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Melomakarona – Greek Honey Cookies

Melomakarona – Greek Honey Cookies

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Melomakarona are lactose free, olive oil cookies, bathed in honey syrup, with walnuts and cinnamon, which traditionally, are made during the holiday season of Christmas and New Year.

Melomakarona image

Crushed walnuts are sprinkled on top after they are bathed in syrup.  In some places walnuts are mixed with cinnamon and sesame seeds.

Origin of the word Melomakarona

Many people think that Melomakarona comes from the words Meli, which means honey and macaronia, which means pasta.

The word “macaroni” is derived from the medieval Greek word “macaronia” which was a funeral dinner based on pasta.

The word “makaronia” in its turn comes from the ancient Greek word “makaria”, which was a kind of bread, shaped like the melomakarono, which was offered after funerals.

In modern times, a dessert that resembled the shape of makaronia. was dipped in honey and hence the name melomakarono. Source

When do we make Melomakarona?

We usually make these Greek cookies during the Christmas and New Year holiday season.  

However, they are so delicious and we love them so much that we make them year round.

Melomakarona are easy to make and can be stored in an air-tight container for a very long time.

Try them and you will love how amazing your house will smell. 

Encourage your children to help you make them to create lovely  and powerful memories of Christmas which they will cherish all their lives!

Chocolate Melomakarona image


In Greece we use a very extra mild type of extra virgin olive oil to make melolakarona.  However, if the olive oil you use is strong in flavour, mix it with some vegetable oil.

Before juicing the oranges, remove a thing layer of orange peel for the syrup and some zest for the cookies.

Be careful when mixing the baking soda in the orange juice and brandy, as it will bubble and overflow.  Do this quickly over the mixer.

If you have a spice grinder, grind the cloves and cinnamon yourselves and you will get extra aroma.

The more spices you add, the darker they will get.

To make a pattern on top of these cookies, we  usually press them on a box grater but you can also use a fork or even an egg cutter.

Using a box grater to make patterns on melomakarona image
collage Melomakarona using egg cutter image

If you like, you can make a chocolate ganache (two parts chocolate and one part cream) and dip them in the chocolate. 

Chocolate melomakarona image

For half the amount I used 250 grams chocolate, 125 grams cream, freshly grated black pepper, some cinnamon and 2 tbsp butter.

melomakarona picture

Melomakarona - Greek Honey Cookies

Yield: 32 - 35
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Melomakarona are Greek Christmas cookies made with olive oil and flour or semolina. They are then drenched into a honey syrup and walnuts are sprinkled on top.


  • 620 grams all-purpose flour
  • 120 grams sugar
  • 165 grams orange juice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) mild extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 50 ml brandy
  • 1 tbsp orange zest


  • 300 grams (1 ½ cups) sugar
  • 500 grams (about 1 ½ cups) honey
  • 750 ml (3 cups) water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Thin peel from 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 - 10 cloves

To garnish:

  • 200 grams (about 1 1/2 cups) crushed walnuts
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Beat the olive oil with sugar very well, on full speed, for about 10 minutes.
  2. Dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice together with the brandy and add to the mixture.
  3. Mix the cinnamon, cloves and orange zest with the sifted flour and add them to the fluid mixture a little at a time.
  4. The mixture must have an oily consistency but should not stick to the hands.
  5. Cover the mixture with a napkin and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Take a small piece of the mixture, about the size of a big walnut (around 40 grams), and give it a round or oval shape about 1 cm thick.
  7. For bite size cookies, divide the dough in the middle.
  8. To make a pattern on top, you can use a fork, a box grater or an egg cutter.
  9. Place them on a baking tin lined with parchment paper, spaced apart.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven to 180° C /350 ° F, for about 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. In the meantime, prepare the syrup. Put the sugar, water, honey, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel in a pot and mix to dissolve the sugar and honey. 
  12. Bring to a boil and skim the froth. 
  13. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
  14. As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, dip them in the syrup for a few minutes and then with a slotted ladle remove them into a platter.
  15. Crush the walnuts and mix in the cinnamon and sesame seeds.
  16. Put the cookies in a platter.
  17. Drizzle some raw honey on them and sprinkle some crushed walnuts on top.


Makes: 40 x 30 grams -20 x 35 grams each - and 24 x 20 grams each

The big ones are baked around 25 - 30 minutes, or depending on your oven and the smaller ones about 5 minutes less.

If you use a convection oven the temperature should be around 160 degrees Centigrade.

Nutrition Information
Yield 35 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 173Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 166mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 1gSugar 21gProtein 1g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

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Looking for inspiration for this Christmas?

Collage melomakarona picture

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Saturday 19th of December 2009

I would love to try out these cookies Ivy ... could you tell what measure is youre glass for the glass of olive oil. Thank you ... these look delicious!


Friday 7th of December 2007

Yes, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. There are two way you can stuff them. The first is just put half a walnut inside and cover and the other is to pound the walnut and add cinnamon, ground cloves and sugar, mix flatten the dough fill and shape.

Laurie Constantino

Friday 7th of December 2007

Ivy, do you ever stuff your melomakarona?

Peter M

Thursday 6th of December 2007

Another Christmas classic for Greeks...found in every home and enjoyed by all.

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