Kali Orexi’s Koulourakia – Greek Easter Cookies Recipe

There are so many special eating traditions associated with Greek Easter; red-dyed eggs; roast lamb on the spit; tsourekia (egg loaves); flaounes (Cypriot Cheese-filled Pastries); mayeritsa (offal stew); and koulourakia (Greek Easter Cookies). These Greek Easter delights are savoured and enjoyed on Easter Sunday when families return home from mass, just after midnight, and during festivities on the day, when rebirth and spiritual renewal are celebrated.

Here we are sharing a wonderful Koulourakia recipe. There are many different Koulourakia recipes, but what sets KO’s Koulourakia apart from the others is their intoxicating aroma – a combination of vanilla extract, orange and Chios mastiha. This gorgeous aroma cocktail will fill your kitchen when the Koulourakia are baking and your palate as you enjoy them. They are not too sweet, perfectly crumbly and incredibly moreish, so they may not last long, but if any are left over after Easter, you can enjoy them as a dunking cookie with your coffee or tea or a long glass of milk.

Kali Orexi's Koulourakia - Greek Easter Cookies Recipe

A traditional Greek Easter cookie, hand shaped and glazed with egg.

Course Dessert, Snack, sweets
Cuisine Greek
Keyword biscuits, cookies, koulourakia
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 30


For the Koulourakia

  • 250 g butter unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar caster
  • 2 eggs large, room temperature
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon frozen mastiha resin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon bicarbonate soda sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups plain flour sifted
  • 1 egg yolk for egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash
  • sesame seeds for topping


Prepare the Koulourakia

  1. Beat the softened butter and the sugar with a hand-held mixer in a medium-sized bowl, until the mixture resembles thickened cream

  2. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well into the batter

  3. Add the orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract and mix well

  4. Place the frozen mastiha resin pieces between two layers of baking paper and crush them into a fine powder by tapping them with a rolling pin

  5. Add the mastiha powder to the batter

  6. Add the baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt, mixing them in well

  7. Add the flour in small amounts and mix through, initially with the hand-held mixer or a whisk and finally with your hands

  8. When the dough is soft, but not sticky, form it into a large ball, place it in a bowl and cover it with cling wrap

  9. Leave the dough to rest for no less than 30 minutes

  10. Line your baking sheets with baking paper

  11. Using a soup-spoon, scoop some of the dough, roll it into a ball between your hands and then into a thick sausage shape

  12. Place it on a clean work surface and roll it into an 18cm log that can be shaped in many ways – see photograph for ideas and video for demonstration

  13. Whisk the egg yolk with the milk and baste the koulourakia well

  14. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds

  15. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 170°C for 20 minutes or until golden brown

  16. Allow the koulourakia to cool, remove them from the trays and store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

Serve the Koulourakia

  1. Serve the koulourakia on Easter Sunday after midnight mass or during your celebrations on the day. Enjoy your koulourakia beyond Easter with your preferred beverage – coffee, tea or milk and don’t forget to dunk them

  2. Recipe makes 30-35

Recipe Video

Key Points

  • Mastiha resin is available at most Greek delicatessens or online. There are different types of mastiha resin, some with a more intense flavour than others. You may need to trial different amounts in your koulourakia mixture to find the perfect amount for you
  • It is very important to allow the dough to sit for no less than 30 minutes. This resting time allows the raising agent to activate the dough, which in turns helps the cookies to rise during baking. If you do not allow the dough to rest adequately, the first koulourakia batch will not rise properly, but the second and third batches will rise more
  • If you’re not sure how much dough to use for each koulouraki, or you find it hard to scoop a consistent amount, use a scale to weigh the dough. I used 30-35 grams of dough for each koulouraki
  • When rolling out the dough into a long log, do not press on the ends of the log, otherwise they will thin out. You want the entire length of the log to have an even thickness. If you’re shaping of the dough doesn’t work out, roll it back into a ball and start again
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