Atayef (kataif or قطايف) are thin and lacy stuffed Arabic pancakes. What sets these pancakes apart is that they are cooked only on one side, the other side is velvety because it is covered with bubbles, this allows the flavors of the filling to permeate the atayef.  There are two types of atayef, regular and mini atayef (also known as atayef asafiri). The regular ones are usually stuffed with a cheese or nut filling, then they are sealed and baked or fried. Regular atayef are then served  drizzled with simple syrup.

Makes 30 medium sized atayef. 


For the batter

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (see note in red)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water (optional)
  • 3 cups of warm water (you may need 1/4 to 1/2 cup more- see notes)


  1. You can prepare the atayef mixture by placing all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisking them to insure that they are properly mixed.
  2. Add the water, oil and orange blossom water and whisk thoroughly until you get a thin homogeneous mix. You can also place the wet and dry ingredients in the blender and blend until you get a thin mix.
  3. Allow the batter to rest for  10 minutes
  4. Heat a non-stick pan, once the pan is hot, start pouring the atayef and lower the heat to medium low
  5. For small sized atayef, atayef asaferi, pour 1 tablespoon or 2 teaspoons of the batter. For medium sized atayef pour 2 tablespoons and for large atayef pour 1/4 cup of the batter.
  6. The atayef should start to bubble around the edges. 
  7. The bubbles should then spread to cover the entire surface.If your atayef are not covered with bubbles then this means your batter is too thick and you need to add more water. Do so in 1/4 cup additions, whisk and try again
  8. Wait until the atayef are done, you can tell by watching the surface. When it is no longer shiny.Then the atayef are done. The time depends on the size of the atayef, the small ones take about a minute, the big ones 2-3 minutes
  9. Take the atayef off the heat, place them on a clean kitchen towel and fold the towel over them to cover them. This step is very important as it will soften the atayef making them easier to stuff and seal and it will prevent them from splitting when you fill them.
  10. Continue pouring the atayef until you finish the entire amount.
  11. When your atayef cool you can either stuff them immediately or you can store them in a plastic bag that is well sealed or closed for a couple of hours and stuff them later. I would recommend that you don’t keep them un-stuffed for more than a couple of hours because if you do they will dry out and sealing them will become problematic.
  12. To store them in a plastic bag  arrange them so that the top bubbly surface touches that of another atayef and then layer them in the bag. 

How to stuff your Atayef

  • To stuff the atayef place 1-2 teaspoons of your desired filling and fold the atayef so that it forms a half moon and start sealing the edges by pressing them between your thumb and index. 
  • Make sure you do not over stuff them because that may cause them to open or burst during freezing or cooking.
  • Arrange your atayef on a flat plate or baking sheet and freeze them. Once frozen place them in a bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Chef tips: Make sure to cook the atayef over medium low heat. Cooking them over high heat will cause them to brown too quickly and that will dry them out. That will cause them to split when you fill them or they will reopen once you seal them because they are too dry

How to cook Atayef 

You can either fry the large atayef or bake them

To fry them: 

  • Place 1 cm of oil in a pan and heat it
  • Place the atayef in the pan and fry until the edges are golden brown and crisp
  • Flip the atayef over and cook until the opposite side is golden brown
  • Take the atayef out of the oil and dunk them in the simple syrup and then take them out and arrange them on serving plate. (Do not dunk them for more than a few seconds or else they will become soft and soggy. 

To bake them

  • Brush the atayef with melted butter or vegetable oil
  • Arrange them on a baking sheet
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C until golden and crisp
  • Drizzle with sugar syrup. 

Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rose water or orange blossom water (optional)
  • Place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a pot,bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minute
  • Turn off the heat and add the rosewater if using (you can use other flavoring agents to replace the rosewater like cinnamon, cardamom or orange peel). 

Ateyef filling suggestions

Cheese filling

  • 2 cups nabulsi cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
  • Cut the cheese into cubes and soak it  in water the night before, this will soften it and reduce the salt content. You can use ricotta  as a replacement

Almond filling

  • 2 cups toasted almonds, chopped or crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

To toast the almonds spread them on a baking sheet and place them in a preheated oven (200 C) for 5-7 minutes.

Turn off the heat and leave the almonds in the oven to cool. 

None traditional, but still yummy filling suggestions:  

  • Sauteed apples with sugar and cinnamon
  • Nutella
  • Nutella with bananas and hazelnuts

Thanks to Chef in Disguise for kindly donating this recipe. 

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