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Bouza Ala Haleeb (Lebanese Ice Cream) Recipe

Bouza Ala Haleeb (Lebanese Ice Cream) Recipe

Bouza Ala Haleeb is a traditional Lebanese ice cream made from milk or cream, sugar, mastic and salep. The ingredients are mixed together then slowly heated up until the mixture is thick.

It is then churned in an ice cream maker, or if preparing it by traditional method, the cream is chilled then mixed then chilled again, repeating this step until it has an ice cream consistency.

Mastic is a dried resin from the pistacia lentiscous plant also known as the mastic tree which is indigenous to the Mediterranean. Besides its medicinal purposes, it is used as a flavoring which is described as slightly sweet and somewhat similar to licorice.

Salep is derived from wild orchids and is used as a thickener. Since this ingredient is not easy to find, cornstarch is a suitable substitute.

Due to the salep, the ice cream has a chewy texture, an unusual quality compared to other ice creams. Orange or rose blossom water, ashta or topped with pistachios are traditional flavoring. Recently, more unique flavors have been created such as avocado.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Bouza Ala Haleeb is also known as Arabic ice cream. It comes from an older type of ice cream called Bouzet al Da. The ingredients are the same but Bouzet al Da contains a higher quantity of mastic and salep.

This in addition to being pounded creates a thick and very chewy ice cream. Bouzet al Da is the more traditional Arabic ice cream but Bouza Ala Haleeb is more popular and thus easier to find.

Bouza Ala Haleeb served in a bowl

Lebanese Bouza Ala Haleeb Recipe

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes

Bouza Ala Haleeb is a traditional Lebanese ice cream. It is made from milk or cream, sugar, mastic and salep.


  • Cream - 1½ cups
  • Milk - 2½ cups
  • Sahlab - 1 tbsp or Cornstarch - ¼ cup
  • Mastic - ¼ tsp
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Orange Blossom Water - 1 tbsp


  1. Whisk together the sugar, mastic and sahlab.
  2. Place in a pot.
  3. Slowly pour in the milk and cream into the pot while whisking.
  4. Turn on to medium heat
  5. Still whisking, heat the mixture until just before boiling. It should be very thick.
  6. Remove from the heat and whisk in the orange blossom water.
  7. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, whisk well and place in the freezer for thirty minutes.
  9. Remove and whisk again, and replace in the freezer for 30 minutes more.
  10. Once again remove from the freezer and this time using a spatula, mix and fold over ice cream. Repeat this procedure until the mixture reaches a frozen ice cream consistency.
  11. Place in an airtight container and place in the freezer.
  12. To serve, scoop into a ball and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 42mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 0gSugar: 23gProtein: 3g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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