Koulourakia | Greek Easter Cookies

hand-shaped greek easter cookies

Koulourakia are a traditional dessert cookie eaten on Easter Sunday in Greece.  They are characterized by a butter cookie base, egg glaze, and a little surprise – a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top!  The cookies are usually hand-shaped into rings, braids, or the one shown in the photo above, a “twisted snake”.  The snake is most often seen used by the Minoans, since they believed that snakes have healing powers!

These were fun to make!  Let’s take a tour of the overall process.  The full recipe, with nifty printable version, is at the bottom of this post!

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
First, sift your flour!

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
In your mixer, add sugar to room temperature butter.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Then cream that together.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Then you’ll add a lil juice from an orange.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
And some eggs.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Next you’ll add your flour, slowly, while keeping your mixer on a low speed.

Some of you know what happens when you add flour too quickly while your mixer is on high.  It ain’t pretty.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Don’t forget a little o’ this, too.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
This is what your dough looks like once everything has been mixed together.

Now it’s time to shape the dough!  I chose the twisted snake shape, but you are welcome to try any shape you like!

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
On a lightly floured surface, and with floured hands, pinch off a ball of dough and roll it out into a rope 3-4 inches long.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Then bend the rope in half, into a U-shape.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Now twist the bottom part of the U together twice, or however many times you need.  Your ropes might be different sizes than mine, and that’s okay!

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Line up the finished shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1.5 inches apart.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Now make an egg wash by beating together an egg yolk and a couple of tablespoons of water.  Brush onto all of the cookies.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Then lightly sprinkle each cookie with sesame seeds.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
All done!  Now you’re ready to pop them into the oven!  I made mine a little smaller than the recipe said, and I’m glad I did, because while they didn’t spread much in the oven, they puffed up quite a bit and ended up being the perfect size!

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Bonus shot of oven puffage.

Puffage.  Is that a word?  It is now.

Puffage.  Cookie Puffage.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
The cookies are done when they are lightly browned.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
Aren’t they cute?

hand-shaped greek easter cookies
They taste like a basic butter cookie, but with a fun shape and a bit of something different from the sesame seeds on top.

hand-shaped greek easter cookies

Here’s the recipe!  I found the original at www.grouprecipes.com  The only thing I changed was using juice from a real orange instead of “orange juice”, which I assume meant the stuff in a carton.  Nothing wrong if you want to use that – I just had an orange handy and no orange juice, so that’s what I did!

Koulourakia - Greek Easter Cookies
4.0 from 2 reviews
  • 1 c butter, room temperature
  • ½ c granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs (reserve one yolk for glazing)
  • 1 tbs juice from one orange
  • 3 c flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • raw sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs and orange juice and beat well.
  4. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients slowly.
  5. Mix until dough is smooth.
  6. Pinch off one to one and a half inch balls and roll into a rope and then twist the ends together.
  7. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet 1.5 inches apart.
  8. Beat together remaining egg yolk with a couple tablespoons of water. Brush onto cookies.
  9. Lightly sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Happy Easter Week , everyone!  We’ll be posting a new holiday-related recipe every day this week, so be sure to subscribe via e-mail or RSS reader so you don’t miss out!  You can also “like” our brand spankin’ new Facebook page to receive updates there, as well!

Easter Posts so far:

Hot Cross Buns – made with cinnamon roll dough!

Glazed Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies – Oh so soft and not too sweet!

Chocolate Pretzel Bird Nests – A fun food craft for the kiddos!



  1. Adam says

    I have been to Greece in 2012 and i loved making these with some women from a local town of Crete! This recipe is a great one! I am so glad i found this cause the women there gave me one but they had it in Greek! 

    • says

      Hi!, I’ve been to Crete twice – years ago. I too leaned to cook from these wonderful ladies – very fond memories. Where in Crete were you?? I was just outside of Iraklion – Kali Lemones……..

      Is this the recipe you remember – I remember using olive oil and sherry – not juice and crisco…

      thanks – Afredisto (??spell)

  2. says

    THANK YOU For posting this recipe, my mom has been wanting to show me this recipe for years but I just recently got a kitchenaid, we talked about them yesterday at Easter and I am trying out your recipe right now to surprise her with them tonight. I hoping that they turn out as good as moms.

  3. Elaine says

    This is a fabulous recipe! I’m Greek and growing up we ate these with coffee, when guests came over.  They are also great on car trips. Filling, convenient, tasty and easy to eat. Mmmmmm. Good memories.

    Question:  My great great great aunt used to put some kind of chopped nuts  in a layer on top of the flattened dough. Then she would roll the dough over the nut filling, and bake. But how did she make the nut filling? It was chopped nuts, maybe a little cinnamon, but also kind of smooth inside.  Do you have that part of the recipe?  I can’t seem to locate it from any of the older folks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: