Koulourakia Cookies – Traditional Greek Easter cookies made with flour, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla and sesame seeds. These buttery and citrusy cookies are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. So good with a cup of coffee or tea.
What are Koulourakia?
Koulourakia (Greek: κουλουράκια, singular: κουλουράκι / koulouraki) are a traditional Greek butter cookies that are often made for Easter and special occasions. They can also be enjoyed year-round.
These cookies are made with a simple dough flavored with orange zest and vanilla. They can be shaped into different shapes , such as twists, braids, or circles, and are often decorated with sesame seeds.
They traditionally have an egg glaze which give them a wonderful golden brown color. I have brushed these butter cookies with milk instead of egg wash to make this recipe egg-free. They taste wonderful with a cup of coffee or tea.
How do you pronounce Koulourakia?
Koulourakia is pronounced as “koo-loo-RAH-kee-ah”. The stress is on the third syllable “rah”.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
It’s a versatile cookie recipe that can be made with different flavors and shapes.
Super easy and fun to make and perfect for holidays and Easter Sunday!
Can be made with simple ingredients.
It’s a freezer friendly cookie recipe!
Perfect for gifting!
Flour – I have used plain flour / all-purpose flour here. You can substitute it with whole wheat flour but the texture of the cookies will be vary. I haven’t tried with any other flours yet.
Orange Zest – Do not skip adding orange zest, it adds a wonderful citrus flavor and color to the cookies. You can substitute it with lemon zest though.
Orange Juice – I would recommend not to skip this.
Sugar – Use a fine or caster sugar for the best results.
Vanilla – Use a good quality extract for the best flavor. You may swap it with almond extract.
Butter – Make sure you are using softened unsalted butter. Skip salt if you want to use the salted butter.
Salt – Skip if you are using salted butter.
Sesame Seeds – These are totally optional.
Baking Powder & Baking Soda
How to shape Greek easter cookies?
The traditional Greek butter cookies can be shaped in different ways. Here are some common shapes:
- Twisted – Roll the dough into rope and twist it into braids.
- S-Shaped – Roll the dough into a thin rope and shape in an S-shape.
- Coil – Roll and shape into a coil, similar to a snail shell.
These cookies can be served as a snack or dessert. They taste best when served with coffee or tea.
They are perfect for holidays such as Easter, Christmas and other special occasions.
They can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to few weeks. If you want to store them for longer period of time, store the dough or baked cookies in the freezer.
Chocolate Dipped Koulourakia – Dip the one side of the baked and cooled cookies in the melted chocolate for a rich chocolatey flavor.
Chocolate Koulourakia – These cookies can also be made by adding a little bit of cocoa powder to the dough.
Lemon Koulourakia – Instead of orange zest and orange juice, use lemon zest and lemon juice for a tangy flavor.
Cinnamon Koulourakia – To make them warm and spicy, add a little bit of ground cinnamon to the dough. You could also use pumpkin pie spice blend.
Sesame Koulourakia – Sprinkle some sesame on the shaped cookies before baking for a crunchy variation.
Tips & Notes:
Make sure that your butter is at room temperature to make a smoother dough.
The dough should not be too dry.
Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes or up to a day before shaping the cookies. This will help it to hold its shape and prevent them from spreading too much during baking.
Make sure to leave 2 inch space between the cookies on the baking tray to allow for spreading during baking.
Keep an eye on the cookies while baking to avoid overbaking or underbaking. They should be lightly golden brown when done.
You can experiment with different flavors such as cardamom, almond, chocolate and cinnamon.
They both are completely different. Koulouria (singular: koulouri) are a type of round bread rings which has a sesame seed studded crunchy outside and soft inside. Koulourakia are a variety of butter cookies flavored with orange and vanilla.
Yes! You can. However, the taste and texture will be slightly different.
Too much flour or not enough moisture in the flour will make your dough dry. If your dough is too dry, your cookies will crack.
Also, if you twist the cookies too tightly, they may crack during baking.
Absolutely! Place it in a freezer-safe bag or container and store in the freezer for a month or two.
Yes! Once the cookies are cooled completely, transfer them to a freezer-safe Ziplock bag or container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Step by step instructions:
In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until it is well combined.
Add softened unsalted butter to the sugar mixture and beat until light and creamy.
Once it is light and fluffy, add orange juice, vanilla and milk to it and beat until combined.
Add baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl and mix well.
Add flour little by little to the butter mixture.
Beat until a dough forms.
If the dough too sticky add little more flour and mix.
Make a smooth dough and let it chill for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 21-22 round balls.
Roll the dough into a 7 inch rope.
Fold it in half and twist.
Arrange them on a lined baking tray spacing 2 inches apart.
Brush them with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake them in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown at 180 degrees C.
You might love these recipes:
- Easter Popcorn
- Greek Spinach Rice
- Avocado Yogurt Dip
- Instant Pot Lemon Rice
- Frozen Yogurt Covered Blueberries
- Chocolate Greek Yogurt Dip
- Lo Mein
How to make Greek Koulourakia recipe video below:
Koulourakia Cookies Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest (zest of 1 orange)
- ½ Cup Sugar
- ½ Cup Butter
- ¼ Cup Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ⅛ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ⅛ Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds (Optional)
- In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until it is well combined.
- Add softened unsalted butter to the sugar mixture and beat until light and creamy.
- Once it is light and fluffy, add orange juice, vanilla and milk to it and beat until combined.
- Add baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl and mix well.
- Add flour little by little to the butter mixture.
- Beat until a dough forms.
- If the dough too sticky add little more flour and mix.
- Make a smooth dough and let it chill for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 21-22 round balls.
- Roll the dough into a 7 inch rope. Fold it in half and twist.
- Arrange them on a lined baking tray spacing 2 inches apart.
- Brush them with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Bake them in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown at 180 degrees C.
- Let them cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Nutrition values are estimates only.