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Mandarin Melomakarona

Mandarin Melomakarona

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Mandarin Melomakarona are Greek honey cookies, made with olive oil, flavoured with mandarin and drenched in a honey syrup, with lots of walnuts on top.

Origin of the word Melomakarona

If you would like to know about the origin of the word Melomakarona, I have written about it in one of my older posts.

Last year I made these unique  Melomakarona which are full with the aroma of mandarin and I have made them again this year with minor changes.

making mandarin syrup image

Living in a place surrounded with mardarins, I wanted to make good use of the mandarin marmalade and mandarin liqueur I had made.  

Step by Step instructions to make the Mandarin Melomakarona

To make the syrup, I used a local citrus floral honey together with fresh mandarin juice and mandarin peel and in the filling I added walnuts and mandarin marmalade which I mixed until the walnuts could hold together.

showing the filling image

Greek olive oil varies in quality, depending on the region.  I used  a very mild olive oil which has a subtle, fruity taste.  

In case the olive oil you use is too strong, you can mix it with sunflower oil.

In order that they become the same size I weighed each piece of dough to be about 30 – 32 grams each.

Oily melomakarona dough image

You can stack them in a bowl and don’t have to worry as the olive oil will prevent them from sticking to each other.

Add 1 tsp walnut mandarin mixture and fold again into a round or oblong shape, to enclose the mixture.

Adding the filling image
folding the filling in melomakarona image

Turn the melomakarono over and on the side without any seems, press the cookie on a box grater or a cheese grated or an egg cutter horizontally and vertically, to form a pattern on top.

making a design on melomakarona image
Using a cheese grater to make designs

Then I shaped them in my hand making a disc of about 7 cm diametre and added a teaspoon filling in the centre.  I wraped each side over the filling and then sealed the edges.

Designs on melomakarona image

I put them on a baking tin, lined with parchment paper, seam facing down. To make a pattern on top, you can use a  box grater, an egg cutter or even a fork, which is even easier.

Melomakarona with egg cutter image
Using an egg cutter to make a design

Attention must be taken regarding the baking time.  My oven here in Athens is quite old and needs more time for baking than usual.  You will either have to reduce the temperature around 170 degrees C or bake them a few minutes less.  Mine were baked in approximately 20 minutes.

I have added a video showing the procedure of making them. They are not exactly the same as this recipe as these were made for a different recipe, so there are some minor differences but you will get the whole picture on how they are done,

melomakarona shaped with fork image
Using a fork to a make design

I can assure you that if you love the taste of mandarin, you will love these aromatic cookies.  

Mandarin Melomakarona photo

Even if you don’t add the marmalade or the mandarin liqueur, adding mandarin juice, mandarin peel and zest are enough to give these melomakarona a wonderful aroma.  This year, I did not have any mandarin marmalade, so instead I added walnuts, sugar and citrus blossom.

Update:  2016

This year I made homemade ornaments made of almond paste which I used to decorate my Christmas Cake.

Christmas cake with edible ornaments image

I dipped these ornaments in white chocolate but I made more than I needed.  So, I used the leftover white chocolate to dip some of the melomakarona in the chocolate.

White chocolate melomakarona image
White chocolate melomakarona with a slice of mandarin preserve on top

They smelled and tasted amazing and those who tried them gave me rave reviews.

Update:  2017

I make this recipe every year but this year the filling was slightly different:  I toasted the walnuts, added chopped dates, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and mandarin marmalade.

Mandarin Melomakarona filled with ginger and dates image

I also made some mini ones (half the weight) which needed about 12 minutes to bake.

organic mandarins from our garden image
Organic mandarins from our garden i

The syrup was made with honey, cane sugar and only mandarin juice, from organic mandarins from our garden.

mandarin honey syrup image

The peppery subtle taste of ginger, combined with all the other ingredients makes them irresistible to eat just one!

Melomakarona with ginger and dates image
Melomakarona with ginger and dates filling

I have a few more recipes of melomakarona on my blog and whichever you choose to make, I am sure you will love them!

Update 2023:

This year’s Melomakarona were made with orange. It’s exactly the same recipe, but wherever it says mandarin, I used orange instead. Additionally, I added orange juice to the syrup instead of water.

The filling was made with 100g of melted couverture chocolate, melted in a double bath and 200g of chopped walnuts!

Mandarin Melomakarona image

Mandarin Melomakarona

Yield: 60
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

"Melomakarona" (honey cookies) is a traditional recipe made during Christmas. The cookies are made with olive oil and drenched in a honey syrup, with lots of walnuts on top.


  • 250 grams good quality mild olive oil
  • 230 grams sugar
  • 250 ml fresh mandarin juice
  • 30 ml mandarin liqueur
  • 950 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 - 2 tbsp mandarin zest (only a very thin layer)
  • ½ tsp powdered cloves
  • 1 tsp powdered cinnamon

For the syrup:

  • 400 grams sugar
  • 300 grams honey
  • 230 ml water
  • 250 ml mandarin juice
  • 1 mandarin peel
  • 1 piece of whole cinnamon

Filling and coating:

  • 200 grams walnuts, finely chopped (reserve some to sprinkle on top)
  • A few tablespoons mandarin marmalade
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

Additional ingredients:

  • 150 grams ground walnuts, to sprinkle on top
  • 50 grams (a few tablespoons) honey to drizzle on top

White Chocolate glaze (for 10 - 15 melomakarona):

  • 200 grams white chocolate
  • 100 ml light cream 20%
  • 1 tsp butter
  • A few drops of vanilla extract


  1. Start by preparing the syrup by adding sugar, honey, water, mandarin juice, cinnamon stick, cloves and mandarin peel in a pot. Mix and bring to a boil. It will soon bubble and form froth. Reduce heat, skim and simmer mixing a couple of time, for 8 - 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  2. Sieve the flour and mix with mandarin zest, cloves and cinnamon.
  3. Beat the olive oil and sugar well for about 10 minutes on high speed. Mix the baking soda in the mandarin juice and add to the mixture (be careful as it will bubble). Add the mandarin liqueur.
  4. Change to the K paddle or to the dough hook and add the flour mixture gradually until the dough does not stick on the hands. If needed, add a little bit more. (If your mixer does not have the above paddles, use your hands to mix the dough).
  5. Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350o F.
  6. Line a baking tin with parchment paper and taking some dough the size of a large walnut, shape melomakarona round and then slightly flatten it. Add 1 tsp walnut mandarin mixture and fold again into a round or oblong shape, to enclose the mixture. Turn the melomakarono over and on the side without any seems, press the cookie on a box grater or an egg cutter horizontally and vertically, to form a pattern on top.
  7. Place on the baking tin spaced apart and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, depending on your oven, or until they just start to get a light colour.
  8. When they are baked, dip them while still hot in the syrup for about 1 - 2 minutes. Turn them over and remove with a slotted ladle in a colander until they cool. (At this stage they can be dipped in the white chocolate)
  9. Place them in a platter, drizzle some raw honey on top and add lots of walnuts on top.
  10. To coat them with chocolate, put the chocolate to melt in a bain Mari (double boiler). Add the cream and stir to make a smooth ganache. Add vanilla and butter and stir until combined. After dipping the melomakarona in the syrup, let them drain for a few minutes and dip them in the hot chocolate. Using two forks carefully remove them on a wire rack or even on parchment paper until they dry.
  11. You can leave them as they are or decorate them using your imagination. (I added a piece of candied mandarin).


  1. Each melomakarono weighed between 30 - 32 grams.
  2. Instead of mandarin marmalade you can add 4 tablespoons brown cane sugar and 2 tablespoons citrus blossom water, mixed with the walnuts and spices.
Nutrition Information
Yield 60 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 202Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 27mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 1gSugar 17gProtein 3g

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

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Christmas Desserts

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Collage Mandarin Melomakarona image

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Sunday 22nd of December 2013

So many gorgeous flavors going on here! Those cookies must taste divine.




Saturday 21st of December 2013

the melomakaronas look so good! I love the smell of all kinds of citrus fruits and mandarin is one of them too :-) this must be delicious!

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