SnarkDreams Shisha Exports

The Search for a Homemade Shisha Recipe

I get many inquires on how to make shisha at home. I have never had a need to make it nor the chance to do much experimenting. I know that the ingredients are tobacco, molasses, and fruit flavors. To date, the search is being conducted most extensively by Joe R. [last name withheld by request]. His verbatim, "working-note" emails follow below. You can reach him at Also, if you have any advice or suggestions or experiences to share, you can email me at

From: Joe R. 14 Jan 2001

I want to make my own shisha and i have not been able to find any recipes for it. if you have any or ever come across any please write me. i have molasses and some flavors to try but i dont know the amounts of what to use with what or what tabacco to use. thanks


From: Joe R. 15 Jan 2001

thanks for your help i tried mixing some molasses with vanilla and some sir walter raleigh regular pipe tobacco and i think i put way too much vanila into it becasue it smelled like shit. and i threw it out. I am going to try with mango tomorow and i will tell you how that came out. if you have any other ideas for me to try i would love to hear it. i think that i am going to use honey instead of molasses on this next one. okay thanks


From: Joe R. 15 Jan 2001

Well i guess i am writting you again to give you another update on my shisha experiment. I know i just wrote you an hour ago but since then i have made a decently important discovery. I attempted to make honey flavored tobacco. I mixed 2.5g of tobacco with 9g of honey. the mixture looked and smelled very promising. When i first stroked the bowl the flavor was very good and i thought that i had made a good recipe. well after smoking for about 5-10 min the honey flavor went away and it became just pipe tobacco in the bowl, which to say was very harsh. not as good as when i started but the tabacco still tasted good. What i learned upon completion of smoking was that the honey melted under the high heat and dripped down the bowl into the neck of the pipe and that was why the taste left. Well i will write you when i try again. If you want feel free to post any of my e-mails it may induce more people to write in with what they have discovered. thanks


From: Joe R. 16 Jan 2001

you made some good points thanks. i will try mixing a straight bowl of just molasses tonight and smoke it for science's sake. i thought about adding some sugar to the honey and figured that when sugar burns it smells nasty so i decided to skip that idea. corn starch seems like the best idea now but i have to wait until i get some old paychecks in the mail to fund that trial. ya its the hard college life, cant afford corn starch its sad. Well i'll keep you updated no problem and you can post my e-mail if you want. you may want to run spell check across my letters before posting them becasue this e-mail system IU uses does not have spell check on it. thanks


From: Joe R. 19 Jan 2001

Okay it has been a while since my last update and i have alot to announce. I have done a lot of experimenting and i have reached a conclusion. i will explain in greater detail now. My attempts to make new flavors has taken me to a wide range of new and interesting ideas. I have made chocolate shisha, plain molasses, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and honey. I have had different levels of success with these ranging from dumping the shisha to making more batches to smoke again and again. The best way to make shisha is to use fresh fruit and mash it up. Mix it with rolling tobacco and a little molasses. After stiring these together it should have the same consistancy as regular shisha. Pineapple has turned out the best with a strong flavor that tastes wonderful. Chocolate was kind of a bomb, it didnt work to well and the taste was only so-so. I have cranberry sauce salad stuff that i mixed up and i have not tried it yet but i think it will work out pretty well. The main problem with these is that the water drips through the bowl and may make your hooka sticky. Be Careful and use caution if mixing your own shisha.

After these experiances i think that i will table the homemade shisha and work on trying out some other things like new stuff in the bottle. Tonight we used milk in our bottle. Several things came from this: 1) The milk started to bubble up the hose. 2) The smoke was alot thicker (good thing) 3) It made my bottle smell like ass. 4) It increased the taste of the strawberry tobacco that we were smoking.

You must weigh these options out before trying it yourself be forwarned.

We also used strawberry flavored milk with our strawberry shisha which tasted really good. just be careful because if the hose kinda clogs that means that a milk bubble is coming up the hose. You need to back off of the hose or you will end up with a mouthful of gross tasting milk.

Tomorow i am going to run a few more trials with different alcohol placed in the bottle. i will update as soon as my hangover goes away on sunday.

Goodluck everyone


From: Joe R. 23 Jan 2001

It's been a long weekend for me and I have some news to relate about our smoking experiences. Although i got very frustrated with my past failed attempts at creating shisha i have never the less continued attempting to create shisha that rivals El Bashi. I have not tried any new flavors then what i have already posted but i have tried new methods.

What i have found that works the best is to take fresh fruit that is full of juice and to smash it as small as you can and break it apart. If it is a heavy fiberish fruit like pineapple make sure its broken apart well. Take your broken apart fruit and place it in a small bowl and slowly begin mixing in tobacco. (see end of this letter for tobacco types) Mix it together until all of the tobacco has attached itself onto the fruit and you can barely see any fruit left in the bowl. If you add too much tobacco add more fruit to even it out. Now add some LIGHT syrup Molasses. Mind you not a lot, about a tea spoon i think is all it takes. Mix this together untill the substance gets sticky and it's well bound together. If you add too much molasses the fruit flavor will get drowned out so be careful. Molasses is needed to get the burning correct. Okay so now you have your shisha and it is ready to smoke. Head this warning!! The molasses may drip down through the bowl and may get messy be forwarned.

Now the tobacco that can be used. I tried buying some cheap cigaretes and using that tobacco but it really did taste horrible after some of the fruit burned away and towards the end of the bowl. I believe that the ultimate tobacco would be an unflavored pipe tobacco. I bought some as i said in an earlier letter but it had a strong flavor to it that was not to my liking and it overpowered everything else that i mixed it with.

My newest experiment this weekend was with different types of alcohol in the bottle. First i mixed about 3 shots of Jack Daniel's with water in the bottle. It made the smoke soo much thicker that the change was very noticable and worth doing every time. Next we mixed 3/4 captain morgan with 1/4 water and it was even better. When this is done there is a small flavor change in the tobacco and it is very good. After this we walked around the dorm asking everyone what sort of alcohol they had and if we could try it. (By this time we were all feeling pretty buzzed from the alcohol in the bottle. No we didn't drink it, be smoking it you get a buzz and eventually drunk.) We were able to try Bacardi Limon, Skky Vodka, Southern Comfort, and only because by this time we were plastered Natty Ice. I am not sure of the effects of the natty ice but i think it was positive. Okay this was a large update and i think i will end it here. When new things are attempted i will update again. Please write me at [] if you have any ?s or coments.

Joe R

From: Joe R. 30 Jan 2001.
(SD Note: This email is not really related to the recipe search. It is general good advice, however, especially after the last email about alcohol and shisha.)

Hi again. I have an update for you now that should be very informative for all hooka smokers. Over the past 4 months that we have been smoking hooka it was inevitable that some ignoramus would call the police because they thought we were smoking weed or doing something illegal. Well that has happened numerous times, one of the Resident Assistants thought we were smoking a crack pipe on the breezeway and called the police on us. Well after four or five officers came to arrest us we informed them on what we were doing they said enjoy youreslves and walked away. The next day we all had to sit down with the building manager and explain everything about hookas to him, but it was a good thing because now he will occasionaly join us for a bowl. What i feel that everyone should know is that as long as you are not mixing marijuana with ths shisha and are not putting alcohol in the bottle there is nothing illegal about smoking hooka.

Illegal Substance: Make sure that if you do smoke something besides shisha that your bowl is well cleaned as well as the neck and bottle. Any resin left in the hooka could be found if it were to be confiscated and tested it will show up and you will be busted. I suggest using goo-gone or some similar product. Placing in boiling water works well too but it will leave a ring or resin in your pot and scrubing it out is alot of work.

Illegal: If alcohol is used in your bottle make sure you are either 21 years old or not about to get caught. By placing alcohol in your bottle you will end up getting the alcohol into your system in the form of smoke. This WILL show up on a breathelizer test. Alcohol takes certain enzymes out of your mouth and the test measures your mouth for those. Alcohol in your bottle will raise your B.A.C. and it will show up.

Story time: We have over the course of our hooka smoking, come to know the patrol officer of our dorm on a name basis. Officer Eric Mayo is a cool guy who at first was suspicous of our socially awkward habit but after explaining to him he has become a friend of ours and will shoot the shit with us when he has late night duty. We have heard some great stories about his heroic rescues of people glueing their hair to thier shoulder or falling out of a tree while looking into a soroity house. He jokes around with us and is a cool guy. I guess the reason for explaining this is that when smoking hooka in public, police are bound to show up at sometime. Keep your stuff clean and be nice and polite. We were peaceful to Officer Mayo and in turn he doesn't harass us and even keeps us company on cold nights when he is stuck on foot patrol. Be nice to cops and they will leave you alone.


From: Joe R. 02 Mar 2001.

We have made a moderatly great discovery in hooka smoking yesterday. well actually 3 things.

1) in NO form will you be able to make peanutbutter Shisha. It turned out tasting horrible and left a nasty flavor to my hookah that took over an hour to clean out with steaming hot water.

2)Grape Jelly doesnt work. Unless you can thin it out somehow we just end up with a globber and no smoke gets through the bowl. No moving of tobacoo or messing around with extra ingrediants would make it worth while to smoke. Pinneapple is still the best i have made.

And 3) If anyone else has ever had the problem of getting a cherry in your bowl (for people who dont smoke anything else a cherry is what happens when the "tobacco" catches on fire) and making your bowl taste all burned and nasty. well a solution for this is aluminum foil. yes i know 95% of you use that but not in this way. place a square of it covering the bowl and punch a handful of medium holes evenly spread around. next fold a peice of foli into a long strip, take this strip and make it into a circle and set it around the outer ring of the bowl. Then cover this with another sheet of foil and punch some small and medium holes only towards the center. this will cause the heat to come directly down from the coal but then get spread out among the shisha burning it perfectly evenly and at the correct temp. you can pack the phattest bowl you want amd as long as your coal is hot it will keep going. --Note-- there is a downside to this. sometimes it will reduce the thickness and depth of the smoke drawn from the hooka. suggested remedies is alcohol or sex. (sex? its always a remedy)

Enjoy everyone and i will have more when i figure out how to build a distiler and keep it on the DL so i can brew my Absinthe. Its good shit look into it.

Joe R

From: Joe R. 07 Mar 2001.

Well I have found that pipe tobacco can work well for making shisha but I have come across a few problems with it.

1) Most of the pipe tobacco is strongly flavored What this means is that no matter what you marinate with it there will still be that taste of pipe tobacco.

2) It is more expensive then regular tobacco I have found that either buying dirt cheap cigarettes and cutting them open to use thier tobacco can work or buying rolling tobacco can also work well

3)The taste of pipe tobacco mixed with molasses does not come out very well. I would suggest using light molasses in any event but the taste of it will overpower the fruit you use if you but too much in.

What I think the best thing to use is Drum rolling tobacco, another brand that worked well is American Spirit Natural Long Cut. This is very hard to find and may have to be special ordered in some areas. I would suggest Drum because it is a good tasting cheap tobacco. The only down side to it is that it is very dry so you need to marinate it for a little so that it will simmer under the charcol and not burn. If you can get just raw tobacco that would be good to use too. Try messing around with different things and keep us updated here with how your expirements go. Try using fresh fruit first, make sure it is chopped very fine, almost to the point of being minced. Keep the juices that the fruit has and mix that with the tobacco too. I heard that is you line a cigar box with tin foil and let your shisha marinate in there that it will come out good. I have not tried it. I just use little styrofoam cups and I mix everything together with a fork. Add the molasses last to the tobacco after the fruit has saturated the tobacco so that there is a stronger fruit flavor over molasses.

Good luck with whatever you try.

Joe R

From: Jared Paul. 15 Apr 2001.

hehe, i've tried making pineapple a few months ago using canned pineapple (i know, that was probably my first mistake) + plain shisha from Nakhla. the plain stuff, tastes *eh* to me. ok no, it tastes gross to me. the pineapple mix tasted like crap. i'm thinking it's because the stuff was tobacco-molasses(because it came with it already on)-then fruit, and your successes seem to be tobacco-FRUIT-molasses . . . like, in the order of inside to outside per sliver of the stuff.

From: Chuck Warner. 1 Oct 2001.

I read your notes on shisha with great interested, and started experimenting myself.

I discovered, while reading a article on the health effects of shisha, that it is made by cooking fruit and tobacco (not simply soaking/marinating).

I recently got some favorable results with a banana shisha. I cooked 2 whole banana's and about 15 grams of tobacco (I used a mixture of Drum, and Drum mild).. till it reached a good consistancy... then added some molasses.

The result was a bit too googey, but had the right taste (like when you lick your fingers after loading a bowl).

So I decided to cook it some more. I got a bit carried away however and added some more Molasses. I was using molasses suger (ie.. solid at room temp) and this time after letting it cool the result was solid. However it did burn! and did taste of banana... a bit tobaccoey still, but definately banana.

I am going to try again with apple.. .however I am going to get some liquid molasses from a health store I spotted yesterday, and cook it just a little bit less than last time. I will try to determine some way of telling when the mixture is ready.

I think better results could be had with leafier tobacco, but unfortunately I wouldn't know where to start in getting some.

I hope you are still experimenting and carrying on with your search, and that this helps. Please keep me informed.


From: Thomas Platt. 12 Oct 2001.

I've looked through your page on homemade shisha, and found that people aren't sure as to the type of tobacco to use. First, many of the older people in Turkey prefer the "old fashioned" way of smoking a nargile using just "Turkish Tobacco" while the flavored forms popular among many of the younger people was introduced from Egypt. Both use "Turkish" tobacco as their base. There are two types of tobacco: the milder Nicotiana tabaccum, and the rather harsh N. rustica. The former is used in most cigarettes, due to the fact that the latter would make you wish you were dead if you inhaled it straight. Some brands blend both types of course, such as Camel cigarettes, etc. For any good pipe or nargile tobacco you want the latter (N. rustica-"Turkish"tobacco) for its fuller flavor, etc. Many companies carry seeds, and tobacco is very easy to grow. After that, air-cure it (or flue cure or fire cure it if you have the resources to build a curing barn), add your molasses+flavor, let it sit, smoke it.

From: Drew. 2 Apr 2002.

In regards to the search for a homemade shisha letter from T.Platt. Nicotiana rustica is not Turkish tobacco.

SD Note: After quite a bit of research, both online and off, I'm not sure which is true. "Turkish tobacco" is identified as N. tabacum about as frequently as it is used to refer to N. rustica. There is indeed a great variety in N. tabacum strains, and these are usually what we smoke. N. rustica is certainly the harsher species. But whether "Turkish tobacco" refers to a certain strain of N. tabacum or to N. rustica seems to depend on the author.

From: Griff. 10 Mar 2004.

Hey thanx for this great resource. I've just started experimenting and have used this page; it's great. There hasn't been any posts for a while. So here goes. I've tried using Joker roll your own tobacco, which gives a great taste. I'm cooking the honey and candy extract (rootbeer flavored: it's what was handy) til it simmers and then add the tobacco until it reaches the right consistancy. I think I need to add more extract because there really was no flavor to the tobacco. I'm also going to try the pineapple because of the success people have had with it.

From: Zeashan, NC. 11 Mar 2005.

Here's an apple recipe I've used.


20% apples by weight
80% tobacco by weight


  1. Cut the apples in 4ths and core them.
  2. Throw them in a food processor if you have one, or just chop the hell out of them with a knife. You do not want an even consistency, or you'll have apple sauce. You just want pieces of apples that are finely cut.
    Option: You may not want to cook the apples. I've found that it works better when I cook it, but others who have tried it just prefer to let the apples dry out or remove water through some kind of press or alternative means.
  3. Throw the apple mixture into a medium saucepan and let it simmer till a good deal of moisture from the fruit is burned off. This part is somewhat subjective and you'll have to play around with it to get it right.
  4. Let the mixture cool down. Add tobacco and 1 teaspon (per 3 apples is what I do) of molasses & glycerine each. The glycerine and molasses help for slow even burning.
  5. If you want to add preservatives, do so at your own risk, I never bother since I usually smoke what I make that night or the night after, so there's no risk of it going bad.
  6. Enjoy.

From: Dave. 10 Jan 2007.

We actually did it, well kinda lol. This works, but you need to start it off. We used a very small amount of Mint shisha tobacco on the top, but once it has burnt off, our home made stuff works like a bomb :-D

TruFruit Bar 33g (A dried fruit bar produced in South Africa, mostly fruit with a little Sulpher Dioxide as a preservative)
Natural Un - Processed Tobacco (I got 800 grams for about R18-00 = $2-25) Have to cut it up lol
Vital Superior Grade Molasses (Dark)

We used your same receipe, 80% tobacco to 20% fruit mix with quite a generous helping of dark molasses. The mixture is very sticky, mixed it is a small fruit bag. put it this way, when you try and open the plastic bag, it rips cause of the stickyness. Not sure how else to explain it. :)

Another thing we did is made a mix with fresh apple (skinned and crushed quite fine, with a little crushed, fresh garden mint. Same quantities, 80% tobacco to 20 % fruit. used a little syrup with the molasses,works pretty well..

Try adding a peppermint sweet to the water specially if yor tobacco doesn't have much flavour.

We found out that wet tobacco doesn't work so well, so try remove or squeaze out as much liquid as you can.

From: J. 28 Oct 2009.

Seemed you havent updated the page in awhile, just wanted to share that when I made some, it was very dry and sticky compared to actual shisha tobacco, and you might want to add that the recipe of 80% apple to 20% tobacco should be calculated AFTER cooking the fruit, as it loses alot of weight in the boiling simmering down process.

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SD Consortium : SnarkDreams Shisha Exports
Last Edited: 28 Oct 2009
©2001 by Z. Tomaszewski.