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Bint al sahn

UPDATED: This recipe has been updated on March, 10, 2013.Bint al Sahn is probably my absolute favorite Yemeni dish (along with shai haleeb). It is often translated as honey cake into English, but in reality I think it falls more under the category of a rich, flaky, bread with is served with honey and melted ghee. Like most breads, its best when it is fresh and warm. This recipe seems very simple in terms of the ingredients, however, it is not the easiest dish to make. For this reason, you rarely find in Yemeni restaurants and it is something which is most often made at home. The most important thing is that the layers need to be paper thin. In order to achieve this, the dough needs to be the right consistency and you also need to let the dough balls relax so that it becomes easy to toss them out. I have also found that using bread flour makes the process easier than using regular flour. Bread flour stretches easier without breaking. And if you dont get it right the first time, dont worry! As I said its a dish which is on the more difficult side to prepare and it becomes easier with practice.


Bint Al Sahn (Yemeni Honey Cake)

Dough Ingredients

4 cups of bread flour
4 eggs
1/4 cup of water + about 1/4 additional water, more or less
3/4 cup melted butter or ghee
1  tsp. salt
1  tsp. yeast
1/4 cup additional melted butter or ghee

Black cumin seeds or sesame seeds
1 Egg Yolk for the egg wash


How to make

  1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup water. Mix flour, 4 eggs, 3/4 cup butter, salt, and yeast/water mixture together and knead for 10-15 minutes by hand or using a mixer. At this point, add the extra water slowly until the dough is soft and smooth but does not stick to your hands. I used about 1/4 cup additional water but this may vary depending on the climate where you live. Alternatively, place ingredients in bread machine on dough cycle until well kneaded. Cover and let dough sit and relax for 10 minutes.

  2. Divide the dough in 8-10 pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball with your hands and place on a flat surface, coat lightly with oil and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

  3. Grease a 14-inch round cake pan (you can also use a 12 or 10-inch pan) and set aside. Take one dough ball and toss it out by hand or roll it out on clean flat surface until it is very thin and you can see through it. Place this layer into the bottom of the pan and drizzle with some melted butter.  Repeat this process for all 10 layers, each time adding a little bit of melted butter on top of each layer, except for the top layer.

  4. Brush the toplayer with one beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with black cumin seeds or sesame seeds.

  5. Place in preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 18-20 minutes or until cake is golden brown


How to make




it tast very nice

06.08.2012 Reply


I'm glad you like it - it's my favorite too!



I wanna try to make this; however whats the difference between softened butter and melted? I was looking at the recipe. It shows melted and softened. Thank you


08.04.2012 Reply


Hi, thanks for your comment. This recipes uses both softened and melted butter. Softened means at room temperature and melted means to heat the butter to a liquid. The softened butter is to use in the dough and the melted butter is to drizzle between the layers. I am going to make a new bettter quality video this week to show how to toss out the layers by hand



i try to make it but far from the one i use to eat back in yemen

10.22.2012 Reply


Hi, this looks so delicious! Thanks so much for posting this. I've had something similar in a yemeni restaurant, they called it "sabaya".  it was lots and lots of think layers like yours.  I was wondering if you add any honey or sweetner?

11.10.2012 Reply


You're welcome and I'm glad you like it. Yes both sabayah and bint as sahn has sweetener.



how much water do we need??? i tried it right now and it didnt come out the right way..are you sure its 2tbs of water?

i need help right now?

12.13.2012 Reply


I just saw your comment, sorry I couldn't help you in the moment. I usually add the water slowly 1 tbsp. at a time. It depends alot on the weather where you live, as humidity might alter the consistency of the dough a bit. The dough shouldn't be so sticky that you can't handle it with your hands. I will try to post a updated video on this to make it clearer.



Tq for the recipe, i've been searching for the recipe in English for ne to make it. I had it once I'm in Sanaa and kinnda love it so much!

03.11.2013 Reply


you're welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)



My children's getta taught me how to make this. My dughter is coming with my grand daughter for the month and we will fix all the foods she was raised on so her daughter can experince it.

04.08.2013 Reply


that's great, I hope the recipe turns out well for you. :)


عائشة محمد

انت رائعة في الوصف والأداء وصفات حلوة  


04.10.2013 Reply


This looks so good, does it taste similar to the treats we got in Astoria? Make it for me sometime please!! :)

04.22.2013 Reply


Sure I  will! It is  a little different those are more pastry like and this is more like a bread.



احب التعرف علي الاكلات

05.26.2013 Reply


05.26.2013 Reply


It is a great idea, I like what you are doing. I wana know what is the brand name of the flour please coz I thing it is the reason why I couldn't do it good;(

06.02.2013 Reply


thanks for your question

what part are you having trouble with?

If it is rolling out the  dough, I would say that first to make sure the dough is the right consistency, not to dry or too wet. Second, it is very important to let the dough relax before rolling it out, as this softens it. I use bread flour, usually pillsbury or gold medal but the brand doesn't really matter.

hope this helps, Katherine



Hello, I ate this  more than 15 years ago in a mountain village, a three hours drive from Sadaah. I still remember the wonderful taste and the lovely people. Thanks for your recipe. You have amazing photos and the videos are superb. Love to listen to them in Arabic, makes me wanting to go to Yemen again. Thank you for your time and energy and ideas to go into this blog.

06.08.2013 Reply


thanks for your comment, i'm glad you liked the website :)




I am an associate editor at Egypt Today, Egypt's premiere English lifestyle magazine. We're doing a piece about alternative Ramadan desserts and I stumbled upon Bint Al Sahn. I was wondering if you would allow us to use your picture of the dessert in the magazine with full credit to you and a link to your recipe and blog? Please contact me at rromero [at] ibaegypt [com].

06.13.2013 Reply


I'll try to make today :) .. Thanks for the recipe

07.21.2013 Reply

حسام أحمد

 طريقة رائعه وسهله واسلوب رائع وتحضير بطريقه عصريه وأكل لذيذ أنتي رائعه .


08.03.2013 Reply


Is this the same as sabaya.

08.04.2013 Reply


some parts of yemen they call this sabaya yes



Hi.. Quick question.. If i wanted more layers would I perhaps double the recipe or how much more flour do I have to add? Thanks :)

08.07.2013 Reply


hi thanks for your comment sorry for taking a while to respond. If you want to make more layers you could (1) make more but just try to roll them out thinner - you can see mine are thin but to be honest they could be thinner (2) or you could use a smaller pan and do more layers- say a 10 or 12 inch pan (3) if you wanted to increase the dough to make some more you could add more flour and water (just make sure to keep the right consistency - not to sticky or too dry) -  I would say about  up to 1 cup more flour and enough water

You could also double the recipe but I think it would make way too much (unless of course you have a very big family or party)

Also have you tried making this before? Thinning out each of the layers takes a significant amount of time and some practice. Not to discourage you but just a word of caution :) good luck



I'm Iranian and I was heard about it from one of my Arabian friend. I'm gonna bake it so I can surprise my friend. Thank you.

10.22.2013 Reply


I'm yemeni living in uae ,and I love this dish I've tasted only for once in my life in my relative's house

but I didnt try to do it , cause first I dont know how ,second alot of people told me that it's hard to do it

thank you cuase you showed it easy, and I'll do tomorrow for sure 

by the way, I'm happy that you are cooking yemeni food very well in and speaking arabic too :)


wish you the best 

02.20.2014 Reply


Bint al Sahn is James' favorite dish! I made it with pistachios once and it was similar to the more familiar Baklava.

03.04.2014 Reply


You should do treat and cookies for eid food what to cook in rid

03.07.2014 Reply


Can you try to make more tabigs recipes I know there are many tabigs and just starting to cook I'm a mess of cook but I like to learn more also what people eat in aid and in the month of Ramadan can you post more deserts like basbusa I buy them in the store near by but I don't Know how to make them thank for ur videos

03.08.2014 Reply


I just made this Bint Al Sahn recipe with my Girl Scout Brownie troop for World Thinking Day, where we presented information about Yemen and served a traditional Yemeni food. Many of the girls liked it so much they wanted to recipe to make with their families! Thank you for having these recipes available on-line.

03.16.2014 Reply


I have been trying to learn how to make Bint Al Sahn for some time now. I am spanish and my husband is yemeni and he absolutely loves this dish, i made this recipe twice already and has come out great! thank you for your videos they are very descriptive and easy to follow. I will definately try making more of your yemeni recipes once again thank you!

09.02.2014 Reply


Hi there I just tried to make this twice and the top keeps coming out hard as a rock ? Any suggestions ? Thanks

11.13.2014 Reply


i like its favorite recipe my mom cook this recipe ever single week and i talk some to my english teacher and they like it

11.14.2014 Reply


My favorite dish as well

11.23.2014 Reply


god bless you Habibti

الله يبارك فيكي حبيبتي

02.08.2015 Reply


Salam, you use fresh yeasts or dried ones? Jzk

07.12.2015 Reply


good blog

07.15.2015 Reply


I tried this receipe and the layers came out bread like and not like the regular consistency of a bint al sahn. I used all purpose flour instead of bread flour and left the dough out for 2 hours ....could that be a possible reason why my receipe failed ?

06.20.2016 Reply



06.21.2016 Reply


Can you use plain flour for this

08.21.2017 Reply


can you make it the night before and cook it the following day?

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