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A Taste of Greek Christmas – Melomakarona

The kitchen smells of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sweet honey. We’re getting closer to Christmas and it’s that time of the year when we start baking the Greek traditional Christmas cookies. Our favorites are Melomakarona of course!

Melomakarona are traditional Greek Christmas cookies, that are served during Christmas time throughout Greece.

The word “melomakarona” is a combination of the two words “meli”, which means honey and “makarona”. “Makarona” comes from the ancient word “makaria” and means blessed.

Find the recipe below and you can also enjoy a bit of Greek Christmas with your family too. Happy Holidays and “Kala Christougenna”!

Melomakarona Recipe (the traditional Greek Christmas cookies)


2 cups olive oil (or vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cognac

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

7.5 cups all purpose flour (approx. 1 kg)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda (diluted in the orange juice)

1 tsp cinnamon powder (or cinnamon and clove)

100g walnuts, finely chopped for the garnish (mixed with some cinnamon)

For the syrup

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

2 cups honey


1.Pre-heat the oven to 180 C

2. Mix the flour with the baking powder

3. Beat the olive oil with the sugar for a few minutes either with the hand or with the stand mixer

4. Continue beating and add the cognac and orange juice with soda

5. Stop the mixer and gently fold in the flour. Don’t overwork the dough or it will start to separate

6. Form the melomakarona into slightly oval shapes either small or medium sized. They will almost double in sixe in the oven and you don’t want to end up with massive cookie-style monsters

7. Place the on a baking sheet (you don’t need to line it with anything as they have enough oil by themselves, but if you feel uneasy about that just line the baking sheets with a silicone mat or baking parchment)

8. Bake for 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Meanwhile make the syrup which need to be kept in a gentle simmer

9. When you take the melomakarona out of the oven place them straight into the simmering syrup for 30 second to 2 minutes. Time depends on how much they have baked and how much syrup you would like them to absorb. Gently remove with a slotted spoon and place on a platter

10. Garnish with the chopped walnuts.

Eat when they are cold. They will keep covered (not in the fridge) for quite a while.

A few tips

  • Don’t overwork the dough
  • Always dunk the hot Melomakarona in cold syrup
  • Use semolina in the dough

Visit the quiet Greek islands with Nissia Holidays

If our Christmas recipe for Melomakarona has inspired you to plan a holiday in Greece and taste the Greek food first hand, check out the quiet Greek islands of Halki, Nisyros, and Tilos

To book a holiday to the unspoilt Greek islands, contact Nissia Holidays on 01455 289421 or email us: info@nissiaholidays.com.

Triantafyllos Daffy Psaras

Triantafyllos, or Daffy as most guests like to call him, comes from a strong hospitality background. Working alongside Meni from a young age and helping with operations for Laskarina Holidays, he is service minded and always happy to help the guests have an amazing and relaxing holiday in our unspoilt islands.

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