Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

Updated 18th December 2023

These Melomakarona (meh-loh-mah-KAH-roh-nah) are the tastiest cookie morsels. They are oval shaped Greek Honey Cookies. The name is appropriate as ‘meli’ in Greek is honey. They are also known as finikia. They are spiced with cinnamon and clove, flavoured with orange zest and juice and made with a mixture of flour and semolina giving them their distinct flavour and texture. They are baked until golden and set and then they are dipped into an aromatic spiced and orange infused honey syrup. They are irresistible and I bet you won’t be able to stop at one. These slightly crumbly and moist syrupy cookies are usually made in huge batches but this recipe makes a smaller batch that is easy to double or triple as needed. These little guys fill the house with the aromas of citrus and spice when they are baking. They are conveniently vegan as they are made without eggs or butter and they are so addictive. Give them a try and you will see what all the fuss is about.

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

These are hands down my favourite Greek cookies. They fall under the category of desserts called Siropiasta or desserts with syrup. My Karithopita (Greek walnut cake), Galaktoboureko (Greek custard pie), Greek Orange Phyllo Cake (Portokalopita), Greek Semolina Cake (Revani) examples of some of the desserts that fall under that category. A more popular dessert that also falls into the same delicious category is baklava. Many who try melomakarona for the very first time actually think the flavours are quite similar to baklava but in cookie form. Instead of the crispy flakiness of baklava, the same spice and honey flavors are contained in a soft, tender cookie.

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

Making the Cookies

The cookie itself is quite simple to make using just a bowl and whisk and a spatula. I love the combination of flour and semolina in mine because it adds a nice texture to these cookies. If you don’t have semolina you could just use regular all purpose flour in its place. Many like to add in a couple tablespoons of ground walnuts to the batter too to give it extra nutty flavours and a crumblier texture. The key to making the BEST Melomakarona is remembering one thing when it comes to the dough. Do NOT over mix or over work the dough. What will happen is the oil will start to separate from the dough and you do not want that. It’s the equivalent of squeezing water out of a sponge. Over working it essentially squeezes out the oil. So to make them perfect every time you must make sure to be gentle with the dough. Folding the flour into the oil gently a little at a time and then letting the dough rest for just a few minutes before shaping into cookies will help the dough hydrate and make it easier to scoop and shape.

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

Making the Syrup

The syrup is easy to make and just takes a few minutes of simmering to infuse it with the flavours of the aromatics. Some people prefer to flavour these with lemon zest and juice instead of orange juice and that is totally fine. The recipe works well with both. When it comes to the spice levels in these you can also free to adjust the amounts of either the cinnamon or clove to your liking and you can swap out the ground clove with all spice if you like that better than clove in your baked goods. The brandy is also optional but I love the flavour it adds to these cookies.

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

Soaking the Cookies In Syrup

When it comes to soaking them everyone has their own way and opinion on it. Generally both the cookies and the syrup should not be the same temperature. You can either do it as written in the recipe below or you can also make the syrup in advance and then allow it to cool completely before you start baking the cookies and once the cookies are baked you can soak them in the cool syrup while they are warm. Either way will work. (Cool cookies - warm syrup or warm cookies - cool syrup). Many prefer their melomakarona very soaked and syrupy and others not so much. My recipe makes cookies that fall somewhere down the middle. If you want them super syrupy then soak them for longer and even drizzle some of the syrup over them after they are placed on tray. If you don’t want them too syrupy then just soak them for less time.

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

Melomakarona Recipe Ingredients

  • FLOUR: I use all purpose flour for this recipe. I have not tested this recipe with a gluten free 1-1 all purpose flour. GF flour absorbs oil and syrup much differently so it may not be a 1-1 swap for this particular recipe
  • SEMOLINA FLOUR: This gives these cookies their distinct texture. Semolina is actually just a type of flour made from durum wheat. If you do not have access to it that is ok you can still make these cookies - just replace with more all purpose flour.
  • OLIVE OIL: I use extra virgin olive oil and I love the flavor it gives these cookies - another signature ingredient in melomakarona. If you prefer a more subtle olive oil flavour in your cookies - feel free to use a light olive oil
  • SUGAR: You will need 1/3 cup of granulated sugar for the cookie batter and 1/4 cup for the syrup
  • ORANGE JUICE & ZEST: I always recommend freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh orange zest
  • BAKING POWDER & BAKING SODA: A little of both to give these cookies needed lift
  • SPICES: I like to use a blend of ground cinnamon and ground clove and a pinch of salt to balance the flavours. Feel free to adjust the amount of spices to taste. For the syrup I use whole cloves and whole cinnamon stick
  • COGNAC/BRANDY: Either will work for this recipe. The cookies do not taste boozy - no overpowering alcohol flavor at all - the cognac or the brandy flavor the dough like vanilla extract would
  • HONEY: Use any honey you prefer for the syrup and for drizzling cookies with

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies Ingredients

How To Make Melomakarona (step by step over view)

As I mentioned earlier in the post these are very easy cookies to make. Here is an overview of the instructions - full details are in recipe card below.

  • COMBINE the flour with the semolina flour, baking powder, spices and salt - set aside
  • WHISK olive oil with the sugar and orange zest
  • STIR the orange juice with the baking soda - it will froth up then whisk that in to the wet ingredients along with the cognac or brandy
  • WHISK the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gradually. Once the batter starts to thicken swap whisk with a spatula and fold in the remaining dry ingredients just until combined - don’t over mix
  • REST DOUGH for just a few minutes before shaping into cookies to help the dough hydrate and make it easier to scoop and shape.
  • SHAPE COOKIES into oval shape and poke the tops of them with a fork gently a couple of times
  • BAKE then cool in pan on wire rack
  • MAKE SYRUP simmer water, sugar with aromatics until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the honey. Remove the aromatics
  • DIP cool cookies into warm syrup then place them on baking sheet
  • DRIZZLE with a little honey and SPRINKLE with chopped walnuts

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies Step By Step

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies Step By Step

Melomakarona Tips

  • Do Not over mix dough: it will seperate and affect the texture of cookies
  • Do Not over-bake cookies: Once they start to get golden around the edges they are done
  • Soak the cookies for at least 20 seconds per side - but def do soak them longer if you would like more moist cookies.
  • Soak COOL cookies into WARM syrup for best results
  • Do add some finely chopped walnuts to the batter itself for a nuttier cookie
  • Do drizzle the cookies with a little honey for extra sweetness but it will also help the chopped walnuts stick to the top of the cookies
  • Do adjust amount of spices to taste

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

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Servings: 25-30 cookies
Prep Time: 30 mins
Bake Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 50-70 mins


For the cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup semolina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ of a medium sized orange zested
  • ½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (save the squeezed orange for syrup below)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Brandy or Cognac

For the syrup

  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Reserved orange that was squeezed for its juice

For the Topping

  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey (optional)
  • ¼ cup walnuts ground or finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)


For the cookies

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, semolina, baking powder, spices and salt to combine.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, orange zest and the olive oil for a couple of minutes until the sugar starts to break down and dissolve and mixture is well combined.
  3. Stir the baking soda into the orange juice and then whisk that mixture into the olive oil one along with the brandy to combine.
  4. Whisk in the dry ingredients a little at a time while the mixture is RUNNY. As soon as it starts getting a little THICKER switch to a spatula and gently and patiently FOLD the remaining flour mixture just until combined and the mixing bowl has no traces of flour left. DO NOT OVER MIX - as the dough will start to almost separate itself or release all the oil. Let dough rest at room temperature as is for 10-15 minutes.*
  5. In the meantime preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment
  6. Take spoonfuls of the mixture roll into a ball and then form into egg-like ovals and place on a lined baking sheet. (Portion out the dough using a small 2’ (5 cm) 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, scooping out 1 heaping tablespoon of dough) I like to flatten the tops of mine a little ever so gently. Then use a fork to gently poke a couple of holes on the tops of the cookies.
  7. Bake the cookies until firm and golden, approx 18-20 minutes. Once done allow them too cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.

For the syrup

  1. While the cookies are cooling, make the syrup by adding sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and reserved orange into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and simmer stirring to dissolve the sugar, approx 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, remove aromatics with a slotted spooned and stir in the honey.

For the topping

  1. In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon with the ground walnuts. Cinnamon is optional but adds extra flavour to the cookies.

Soaking & topping

  1. Once cookies are cool and the syrup is still very warm, dip the cookies in the syrup a few at a time. Let them soak on both sides for approx 30 seconds on each side (or more of you like very moist cookies) before taking them out with a slotted spoon or fork and placing them on a lined baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle or dot each cookie with an extra bit of honey and then immediately sprinkle on the cinnamon walnut mixture and leave to dry. (the honey is optional but it allows more of the topping to stick to the cookies)

Recipe Notes

  • It’s VERY important not to over mix the dough. The dough should be soft but very easy to handle (pliable) and shouldn’t stick to your fingers. You shouldn’t have to refrigerate it in order to form the cookies. The few minutes of resting at room temperature allows the dough to fully hydrate.
  • You will see many variations and so called rules for soaking the cookies. Generally both the cookies and the syrup should not be the same temperature. You can either do it as written above or you can also make the syrup in advance and then allow it to cool completely before you start baking the cookies and once the cookies are baked you can soak them in the cool syrup while they are warm. Either way will work but I prefer cool cookies warm syrup because the cookies are less likely to fall apart in the syrup as they are cool and firm. (Cool cookies - warm syrup or warm cookies - cool syrup)
  • Storing Melomakarona: Once cool store then in an airtight container. I also like to place sheets of parchment paper or wax paper between layers to prevent them from sticking together, or you can place each one of them in a paper liner. They keep well at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. They taste best after a couple of days when the flavours have had a chance to marry and meld together.

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies