The best koulourakia recipe! Greek butter cookies that are so crisp and buttery. Perfect for a greek spring or easter cookie.
Greece’s most well-known cookie, koulourakia. It’s a Greek butter cookie and I’m making mine lemon-flavored because they’re just out of this world with lemon. You can use any citrus that you have on hand or whatever your favorite citrus is. They’re simple to make and the recipe makes so many cookies.
This is the perfect recipe for your kids to help with. They have a lot of fun making different shapes of cookies and eating the results.
Let’s go over the ingredients:
- pure vanilla extract
- unsalted butter
- 2 lemons with their zest
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 eggs
- heavy whipping cream
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
Making greek butter cookies
I use a stand mixer because it’s so much easier. It’s a heavy dough, so I let the mixer be the muscle here.
Think ahead and set your butter and eggs out the night before or the morning of so they are room temperature when you’re ready to use them. When the butter is nice and soft, it helps all of the ingredients come together easily without being clumpy. Since your butter will be room temperature, your eggs will blend into your butter and sugar better at room temperature as well.
A trick to get more lemon flavor into your cookies is to use the zest of the lemons. Zest has more flavor than the actual juice does. So, I always zest my lemons before I juice them, and then use both in my recipes. When you’re zesting, you want to make sure that you’re only getting the shiny yellow flesh and not the white layer underneath. It’s bitter! The best way to do this is with a microplane. Get one if you don’t have one.
Once your dough has come together, check to make sure it’s not too wet. If it is, add about ½ cup all-purpose flour, and that should do the trick.
The dough will need to rest for at least 30 minutes. So, cover your bowl with a kitchen towel and leave it on your counter for at least 30 minutes. This will keep them from falling apart when it comes time to form your cookies.
How to prepare Dimitra’s koulourakia
As I said, this recipe makes a lot of cookies. So, you’ll need about 4 or 5 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Make an egg wash by whisking 3-4 egg yolks together in a small bowl with a little water, and get your pastry brush out. You’ll use this to brush a little of the mix on the top of each cookie. As they bake, it will give them a really beautiful golden shiny color.
Start by forming golf ball or walnut-size balls of dough. You can use your kids as helpers. If your dough is too sticky to work with, mix a dusting of flour into the large ball of dough.
DO NOT flour your workspace to the individual cookie dough balls. They won’t come out buttery once they bake.
Roll each cookie ball into about an 8” long even piece. Then, put the ends together and twist it into a braid. Watch my video to see exactly how I make the braids. Then, line each braided cookie dough ball about an inch apart on the parchment paper.
You can do lots of different shapes, letters, scrolls, etc. Whatever is fun for that day or goes with the event you’re making them for. Your kids can have a lot of fun with this!
Right before you put them in the oven, brush the cookies with the egg wash. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes or as long as it takes for them to get golden brown. If you don’t have a convection oven, switch the trays from top to bottom about halfway through so they cook evenly.
Let them cool completely for about 10 minutes. Serve with a cup of coffee, tea or even milk. They are crisp, buttery and not too sweet with a hint of lemon in the background.
If you like these cookies, try my others! Vanilla and chocolate Easter greek butter cookies, Chocolate covered malomakarona greek honey cookies and pistachio cardamom kourambiedos Greek shortbread cookies.
Can you freeze greek butter cookies?
You can give extras to neighbors, friends, and family, or you can store them for a couple of weeks in the pantry in an airtight container.
You can also cut your dough in half and freeze it. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag. You can store it in the freezer for about a month. When you’re ready to use it, defrost it overnight in your refrigerator, and take it out to come to room temperature before you use it.
- 1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- zest of 2 large lemons
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 and 1/2 -7 cups (930g) all-purpose flour
- 4 egg yolks plus 4 tablespoons water
- In a tabletop mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
- Beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar mixture until fluffy.
- Add the heavy whipping cream and beat well.
- Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Zest the lemons over the flour mixture and mix to combine.
- Add the flour mixture in a few batches while the mixer is beating all of the ingredients on a low speed.
- Beat until well combined. Check the dough and add 1/2 cup more all-purpose flour if needed to form a dough that is soft but not sticky. Adding too much flour will create dry and hard cookies.
- Set aside and cover with a clean towel.
- Allow the dough to rest at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 °F, 200 °C.
- Form the dough into walnut, or golf ball-sized rounds.
- Roll each round out into about 8-inch cylinders.
- Fold in half and twist until a braid forms.
- Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Continue until all of the cookies are formed.
- To make the egg wash, combine the egg yolks with water and whisk well until smooth.
- Brush the egg wash over each cookie.
- Bake 20-30 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Rotate trays (place the bottom tray on the top rack and the top tray on the bottom for even baking) halfway through baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely.
- Store them in an airtight container.
- Serve with tea or coffee.
The cookies can be formed and stored in the freezer. Once they harden, transfer them to freezer-safe bags and keep frozen up to 1 month. When ready to bake, place the cookies on a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper, leave room in between each cookie), brush with egg wash and bake at 350 °F, 180 °C until golden. About 40 minutes.