What Country Invented Baklava?

The heavenly dessert, baklava, is common in many Mediterranean countries such as Greece or Turkey. Most people believe it originated from Greece after traveling to the area during vacation.

However, many historians agree that baklava was invented in the sultan's palace in Turkey.  In fact, there was a tradition where trays of baklava were prepared for the Janissary on the 15th of Ramadan.

This ceremony coined the name "Baklava Alayi" and the acceptance of these trays by high ranking janissaries indicated the satisfaction of their pay and work conditions, while rejecting them indicated otherwise. Ever since its origin, baklava was considered a luxury dessert, which was mainly prepared for special occasions and gifting purposes, similar to what we see today in many countries. 

Baklava Ayali Tradition; source: dailysabah.com

The Ottoman Empire stretched wide and reached Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, explaining why this divine dessert was adapted in those regions. Each country tweaked the recipe to fit its own unique cuisine and regional resources and nuts. In Libya, for example, almonds are common and it might be why we commonly use this nut in the Libyan baklava.  

The beautiful thing about baklava is...there's no "right way" of preparing it, given all the cultural difference. We can't complain, though, since this gives us baklava fans plenty of varieties to test out and enjoy! 


Al-Sharif, Dima. “Ottoman Baklava.” Dima Al Sharif, 16 July 2017, https://www.dimasharif.com/recipes/ottoman-baklava/. 

“Baklava.” Baklava - New World Encyclopedia, https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Baklava.