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Greek Holiday Cookies

Koulourakia are a traditional treat in Greece, where they are usually made for Easter and other celebrations. I enjoy making these buttery, golden Greek cookies to keep me in touch with my heritage. —Nicole Moskou, New York, New York
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch
  • Makes
    6-1/2 dozen


  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add 2 eggs; beat well. Beat in orange juice and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  • Roll dough into 1-1/4-in. balls. Shape each into a 6-in. rope; fold in half and twist twice. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • In a small bowl, beat the remaining 2 eggs; brush over dough. Bake at 350° for 7-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks.

Koulourakia Recipe Tips

What is a koulourakia cookie?

These cookies are a traditional Greek food, and they aren't overly sweet. Expect a light crunch and tender crumb with hints of vanilla and orange.

What are other types of Greek cookies?

Greek cuisine has no shortage of sweet indulgences. Try kourabiedes, which are Greek butter cookies, or melomakarona, which are made with cinnamon, walnuts, Cognac and orange zest. For even more sweet international treats, check out these other Christmas cookies from around the world.

What variations can I try for this koulourakia recipe?

This koulourakia recipe uses baking powder and baking soda instead of traditional ammonia baking powder, which you can order online or find at Greek or Middle Eastern grocers. You can add a bolder citrus flavor by zesting an orange peel into the dough or on top of the cookies. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for extra texture, too.
Nutrition Facts
1 cookie: 79 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 19mg cholesterol, 53mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
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  • eval8321
    Mar 3, 2018

    These are delicious! They are exactly how my grandma and her friends make them, and they're from Greece! Sprinkle sesame seeds over them and they're even BETTER! Also, these should be crumbly like make a mess crumbly, not soft, so I don't know what diannacrock is talking about. Also, the name in Greek is koulourakia.

  • khegeman
    Feb 17, 2018

    They look more like rolls than cookies, but they are delicious.

  • solar0209
    Dec 23, 2011

    My husband is Greek and LOVES when his grandmother makes these. I tried out this recipe for him - VERY pleased with the results; he said they're just as good as hers! I put a little red and green sprinkle-sugar on the before baking (just like Yia Yia does), since I made them for Christmas. Cookies are not too sweet, kind of like a shortbread but not as hard/dry.

  • hholmquist
    Jan 19, 2010

    No comment left

  • FriedaG
    Jan 17, 2010

    No comment left

  • diannacrock
    Oct 13, 2009

    I love these cookies!! They are best right from the oven. I use real butter with these. They are a soft cookie and will stay that way.

  • ellencoppins
    Dec 26, 2007

    No comment left