhood recollections from the author to global food encounters and their influence on ethnic cuisine, the author explores Syrian-American cooking to its fullest.  Intimate, sincere storytelling adds depth to the writer’s culinary heritage, creating an inspiring discourse for cooks of all skill levels and explorers in the world of food and food history.

Instead of classifying meals according to mealtimes, the chapters in Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead are each centered around a particular ingredient that’s a staple of Syrian cuisine. After a foreword, a look at Candinization, and the history of Arab pioneers, each cornerstone component follows. Recipes are sorted into burghul, yogurt, Kishk (dried fermented cheese), Qawarma (seasoned preserved meat similar to confit), lentils, broad beans, garlic, vegetarian pies, dandelions, mint, olives, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, Arab stews, stuffed vegetables, stuffed stomach, bologna, sandwiches and rabbit-based recipes, seafood, saskatoons (berries), pastries and figs. Finally, this charming cookbook closes with poetry. There are few books that capture the flavor and best-use-case scenarios of spices and other ingredients, as well as Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead.

About The Author: Habeeb Salloum was a distinguished Arab-Canadian author and versatile writer who passed away in 2019. He dedicated himself to literature and culinary arts, with a strong focus on Canada, travel, and cooking history. Salloum’s expertise made him a renowned authority on Arab cuisine and Syrian immigration in Canada. 

Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora [A Cookbook] by Reem Assil

  • Total Pages: 304
  • Total Recipes: 100+
  • Recipes Preview: Hummus Bil Awarma (Hummus With Spiced Lamb), Mujaddarra (Onion-Studded Lentil And Rice Pilaf), Samaka Harra Bil Tahini (Roasted Whole Chile-Spiced Fish With Citrus-Tahini Sauce)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Mahshi (Stuffed Squid In Arak-Spiked Tomato Sauce)
  • Affordability: Moderate

Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora [A Cookbook] is a celebration of Arabian cuisine rooted in Syria and Palestine. This best-selling cookbook has been named cookbook of the year by several notable institutions, including but not limited to Food & Wine, the LA Times, and Epicurious. After sampling any of the recipes or even just paging through its gorgeous layout for a few moments, readers will soon understand why. It’s a book that’s part memoir but primarily a brilliant recipe collection oozing with tradition and authenticity. Elevated Syrian cuisine doesn’t get better than this – just keep in mind that it is a total representation of Bilad al-Sham, not just Syria alone, which means there are recipes common to present-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

Whether you are looking to understand the Arab diaspora, Syria, or Syrian cuisine, or are simply looking for one of the highest quality, well-rounded books on food from the region, Arabiyya over-delivers and does not disappoint. Everything from the origins of Syrian-Palestinian cuisine to its preparation and place in a modern, American kitchen is presented with such comprehensiveness and clarity that many chefs will never need to look elsewhere. Even regional variations of common preparations are detailed, with no info lacking. Expect restaurant-quality food that’s perfectly doable by all cooks regardless of their familiarity with Syria or their experience in the kitchen. 

About The Author: Reem Assil is an award-winning chef, speaker, and community builder devoted to exploring and promoting Palestinian-Syrian affairs and matters pertaining to the Arab diaspora as a whole. The Oakland-based social justice advocate who has been nominated twice for the James Beard Award for Best Chef has a knack for teaching others the nuances of fine Arabian cookery and is largely celebrated to be a leading authority in the field. 

A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes from Grandma Fritzie’s Kitchen by Jennifer Felicia Abadi

  • Total Pages: 323
  • Total Recipes: 140
  • Recipes Preview: Eggplant Dip with Pine Nuts, Flourless Pistachio Cookies, Stuffed Baby Eggplant
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Spinach-Mint Soup
  • Affordability: Moderate

Even the busiest and/or most inexperienced cooks are capable of producing gourmet meals when following any of the recipes listed in A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes from Grandma Fritzie’s Kitchen by Jennifer Felicia Abadi. As a cookbook from a cooking instructor well-versed in physical lessons, it conveys some of the best instructions found in any Syrian cookbook. Say goodbye to mistranslation and confusion due to nonspecific quantities or directions. Although the cooking guidance is second to none, it’s the history and storytelling accompanied by quaint but comprehensive illustrations that are sure to fascinate and educate most readers. 

A Fistful of Lentils is filled with generational recipes and old world cooking tips, many of which are time-honored secrets that readers are likely to find nowhere else. The third edition is a clear testament to the mastery and popularity of this valued culinary tome of knowledge. New photographs and tales from the author place Syrian food into a clearer cultural context than ever before. It’s best to understand this cookbook as a cooking memoir, but don’t disregard it as a mere personal collection of stories with scattered recipes. Excellence only begins to describe it as a body of work, whether seen as either a pure recipe collection alone or a grand historical culinary guidebook. 

About The Author: Jennifer Abadi, a resident of vibrant New York City, stands as a dedicated researcher, developer, and guardian of Sephardic and Judeo-Arabic culinary traditions. Her culinary expertise extends across the Jewish communities spanning the Middle East, Mediterranean, Central Asia, and North Africa. Jennifer imparts her culinary wisdom as an instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and the Jewish Community Center Manhattan (JCC). Additionally, she offers private cooking lessons and serves as a personal chef.

A Hundred And One Middle Eastern Delights: Recipes from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria etc. by Gloria Obayda

  • Total Pages: 235
  • Total Recipes: 101
  • Recipes Preview: Torshi (Syrian Pickled Vegetables), Potato Chab (Potato Stuffed With Minced Lamb), Imam Bayildi (Turkish Ratatouille)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Mgederra (Lentil And Pine Nut Dip)
  • Affordability: Low

While not exclusively Syrian, A Hundred And One Middle Eastern Delights: Recipes from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, etc. by Gloria Obayda is one of the best collections of recipes from the region found. The quality of publishing sets this book apart as a true gem. Each of the one hundred photographs is a true depiction of perfect plating, thereby showing those unfamiliar with Syrian cuisine exactly what to aim for. Even though the exemplary food photography that almost conjures up aromas on sight is the first thing to draw most readers in, it’s the elevated Middle Eastern food that is the true treasure in this cookbook. 

Expect finely customized generational recipes that even beginners will be proud to share. Those considering a digital copy should know that there’s no table of contents, so it’s only searchable, and one has to page through manually to discover the recipe names. With this aside, Syrian, A Hundred And One Middle Eastern Delights explains its recipes clearly, most are fairly quick, and they’re all authentic Syrian meals that are sure to be familiar to anyone with Levantine roots. 

About The Author: Gloria Obayda is an author who was implored by her family to record her generational and originally developed recipes – dishes that today fill the pages of her ever-popular cookbooks focused on Middle Eastern Food. 

Foodies Syrian Healthy Recipes: from Syria, one of the most ancient inhabited countries on earth, by Hala Almnayer

  • Total Pages: 94
  • Total Recipes: Unspecified
  • Recipes Preview: Tabbouleh, Chicken Freekeh, Meat Pumpkin Stew
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Yogurt Liquorish Shanklish Hummus
  • Affordability: Low

Foodies Syrian Healthy Recipes: from Syria, one of the most ancient inhabited countries on earth, is a cookbook that’s filled with a broad selection of recipes that each take half an hour or less to prepare. Every last recipe featured is a step above what one expects from most good ethnic cookbooks. They’re quick, easy to perfect, and together form a complete representation of the cuisine found in and around Syria. In fact, the instructions are among the easiest to follow, with not one detail left ambiguous. 

Syria’s most iconic culinary creations are presented by Foodies Syrian Healthy Recipes, and the best part has to be how every recipe’s ingredient composition is oriented towards fresh, whole produce and a healthy balance of ingredients. Both cooking and baking are covered with tips thoughtfully placed that are sure to come in handy for all types of food, not just Syrian cuisine alone. Whether you’re diving into the art of Syrian cooking or enhancing your culinary repertoire, it’s a valuable addition to any kitchen. 

About The Author: Hala Almnyer is an accomplished interior designer with a background in event planning who transitioned her passion for food into a thriving catering business in Damascus before publishing a well-received cookbook. Almnyer aims to simplify authentic dishes from all regions of Syria for a healthier, tastier lifestyle.

The Ultimate Syrian Cookbook: A Tour of Syrian Food, Including Over 100 Traditional Dishes by Teri M. Dean

  • Total Pages: 100
  • Total Recipes: 100+
  • Recipes Preview: Freekeh Chicken, Lentil Spinach Soup, Mini Meat Pies (Safiha)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Artichoke Hearts (Ardi Shoki Blahmi)
  • Affordability: Moderate

Prospective readers should be warned that The Ultimate Syrian Cookbook has absolutely no pictures of the dishes featured, and regional differences between Syrian styles are not covered. Yet, with this considered, it delivers some of the clearest cooking instructions around for a wide variety of different kinds of Syrian meals, with tips and advice that are just as invaluable as the superb recipes scattered throughout. Don’t expect history and storytelling other than a short chapter introducing Syria’s cuisine and customs, but the diversity of the recipe collection ensures there’s something for every taste and mealtime. 

Overall, The Ultimate Syrian Cookbook is a great starting point for those who want to familiarize themselves with the style of food you’ll find in Syria and largely the Levant region in general. It’s not necessarily the most complex creations, the recipes are short, and gourmet spreads are scarce, but the quality of the straightforward instructions and final results are unquestionable. Also, all flavors remain true to traditions without devoted Middle Eastern components. There’s no having to hunt down any specialty ingredients, which is a boon for some but a drawback for others seeking the highest degree of authenticity but even without exotic inclusions, it’s simple Syrian food at its best. 

About The Author: Teri M. Dean is a self-described specialist in psychology, writing, and storytelling who is most widely recognized for her ethnic cookbooks focused on cuisine from around the world. With fourteen or more cookbooks in circulation, each devoted to a different country, Teri has become famous for her concise recipes, each delivering reliably good results. 

The Ultimate Syrian Cookbook: A Journey Through Syrian Cuisine With 111 Traditional Recipes (World Cuisines Book 5) by Slavka Bodic

  • Total Pages: 147
  • Total Recipes: 111
  • Recipes Preview: Shakshuka With Labneh And Za’atar (Scrambled Egg Dish With Yogurt And Syrian Seven Spice), Cinnamon Eggplant Jam, Kubba (Rice And Meat Patties)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Chickpea Fateyh (Chickpea Spread Atop Pita)
  • Affordability: Moderate

Slavka Bodic’s The Ultimate Syrian Cookbook: A Journey Through Syrian Cuisine With 111 Traditional Recipes is another bare-bones recipe collection that covers generalized Syrian food extremely well. Just like the other cookbook by the same time, images are lacking in totality, and cultural context is slim. However, in much the same sense as our previously reviewed recipe collection, this contender from the World Cuisines series delivers an exceptionally well-rounded selection of different meals, all of which are approachable by complete beginners and newcomers to Syrian cuisine. The quality of results leaves nothing lacking and little room (if any) for improvement, granting great recipes that are as close to foolproof as you get. 

Readers should see The Ultimate Syrian Cookbook as a bumper collection of recipes from all around the Pearl of the East and not as a discourse dedicated to regional delicacies specific to certain areas. It’s concise instructions backed by easy-to-source ingredients, and cooks can expect to find a taste of just about everything Syria has to offer. While traditional in recipe composition and general flavor profiles with a few Syrian-style creations every here and there, the cooking procedures are adapted for the modern kitchen. This makes these tasty recipes especially intriguing for those who don’t want to fuss with elaborate methodology and/or a localized ethnic ingredient list 

About The Author: Born in the Balkans and having lived through the period when the Land of the Slavs was better known as the Versailles state, Slavka Bodic brings a unique perspective rich with experience to her coverage of global cuisine. With a focus on traditional recipes and preparation techniques, Slavka’s World Cuisines book series has become famous for its simplicity and superb recipes. 

Notable Charitable Syrian Cookbooks

All of the following Syrian cookbooks feature donated recipes either curated by professionals or written and contributed by celebrities. All the proceeds go towards Syrian charitable institutions and refugee aid towards those. Opt for any, and you’re ensured one of the best guides to Syrian cuisine around, and the proceeds go towards a good cause. 

Cook For Syria Recipe Book by Clerkenwell Boy and Serena Gruen

  • Total Pages: 232
  • Total Recipes: Unspecified
  • Recipes Preview: Tahini Chocolate Cake, Harak Osbao (Thick Soupy Stew), Bulgur With Tomato, Fried Aubergine And Cucumber Yoghurt
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Chicken Meatballs With Molokhia, Garlic And Coriander
  • Affordability: Low

The Cook For Syria Recipe Book is a beautiful not-for-profit recipe collection that showcases authentic recipes donated by Syrian families and contributing professional chefs. It’s one of the best contemporary interpretations of modern Syrian cuisine found anywhere and features innovative dishes and twists on favored classic food from renowned culinary figures like Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Angela Hartnett, to name but a few. Despite the results being restaurant-quality and prime examples of Syrian cuisine at its very best, every recipe is easy to pull off thanks to the extraordinary clarity of the step-by-step cooking instructions.

There’s nothing to criticize, plenty of options suited to all tastes and meal times, and the innovation exhibited by each recipe is nothing short of inspiring without once breaking tradition. Instead of plain-old Old World home cooking alone, readers can expect to find some of the freshest versions of the Syrian food that they love. From the mouthwatering food photography to the authenticity of the ingredient composition of each recipe that’ll need something from a specialty store from time to time, Cook For Syria Recipe Book is exactly what most cooks and foodies are looking for. 

About The Author: The Cook For Syria Recipe Book is a cookbook and the first part of a project that was initially birthed as a charity dinner event in support of UNICEF’s humanitarian work for children and refugees affected by the Syrian Crisis. However, due to the overwhelming success of the banquet, the organizers quickly used the opportunity to put forth a range of star-studded cookbooks whose proceeds are donated to UNICEF’s Children of Syria Fund. At the time of writing, #CookForSyria, #BakeForSyria, and #SoupForSyria were all part of the awareness and outreach campaign. 

Bake for Syria Recipe Book by Lily Vanilli

  • Total Pages: 232
  • Total Recipes: Unspecified
  • Recipes Preview: Syrian Orange Cake, Fresh Yoghurt, Pomegranate And Mint, Syrian Love Cake (Pears And Pistachio Cake), Pomegranate And Sesame Tarts
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Fig & Feta Tomato Tart 
  • Affordability: Low

Just like Cook For Syria, all proceeds from the Bake For Syria Recipe Book are donated to the UNICEF Children of Syria Fund, and the entire book is curated and composed from content contributed by seasoned Syrian family cooks and celebrity chefs. As a result, the recipes are of a far higher quality than one will find almost anywhere else. From the way that traditional techniques are explained to the degree of detail in the guidance that leaves no stone unturned, it’s one of the best Syrian baking books out there. Even the appearance, layout, and overall publication standards exceed most competing cookbooks, making this the perfect coffee-table book with unbeatable practical value. 

As both a work of art and a comprehensive collection of recipes for Syrian baked goods, Lily Vanilli’s Bake For Syria Recipe Book excels. There’s no other selection of Syrian dessert recipes that can compare to the gourmet offerings featured here. All Middle Eastern bakers have to consider owning one of these. Even though each recipe delivers flavor and visual appeal above expectations, there’s no learning curve to speak of. The fact that the recipes are curated from a variety of celebrated chefs and restaurants further adds to this cookbook’s appeal, ensuring that there’s enough diversity in the baking styles shown to keep all cooks happy. If you bake and have the slightest interest in Syria, this is a cookbook that can’t come more highly recommended. 

About The Author: Lily Vanilli, born Lily Jones, is a renowned baker, cake designer, and best-selling author based in Homerton, London. Originally a graphic designer, she transitioned into baking, gaining recognition for her unique recipes and spectacular cake designs. Vanilli’s creations, all in support of charitable causes like #BakeForSyria, which are on display at Harrods and online, reflect an innovative and often experimental approach. 

Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate Our Shared Humanity by Barbara Abdeni Massaad

  • Total Pages: 208
  • Total Recipes: 80
  • Recipes Preview: Aleppo Red Lentil Soup With Verjuice, Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Soup With Lamb And Noodles, Asparagus Soup With Poached Eggs And Sauteed Shrimp
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: White Turnip And Hazelnut Soup
  • Affordability: High

Soups are a fundamental component of Syrian daily meals that are beautifully explored by Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate Our Shared Humanity (Cooking with Barbara Abdeni Massaad). It is a beautifully illustrated hardcover cookbook featuring a collection of delicious soup recipes that aims to raise awareness and support for Syrian refugees by donating its profits to the UN Refugee Agency. Expect a selection of unique recipes that show exactly how versatile soup actually is. There are soups for every meal time and enough options to keep all tastes happy regardless of how fussy the eater may be or what course is required. Brief but sincere coverage of Syrian life and the struggles encountered grant context that compels one to keep reading while explaining methodology and flavors. 

Between the easy instructions and straightforward ingredients called for, it’s a cookbook that’ll change the way you see and make soup forever. Most of the soups are so good that you’ll be blown away and yearning to try out more recipes. Aside from the amazing authentic Syrian soups, photographs of Syrian refugees fill the pages, granting a glimpse into the lives being supported by the sales of this inspiring cookbook. Soup for Syria could very well be among the best books on soup ever published. The recipes featured set fine examples of how Syrians combine ingredients while also serving as premiere exhibits of how versatile soup actually is. 

About The Author: Barbara Abdeni Massaad is a celebrated cookbook author and recipe curator responsible for a four-part cookbook series that explores the cuisine and culture of Syria, Lebanon, and the Arab diaspora in its entirety. Massaad’s eponymous book series includes Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry, Man’oushé (a cookbook devoted to Arabic pizza), Forever Beirut: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Lebanon, and the above-reviewed best-seller Soup for Syria.  

Top 7 Best Print-Only Syrian Cookbooks

Immerse yourself in the vivid and aromatic world of Syrian cuisine with our hand-picked selection of the top 7 best print-only Syrian cookbooks. After all, there’s nothing quite like the tangible satisfaction of flipping through a physical cookbook when seeking to become engrossed in fascinating food and ancient, time-honored food culture like this. 

Syria Recipes From Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi

  • Total Pages: 256
  • Total Recipes: 80
  • Recipes Preview: Muhammara (Red Pepper And Walnut Dip), Zahra Wa Kamoon (Roasted Cauliflower With Cumin), Fetteh Beitinjaan (Aubergine Fetteh)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Vegan Freekeh Soup
  • Affordability: Moderate

Syria Recipes From Home is a brilliant cookbook for anyone who is looking for distinctly Syrian-American cuisine. The balance between traditional, classic Syrian recipes left as-is and elevated, gourmet creations based on treasured generational recipes but improved as far as possible is fantastic. This ensures that there’s enough variety in basic flavors and meal complexity to keep all cooks happy. Middle Eastern cuisine has been perfectly adapted for the modern kitchen, which also means that most meals can be pulled off without a visit to a specialty store. When specific exotic ingredients are called for, substitutions are offered which manage to retain the core influences featured. 

Readers will find an accompanying story that helps them understand each and every dish. Cultural references are kept brief, but the stories are heartwarming and so interesting that many will keep reading for the tidbits of history, anecdotes, and heritage alone. Where some cookbooks focus on elevated, gourmet cuisine, Syria Recipes From Home is filled with home-cooked food that will be familiar to anyone who grew up in the Levant region during its later years or in a Syrian-American home. Those from the MENA Region may question some of the Westernizations, but for everyone else, these adaptations are ideas that are pure gold and aid convenience immensely. 

The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the Legendary Cuisine of Syria by Marlene Matar

  • Total Pages: 352
  • Total Recipes: 200+
  • Recipes Preview: Meatballs In Sour Cherry Sauce (Kabab Karaz), Meat Dumplings In Yogurt Sauce (Shishbarak), Purslane Soup (Turkish-Style Bulgur, Lemon And Yogurt Soup) 
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Rice Stuffed Peppers (Koosa Mih-shee)
  • Affordability: Moderate

Aleppo is a city often regarded as the crown jewel of Syrian cuisine that holds a prestigious place in the world of gastronomy. Its culinary significance stems from a rich history that has seen the convergence of various cultures and influences, resulting in a diverse and vibrant food culture that couldn’t be represented better than it is in The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the Legendary Cuisine of Syria. The city’s Arab, Kurdish, Armenian, Circassian, and other communities all contributed culinary traditions, resulting in a fusion of flavors that exemplify the elevated use of fresh produce, grains, and aromatic herbs to the fullest. Traditional Middle Eastern cooking techniques are taught with such comprehensiveness and clarity that even complete beginners can master the art of Syrian cuisine with the help of this cookbook. 

Between the fifteen chapters of The Aleppo Cookbook, readers will find everything from core, classic recipes spanning every meal and inspired, elevated contemporary food from Syria featured. Aleppo’s culinary offerings are universally recognized among Middle Eastern chefs as the epitome of regional haute cuisine, and few books compare to the foolproof guidance offered here. Brief introductions, color photographs, and information on variations of each meal make it a complete cookbook that’s sure to impress both new and experienced cooks alike. The recipes and quality of writing are so good that even those with general interest in Middle Eastern cuisine are sure to be swayed and driven to try out the exemplary dishes detailed within. 

About The Author: As a celebrated Lebanese chef who graduated from Beirut’s L’Accademia Italiana Bella Cucina and Montreal’s Ecole Professionnelle de Cuisine Chinoise, Marlene Matar brings a great deal of accomplishment and expertise to her detailed works. The recipient of a Grand Diplôme in cooking and pastry from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she currently resides in Beirut, where she provides cooking classes to professional chefs and aspiring students.

Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria by Anas Atassi & Rania Kataf

  • Total Pages: 248
  • Total Recipes: 80+
  • Recipes Preview: Sheikh Mushatah (Grilled Eggplants With Yogurt Sauce), Zahra (Spicy Roasted Cauliflower), Mortadella From Aleppo (Beef Sausage With Garlic And Pistachios)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Mahshi El Jazar (Stuffed Parsnips In Tomato Sauce)
  • Affordability: Moderate

Out of the many recently released cookbooks covering ethnic cuisine from just about any isolated region of the world, Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria stands tall as a discourse that bridges the gap between Western cooking and contemporary exotic cuisine better than almost any other publication. The complete span of Syria’s culinary influences is explained and depicted through finely honored recipes and commentary that clearly show the reader where the food originates and why the time-honored flavors are rooted as such in tradition. With this being said, prospective readers should know that this is a cookbook that’s filled with storytelling, history, and tasteful photographs of life in Syria, both today and of old. 

Unlike many Syrian cookbooks that grant brief introductions and recipe ingredients and instructions without delving into the culture, Sumac explains all the nuances of Syrian food and family traditions. From where particular types of food are found in the country to how to dress a table for a traditional Syrian dinner, it’s all there. No other book looks at the presentation of Syrian cuisine in quite as much detail, nor the way that food and mealtimes are handled in a Syrian household quite as well. If you have a fondness for food, food culture, or Syrian cuisine itself, this is a cookbook that will captivate you for years to come. 

About The Author: Born in Homs, Syria, but living in Amsterdam, Anas Atassi holds an engineering degree from the American University of Beirut and earned an MBA from IE Business School in Spain. His deep love for Syrian cuisine and culinary traditions drove him to create a cookbook filled with his family’s cherished recipes that’s become a popular favorite.

Sitto’s Kitchen: A Treasury of Syrian Family Recipes Taught from Mother to Daughter for Over 100 Years by Janice Jweid Reed

  • Total Pages: 196
  • Total Recipes: 165+
  • Recipes Preview: Syrian String Cheese, Aleppo Turnovers With Date Filling, Baked Meaty Macaroni
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Spinach And Black-Eyed Peas
  • Affordability: Low

Sitto’s Kitchen: A Treasury of Syrian Family Recipes Taught from Mother to Daughter for Over 100 Years is an exceptional cookbook and collection of personal stories curated from two of the author’s popular cookbooks that offers readers an immersive experience into the culinary traditions of Syria. This broad exploration of Syrian gastronomy is comprised of generational recipes detailing flavor combinations, techniques, and pairings that have been treasured by Syrian families for well over a hundred years. As a result, many of the recipes need ingredients that you’ll only find at a Middle Eastern specialty store, but the quality of each makes the effort well worth it. Syrians and those of Levantine heritage will also be happy to know that this is the cookbook where oh-so-many hard-to-find delicacies are listed.

Commencing with fundamental insights, Sitto’s Kitchen opens with a primer covering pantry essentials, essential culinary tools, and the vital ingredients for cooking Arab food. Every recipe title is thoughtfully rendered in both English and Arabic, and there are even dual-language indexes waiting. It’s best to see it as a showcase of the most iconic food Syria has to offer, presented inclusive of the insight of a master chef but with clarity and straightforward guidance that makes every meal approachable to complete beginners. Not every dish has a photo, but the ones that don’t leave little lacking, and generally do not require the visual guidance to be perfect. If you’re into Syrian or Middle Eastern cuisine, give this book a look, but if you’re on the hunt for the food of Aleppo specifically or one of the most comprehensive works on the subject, it’s a no-brainer and must-buy. 

About The Author: Janice Jweid Reed, a proud product of the vibrant Syrian-Lebanese community in Paterson, New Jersey, grew up immersed in Middle Eastern traditions, language, and cuisine brought by her grandparents from Aleppo, Syria. She recorded her grandmother’s culinary secrets in a modest spiral notebook, aiming to guarantee that forthcoming generations, including her children and grandchildren, would be able to enjoy these timeless dishes, which today have been transcribed into a bestselling cookbook. To get a better feel for Reed’s work, be sure to visit her blog, SittosKitchen. Those looking for more should turn to the first edition of Sitto’s Kitchen and Sitto’s Kitchen II as well to own the complete collection, even though this compilation houses recipes from both. 

The Bread and Salt Between Us: Recipes and Stories from a Syrian Refugee’s Kitchen by Mayada Anjari & Jennifer Sit

  • Total Pages: 176
  • Total Recipes: 40+
  • Recipes Preview: Pan-Seared Coriander Chicken (Shish Tawook), Spinach-Stuffed Pies (Spinach Fatayer), Stewed White Beans (White Fassoulia)
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Cabbage Salad With Pomegranate Molasses (Malfouf)
  • Affordability: Moderate

The Bread and Salt Between Us: Recipes and Stories from a Syrian Refugee’s Kitchen is a heartfelt collection of recipes and stories that offer a glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of Syria and the experiences of Syrian refugees. While fewer recipes than the average Syrian cookbook are featured, the results are nothing short of exemplary. The forty dishes featured are sorted into everyday fare, celebratory food, and sweets. Readers will find brief but valuable context and cultural insight accompanying each dish in the form of a personal story or memory from the author. The attention to detail is above what is found in most books, making this a publication that’s sure to be valued by professional chefs. 

Between the near unparalleled food photography, authentic but fresh ingredient composition, and modernized techniques clearly explained, readers are veritably compelled to try out the recipes within. Also, the innovative twists on traditional flavors set an example that will undoubtedly inspire so many other elevations of the cook’s own creation to both Syrian food and all cooking in general. It’s a cookbook sure to be treasured by those who value gripping narratives and those who are looking for a selection of stunning Syrian-American recipes that are hard to improve on. Beyond its culinary offerings, The Bread and Salt Between Us also sheds light on the experiences of Syrian refugees, effectively creating a bond between readers and those affected by it through its sincere accounts. 

About The Author: Mayada Anjari is a Syrian refugee and acclaimed cookbook author who details recipes from her heritage and history from her family’s escape from the war in Syria wonderfully well through multiple publications. Today, Anjari is a mother to four children, and she resides in Manhattan in the United States. 

Flavours of Aleppo: Celebrating Syrian Cuisine by Dalal Kade-Badra and Elie Badra

  • Total Pages: 166
  • Total Recipes: +-100
  • Recipes Preview: Moghrabieh Couscous, Lemon Artichoke Hearts And Carrots, Cabbage Cigars
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Ricotta Kataifi (Rolled Pastry Similar To Phyllo/Cannoli And Filled With Honey, Ricotta And Pistachios) 
  • Affordability: Low

For some of the most comprehensive, well-written Syrian recipes well-suited to a modern kitchen in publication, look no further than Flavours of Aleppo: Celebrating Syrian cuisine. The precision of the guidance is above what anyone would expect, and so is the flavor and overall appeal of the meals contained within. Readers can expect restaurant-quality recipes that are so authentic that certain highly specific Middle Eastern ingredients are likely to be difficult to track down. It’s also one of those fine cookbooks where one wants to source traditional components instead of alternatives, thanks to the classical Levantine recipe composition and. From the simplest to the most complex creations, even locals will be blown away by the results. 

Mouthwatering images of the meals featured grant a clear idea of what to aim for, while concise but heartwarming anecdotes give insight into the life and cooking of Syrian locals. Even if your collection is already filled with Middle Eastern cookbooks and quality curated recipes, Flavors of Aleppo and its inspiring cuisine is sure to impress. Allepian cookery is widely known to be the best the country has to offer, and Flavours of Aleppo could very well be the top guidebook to this region’s culinary artistry. The recipes are everything but ordinary, which is a welcomed change from the timeless old world classics commonly covered by most competing Syrian cookbooks.

About The Author: Dalal Kade-Badra and Elie Badra are writers born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. As lifelong cooks drawn to the kitchen since their youth, the pair have mastered the art of cooking Syrian cuisine outside of the country. The Montreal-based cooks have a knack for adapting traditional recipes for today’s pantry. 

Zaatari: Culinary Traditions of the World’s Largest Syrian Refugee Camp by Karen E. Fisher (Upcoming Release – 2024)

  • Total Pages: 272
  • Total Recipes: Unspecified
  • Recipes Preview: Unspecified
  • The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Unspecified
  • Affordability: Low

Zaatari: Culinary Traditions of the World’s Largest Syrian Refugee Camp is an upcoming masterpiece of a cookbook that’s scheduled to arrive in January of 2024. Expect an in-depth look at Syrian food and the evolution of the nation’s culinary traditions. Specifically, it will be exhibiting the cuisine developed and enjoyed by the people of the Zaatari Camp, which is the largest Syrian refugee camp situated on the Jordan-Syria border. As a result, Zaatari quickly became a nexus of culture and tradition and, in turn, continues to preserve the heart of Syrian cuisine in much the same sense that this cookbook aims to accomplish. Readers can look forward to a gastronomical guidebook that will share art, traditions, and culinary insight relevant to today but timeless in its roots and overall appeal. 

From current photographs of camp Zaatari itself to the countless cultural insights explained through tales and snapshots of the refugees and their lives, Zaatari: Culinary Traditions of the World’s Largest Syrian Refugee Camp is set to be a true gem. Although the recipe list has not yet been announced, readers can expect quintessential Zaatari dishes like Shorbat ‘adas, a hearty red lentil soup, Fatayer Bi-Sabanekh, which are savory spinach pies accentuated with sumac and variations of muhammara which is a spicy and tangy roasted pepper drip infused with pomegranate molasses and cumin to name but a few. This is one cookbook that we suggest you keep an eye on and snap up quickly when you can. 

About The Author: Karen E. Fisher is a distinguished academic and renowned author who serves as the Chair of the MLIS program at the University of Washington’s Information School. With a Ph.D. in library and information science from the University of Western Ontario, her extensive body of work, including over fifty articles and books, delves into the intricate realm of information behavior in everyday contexts (IBEC), among other subjects, most notably her upcoming work on Syrian cuisine. This is motivated by her heartfelt connection and the immense period spent at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where she provides aid. 

Frequently Asked Questions – Best Syrian Cookbooks

Have you been left wondering anything about Syrian cookbooks and/or Syrian cuisine in general? We may have the answers you’re looking for waiting here. For even more Middle Eastern cookbooks that are worth a place in any foodies’ collection, we’ve got the best Halal cookbooks reviewed here

What Is The National Dish Of Syria?

The heart and soul of Syrian cuisine converge in the national dish, known as “Kibbeh.” Ground meat, traditionally lamb or beef, is at the core of this versatile recipe that’s frequently adapted by various regions within Syrian territory. The meat is meticulously kneaded with cracked wheat, imparting both texture and substance. This mixture, redolent of spices such as allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, creates a fragrant symphony that defines the dish. Another iconic recipe termed “Kibbeh Nayyeh” showcases the region’s freshest ingredients, presenting a raw, finely minced version akin to steak tartare. “Kibbeh Kebab” transforms the mixture into savory meatballs, skewered and grilled to smoky perfection. “Kibbeh Maksousa” unveils a layered masterpiece, with the same meat and bulgur composition enveloping spiced ground meat, pine nuts, and onions. All variations are typically served with cooling yogurt and fresh vegetables. 

What Are Syrian Spices?

Syrian spices are the soul of Middle Eastern cuisine. At the heart of this aromatic symphony lies the crimson jewel, Aleppo pepper. Its mild heat, fruity undertones, and a whisper of earthiness infuse warmth into every dish. Complementing it, the smoky allure of cumin beckons, with its nutty essence enhancing other core flavors. Sumac’s tangy, lemony taste, most often sold as seasoning ground into a deep red powder, is liberally sprinkled on countless dishes for its zesty flavor. Za’atar is another key spice blend used extensively that’s made from dried thyme, sesame seeds, and often sumac. There’s nothing quite like the nutty and herbal notes it adds to various types of food, but most commonly, meat and bread. Then, there’s the golden magic of turmeric, with its earthy bitterness and hints of citrus, lending both color and complexity. Cinnamon, sweet yet robust, adds a touch of the exotic, while nutmeg, with its elusive richness, deepens the layers of flavor. Cardamom, a gem in this treasure trove, brings a citrusy brightness to the blend of staple spices. Cloves, pungent and sweet, punctuate with intensity. Coriander, with its lemony grace, balances the medley. Yet, it’s the staple Syrian seven-spice blend that combines allspice, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and nutmeg that truly epitomizes the spices of Syrian cuisine. 

What Is The Most Popular Syrian Dish?

Determining the “most popular” Syrian dish can be somewhat subjective as it hinges on personal preferences and regional culinary traditions. Among the myriad of dishes, kebabs appear to be a pivotal component of Syrian cuisine. Various adaptations such as Kebab Halabi and Kebab Hindi, characterized by their unique blend of ingredients like pomegranate molasses, capsicum, and a range of spices, arguably make them a favored choice among many. Complementing the rich meat-based dishes are the stuffed vine leaves recipes like Yabrak and Yalanji, offering a balance of meat and vegetable-based options for a wholesome meal. On the sweeter end of the spectrum, the Syrian culinary scene is adorned with an array of desserts like Ba’lawah and Basbousa, offering a sweet closure to a filling meal with their nut-filled and syrup-soaked characteristics.

Adding depth to the cuisine are the different kinds of Kibbe, with variations ranging from baked to raw. Not to be overlooked are the popular street foods like Shawarma and Falafel, which not only serve as quick bites but also as delightful introductions to the flavors of Syria. To pair with these dishes, Syria offers a diverse range of beverages like the caffeine-infused Al-mateh and the refreshing Polo, complementing the meals perfectly.

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