Kourabiedes Greek butter cookies are traditional Christmas cookies. If you're dreaming of a white Christmas, these cookies are for you!
Kourabiedes (pronounced kou – rab – YE – des) are traditional Greek cookies made during Christmas. In some parts of Greece they are also handed out to guests at christenings and weddings. They are one of the tastiest gifts I make for family and friends every year!
Love Greek desserts? Try my Tsoureki Greek Easter Bread, my Melomakarona Greek Christmas Honey Cookies, or my Galatopita Greek Milk Pie.
Why this recipe works:
- There are only 5 ingredients.
- It’s easy to make. It’s practically foolproof!
- It’s tried and trusted! This recipe has been in my family for many, many years!
What do kourabiedes taste like?
Kourabiedes are a type of shortbread cookie filled with chopped almonds. They’re crunchy, nutty, perfectly buttery, and dusted with powdered sugar. They just melt in your mouth!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE KOURABIEDES
- You could use almond extract or even ouzo instead of vanilla extract!
- For chocolate kourabiedes, add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the dough and mix by hand.
- Many traditional Greek kourabiedes recipes call for food grade rose water. If you’d like to add it to the kourabiedes, just sprinkle some rose water on the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. Then let them cool slightly before dusting with powdered sugar.
HOW TO MAKE KOURABIEDES GREEK BUTTER COOKIES
Beat the butter and the ½ cup powdered sugar for about 20 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract and mix well.
Add the almonds and mix until just combined. I like using a spatula to fold them in, but you could also do it by hand.
After that, add the flour, ½ cup at a time.
Gradually and gently mix the remaining flour in by hand until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour, but don't overmix. If you accidentally add too much flour, just add some melted butter to the dough. The dough should come together in one big piece as shown in Picture 6.
Divide the dough in half. Put half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of about an inch (2.5 cm). Keep in mind that there are no leaveners in this recipe so the cookies won't rise much when baked. To me, an inch (2.5 cm) is the perfect thickness!
Traditionally, these cookies are shaped by hand into small mounds or crescent moon shapes, but I roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and then use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes. This saves me so much time in the kitchen! First of all, there’s no mess because I don’t have to flour my work surface and it’s a lot faster and easier than shaping the cookies by hand. Furthermore, all the cookies come out the same size, which means they all bake evenly!
Cut out different shapes with a cookie cutter.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake.
Generously dust a cookie plate or platter with powdered sugar. Put the cookies on top and dust with more powdered sugar.
TIPS FOR THE BEST KOURABIEDES GREEK BUTTER COOKIES
Make sure the butter is at room temperature. You also really need to beat the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy and that takes around 20 minutes on high speed. You want to incorporate as much air in it as possible.
When adding the flour, don’t overmix it because the cookie will become tough. Use just enough flour to make a pliable dough. If you accidentally add too much flour and the dough becomes crumbly, just add a little melted butter until it comes together.
Traditionally, almonds are roasted and then added to the dough, but I never roast them because they tend to become really hard after the cookies are baked. I always use raw almonds in the dough.
These cookies will not spread because there are no leaveners, so you can bake them straight away without chilling the dough and save time! Without any leaveners, I found that these cookies are also sturdier – this is especially important if you’re packaging cookies!
These cookies should be baked until JUST light brown in color, otherwise they can get hard.
Dusting with powdered sugar
Allow the cookies to cool slightly before adding the powdered sugar. If you add the powdered sugar when the cookies come straight out of the oven, a damp layer of sugar will form, making them soggy on top.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Kourabiedes will last for up to 3 weeks stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Almonds are traditionally used for kourabiedes, but you could make them with hazelnuts, although they won’t taste the same.
Kourabiedes can be frozen after they’re baked and completely cooled, but without adding the powdered sugar. Put them on a tray and freeze them, then place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for about 2 months. You can add the powdered sugar once you thaw them before serving.
MORE GREEK RECIPES!
Let me know how these kourabiedes turn out for you in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you!
KOURABIEDES - Greek Butter Cookies
- 1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (250 g / 8.8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ cup (65 g / 2.2 oz) powdered sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (5.3 oz / 150 g) blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (381 g) (you may need an extra cup (127 g)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (480 g / 17 oz) for dusting after baking
- With a hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the butter and the ½ cup powdered sugar together, starting on low speed and then increasing to high speed. Beat for about 20 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
- Add the almonds and mix until it’s well combined. I like using a spatula, but you could also use your hands.
- Add the flour**, ½ cup at a time, and gently mix by hand until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour (you may need up to 4 cups). The dough should easily come off the sides of the bowl without sticking to it. Don’t overmix. If you accidentally add too much flour and the dough becomes crumbly, just add a little melted butter until it comes together.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough in half. Put half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of about an inch (2.5 cm) . Cut out different shapes with a cookie cutter. Reroll the scraps and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Transfer the cookies onto the baking sheets and bake until just light brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool slightly.
- Generously dust a cookie plate with powdered sugar. Put the cookies on top and dust with the remaining powdered sugar.
Just made these with my daughter and the whole family gave them a thumbs up! Thank you Voula!
Thanks Katerina! I'm so glad you liked them!
Voula, you shared a very successful recipe. Thank you...
Yay!!! I'm so happy you enjoyed them!!!
Good morning I've made different recipes of Kourabiedes over the years and they've always used Egg Yolks. I'm going to try this recipe but was wondering about Yolks not being in the recipe. Does it not need any?
Hi, Constantina! This recipe is from my Yiayia and she never used eggs at all. These kourabiedes are like shortbread cookies, which usually never have eggs. To be honest, these cookies are amazing even without the eggs! I hope you give them a try!
Nice recipe. If you use 2 unsalted butters, how much flour is needed? My grandmothers recipe always has 2 unsalted butters and 1/2 greek coffee cup of sugar.
Hi, Renee! I'm glad you liked the recipe! In response to your question, I'm not sure what you mean by 2 butters because I don't know how much they weigh, so I can't calculate how much flour is needed. My Yiayia always baked "by eye", but she didn't always have consistent results. That's why I always stick to my recipe where I weigh the ingredients and the kourabiedes always turn out great. Hope that helps!
2 butters total to 500g . I think 900g of flour is needed but just wanted to double check
Hi, Renee! Yes that sounds right, just keep in mind you may not need all the flour. Hope you like it. Have a merry Christmas!
I made these kourambiedes and they turned out great! I just wanted to know do you bake the kourambiedes on the middle rack only? Is the time of baking still 20min approx if baking on the middle rack?
Hi, Renee! I'm so happy you liked the kourabiedes! In response to your question, I don't think it matters that much if you bake them on the middle rack, but because every oven is different, I would check on them after about 15 minutes. You can carefully lift a cookie and see if it's lightly golden on the bottom to see if they're done. Hope this helps!