Koulourakia – Greek Easter Cookies

These are literally my favorite cookies of all time. All time.

Koulourakia are a traditional cookie served at Easter time. There are a bunch of different recipes for this cookie, but basically it’s like a butter cookie. Maybe that’s not quite right. You can’t really explain these I think, you just have to try them I think. They are not sweet. You shape them into a variety of fun designs, like “S” shapes, twists, or swirls. These cookies are soft, not cakey, but more like a tender biscuit that crumbles a little. Okay, I’ll stop now. They are tasty and you should make them to see what I mean. My nostalgia for these may be giving me a bias here, but they are the best cookies ever.

Depending on the recipe, some have a hard texture and look golden brown, while others are soft and have little to no color. Some cookies are topped with sesame seeds. Some cookies have an orange flavor and others have vanilla or even whiskey.

My mom makes these cookies every Easter and I’ve finally formalized it into an official recipe. I say “official” because my mom’s recipe card is a bit of that old school cryptic recipe magic stuff that only moms know how to turn into food. There are instructions like “add 8 to 11 cups of flour until the cookies come together.” My mom has made these cookies so many times that it totally makes sense to her. To me, on the other hand, I need more precise directions. I’ve been leery about making these cookies because nothing tastes as good as the way mom makes it, almost like there is an extra secret ingredient of “mom love” that instantly makes her cookies better than anything that I could make. (See? Nostalgic.)

They are really just sheer perfection, at least according to me. My husband isn’t as wowed by them as I am because he’s more of a chocolate chip cookie kind of guy. If you know me, then you know that I love my chocolate. But these koulourakia are my weakness. Unlike any other cookie, I can eat an embarrassing number of them in one sitting. My husband just piped in to say “really, really embarrassing” might be more accurate.

They may look difficult to make but I promise that it’s not hard. The cookie dough is just like making a standard issue cookie. You don’t need any specialty ingredients. You do need a little time and patience to make the designs.

I don’t usually include so many step by step photos but I thought it would be helpful for those trying to make these fun shaped cookies, especially for the first time. If you’re not going to make them, then enjoy the pics and scroll down to see the conclusion of my post.

Step 1: Grab about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough. I’m a perfectionist so I use a cookie scoop to make sure all the cookies are the same size, but that’s not required.
Step 2: Roll out the dough with your hands into a snake shape, about 9 to 10 inches long. Make sure it’s an even thickness. Use the least amount of flour possible when rolling them out because the more flour, the tougher it is to roll them out.
Step 3: Cross the dough over in the middle.
Step 4: Twist the dough over a 2nd time.
Step 5: Twist the dough for the 3rd and final time. (And yes, I may have counted out loud to make sure that I didn’t mess it up. 😉 )
Step 6: Place the cookie on the tray and brush them with an egg wash. You can fit a lot of cookies per tray because they don’t spread much.

Like most Greek baking, it’s a lot of work to make koulourakia but it’s so worth it. These cookies will always be near and dear to my heart and bring back wonderful memories of all my family Easters.

Koulourakia Recipe
(Makes about 45 cookies)


  • 1 cup of butter, room temperature (equivalent to 2 sticks)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1 %.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (equivalent to 27.0 ounces) * See note below.
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • For the egg wash: 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a very big bowl, beat the butter for about 1 minute.
  3. Add in the sugar and beat the mixture until it’s light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the 4 eggs and beat the mixture.
  5. Add in the milk and vanilla extract and beat the mixture again.
  6. Gradually mix in the flour* and baking powder. * See note below.
  7. In a separate small bowl, make the egg wash by beating 1 egg and water together. Set this aside.
  8. On a very lightly floured surface, take about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of dough. I use a medium Oxo cookie scoop to help portion each cookie consistently.
  9. Roll the cookie dough to about 9 to 10 inches long. Only use extra flour if the dough sticks to the surface. Don’t use too much flour because if you overshoot the dough can become too stiff to roll into a snake shape properly.
  10. Bend the dough in half and then twist it three times.
  11. Place each cookie on the cookie sheet, 10 per cookie sheet.
  12. Brush the egg wash on top of each cookie.
  13. Bake them for about 18 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

* Start with 5 and 1/2 cups (equivalent to 23 ounces) of flour. Keep in mind that the weather can affect the amount of flour you need.  The goal is a cookie dough that is not sticky when you touch it.

Adapted from an old family friend’s recipe.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  


  1. Patty says:

    It’s hard to replicate a really good recipe for Koulourakia. My mother-in-law made them by the hundreds, so it’s nearly impossible to scale down her recipe for a normal batch. Also, she was so used to baking them, she knew it by heart and really didn’t follow a “recipe”. That being said, you write that, “nothing tastes as good as the way mom makes it, almost like there is an extra secret ingredient of “mom love” that instantly makes her cookies better than anything that I could make.” I was then surprised to see that your recipe was “adapted from an old family friend’s recipe” and not from the way your own Mom makes koulourakia. Why?

    1. Tina says:

      Ah, I should have clarified in my post that my mom’s cookie recipe is from a family friend. So I guess in a sense this recipe is adapted from what my mom makes.
      Thank you so much for stopping by!

      1. Dayna says:

        Thanks Tina. I have mom can yiayias recipes but they make so many cookies and there aren’t exact amounts for the ingredients. At least this recipe is a reasonable amount 😃 Kristin Anesti!

  2. Dayna says:

    Thanks Tina. It’s so hard to follow my Yiayias recipe because her recipe seems to make way too many cookies . Its hard to cut the recipe in half because her measurements are not exact . She eyeballed everything. At least this recipe is a practical amount of cookies😁
    Kristos Anesti! Miss you all. Xoxo

    1. Tina says:

      Dayna, this is her recipe! I wish I had the talent of our moms & yiayias to cook by eye & feel. Miss & love you. Xoxo Kristos anesti!

      1. Karen says:

        Tina great recipe. I have made 3 times and always turns out fabulous.

        1. Tina says:

          I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you!!

    2. Dia says:

      I don’t have my yiayia’s recipe but that from the church written up by “the old Greek ladies”. My recipe makes 144.
      I dont want that many. 40-50 sounds about right though. I havent tried it yet but my sister says this is the recipe she uses.

      1. Tina says:

        Let me know if you try this recipe. I’d love to know what you think. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. Kegley Tina says:

    I always have a problem when baking these and every other recipe because they always get very wide and plump out. I have been baking since I was a kid and now in my sixty’s. My cookies sheets are cold and I have even put them in the fridge before baking. Do you have any idea ‘s what I am doing wrong and how to fix my problem. I am talking about these cookies when I explaining the problem. Thank you so much.

    1. Tina says:

      I’m thinking with this cookie it could be too much flour. How do you measure the flour? When measuring flour, I use a spoon to loosely pile the flour into
      the measuring cup and then level it off with a butter knife.

      1. Kegleytina says:

        Thanks for answering my question ,the only problem with your answer is I always scoup out my flour and then take a knife and run across the measuring cup. My baking sheet are stainless steel and I have 4of them so my pans are always cold. The recipe I use makes probably 80 or more which I am happy about that part I just wish I could figures what the problem that makes them spread and they get very big and flatten out. Well thanks for trying. Stay Safe and Happy Holidays!

        1. Tina says:

          Everyone measures flour differently. It definitely sounds like you and I do it the same way. Maybe the author of the recipe that you are following does not measure flour the same and instead they scoop it out right from the flour bin, which means that they are really using more flour (by weight) than the recipe calls for.

          I have made many recipes from people’s cookbooks and online where I follow their recipe exactly and the cookies spread, which is frustrating. (You can ask my husband because he is a witness to how angry I get. Lol.) I have read so many articles online about “how to prevent your cookies from spreading.” I have tried many suggestions but what works for me is the flour ratio. So when a try a cookie recipe that gives me flat cookies, I try it again adding more flour until I get the cookie to not spread.

          If you decide to experiment with the recipe again with more flour, I would love to know how you make out.

          I wish you a wonderful holiday season!

    2. Helene says:

      Too much Baking Powder, I cut it in half, 2 Tsp for this batch. Mine were doing the same, hope this helped

      1. Tina says:

        Thank you for this, Helene. I have found that my koulourakia will crack if I use too much flour in the dough, but I have no issues with 4 teaspoons of baking powder.

        Your comment inspired me to search the internet and I found the below information regarding how baking powder affects cookies. I thought it was interesting:

        I am glad that your adjustments to the baking powder measurement works for you. 🙂

  4. Kelly says:

    I followed the institutions to the letter t. My dough was entirely too sticky so I refrigerated for 20 minutes that helped some had a hard time twisting, any tips you can give me to do a better job?? I absolutely love these cookies and I am Greek so, I would really love to learn to make these better. Thank you very much.

    1. Tina says:

      Hmm that has not happened to me before. It sounds like you need more flour. I am sure you measured correctly but sometimes weather can impact the texture of cookie dough. If you try this recipe again (and I hope you do) try adding in an extra 1/4 cup of flour. If it is still to sticky to roll, then add an additional 1/8 cup. The dough should be a little sticky but, as you experienced, it needs to be firm enough to roll.
      I am happy to help until you get them perfect! Let me know if this does the trick.

  5. Rosa says:

    Hi, white sugar do you mean regular sugar or powder sugar

    1. Tina says:

      Hi Rosa. White sugar = regular sugar.

  6. Lina says:

    Mine turned out very hard and not easy to roll at all. I’m not a novice baker and I could
    tell right away that there was too much flour.

    1. Tina says:

      I measuring flour by using a spoon to loosely pile the flour into the measuring cup and then level it off with a butter knife. Did you do that or weigh the flour?

  7. Anne says:

    Would it work if you cut the ingredients in half for a smaller batch?

    1. Tina says:

      Yes, that would work.

  8. Karen says:

    Made these today for first time. They were fantastic.

    1. Tina says:

      Yay! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Kegley Tina Cancel reply

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