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Kourabiedes (Greek Christmas Cookies)

4.60 from 5 votes
Kourabiedes are a delicious crumbly Greek Christmas cookie with butter and almond flavors that melt in your mouth!
Homemade Greek Kourabiedes are presented on a silver plate next to two clear mugs of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. The Kourabiedes are coated in powdered sugar.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY I LOVE THIS RECIPE: My homemade Kourabiedes, or Greek Christmas Butter Cookies, have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-like texture, almond-flavored cookies filled with nuts, and are scented with lovely rosewater. 

Now it’s no secret that I’ve got a serious arsenal of Christmas cookies to choose from when you’re baking for the holidays, so please don’t take this recommendation lightly. You have to try my Greek Kourabiedes recipe! 

Kourabiedes, also known as kourambiethes, are a traditional Greek Christmas cookie flavored with almond flour and almond extract, filled with delicious toasted almonds, and scented with beautiful rosewater. Then, these crumbly shortbread-like cookies are coated in sweet powdered sugar. That sugar, and the delicate cookies, just melt in your mouth when you eat them — plus, they couldn’t look more festive with that snow-like coating of sugar! 

These butter almond cookies are easy to make and wonderful to add to your holiday cookie tray. Try them alongside another Christmas favorite, Melomakarona (Sticky Greek Honey Cookies)!

Table Of Contents

Kourabiedes, coated in powdered sugar, are served on a silver plate on top of a table decorated with holly berries. Next to the Christmas cookies are two mugs of hot chocolate.

What Are Kourabiedes? How Do You Pronounce “Kourabiedes?”

Kourabiedes, pronounced “kou-rah-bee-EH-thez,” also known as kourambiethes and singularly called “kourabies,” are almond-flavored cookies made with butter and sugar, filled with toasted almonds, scented with rosewater, and coated in powdered sugar. Their texture and flavor are a lot like a classic shortbread cookie — very crumbly and delicate and deliciously buttery. Traditionally, Kourabiedes is made with goat butter, but for my recipe, and in most modern recipes, you’ll find cow’s butter is used. 

It’s likely that Kourabiedes originally came from Turkey, where they are called “kurabiye,” where “kuru” means “dry,” and “biye” means “biscuit” or cookie. 

Not much is known about where the recipe for Kourabiedes originated, but we do know they’re very popular around the holiday season. Families will make plenty of Kourabiedes to have on their kitchen counters to eat every day of the week around Christmas. Kourabiedes is also made to celebrate big events, like weddings and christenings! In fact, some people call them “Greek Wedding Cookies.”

Kourabiedes can come in a few shapes, but you’ll most likely see them in the shape of a crescent or circle — I make circular Kourabiedes.

Tools You Need

Kourabiedes Ingredients

To make homemade Kourabiedes, you need:

  • All-purpose flour. AP flour will serve as the base of this recipe and helps give our cookies their texture.
  • Powdered sugar. Powdered sugar is added to the cookie dough and, once baked, used to coat the cookies. Out of powdered sugar? You can make your own using my guide, How To Make Homemade Powdered Sugar
  • Almond flour. Almond flour is used both for texture and flavor in these cookies. I like to make Homemade Almond Flour for this recipe.
  • Baking powder. Baking powder is what helps make these cookies rise when baking.
  • Salt. Even sweet treats need a touch of salt! Salt helps bring out the flavors of almond, butter, and sugar in your homemade Kourabiedes.
  • Butter. Butter is a major flavor point in this recipe! You want your Kourabiedes to taste buttery, so be sure to use the best quality butter you can find — something with a high-fat content! I used unsalted butter for this recipe to monitor how much salt I added. You want your butter to be cold for this recipe.
  • Rosewater. Rosewater is added to this cookie dough, which lends a beautiful sweet, floral scent. You can find rosewater in your grocery store in the international aisle or purchase some online!
  • Almond extract. Almond extract helps boost the almond flavor. You can make your own Almond Extract as well! 
  • Almonds. Before adding them to your cookie dough, be sure to toast your almonds — it helps bring out that nutty flavor! To toast your almonds, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roast the almonds for 10-15 minutes until fragrant.

How To Make Kourabiedes

These traditional Greek Christmas cookies couldn’t be easier to make! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Combine flour, powdered sugar, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse about 10 more times until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
  2. Combine the rosewater and almond extract in a small bowl, sprinkle it into the food processor, and pulse to combine with the mixture. Add the chopped almonds and pulse again until the dough starts to come together.
  3. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and bring it together into a ball. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. 
  4. Roll portions of the dough into balls and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes and, once cool enough to handle, coat them in powdered sugar. 

Gemma holds a homemade Kourabiedes cookie that has a bite taken out of it, showing the layers of buttery, crumbly cookie, toasted almonds, and powdered sugar.

Can I Make Kourabiedes Ahead Of Time? Can You Freeze Kourabiedes?

Yes! You can make Kourabiedes in advance. Make the dough and bake it off as usual, but skip coating them in powdered sugar. They will freeze well for up to 6 months in an airtight container. When you are ready to eat them, allow them to come to room temperature and then coat them in powdered sugar. You can place them in a 300°F oven to warm up and then coat them.

How To Store Kourabiedes

You can store leftover Kourabiedes in an airtight container for up to three days. 

Substitutions And Kourabiedes Variations

They’re a few different variations of Kourabiedes you can make! Instead of almonds, try making Kourabiedes with pistachios or hazelnuts. Add a touch of orange zest with the rosewater for a lovely citrus flavor. 

If you like a bit of a boozy treat, make Kourabiedes with Ouzo! Ouzo is a beloved anise-flavored aperitif in Greece. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of Ouzo to your rosewater to give your cookies a licoricey kick. 

Kourabiedes FAQs

Do you need a food processor to make Kourabiedes?

A food processor does make this recipe easier, especially if you are making your own almond flour, but it isn’t necessary. Instead, buy almond flour at your grocery store or health food store. When making the cookie dough, instead of using a food processor to pulse the ingredients together, use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer. 

Why are my Kourabiedes cookies flat?

If your Kourabiedes are flat or have spread while baking, chances are the butter in the dough was allowed to get too warm before baking. If your butter softens too much, you’ll likely get flat cookies. You need the butter to be cold. Use it straight from the fridge and work quickly with your dough. If you feel it’s getting too warm, pop it into the refrigerator for a few minutes. 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Greek Christmas Cookies

  • For the most delicate cookie, handle the dough as quickly as possible, so the butter doesn’t melt. If your dough is over-handled, or the butter is too warm, you’ll get a flat cookie that isn’t crumbly.
  • I baked Kourabiedes into rounds, but you can also shape the dough into small crescents for a traditional look that will pop on your holiday cookie tray. 
  • You can use different ground nuts in place of almonds. Hazelnuts would be delicious! Or, try adding pistachios to the dough! 
  • Instead of rosewater, you can make these using orange blossom water for a different taste.
  • Instead of powdered sugar, try Kourabiedes dipped in chocolate! Melt a good quality bittersweet chocolate in the microwave or a bain-marie. When the cookies have completely cooled, dip them in the chocolate and then place them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Pop the cookies in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. 
  • Serve these on a Greek dessert platter along with Melomakarona and Baklava

For More Holiday Recipes, Check Out:

And don’t miss more everyday baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!

Kourabiedes (Greek Christmas Butter Cookies)

4.60 from 5 votes
Kourabiedes are a delicious crumbly Greek Christmas cookie with butter and almond flavors that melt in your mouth!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 36 cookies
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Kourabiedes are a delicious crumbly Greek Christmas cookie with butter and almond flavors that melt in your mouth!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 36 cookies

Ingredients

  • cups (13¾ oz/389 g) all-purpose flour
  • cup (2⅔ oz/76 g) plus 1½ cups (6 oz/170 g) powdered sugar
  • ½ cup (2 oz/57 g) almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 oz/253 g) butter, cold and diced
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (5 oz/142 g) almonds, toasted and chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, ⅔ cup (2⅔ oz/76 g) powdered sugar, almond flour, baking powder, and salt, and pulse 10 times to combine.
  • Add the cold butter and pulse about 10 more times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • In a small bowl, combine the rosewater and almond extract, then sprinkle in and pulse a few more times to combine.
  • Add the chopped almonds and pulse a few times, just until the dough begins to come together.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and, working quickly so the butter doesn’t melt, bring the dough together into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Roll rounded tablespoon-sized portions of dough into balls, then press a small indent in the center of each. Place about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are a very pale golden. Let cool on the baking sheets.
  • Once the cookies are cool enough to handle, roll them in the remaining 1½ cups powdered sugar to coat them completely, then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to three days.
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Mila
Mila
1 month ago

Hi, just wanted to give you a tip on what we do with these cookies (as a Greek grandmother) we brush the cooked cookies with rose water and then roll in icing sugar. They are more fragrant this way.

Sara
Sara
1 month ago

Sounds delicious, thank you! What can we use instead of rose water?

Linda Joyce
Linda Joyce
1 month ago

Gemma, what can be used instead of rose water or orange blossom? Water?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook