How to Make a Classic Greek Tsoureki

A fixture of Easter Sunday, the sweet, aromatic bread is also great with a cup of coffee in the morning.

Chef: Evi Voutsina

Preparation & Cooking time: about 150'

Serves: 8

For Greeks, Easter without tsoureki – a sweet, aromatic bread – is like Thanksgiving without Turkey or Christmas without presents. It’s just not done.

Fortunately, compared to spit roasting a lamb over coals or preparing magiritsa  a rich creamy soup made with offal – whipping up a tsoureki is a relatively simple prospect that has the boon of making your house smell divine for hours (although fair warning: it might take a few tries to master). Tsoureki can also be eaten any time of the year – it’s great for picnics or just with a cup of coffee in the morning.

In recent years one can find ever more creative iterations of tsoureki, such as chocolate coated and filled versions. But below is the all time classic recipe to get you started.


Using a food processor whip the egg whites until light and frothy. Then repeat with the egg yolks until frothy.

In a bowl mix the beaten eggs with the spices, the orange juice, the yeast in water and the milk and sugar. Mix well and then start adding the flour little by little. Knead the mixture with your hands, dipping them into the butter to mix it in.

Knead the mixture well until the dough mixture is smooth and is trapping air. This can take some time to get the dough nice and elastic which will give your tsoureki the correct texture. Your dough should still be a little sticky towards the end so be careful not to add too much flour. To avoid it sticking to your hands coat them with butter or oil. Also use an oiled as opposed to a flour-dusted surface to avoid your dough becoming too dry.

Roll the dough into a ball, brush the outside with butter, cover it completely and leave it to rise until it has roughly doubled in size (40-45 minutes).

Knead the dough again to remove all of the air and divide it into three or four pieces. Shape either into a simple loaf or, for the more advanced, roll out the dough and then weave it into a thick braid. This can be done by rolling three pieces of the dough into sausage shapes about 30cm long and 5cm wide. Lie them parallel to each other, pinch them together at one end and then braid.

Cover the dough again and leave it to double in size (40 – 45 minutes). Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Baste the outside of the dough with the egg-milk glaze and cook for about 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Then enjoy! For best results do not cut your tsoureki with a knife but rather tear off pieces to enjoy the full texture.


*Originally publieshed in Gastronomos magazine


  • 6 eggs with the yolks separated from the whites
  • 2.5 cups of sugar dissolve in 500ml of warm milk
  • 1/2 cup of melted (lukewarm) butter
  • 1 level tsp of mahlepi (mahleb) – a spice that helps give tsoureki its characteristic aroma. Available in many shops selling Eastern spices.
  • 1 level tsp of ground sweet cardamom spice
  • The zest and juice from one small orange (organic and unwaxed)
  • 50gr of fresh yeast or 2 sachets of dried yeast, diluted in a small amount of room temperature water with a pinch of sugar
  • 1,600 – 1,800gr of flour
    For the glaze:
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp of milk

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