Arab Food and Drink That’ll Keep You Warm All Winter

Demetra Molocea 5/30/2023
Arab Culture

Believe it or not, winters can get pretty cold in parts of the Middle East. In fact, there are even regions of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon that see snow quite regularly.

So, what do most Arabs do in the winter to help keep them warm besides sitting around the soba (gas heater) praying for spring?

Well, during winter, hot drinks and hot food are always on the menu for staying warm in an Arab winter. Here are just a few of them:


Mousakhan is one of the most tasty winter Arabic food recipes you’ll ever eat. This Palestinian specialty contains layers of oil-soaked bread with chicken, pine-nuts, onions and sumac which adds a tart kick. Eaten, fresh from the oven, this is one of those hearty winter food traditions that’s sure to keep you warm.


Freekah is grain made from roasting the young, green grains of durum wheat. Because rice wasn’t always available in the region, it’s been a staple in Middle-Eastern cuisines for centuries. While it looks as fluffy and light as couscous, it has a smoky, nutty taste that is actually quite filling. As a result, you’ll it in many winter Middle Eastern recipes such as hearty chicken and vegetable stews.

Mujadara Loubieh

Speaking of stews, mujadara loubieh is one of the most hardcore Lebanese winter dishes you’ll ever eat. That’s because it’s got the boldest of flavors, yet it’s made with the simplest of ingredients. Kidney beans and bulgur are stewed in a caramelized onion sauce that creates a mouth-watering aroma and yummy taste. That’s it! All of the tasty goodness comes solely from the trifecta of flavors from the beans, bulgur and onions.

Shorbet Arabia

Of course, soup is another winter food staple of many cultures, and that includes Arabs. Shorbet adas (lentil soup) is perhaps the most well-known of soups for Arabs to make in the winter. (In truth, you’ll also often find it on the tables of many Muslim Arabs during Ramadan.) What’s more, Iraqis have a winter soup that’s truly their own called quba hammouth – a rather tasty and tangy meat dumpling soup.


Khobeizeh means “mallows” in Arabic and is actually the leaf of the malva (or musk mallow) plant. It’s harvested and eaten this time of year because it’s the only time they’re available.  (Seriously, in Jordan, you’ll often find cars parked on the side of the road, their occupants outside picking fresh khobeizeh.) The leaves are sautéed with onions in a dish also called khobeizeh, which is, of course, named after the leaves.  Khobeizeh is usually served with warm homemade pita bread and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Even better than it’s taste, Arabs swear by khobeizeh to help fight winter colds.


Kishik is a Lebanese delicacy made from yogurt and bulgur that’s fermented and dried, then ground into a coarse powder. Kishi is then used in manakish or eaten as soup with potatoes, meat or solely with garlic. Indeed, many Arabs enjoy it all winter long as a warming comfort food.


Finally, on the subject of wintry comfort food, there’s nothing that’ll make you feel quite as comfy cozy as sahlab. Sahlab is the dried powder made from orchid roots. Heated with milk, sugar and cinnamon this warm “Arab milkshake” is creamy wintry treat that’s famous among all Arabs.


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