Dondurma Delight: Exploring Turkey’s Irresistible Dessert and a Homemade Recipe

Turkey, known for its rich cultural tapestry and delectable cuisine, offers a sweet treat that has captivated taste buds for centuries – dondurma. Often referred to as Turkish ice cream, dondurma is not your typical frozen dessert. In this article, we’ll delve into the history and characteristics of dondurma, and I’ll share a delightful homemade dondurma recipe for you to recreate this Turkish delicacy in the comfort of your kitchen.


Dondurma: A Turkish Delight with a Twist

  1. History and Origins: Dondurma traces its roots back to the early Ottoman Empire, where it was initially enjoyed by the royal court. Over the centuries, this unique frozen dessert made its way to the bustling streets of Turkey, becoming a beloved part of the country’s culinary heritage.
  2. Distinctive Characteristics: What sets dondurma apart from traditional ice cream is its elastic and chewy texture, attributed to two key ingredients: salep and mastic. Salep, a flour made from the tuber of the wild orchid, and mastic, a resin obtained from the mastic tree, lend dondurma its characteristic stretchiness, allowing it to be pulled, twisted, and served in a theatrical manner.
  3. Traditional Presentation: Dondurma vendors in Turkey often engage in playful interactions with customers, showcasing the dessert’s unique properties. The ice cream is skillfully stretched, twirled, and even molded into whimsical shapes before being served on a cone or in a cup.

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Homemade Dondurma Recipe


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salep powder (available in Middle Eastern or specialty stores)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mastic gum, finely crushed
  • Pistachios or other nuts for garnish (optional)


  1. Prepare Salep Mixture: In a small bowl, mix the salep powder with a little bit of the milk to create a smooth paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat Milk and Cream: In a saucepan, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, and sugar. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm but not boiling.
  3. Add Salep Paste: Gradually whisk the salep paste into the warm milk mixture. Continue to heat and stir until the mixture thickens, reaching a custard-like consistency. Be careful not to overheat or boil the mixture.
  4. Incorporate Mastic Gum: Add the finely crushed mastic gum to the mixture and continue stirring until it is well combined. The mastic gum should dissolve into the mixture.
  5. Cool and Churn: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight. Once chilled, churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Freeze and Serve: Transfer the churned dondurma to a lidded container, cover it, and freeze for an additional 4-6 hours or until firm. When ready to serve, scoop the dondurma onto cones or into bowls. Garnish with chopped pistachios or your favorite nuts if desired.

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Dondurma, with its unique texture and delightful presentation, is a culinary gem that encapsulates the charm of Turkish desserts. By preparing this homemade dondurma, you can embark on a culinary journey to Turkey, savoring the flavors of this beloved treat right in your own home. Enjoy the process of making and indulging in this delightful Turkish delight!