Crunchy Halva Recipe

Halva, which is also sometimes spelled "halwa" or "halvas," is a candy made from sesame paste, aka tahini, and can be found in many Middle-Eastern markets (via Spruce Eats). Halva is often flavored with cocoa, chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit. You may have already spotted a brand called Joyva, which sells halva packaged like candy bars, in your local grocery store or market. But, did you know that you can make halva at home? Well, you can with our recipe, and you totally should.

With only a few ingredients, simple kitchen tools that you probably already have lying around, and a total of 45 minutes of your time, you can have delicious, fresh, homemade halva ready to devour. This recipe from Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge also adds some pistachios for a little extra crunch. "I put tahini on everything sweet or savory," Olayinka says. "I think halva is the most delicious snack, and it's so, so simple to make."

Gather your ingredients to make halva

You'll need 1 cup of tahini, 1 cup of white sugar, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, ¼ cup of water, and 3 sprays of non-stick spray. You'll also need ¼ cup of pistachios, and if you'd like to use extra pistachios to garnish, you'll need to up that ¼ cup a bit. Tahini is sesame seed paste, and it's a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Tahini is an essential ingredient in hummus, and it is, of course, the main ingredient in halva. If you can't find tahini at the grocery store, you can make it at home.

Gather your tools

If you cook or bake regularly, you probably already have all the things you need to pull this recipe together. You'll need a glass baking dish, a silicone spatula, parchment paper, a mixing bowl, a small pot, and a candy thermometer. If you have a meat thermometer, the difference between a candy thermometer and a meat thermometer is that a candy thermometer can read a wider range of temperatures. Meat thermometers usually only reach 200 F, while a candy thermometer can reach 400 F (via The Grubwire). Candy thermometers also tend to be longer than meat thermometers, thus easier to stick into a hot pot of sugar or oil. In short: If you have a meat thermometer only, you'll probably fine, but a candy thermometer is ideal.

Start making this scrumptious halva recipe

First, cut the parchment paper to line the glass dish. Be sure to spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray, as it will make getting the halvah out of the dish much easier! If you don't have non-stick spray, you can lightly grease the parchment paper with cooking oil and then dab it with a paper towel. Then, pour the tahini into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and pistachios, and mix thoroughly.

Heat up the sugar

Next, pour the sugar and water into the small pot, and begin to stir with the silicone spatula. Once the mixture has turned from cloudy to clear, put your candy thermometer in the pot. Stop stirring, and let the sugar mixture reach 250 F. Once that happens, take the pot off the stove right away, and pour the sugar mixture into the tahini mixture. Be sure to continuously stir as you pour so that the mixture is uniform. The mixture will gradually start to thicken. This is the one part of the recipe that, according to Olayinka, is pretty tricky. "Be careful not to burn the sugar," she says. "Also, when the sugar is coming out of the pot, work fast because the sugar hardens quickly when it cools down."

Put the halva in the freezer

Now that you have your halva mixture, all that's left to do is put it in the prepared glass dish, and then put that dish in the freezer. After about 30 minutes, take the halva out of the freezer, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and enjoy! Halva is delicious all on its own, but it also makes a great ice cream topping (via Chowhound). Assuming that you have any leftovers, you should keep them in a dry and cool place. It doesn't need to be stored in the refrigerator (via Seed + Mill).

Crunchy Halva Recipe
5 from 10 ratings
The scrumptious halva recipe has a crunchy twist, and it is surprisingly simple to make at home.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Photo of halva
Total time: 45 minutes
  • 3 sprays of nonstick spray
  • 1 cup tahini
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  1. Line a glass container with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray.
  2. Pour the tahini into a mixing bowl, followed by the salt and pistachios.
  3. Pour the sugar and water into a small pot, turn the stove up to medium-high heat, and begin stirring the sugar and water mixture with a silicone spatula.
  4. Once the mixture has turned from cloudy to clear, place the candy thermometer inside the pot.
  5. Stop stirring and allow the candy thermometer to go up to 250 F.
  6. Once it has reach this temperature, take off the stove immediately.
  7. Pour the sugar mixture into the tahini slowly. Continuously stir the tahini mixture to avoid lumps.
  8. Once the mixture has thickened, place into the lined container and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  9. After 30 minutes has passed, take out of the freezer, get a sharp knife, and cut the halva into bitesized squares. Then, enjoy!
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