Greek Honey Cookies (Melomakarona)

Greek honey cookies, or melomakarona, are a soft, delightfully sweet, egg-shaped cookie. Make this recipe for the best Greek Christmas cookies!

homemade melomakarona on blue and white plate

There are some amazing foods in Greek cuisine, especially for holiday celebrations.
Foods like fried squash patties (kolokithokeftedes), flaming saganaki cheese, and feta salad are all fantastic holiday appetizers in Greece.

For dinner, traditional favorites include soutzoukakia meatballs, and a layered pasta dish called pasticcio. For dessert, Greek baklava or baklava rolls (saragli) are a must.

If you happen to visit Greece in December, be sure to stop by a local bakery. You’ll have an opportunity to taste what could very well be the best Greek cookies ever! The baked honey-sweetened treat is perfect for a platter of Christmas cookies!

Greek Melomakarona

Cuisine: Mediterranean / Greek

The word melomakarona is a combination of two Greek words; meli, which means honey, and makarona, from the ancient word, makaria, which means blessed.

red pin marks Athens on map of Greece

Alternate names/spellings: 
Greek honey cookies, melomakaron, melomakariona, finikia

Pronunciation:
may-LOH-ma-KAY-ronah
fih-KNEE-kya

Course:
Dessert

Preparation:
baked or fried

Difficulty: Medium 🥄🥄

Description:
Egg-shaped Greek honey cookies, either baked or fried, covered in flavored sugar syrup. Often garnished on top with crushed nuts.

Melomakarona vs Finikia

Both of these Greek honey cookies have nearly identical ingredients. Although the names are interchangeable, the difference truly lies in the way they’re cooked. Melomakarona cookies are always baked, while finikia are sometimes fried.

This recipe is for the baked version of the Greek cookies.

closeup: soft honey nut cookie with bite removed

Ingredient notes for Greek honey cookies

There are two components to this recipe; the sugar syrup and the dough.

Sugar syrup

The syrup provides the melomakarona with flavor and moisture, which creates a soft, craveable cookie. Traditional flavorings are clove, cinnamon, and orange.

Cookie dough

  • Semolina flour– This coarse, pale yellow flour is made from durum wheat, the product used to make pasta and couscous.

    Semolina flour is very high in protein, so it’s also a good product to use in cakes and cookies.

🛒Shopping tip:

Be sure to buy fine grain semolina flour. There other grind is coarse, which is great for pasta, but gives cookies a rougher texture.

Unless you bake a lot of melomakarona cookies, you’ll likely have some semolina flour left over.

You could use it to make a Middle Eastern date-filled semolina cookie called maamoul. They’re also fantastic for a Christmas cookie platter!

  • Nuts– An optional ingredient, crushed nuts add a nice crunch factor to the tops of each cookie. I use crushed walnuts. Peanuts and pecans are good options, too.
platter of finikia (greek cookies)

Making melomakarona

You’ll need to start by making the sugar syrup first. The reason is, the syrup must be cool to properly soak into the warm cookies.

It doesn’t have to be completely cold, but be sure it’s at least room temperature. By the time you’ve made the dough and baked your first batch of the honey cookies, the syrup should be ready to use.

🏃‍♀️In a hurry?
Feel free to chill the syrup in the fridge while preparing the melomakarona dough.

Shaping the dough

It’s very important not to work the melomakarona dough too much, because this can lead to tough cookies. You want them to have soft, melt-in-your-mouth consistency.

Start by scooping out a walnut-sized piece of dough. This is roughly 2 tablespoons, or 1 ounce.

Using your hands, gently form the cookie dough into an egg shape. Next, use the tines of a fork to poke holes in the top of each of the honey cookies.

Recipe notes

  • Only poke the tines half way down through the dough. The syrup will soak in and help the cookies become moist and tender inside.
  • Sticky dough
    Your melomakarona dough should not be overly dry, so a bit of stickiness is to be expected.

    If it sticks to your hands too much, you can lightly flour your hands before you shape the dough, but avoid doing this if possible.

FAQ

How many calories are in melomakarona?


If the Greek honey cookies are baked (not fried) and made with the ingredients shown in this recipe, each one will have approximately 161 calories.

Can I freeze melomakarona?


With the sugar syrup on the cookies, they do not freeze well. If you’d like to freeze melomakarona cookies, you can do it prior to dipping them. However, you’ll need to warm them back up before adding the syrup.

fresh batch of melomakarona on cooling rack

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homemade melomakarona on blue and white plate

Greek Honey Cookies (Melomakarona)

Greek honey cookies, or melomakarona, are a soft, delightfully sweet, egg-shaped cookie. Make this recipe for tasty Greek Christmas cookies!
Servings: 48
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Ingredients 

Syrup

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 orange cut in half
  • 1/2 cup honey

Dough

Garnish

Instructions 

  • In a saucepan add all the ingredients for the syrup (excluding the honey) and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved, 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in honey, then set aside to cool completely.
  • In a bowl whisk together semolina, flour and baking powder. Set aside
  • In a larger bowl, add the orange juice, sugar, spices, and vanilla, then stir to combine. Whisk in baking soda until it dissolves and starts to foam, then whisk in water, oil, orange zest and honey to combine.
  • Add the bowl of dry ingredients to the wet. Knead the dough using your hands until combined and the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Do not overwork the dough.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 4 large baking trays with parchment paper. Prepare a wire rack over a rimmed baking pan. Set aside.
  • Take a walnut sized piece of dough (approx. 2 tbsp or 1 ounce) and with your hands, form it into a smooth, oval egg shape.
    Place cookie dough on the baking tray and press slightly on top to flatten. Using the tines of a fork, pierce 2 times on top of cookie, stopping about half way through the dough. Repeat this step with the remaining dough.
  • Bake honey cookies in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the melomakarona are lightly browned.
    Remove from oven and use a spatula to transfer cookies to prepared wire rack. Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks from syrup, then immediately pour the syrup over the cookies to absorb the syrup. Alternatively, dip tops of each cookie by hand in the syrup for 10 seconds, then return them to wire rack. Sprinkle warm cookies with optional chopped walnuts, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 24IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: desserts
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image of greek christmas cookies

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Greek honey cookies, or melomakarona, are a soft, delightfully sweet, egg-shaped cookie. Make this recipe for the best Greek Christmas cookies!

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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