Yiayia Stella’s Koulourakia

with anise

By: Eleni Saltas

Anise is the star of Yiayia Saltas’ koulourakia. Enjoy these fluffy koulourakia with a tried and true recipe. 

Prep Time:


Total Time:



about 100 cookies

Good For:



  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ pound butter, melted (but cooled)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (unsweetened condensed milk)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon anise oil
  • 5-6 cups of flour, or more as needed
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, for glazing
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated milk, for glazing
  • Sesame seeds, for topping

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Separate the eggs and place the yolks in your mixer and the egg whites in separate bowl. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside for later. 

Step 2

Using a hand mixer, add eggs yolks and beat until light colored, this should take about 5 minutes. Combine the granulated sugar and powder sugar together and mix into the egg yolk mixture. While still beating your mixture, slowly add the butter, milk and anise oil.

Step 3

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Begin to incorporate the egg whites and flour into your mixture, alternating between the two until both are used up. Add enough flour (up to 6 cups) until the dough is soft but not stiff.
Yiayia’s tip: start with 4 cups of flour, and then work in the remaining flour with your hands until a soft dough is formed.

Step 4

Place the dough on a clean surface for shaping. Take a little piece of dough (about the size of a walnut) and roll into a thin rope-like cord. Fold the rope in half and twist to form a braided cookie. Repeat this process with the remaining dough. You can also roll into other shapes like circles, serpents or letters, which I do at the end after the process gets tedious.

Step 5

Place rolled dough on a baking sheet, leaving space in between each as they will slightly expand.

Step 6

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk for the glaze. Brush the cookies with the glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Yiayia’s tip: don’t waste any sesame seeds and get them on better by dipping your finger in the glaze, then into a bowl of sesame seeds, and tap onto your rolled dough!

Step 7

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Yiayia’s tip: Don’t let your koulourakia sit out too long, about 10 minutes after they’ve been out of the oven, place into bread bags or containers so they don’t get too hard. She likes to keep a good portion soft, and then some harder for dunking in coffee.

Step 8