Ladokouloura are traditional Greek Olive Oil Cookies that are mildly spiced and coated with crunchy sesame seeds. This is a one-bowl recipe that’s simple to make and vegan.
These traditional Greek olive oil cookies have been in my family for many generations! They’re very popular in Greece and they’re really easy to make at home. They are perfect for breakfast, an on-the-go snack, or an afternoon pick-me-up! And, since they are vegan, I often make them during Orthodox Christian Lenten periods, too.
I love cookies for breakfast, especially with coffee! One of my favorites are my Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and my Classic Sugar Cookies. For a much healthier breakfast, I love making my Healthy Tahini Breakfast Cookies, which are vegan, GF, refined sugar free, and oil free!
What are Ladokouloura?
Ladokouloura (pronounced la-do-KOU-lou-ra) literally means oil cookies in Greek. They are traditionally made with olive oil and a few simple ingredients. Some people also call them sesame cookies.
What makes these cookies stand out from other traditional ones:
My secret ingredient is adding homemade cinnamon water to the dough. It not only has tons of beneficial health benefits, but it also adds flavor without making the cookies too spicy.
They’re light, cinnamon spiced cookies that are not overly sweet. They also have a wonderful crunchy texture. And because they’re not too sweet, they’re a perfect accompaniment for your coffee or tea.
What you need to make Ladokouloura Greek Olive Oil Cookies
Olive oil: I use a light extra virgin olive oil. I think the milder the oil, the better. A strong olive oil might overpower the overall flavor.
Sugar & Salt: I use regular white granulated sugar and a little salt to boost the overall flavor.
Spices: I use both cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon as well as freshly grated nutmeg.
Flour & baking soda: I use all purpose flour and the baking soda helps give the cookies their lift.
Cognac: Cognac is used in most traditional Greek cookies and desserts. It really pairs well with the cinnamon and the sesame seeds. However, if you want to avoid alcohol, you can omit it completely.
White Sesame seeds: You don’t need a lot, just half a cup of sesame seeds will do.
For a citrus flavor
If you want a more citrus flavor, you could easily add a little orange juice or some orange zest.
Gluten free option
Make these cookies gluten free by using gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
ABOUT THIS DOUGH
These are a few things to keep in mind regarding the dough for this recipe:
First of all, working with this dough, you’ll notice that it’s quite greasy. Don’t worry, this is completely normal!
Secondly, for this recipe, you only add enough flour so the dough comes together as you can see in the picture tutorial.
I start off with 3 cups of flour and then add a little more ONLY if necessary. Too much flour will make them dry and crumbly.
HOW TO SHAPE LADOKOULOURA GREEK OLIVE OIL COOKIES
You could make traditional little circles like I did, or simple Greek twists. But for even simpler cookies, just roll them into small logs or sticks (like breadsticks).
4 WAYS TO USE SESAME SEEDS FOR THIS RECIPE
There are lots of ways to coat these cookies with sesame seeds, mainly 4 different ways, each with different results. I’ve made this recipe multiple times using these different methods.
Here’s what I found:
This is the easiest method. Just press the cookie on the raw sesame seeds before baking. The only drawback is that most of the seeds tend to fall off after you store them.
Toasting the sesame seeds before coating them makes them really fragrant and crispy and it brings out a nice nutty flavor.
INSIDE the dough
You could put the sesame seeds inside the dough, rather than on the outside. I personally like these cookies coated with sesame seeds, so I never put them in the dough. Also, while I’m shaping the cookies and coating them, I will often end up getting a few sesame seeds in the next batch of dough I’m working with anyway. But if you don’t want a lot of sesame seeds on the outside, this method is for you! Just put some sesame seeds in the dough, instead.
To me, this is the best method and the one I always use when making these cookies. My Yiayia taught me that sesame seeds stick to dough better when they’re wet. It’s a technique that she was taught by her own grandmother! After experimenting with the above methods, I realized that my Yiayia was right! Washing the seeds first definitely helps to keep them on the cookies after they’re baked!
2 WAYS TO BAKE THEM
I always bake these cookies 2 different ways in my family. The reason is that half the family likes soft cookies, while the other half likes crunchy ones!
So, for softer cookies, I bake them for about 20-25 minutes and for the classic crunchy version, I bake them for about 35-40 minutes.
Basically, the longer you bake them, the darker they get.
HOW TO MAKE LADOKOULOURA GREEK OLIVE OIL COOKIES
First, start off by making the cinnamon water.
Put the cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan with the water and gently boil for about 10 minutes, until the water turns a dark brown color. Discard the sticks and set the cinnamon water aside to cool.
Then it’s time to prepare the sesame seeds.
Begin by washing them in a sieve and then put them on a clean kitchen towel. Gently pat the seeds to remove as much water as possible. Then place the sesame seeds in a bowl, add the sugar and stir until combined. After that, you could put them in a shallow pan so that it’s easier to coat the cookies.
Now it’s time to make the dough.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, cognac, cinnamon water, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and ground cinnamon.
Gradually add the flour, a little at a time. I like to start off using a silicone spatula to remove any lumps. Then I add a little more flour by hand until a dough forms. Keep in mind that you may not need all the flour, or you may need a bit more than what’s listed if it’s too wet. The dough should come together and not stick to the sides of the bowl. You should be able to easily roll a piece in your hand.
Weigh each piece, about 1 oz / 25 g. Then roll into a 5 inch rope (about 12.5 cm) and shape, if desired.
Gently press into the sesame seeds and then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then bake.
HOW TO SERVE LADOKOULOURA GREEK OLIVE OIL COOKIES
These cookies are great for breakfast, especially if you want to dip them into coffee! Greek coffee, in particular, is amazing with these cookies! You could also enjoy them with a nice cup of tea!
I really think that these cookies make a nice snack for work or school, too!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Technically you could, but the cookies wouldn’t be as flavorful. In my opinion, it’s the olive oil that really gives these cookies their distinctive taste, particularly light olive oil.
Yes! You can easily substitute it with brandy or sherry. You could also replace it with orange juice.
I always put them in an airtight container at room temperature. They last for about 2 – 3 weeks.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
If you can, grate your own nutmeg! I find that freshly grated nutmeg is a lot more fragrant than pre-ground nutmeg, which makes the cookies even more flavorful.
If you want to omit the alcohol in the recipe, just add equal amounts of more cinnamon water, plain water, or orange juice.
Working with the dough
After the dough has come together, don’t let it sit in the bowl too long because some of the olive oil will seep out. Weigh the dough into pieces and then start shaping them as quickly as possible, so as to avoid this.
Pre-weighing the cookie dough
I like to weigh each piece of dough before shaping the cookies so that they are pretty much all the same size. That way you ensure they will bake evenly, in the same amount of time.
For even baking, I like to bake my cookies one sheet at a time, preferably in the middle of the oven. But, every oven is different, so do what works best for you.
MORE GREEK COOKIE & SNACK RECIPES
Let me know how these Ladokouloura Greek Olive Oil Cookies turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
Ladokouloura Greek Olive Oil cookies (Vegan + Easy)
For the cinnamon water
- 1 cup water
- 3 cinnamon sticks
For the sesame seed mixture
- ½ cup (75 g / 2.6 oz) white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sugar
For the dough
- ½ cup ( 125 ml / 4 fl oz) light olive oil
- ¾ cup (150 g / 5.3 oz) sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl oz) cognac
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- a dash of freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
- a pinch of salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (381 g) + ½ cup (64 g) extra (you may not need all of it)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the cinnamon water
- Put the cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan with the water and gently boil for about 10 minutes, until the water turns a dark brown color. Discard the sticks and set the cinnamon water aside to cool.
Prepare the sesame seeds
- Put the sesame seeds in a sieve and wash them under running water for about a minute.
- Put the sesame seeds on a clean kitchen towel and gently pat them dry to remove as much water as possible. Then place the sesame seeds in a bowl, add the tablespoon of sugar and stir until combined.
- Put the sesame seed mixture in a shallow pan so that it’s easier to coat the cookies later.
Make the dough
- Preheat the oven to 356° F / 180 °C.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, the sugar, the cognac, the cinnamon water, the baking soda, the nutmeg, the salt and the ground cinnamon.
- Gradually add the flour, a little at a time (I like to start off using a silicone spatula to remove any lumps.).
- Add a little more flour by hand until a dough forms. Keep in mind that you may not need all the flour, or you may need a bit more than what’s listed if it’s too wet. The dough should come together and not stick to the sides of the bowl. You should be able to easily roll a piece in your hand.
- Weigh each piece, about 1 oz / 25 g. Then roll into a 5 inch rope (about 12.5 cm) and shape, if desired.
- Gently press one side into the sesame seeds and then place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 25 minutes for soft cookies or 35-40 minutes for crunchy cookies.
- If you want to omit the alcohol in the recipe, just add equal amounts of more cinnamon water, plain water, or orange juice.
- After the dough has come together, don’t let it sit in the bowl too long because some of the olive oil will seep out. Weigh the dough into pieces and then start shaping them as quickly as possible, so as to avoid this.
- I like to weigh each piece of dough before shaping the cookies so that they are pretty much all the same size. That way you ensure they will bake evenly, in the same amount of time.
- For even baking, I like to bake my cookies one sheet at a time, preferably in the middle of the oven. But, every oven is different, so do what works best for you.