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Kourabiedes are similar to shortbread cookies.  There are many recipes of kourabiedes but the main ingredient which gives this traditional Greek cookie its taste is the Greek sheep’s butter.   However, if you cannot find Greek sheep’s butter you can also make them with any other butter you usually use.

I have made kourabiedes quite different this year after watching a Greek cooking show by  Stelios Parliaros and mixed in some pistachios as well and used real vanilla, added rum and they were fantastic.      If you want a more traditional recipe, see my last year’s post here.

Kourabiedes, adapted from Stelios Parliaros

Preparation time: 30 Minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Makes: 40 pieces


  • 300 grams of Greek Sheep’s milk butter
  • 110 grams of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 30 grams of black rum
  • 600 grams of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 grams of almonds with the skin on, roasted and coarsly cut
  • 40 grams of roasted pistachios
  • 300 grams of icing sugar, for coating them


Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius and roast the almonds for  15 minutes and 8 minutes for pistachios.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Change you paddle to the K paddle and add flour, baking powder and vanilla pod, after scraping its interior and mix until the dough comes together.

Finally add the rum and mix for another minute until it is absorbed.

If you are using both types of nuts as I did you will have to divide the dough and mix in each type separately.  The nuts must not be hot and I have left the pistachios whole whereas the almonds I have pounded them in a mortar and pestle just to break each almond and get big pieces.

Line a baking tin with parchment paper and shape kourabiedes in whatever shape you like.  I have made the ones with pistachios crescent shaped and the almond ones round.

Make them small as they will spread in the tin and leave enough space between each other (about 6 – 7 cm).

The round ones are about the size of a big walnut which are pressed with your fingers to flatten or use the bottom of a glass if you like.

You can also cut them any shape you like.

star shaped kourabiedes

Bake for 30 minutes and as soon as they are out of the oven, turn them carefully upside down and sieve some confectioners’ sugar on them.  Turn them over again, sieve some more confectioners’ sugar on top and set them aside and allow to cool before placing one on top of the other.   Don’t skimp on the sugar dusting.

When placed in a platter you may sieve some extra sugar, if necessary.

You can find many Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.  You can find more details here.


Other relevant recipes:

Loukoumia tou Gamou (Cypriot Wedding Cakes)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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26 Responses

  1. Aline

    That’s roughly the same recipe as my Mama, except that she doesn’t use vanilla nor pistachios, and uses Metaxa instead of rum.
    We tried chocolate κουραμπιέδες last year and tried doing them for the first time yesterday. They turned out pretty good!

  2. Ivy

    As I said there are many recipes for kourabiedes and the ones I made last year are like the ones your mum makes. In Greece they never make chocolate kourabiedes or melomakarona but after the holidays when the confectioners or bakeries have leftovers then it’s the time your see them covered with chocolate. I was thinking of making some of both with my leftovers.

  3. Aline

    Yes, I know there are probably as many κουραμπιέδες recipes as people making them.
    But what I meant was that those we tried last year were not covered in chocolate. It was regular κουραμπιέδες, except that the baker had added either melted chocolate or cocoa powder, and then they were rolled in a mix of icing sugar and cocoa powder (her friend had bought them from a pastry shop in Μαρούσι called Αγαπητός).
    The chocolate κουραμπιέδες we did this year was a recipe from my great-grandmother, who was Greek from Turkey,and they’re not covered in chocolate either.
    Anyway, thanks for the recipe.

  4. Ivy

    Thanks Aline for the clarification. The addition of cocoa powder sounds very interesting. Happy Holidays.

  5. Sounds and looks delicious. I may have to try these with the rosewater idea. Merry Christmas Ivy!

  6. Ivy, I would love to get a hold of some sheep’s butter…how very authentic.

    Kourabiedes complete the Greek Christmas and I do like very much your addition of “fistikia”.

  7. Ivy – you’re such a good baker. The ingredients in this cookies are yummy.

  8. The pistachios sound good and definetly would win me over! I love how there are so many recipes for these…I have some serious catching up to do!

  9. First of all I have to say excellent photos sis. On the Food Network I watched Paula Deen make these cookies. Of course they were called something else but the ingredients (minus the sheeps butter) were the same. Funny how traditions are made.

  10. giz

    I really like the idea of the pistachios – your cookies are beyond fabulous. So when I get to Greece (hopefully in this lifetime), these will be waiting for me….right?

  11. Ben

    I love any kind of wedding cookies and these sound delicious! I like the fact that you wet them in blossom water. That must give them a very unique taste.

    Happy Holidays my friend!

  12. Ivy, those cookies look very festive and well, wintery..as in covered with snow 🙂

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and a very happy new year 🙂

  13. I LOVE kourambiedes and with pistachios they are so tasty! I didn’t get a chance to make any this year with all the other goodies, but I will have a lot waiting for me when I visit family tomorrow. Kala Xristougena, Ivy! (you’ll have to forgive my “Greeklish” 🙂

  14. Ivy they are wonderful! I love the pictures!!Have a wonderful Christmas Ivy!

  15. What gorgeous cookies Ivy – and with pistachios and rum, how could you lose?

  16. Oh wow looks gr8. Awesome festive cookies.

  17. Ivy,

    more great photos and cookies! I need to make some of these cookies for xmas, I am slacking this year 🙂

  18. I love pistachios too… first time I baked kourabiedes, I don’t have some of the ingredients and never tasted actual kourabiedes before. In the end I added in homemade vanilla extract and brandy. It tasted wonderful and was the first to finished compared to other cookies… I think my next cookie test-drive will be the Cyprus version but I don’t have orange flower water… so I guessed I have to use Rose water instead.

  19. Morfoula Anna

    Ivy these kourabiethes sound fantastic , my friend put pistachios in their shortbread type biscuits and they are lovely, I will try your recipe , I'm not sure where to buy the sheeps butter from , would it be from a deli ?

    • Ivy

      Morfoula, I see from your e-mail that you are from Australia. Is there a Greek community where you live? Greek stores may have some. Australia has a lot of sheep, so there is bound to be some ewe's butter, may be as you say in a deli shop. Now, if you don't find any use cow's milk butter. They will not be the same but still delicious.

  20. Hi, Ivy!
    I’ve been meaning to write to you a million times since the last time we spoke back in ’08, I think.

    Anyhow to jiggle your memory, you have mentioned my thinking about recipes and cuisine in your Lamb braised in milk recipe…

    This time I’m writing to ask you about eggs in this recipe. It fascinates me that some recipes include them and others (like yours and Parliaros’) don’t!

    I have scoured my recipe books (many are greek, others are aglo) and the internet and I keep seeing this eggy phenomenon. Some suggest one egg yoke, others two, others again the complete egg!
    What’s the story with this ingredient?
    I can accommodate all sorts of variations to a recipe but eggs terrify me if I don’t know what purpose they serve here and what happens when they are either included or excluded.
    Could you help me with this question please?
    I’ve just been given the command to make about 100! I’ve done this before but was always tentative about the eggs. What do you suggest?

    On another matter, may I include your fantastic blog on mine? By the time you read this I will have done it but if you don’t agree then I could easily remove it. I hope you’ll give me your permission.
    If you go to http://bacchicstage.wordpress.com and click on “Extras” then “Related Sites” you’ll see it.

    Enormous thanks in advance.

    • Ivy

      Hi George,
      It’s wonderful to hear from you again after so many years.
      There are many reasons why eggs are added in a recipe. It could be for extra moisture, as a levening agent or as a binder.
      In kourabiedes I have made them, both with and without eggs. Adding egg tends to make a cookie more cake-like so no egg means a crunchier and thinner cookie (because it will spread more), in general.
      The white part of the egg has a drying and leavening effect wheareas the yolk has fat and so produces a richer cookie. So adding the extra egg yolk adds a richer and more tender texture to Kourabiedes. I prefer the ones without eggs.
      I am so happy that you have created a blog with all that interesting content. I have taken a quick look but believe me I will be back soon. I am the stage of writing my second cookbook and have been very busy trying to finish it, hopefully in a couple of months.
      Thank you so much for adding me to the blogs you read. I have added yours as well.

      • Profuse thanks for this wonderfully clear explanation, Ivy.
        I was always baffled by this little variation in the recipe. I understood well the use of eggs in every other recipe I’ve tried but with kourabiedes I was totally out of league!
        Your site, Ivy, is a wonderful resource for humble cooks as well as for lofty chefs around the world because it isn’t simply a library of recipes but also quite a scholarly look at what is behind those recipes. It is truly a mine of culinary information. I have often given the link to people I connect with in many other blogs and my daughters are always gravitating to your pages!
        Well done!

        I am heartily warmed by the fact that the classics in my blog are now studied seriously in many Tertiary and Secondary institutions around the world and are staged by many theatre companies. The page is often in the book lists of those institutions, as well as in many internet libraries, including Wikipedia… but I won’t be so rude as to go on with this self adulation!

        Again, Ivy, many thanks for your clear explanation of my question.
        All the very best to you and to your every effort and good luck with the new book.

        • Ivy

          Thank you George for your kind words and I am deeply honoured to be acquainted with you. I have searched you on Facebook and although I did find someone named George Theodoridis, it is most likely not you because I did not see anything to connect you with this profile. If you do have a profile please let me know so that I may follow your posts from there. Always glad to help if you have any other queries.

          • Yes, Ivy, I’m here: https://www.facebook.com/george.theodoridis.39

            Though on facebook I mainly talk Australian politics and Pontian affairs.

            I have tried twitter but I seem to be committing some technical sin all the time and so keep getting suspended with explanations that defy my linguistic skills. I am, therefore very reluctant to get back in there, without first sacrificing a hecatomb of bulls to Zeus or to some such Olympian entity!

            Delighted to refresh our acquaintance.

            Oh, incidentally, yesterday I’ve made a few phone calls around Melbourne to the major supermarkets and the Greek delis re the question about sheep butter but, from what I’ve gathered there is no supplier, at least not here, in Melbourne. Not enough demand apparently and so the product’s use-by date would expire on the shelves. Pity because I’d like to try it.

          • Ivy

            Thank you for sending me the link to your facebook profile. I have sent you a request. As far as twitter is concerned, I don’t like tweeting but I just tweet my recipes whenever I can.

            Regarding sheep’s butter, maybe it’s the wrong time of the year. Even in Greece we don’t see it around all the time. It comes on the shelves mostly around the Christmas period. I am surprised with such a big Greek community not to have sheep’s butter considering that so many sheep are bred in Australia and New Zealand. Have you tried calling local dairies? Meredith Dairy seems to be in your region. May be if you call them they can tell you if you can find some.

            If you don’t find any eventually, try kourabiedes with Lurpak. They won’t have the same taste but better than nothing 🙂