How to Make Turkish Delight (from ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’)

Join us as we meander through the forests of Narnia and learn how to make an enchanting Turkish Delight recipe.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

"The Lion the Witch and the wardrobe" and a plate of Turkish delightsvia, Lauren Habermehl for taste of home

For many, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is likely the only exposure they’ve had to the sweet confection known as a Turkish Delight. As a child, you may have thought the candy came straight from the imagination of C.S. Lewis.

However, this Turkish confection is very real. And best yet: You can make it right in your kitchen like these other homemade candies.

Now, let’s travel to Narnia (AKA your kitchen) to learn how to make these treats. And if you need to make a detour to check out these 12 recipes inspired by classic novels, that’s OK with us!

What is a Turkish Delight?

A Turkish delight, also known as lokum (pronounced low-COOM) is a confectionary treat that originated in the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey) in the 18th century with early variations dating back to the 15th-century Persian empire.

Today, these sweet little cubes can be found at markets and confectioners in Istanbul and throughout Turkey. You can even buy them on Amazon.

Dusted in cornstarch and powdered sugar, the most common flavor for Turkish Delight (as seen in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) is rose. However, they can also be lemon, orange, pomegranate or even chocolate. Some Turkish Delights also can be filled with nuts or dried fruit (walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios) or rolled in coconut or finely chopped nuts.

Why Turkish Delights?

Turkish Delights may seem like a rather random request from Edmund to the White Witch. However, given the time period that C.S. Lewis grew up in, it’s not surprising that this enchanting treat worked its way into the pages of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which was published in 1950.

C.S. Lewis grew up in Late Victorian England when imports of this special Turkish treat began appearing on shelves in London (along with Victorian fruitcake).

It is believed that this sweet indulgence, likely held a special nostalgia for C.S. Lewis and was something he sorely missed while writing the Chronicles of Narnia. The Chronicles were written in post-wartime Europe where sugar and sweets were difficult to obtain since they continued to be rationed through 1953. (Don’t miss these other vintage World War II recipes.)

How to Make Turkish Delight

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 01 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

As wisely stated by Aslan the lion, “All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think.”

Turkish delights are not quick or easy to make. Follow the directions carefully, have patience, and, in time, you’ll be rewarded.

This recipe makes 36 (1-inch) cubes.


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2-3/4 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 1/8 teaspoon of gel red food color

For Coating

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


Step 1: Combine

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 02 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, whisk together the sugar, citric acid and 3/4 cup of water.

Editor’s Tip: We recommend using a Dutch oven with a light-colored interior since it will greatly help in judging the color of the mixture as it cooks. This is important for getting the consistency just right.

Step 2: Heat to Hard Ball Stage

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 04 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

Bring the mixture to a low boil then reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture reaches 250°F. You’re looking for the syrup to reach what’s known as the “hard ball” stage in candy making. It should take about 20-25 minutes to achieve this temperature.

Editor’s Tip: If you do not own one, definitely invest in a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer for this recipe. It’s absolutely necessary in order to avoid candy-making mistakes. The syrup needs to be heated to the perfect temperature to ensure the final texture of the Turkish delights is correct once they’re set.

Step 3: Whisk

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 05 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

In a glass measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch and remaining 2 cups of water together until fully dissolved.

Once the syrup hits 250°F, remove the pot from the heat and whisk the cornstarch mixture into the syrup until fully incorporated.

Step 4: Thicken

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 06 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

Return the pot to the stovetop over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Step 5: Cook

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 07 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

Reduce the heat to low, so the mixture is just barely simmering. Let cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 5 to 6 minutes to keep the mixture smooth and prevent it from clumping.

Step 6: Prepare Mold

While the mixture cooks, lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 7×5-inch rectangular glass container (like a Pyrex) with vegetable oil.

Editor’s Tip: In testing, we also tried out a 1-inch square silicone ice cube tray. This worked fantastically for molding the Turkish delights into perfectly even cubes and omitted the need for cutting with a knife.

Step 7: Check color and consistency

Around the 1 hour and 15 minutes mark, start keeping a close eye on the color and consistency of the mixture. It is ready when it becomes thick, gelatinous and is a medium-light shade of gold. For us, this happened around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Yours, however, may be ready sooner or need longer depending on the pan you are using and the heat output of your burner.

Step 8: Add color and flavoring

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 08 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the food coloring and rose water.

Editor’s Tip: If rose is not your favorite flavor, you can swap the rose water and red food coloring for orange or lemon extract, and either orange or yellow food coloring. A bit of lemon zest or orange zest makes a nice addition too.

Step 9: Pour

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 09 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

Transfer the mixture to your prepared mold, spreading it into an even layer. Let the mixture cool and rest at room temperature until it is fully set, about 3 hours or overnight for best results.

Step 10: Unmold

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 10 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

Dust the top of the molded Turkish delight with a bit of cornstarch. Then, run a knife around the edge of the mold to loosen the slab. Carefully lift the candy from the container and place it on a clean surface dusted with cornstarch. Cut into 1-inch cubes using a lightly oiled sharp knife.

Editor’s Tip: If using an ice cube mold, dust the top of the cubes with cornstarch and then gently unmold each cube onto a cornstarch-dusted surface.

Step 11: Coat

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 11 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

In a shallow bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar (try making your own) and cornstarch. Roll each cube through the mixture until evenly coated on all sides.

Step 12: Enjoy

Turkish Delights 012022 Toh 14 Lauren Habermehl For Toh JveditLauren Habermehl for taste of home

Arrange on a platter and serve with Turkish coffee or hot tea.

You can store Turkish delights in a covered container in the fridge with additional cornstarch and powdered sugar dusted over them for up to 10 days. Allow the candies to come to room temperature before serving.

Where to Watch ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’

Forget the wardrobe. A batch of these Turkish Delights and a subscription to Disney+ is all you need to be transported straight to Narnia. Just look out for the White Witch. We hear she too is partial to a freshly made Turkish Delight!

Our Favorite Homemade Candy Recipes
1 / 66

Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.