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Quick & Easy Maamoul (Traditional Arabic Cookies)

4.55 from 11 votes
This quick & easy Maamoul recipe results in light and sweet cookies traditionally made in Arabic countries around Easter and Eid.
Traditional Maamoul with a fig filling, made around Easter.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Maamoul cookies, also called Ma’amoul cookies, are a traditional Arabic dessert that is so delicate it melts in your mouth and is packed with delicious, sweet flavor! 

Traditional maamoul is made with yeasted semolina flour, but my homemade maamoul recipe calls for all-purpose flour, making this a quicker (but still absolutely incredible) version! The rosewater-scented shortbread-like pastry surrounds a simple but luscious date filling. It is rich, satisfying, and so comforting. Plus, who doesn’t love to bake with dates? They’re so flavorful, almost vanilla-like, and naturally sweet, so this recipe doesn’t call for much sugar. 

These Middle Eastern cookies also have a rich history (you can see depictions of them in Egyptian temples!) and are a part of many Muslim and Christian holidays! 

If you like this recipe, it’s a part of my Bold Baking Worldwide campaign, where I’m bringing you recipes from around the globe on Mondays! Catch up with these recent recipes, too: Bananas Foster, Irish Apple Amber, Sourdough English Muffins.

A plate of delicate Maamoul cookies, dusted with powdered sugar.

What is Maamoul?

Maamoul is a butter cookie traditionally filled with dates, although other fillings, like pistachios or walnuts, are also popular. These delicious cookies can be found around the world but are particularly popular in the Arabian peninsula. 

Traditionally, maamoul is made with special molds that are carved into wood, but for my maamoul, I simply a fork or a toothpick to make a decorative pattern. 

Maamoul is often made around Easter as a treat to end Lent, and, for Muslims, they are made a few days before Eid, the celebration that ends the fasting month of Ramadan. Jewish people also enjoy maamoul during their holiday Purim. 

It’s not certain why maamoul became associated with these holidays, but some people think that the cookies help remind people that while fasting is challenging, there is a sweet reward. And that may be a metaphor for the cookie itself: even though the outside of the cookie is a bit bland, the date filling is sweet! 

What You Need To Make Maamoul

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Small saucepan
  • 2 baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Mixing bowl or food processor

How To Make Maamoul

This homemade maamoul recipe is my quick and easy take on the beloved date-filled cookie! Here is how you make maamoul the easy way (and don’t forget to get the full recipe, with measurements, down on the page below):

  1. To make the filling, combine the dates, water, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. While the dates cook, mash and stir them until they have broken down into a paste. This should take around 3 minutes. Let the filling cool.
  2. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C) and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a mixing bowl or a food processor. Then, pulse or cut the butter in.
  4. Combine the milk and rosewater and stir it into the dough until it comes together.
  5. Gather the dough together and divide it into 20 equally-sized balls.
  6. Take one ball of dough and flatten it in the palm of your hand and pinch it into a bowl shape.
  7. Take a teaspoon of the filling and place it in the center of the dough. Bring up the sides and pinch them together to seal the filling in.
  8. Roll and flatten the maamoul slightly, then place the cookie, seam side down, on your prepped cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough balls and filling. 
  9. Prick the top of the cookies with a fork or toothpick to make a decorative pattern, then bake until the cookies just start to turn golden, around 25-30 minutes.
  10. After baking, while the cookies are still warm, dust generously with powdered sugar.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Maamoul

  • Use Medjool dates to get the best texture for the filling, unless you have access to fresh-picked dates from a farmer’s market. Other varieties of dates can be quite firm and won’t break down as easily. 
  • If you don’t have (or don’t like) rosewater, you can replace it with orange blossom water, more milk, or just plain water.
  • You can add 1/4 cup (1¼ oz/35g) of finely chopped crystallized ginger to the date filling if you’d like a bit more texture.
  • Maamoul can also be filled with nuts: try combining ¾ cup (3¾ oz/106g) coarsely ground walnuts or pistachios with 1/3 cup (4oz/115g) strained apricot jam and using this as a filling.
  • Traditionally, maamoul is made with beautiful wooden molds. If you would like to try this, they can be found online!

Traditional Maamoul with a bite taken out of it, showing the fig filling.

How Do I Store Maamoul?

Leftover maamoul cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Don’t Miss More Cookie Recipes

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Quick and Easy Maamoul Recipe

4.55 from 11 votes
This quick & easy Maamoul recipe results in light and sweet cookies traditionally made in Arabic countries around Easter and Eid.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 cookies
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
This quick & easy Maamoul recipe results in light and sweet cookies traditionally made in Arabic countries around Easter and Eid.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 cookies

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) pitted medjool dates (about 14 dates, chopped)
  • ¼ cup (2floz/57ml) water
  • Pinch of salt

Dough

  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup (6oz/170g) butter (softened and diced)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater

Instructions

Make the filling:

  • In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the dates, water, and salt. Cook the dates, mashing and stirring until they have broken down into a paste (about 3 minutes). Let cool.

Make the dough:

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl or in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder, then pulse or cut the butter in.
  • Combine the milk and rosewater and then stir into the dough until it comes together.

Assembling the Maamoul:

  • Gather the dough together, and then divide the dough into 20 equally-sized balls.
  • Take one ball of dough, flatten it in the palm of your hand and pinch it into a bowl shape.
  • Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough and bring up the sides and pinch together to seal the filling in.
  • Roll and flatten slightly, and then place the cookie seam side down on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  • Prick the top of the cookies with a fork or toothpick in a decorative pattern, and then bake until the cookies are just beginning to turn golden, about 25-30 minutes. Dust generously with powdered sugar while the cookies are still warm.
  • Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Ramada

Karin Dutta

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Samah
Samah
16 days ago

Hi Gemma
Thanks alot for all your recipes I’m one of your biggest fans
But I’m an Arab we make these cookies in our Eid time but we don’t cook dates nor we use madjool dates.
We use very soft dates, knead them with a bit of soft butter a little of ground cinnamon and anise until it forms a bit sticky dough
And actually our flour dough a little bit more difficult
I just wanted to share knowledge 😊

Mabel C.
17 days ago

Hi Gemma,
I do not have rose water available, what should I use instead?

Thanks!
Mabel

Marianne
Marianne
17 days ago

Ohhh my god i was just eating one while reading this
Im lebanese and this is what we eat on easter they are so delicious you can eat a whole bowl in a minute
Y’all should definitely try them❤️

8 days ago

Hi Gemma, seems to be great recipe. However, just wondering how it is made with semolina, making it a healthier version?

Masim
Masim
8 days ago

Hi Gemma no.vedio of mamool cookies??

Ramada
13 days ago

I had to use a mix of self raising and spelt flour to cook these as I had run out of plain. We aren’t allowed out at weekends in Turkey so couldn’t go to the shops either. They turned out fine, just a slightly darker colour, but taste good and light and crumbly. Will use this recipe for Christmas biscuits as well as the taste was very appropriate.

Stephanie
Stephanie
15 days ago

What will the quantity be if I use cake flour ?

Gig Duz
Gig Duz
17 days ago

What can one use instead of rose water?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!