Member recipe

Greek Halva

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(4 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 15 minutes Total:20

Skill level



1 cake

The traditional semolina based Greek halva recipe is often referred as “1:2:3:4″, as it calls for one unit oil, two semolina, three sugar and four water. So simple! If you haven’t tried semolina Greek halva before, you will be surprised by the delicious taste of those 4 humble ingredients, when combined.. When preparing a Greek halva recipe, the semolina is firstly toasted in oil, bringing an irresistible smell and then soaked in hot syrup, with the aromas and blends of cinnamon and clove. Simply delicious! So if you are looking for a delicious no-dairy, no-butter and egg-free dessert, that’s the one!

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  • 8 cups of sugar
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • Cup of honey
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of semolina
  • A cup of walnuts


  1. In a pot, add the 4 cups of water, 8 cups sugar, 8 cinnamon stick, 8 cloves, and bring to boil for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and add the honey.

  2. In a deep pot, on medium to high heat add the extra virgin olive oil and 2 cups of semolina. Constantly stir with a wooden spatula until the color changes from a golden blonde to a golden brown.

  3. Once the color changes add the 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Stir.

  4. Very carefully, slowly add small amounts of the simple syrup to the semolina (the hot syrup will steam and splatter so be careful).

  5. On a medium-low heat, continually stir until the mixture thickens. Add the almonds and stir.

  6. Transfer to a cake pan and let it cool. Turn over onto a cake platter and dust with cinnamon.

Comments, questions and tips

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Wendy Stewart's picture
Wendy Stewart
23rd Feb, 2018
Wasted ingredients as quantities are listed incorrectly consequently it was a total fail , I note now that this has been pointed out by another user therefore should be corrected
Cristina Vasilakou's picture
Cristina Vasilakou
10th Jan, 2019
You're right! The ingredients for the recipe are listed totally incorrectly! This is THE classic Greek recipe for Halva, and here in Greece we called it 1,2,3,4. which means = 1 cup oil, 2 cups semolina, 3 cups sugar, 4 cups water. The last two ingredients are for the syrup. Plus 1 cinnamon stick! just 1. No cloves, no ground cinnamon into the pot! (I use corn oil nstead of olive and it's delicious)For the syrup = in a medium pot add 3 cups of sugar, 4 cups water and a cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Remove immediately from the heat and keep it warm. Now place a tall, large pot and heat the oil. when it's very very hot add the semolina all at once and stir. keep stirring costantly for about 5/6 minutes in high heat or until the semolina becomes dark brown!! Before it burns (!) remove the pot from the stove and carefully add the syrup. Take a distance from the pot because it bubbles a lot in the beggining and place the pot again to the heat. Keep stirring until the halva starts to thicken. It takes a couple of minutes. The consistency should be thick. Place the halva into a serving plate, a loaf pan, a bundt pan and let it cool. When the halva cools down become very solid. Drizzle with ground cinnamon and enjoy. I love my halva both hot and cold. you should try it! it's simple, yummy, vegan and with only 4 ingredients!!
Emmanual Vlassakis's picture
Emmanual Vlassakis
24th Dec, 2017
I just made this for Christmas Eve dessert. I use the recipe via the amended comments. It's delicious, however, it hasn't firmed up as I would've expected, what did I do wrong? What suggestions would you have to get the entire dish to firm. I set it on my countertop for an hour or so to cool and then I refrigerated it?
30th Sep, 2017
Very good recipe. It is the closest I've seen to traditional Greek Halva. Please note that the ingredients are listed incorrectly. It is 3 cups sugar not eight. I would assume the same for the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Also ingredients should include 4 cups water., ergo 1-2-3-4.
Emmanual Vlassakis's picture
Emmanual Vlassakis
24th Dec, 2017
I made this for Christmas Eve dessert. I followed the recommendations from the amended recipe in the comments. It came out very delicious. However, it did not firm up like I thought it would. I'm not sure what I've done wrong ? Any suggestions ?
10th Jun, 2017
I read the recipe and went my own way. There are a couple of mistakes. I didn't make a sugar syrup with the spices in , I added cinnamon after the syrup came off the heat. I used walnuts as it suggested in the ingredients. Almonds were mentioned in the method. Lovely bowl of heaven anyway. I couldn't wait for it to set, so ate it warm with a spoon.
18th Feb, 2017
It seems to be there is a typo regarding the amount of sugar. 8 cups seems way too much and doesn't follow the 1234 rule.. Especially with honey added in I would think it is 1 cup honey + 2 sugar.
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