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Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

Melomakarona – traditional Greek Christmas honey cookies are flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and orange, soaked in honey syrup, and topped with crushed walnuts.

melomakarona on a plate.

Christmas wouldn’t be, well, Christmas, without Melomakarona. Melomakarona are my ABSOLUTE favorite Christmas cookie. Every year, I look forward to these delicious cookies, and after you try them, you will too! 

What Are Melomakarona?

Melomakarona (sometimes called Finikia) are traditional Greek Christmas cookies which are flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and orange. After baking, they are soaked in an aromatic honey syrup and topped with crushed walnuts. There are many different versions of this classic recipe. These cookies are naturally egg free, but some recipes call for a combination of butter and oil while others use only oil. The recipes using only oil make Melomakarona ideal for the Greek Orthodox Nativity Fast (eggs free & dairy free). My recipe calls for some butter, but it can be substituted with oil to make the cookies dairy free (see notes*).  

Melomakarona are traditionally an oval shape, and some people stuff them with walnuts or dates. I prefer mine plain. And cut into festive shapes – like trees, stars, snowflakes. You can even do mini gingerbread men!

These cookies keep very well for a few weeks (if you can resist eating them all), and their taste actually improves over time as all of the spices and flavors soak together.

Melomakarona Components

Making Melomakarona may seem intimidating and like a lot of work, but with a little bit of planning and organization, they come together in a breeze. Let’s break these Christmas cookies down into three components:

  1. Cookies: The cookies alone are not too sweet and are flavored with cinnamon, ground cloves, and orange. The dough is simple to make and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. 
  2. Honey Syrup: The honey syrup is what makes Melomakarona so special. It is a quick simple syrup that is flavored with orange rind, cinnamon stick, and cloves. The syrup can be made ahead of time, but make sure to heat it back up before soaking your cookies. 
  3. Crushed Walnuts: The crushed walnut topping adds the perfect crunch to the soft cookies. It is a mixture of walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.  
arrangement of melomakarona on a marble slab with christmas decor.

Melomakarona Ingredients

The ingredients that you need to make melomakarona are pretty simple. They are made with pantry staple ingredients you probably already have on hand! 

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Vegetable Oil 
  • Sugar
  • Orange Juice
  • Orange Zest
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Honey
  • Walnuts

How To Make Melomakarona

Step One: Prepare the dough.

To make the dough, beat the butter, oil, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and spices. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and then slowly add them into the wet ingredients. You may not need to use all of the flour that the recipe calls for. Once you have a soft dough that is easy to shape and is not sticky, stop adding flour. 

Step Two: Shape melomakarona and bake.

Next, it is time to form the cookies. You can either roll the dough into oval or round shaped cookies, or roll it out with a rolling pin and use cookie cutters to form your cookies. Please note that the baking time will change depending on how you shape your cookies. Oval and round cookies will require a slightly longer baking time.

Step Three: Make the syrup.

While the cookies are baking, make the syrup. To make the syrup, combine all of the ingredients into a medium heavy bottom saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside until you are ready to use.

Step Four: Soak the cookies.

Once the cookies are golden brown with slightly crisp edges, remove them from the oven and immediately soak them in the syrup. Work in batches (3-5 cookies at a time) and allow the cookies to soak for about 30 seconds. (If you are doubling this recipe, you can soak 6-8 cookies at a time in a large heavy bottom saucepan). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cookies to a tray or platter. 

Step Five: Top with crushed walnuts.

Once all of your cookies have finished their syrup bath, top them with crushed walnuts. In a bowl, mix together walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves. Sprinkle the mixture over the soaked cookies and enjoy!!

melomakarona and a cup of coffee on a marble slab.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I soak melomakarona?

  • Many recipes call for soaking your cookies in completely cooled syrup, but I have found that soaking hot cookies into warm syrup is ideal. The hot cookies will soak up the syrup a lot better if it is warm. If your syrup has cooled down too much, or you prepared it ahead of time, heat it gently over medium heat.
  • How to do I shape melomakarona?

  • If you are shaping your melomakarona into the traditional oval shape, gently drag a fork over the top to create score marks. This will help the cookies soak the syrup better.   
  • Can I bake a smaller batch?

  • This is a holiday recipe, so it makes A LOT of cookies (about 60-80 depending on how you shape them). This is totally normal since in the Greek culture there are many get-togethers during the holidays and these cookies are meant to be shared. If you want to make a smaller batch, divide all of the ingredients in half. You will end up with about 30 cookies.
  • How do I store melomakarona?

  • Melomakarona will last quite a while if stored correctly. Store them in an airtight container or covered tightly with saran wrap at room temperature. The cookies will last up to a month.
  • Can I freeze melomakarona?

    Melomakarona freeze well! To freeze, store them in a freezer-safe container in layers lined with parchment paper. When ready to enjoy, remove the cookies from the freezer and let thaw at room temperature. Melomakarona will keep for up to a year in the freezer.

    More Christmas Recipes You’ll Love!

    Chocolate Covered Gingerbread Cookies
    Chewy Walnut Spice Cookies
    Peppermint Mocha Cookies 

    melomakarona on a plate

    Melomakarona – Greek Honey Spice Christmas Cookies

    Angelina Papanikolaou
    Melomakarona – traditional Greek Christmas honey cookies are flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and orange, soaked in honey syrup, and topped with crushed walnuts.
    5 from 6 votes
    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 40 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
    Course Cookies
    Cuisine Greek
    Servings 60 -80 cookies
    Calories 278 kcal


    • 1 cup butter melted
    • 1 1/2 cups oil safflower, canola, or a light olive oil work great
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups orange juice freshly squeezed, or bottled
    • zest from 2 oranges
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp ground cloves
    • 10 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda


    • 4 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup honey
    • 3 cups water
    • rind from 1 orange
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 8-10 whole cloves


    • 2 cups walnuts
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves


    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
    • Add melted butter, oil, and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or with a whisk until combined. Mix in orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, and ground cloves.
    • In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking power, and baking soda. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, a cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. NOTE: You many not need to use all of the flour. Once the dough is easy to handle and holds its shape, stop adding flour.
    • Shape cookies, by rolling out dough and using a cookie cutter to cut out cookies, or shape into 2-inch ovals. Place cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake 30-40 minutes, depending on size of cookies, or until golden brown.
    • While cookies are baking, prepare the syrup. Add sugar, honey, water, orange rind, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves into a large heavy bottom saucepan over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove and discard the rind, cinnamon stick, and cloves just before you are ready to soak the cookies. 
    • When ready, remove cookies from oven, and immediately place in warm syrup. Work in batches of 6-8 cookies at a time and allow to soak about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove cookies from syrup and transfer them onto a tray or platter.
    • To make the walnut topping, pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer walnuts to a bowl and add sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves. Mix to combine. Sprinkle cookies with walnut mixture and enjoy!



    Make dairy free: To make dairy free melomakarona, replace the melted butter with oil. 
    Storage: Cookies will last up to a month stored at room temperature in an air tight container or tightly covered with plastic wrap.


    Serving: 1cookieCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 54mgPotassium: 59mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 109IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was and tag @bakedambrosia on Instagram

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    1. 5 stars
      I made these wonderful cookies today. They taste as amazing as they look in the pictures and surprisingly easy to make. I will be making them again.

    2. 5 stars
      Honestly, I never comment on recipes online but this is an exception. These were the best cookies I have ever made and I could eat the whole batch. They are delicious.

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