Sophia’s Easter Koulourakia

Easter is upon us once again. Today is Megalo Savato, on the eve of Easter and in practically every Greek home, family members are astir with preparations for tomorrow’s feast: an array of appetizers including grilled meats, salads, dips, breads, lamb as the centerpiece of the meal, roasted potatoes. vegetables and a fruit platter and desserts.

Another fixture of the Greek Easter table is the Tsoureki (Easter Brioche) and it’s so good our family will even make a batch despite it not being Easter. Served with breakfast or with an afternoon tea or coffee and ever so popular with Greeks and friends of Greeks alike. Calls for my mom’s Tsoureki are renewed each Spring.

The other fixture of the Greek Easter table are the Koulourakia. Even though they can be offered in Greek bakeries and homes all year ’round, they are another “must have” offering for Easter.

Butter…eggs…fresh orange zest and juice all herald Spring and the Koulourakia (like the rest of the Easter offerings) taste oh so much better after a lengthy fast/abstention from meat and meat by-products.

This recipe for Easter Koulourakia comes courtesy of my friend Sophia from Greece. I met Sophia last year through mutual friends – my other new friend in Chef and cookbook author Maria Loi.

Sophia’s family also shares a passion for good food and although a little nervous about testing a recipe just before Easter, all worries vanished upon smelling and ultimately biting into this buttery, soft and delicious cookie.

Some of the tastiest things are the simple things – Koulourakia being one such example. Greeks have these cookies on hand for the stream of family and friends that pass through during this most significant period on our calendar.

Sophia’s Easter Koulourakia

1/2 kg. unsalted butter (room temp.)

7 – 7 1/4 cups all purpose flour

4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1 Tbsp. of baking powder

pinch of baking soda

zest of three oranges

pinch of salt

1 tsp. of ground Mastiha resin (place the mastiha in the freezer for a couple of hours, then remove and place between 2 sheets of cling wrap, crush to a powder with your rolling pin and add to your recipe)

sesame seeds for topping

2 egg yolks + 2 Tbsp. milk for eggwash

Pre-heated 350F oven

  1. Place your soft butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with your hand mixer until creamed. Now add the orange zest, eggs (one at a time), the salt, baking soda, ground mastic and the orange juice.
  2. As always, add your dry to wet using your hands. As the amounts of flour needed in a recipe may vary slightly, add the flour gradually and knead with your hands until the dough is soft but not sticky or tacky. Form into a ball, cover with saran wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes. During this period, clean up your work area and gather your baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
  3. Using a teaspoon, scoop some dough on your work surface and roll it out with your hand. Now you can form the dough into any shape you wish (I’ve given you a few ideas in the photos). Continue scooping dough and forming Koulourakia and place on your baking trays.
  4. Whisk your egg yolk and milk and brush the tops of all your Koulourakia (cookies). Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sesame seeds.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until just golden. Allow to cool, remove from the trays and store in airtight containers for up to 6 weeks.

Note: The recipe was given with the exact measurements given above. This conversion calculator page is a wonderful tool to bookmark and translate a recipe in measurements you’re more comfortable with.

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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

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Peter Minakis

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30 Comments for “Sophia’s Easter Koulourakia”


Wow! Looks like you’re expecting a crowd.
Now that I am back home from Chicago, I have time to leisurely peruse the blogs. Glad I stopped by, this looks delicious!
Wishing you and your family a very Happy Easter Peter!



This is my first Easter away from home in Australia, reading your site was lovely to do this morning, Kalo Pascha.


Χριστός Ανέστη… και κράτα μου ένα κουλουράκι σε παρακαλώ, πάω να φτιάξω ένα τσάι!


I made these last week and both my right-arm-in-the-kitchen Phoebe and myself decided they were the best cookie dough I have ever used! (halved the quantity , it still made 3 pounds!)



I tried this cookie at Joumana’s house and it was heavenly, keeping in mind that I am not a dessert person, but I ate three and I took home three.
Now I have to go home and exercise! Keep the good work.



heureusement que les traditions de paques tiennent la route encore dommage de les perdre en fete religieuse et plats traditionnelles merci encore !!

joanna khushaba


i made these koulouria today…..awesome and easy… mom who was the baker in the family until recently….complimented me….she loved them.


Hi Joanna and thanks for letting me know how well they turned out…you’re now the baker!

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