Kourambiethes | Greek Christmas Cookies

By Lemon & Olives
Last Updated:
Reading time: 3 minutes


Yes, it’s the holiday season once again. I can’t believe this year is almost over. As times goes by, I feel each year progressively passing faster and faster. Not cool!

I do however look forward to Christmas and anticipate it for a plethora of reasons, one being this recipe. It’s funny because I could make Kourambiethes anytime I wish, but we only make them around Christmas time, and occasionally for Easter, too.

Being that I only eat these around the holidays, when I see these cookies, I think of family, friends, loved ones, time off, and powdered sugar all over my shirt (which inevitably happens no matter what).

When I was small, I would eat as many as I could get my hands on – then enjoy the sugar high! Not much has changed from then, except now I enjoy them with Greek coffee instead of milk 😉

These cookies are so important to Greeks during the holidays. I feel like it’s the one dessert you could find in most Greek’s homes. I don’t know if you can get these at your local Greek festival, so they are definitively worth making. They are fairly easy and taste delicious.

Greek Christmas cookies - Kourambiethes

This recipe is very special to me. Not because it’s unique, but because it’s one of the original recipes my yiayia (γιαγια) had passed down to me. I like knowing that this recipe originated with her in Kalamáta and that she brought it across the pond to the US, and today I am making these cookies the exact same way my family’s been doing it for generations upon generations. It reminds me why I have such a passion for cooking Greek food – it connects me with my roots.

I will be upfront here, while they are classified as cookies, they do have the consistency of a biscuit. They aren’t moist and chewy, they are more soft and dry. However, don’t let that stop you, you’ll love them!

Also worth nothing, the recipe calls for brandy, if you don’t have any you can use whiskey. If you’re not a fan of either or don’t have either, most people substitute it with orange juice. Since brandy is a distilled wine, you’re looking for a little sweetness. We’ve never made it with anything but brandy, so if you alter it let us know how it turns out.

And as I always say, the more powdered sugar the better.

As always, if you make them, let us know how you and your family liked them!

Happy Holidays!!



PS. Make sure to check out, Melomakarona, they are the other popular Greek Christmas cookie. They are coated in honey and topped with walnuts.


Kourambiethes | Greek Christmas Cookies

Kenton & Jane
Traditional Greek Christmas cookies! Learn to make Kourambiethes and bring a little Greek flair to the holidays.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine Greek
Servings 20 cookies


  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon brandy can sub with orange juice
  • 2 cups flour


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Place butter in bowl and whip until light and fluffy, about 10-15mins.*
  • Add egg yolk and blend with whipped butter.
  • Add in 1/4 cup powdered sugar, vanilla, and brandy. Mix well.
  • Add flour and mix until soft dough is formed. Use more flour as needed.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Break off small pieces of dough, form into a small ball (or whatever size you like).
  • Pinch the center of the dough ball to flatten a bit and place on baking sheet.
  • Repeat until all dough it used.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25mins, or until bottoms of cookies are golden brown**
  • While the kourambiethes are baking, cover serving plates with powdered sugar.
  • Remove kourambiethes from oven and place on cooling rack for 10-15mins.
  • Place kourambiethes on serving plates.
  • Sprinkle remaining powdered sugar over them - the more the better!
  • Enjoy!


Traditionally, almonds are added to this recipe either by placing one within each cookie (rolling the dough around the almond so it's inside the kourambiethes), or using almond flour (see comments below). We prefer them without almonds, so adjust accordingly.
*Make sure to really spend the time whipping the butter. This is an important step!
**The cookies themselves won't turn golden brown.

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About the author

Lemon & Olives is a husband and wife team exploring the Mediterranean (Diet) Lifestyle, Greek foods, Greek Culture, History and all things Greece.

10 thoughts on “Kourambiethes | Greek Christmas Cookies”

  1. My son and I cooked these cookies. Followed ur instructions exactly. Used orange juice. We loved them. It brought me back to the dinner table at my grandmothers house in Greece. Thanks. We will make many more of those cookies in the future. Chuck xenos, Rochester nh

  2. Just came upon your blog. I was smiling while reading of your memories of making and eating these special cookies. I too have fond memories of my grandmothers Greek cookies. I didn’t really know her, but my Italian mother kept up the tradition for my Greek father. Growing up, all my girlfriends would come over and say “are the Koudies ready?” They could never pronounce the real name. I gave to say, your recipe is not like mine at all, but I would love to try them. Thank you for sharing. Food that is connected with family and friends, is the best kind.

  3. Thanks for the easy and authentic recipe. Kourambiethes are my favorite part of Denver’s Greek Festival and I thought there was no way that these would come even close. They were amazing!!! I used Orange Liqueur since I didn’t have OJ or brandy, and I ended up adding extra flour (almost a 1/3 c.) and baking them for a couple extra minutes. They crumbled in my mouth, perfect consistency, perfect flavor. Just like the ones at the Greek Festival, only better because now I can have them whenever I want. Thanks!!!

  4. When substituting almond flour, do you use the same amount as wheat flour? Do you then use any wheat flour at all (say, a 50/50 mix), or the almond flour alone?

  5. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.

  6. You have no idea how long I’ve been searching a recipe without the almonds. I’m one of an all Greek family. My yiayia and mom made everything Greek while growing up. They both are gone but the longing for their recipes lingers on until now. This is exactly the way they made them…melt in your mouth delicious crescent shaped cookies. I give it 5 stars!! As I woof down these gems it takes me back to such happy times. Thank you soooooo much! I continue to search for my moms Greek rice pudding. So rich snd creamy. Most recipes are stove top, moms baked in the oven, would you have a rice pudding recipe with some oven time? In Athens most hotels include this on their buffets for breakfast…tasted like moms. Again thank you!

  7. Thank you for this recipe, my family makes them exactly this way but without the brandy plus the recipe I have makes a larger batch. I made them and they were delicious . I feel you should always use a good butter for these cookies. Thankyou again these will be in my favorites along with my family’s recipe.

  8. Kenton I’m going to give our recipe a try. I love family heirloom recipes, and It’s the only one I’ve come across without almonds. I like the way that your cookies seem paler in colour than others. I know that over browning may change the taste and texture. It’s good to see so many positive reviews for this recipe. I like your site very much and will choose a few of your special Greek bakes to make this Christmas. Thank you!


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