Greek Sesame Bread rings recipe (Koulouri Thessalonikis)

Incredibly crunchy on the outside with an amazingly soft and slightly chewy centre.. These delicious Greek bread rings covered with toasted sesame seeds are definitely the most popular street food one can find in Greece. And with good reason!

If you’ve ever found yourself walking the streets of  Athens or Thessalonikis then you can’t have missed on all the street vendors selling these popular sesame bread rings. These famous Greek Koulouria are sold almost everywhere! On every street corner and every bakery, being probably the most popular breakfast for Greeks, along with a hot cup of Greek coffee (ellinikos Kafes) or a Frappe coffee.

Traditional Greek sesame-crusted bread rings can be served with either sweet or savoury accompaniments. I just love enjoying them with feta cheese or Graviera and Kalamata olives as a filling snack or cutting them in half crosswise, spreading with butter, honey or jam for breakfast. Simply delicious!

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Greek Sesame Bread rings recipe (Koulouri Thessalonikis)

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  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 90 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pieces 1x
  • Category: Breads
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek


A traditional Greek sesame seed bread rings recipe! If you’ve ever found yourself walking the streets of  Athens or Thessalonikis then you can’t have missed on all the street vendors selling these popular sesame koulouria! Discover how to make your own with this original recipe!


  • 500g all purpose flour (19 oz.)
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 300g lukewarm water (10.5 oz.)
  • 8g dry active yeast (0.3 oz.)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsps olive oil

To garnish

  • 200250g sesame seeds (89 oz.)
  • water


  1. To prepare these Greek sesame bread rings recipe, start by making the dough. In the mixer’s bowl add the lukewarm water, the yeast and sugar and stir. Wrap well with plastic wrap and set aside for about 8-10 minutes, until the yeast starts bubbling. Into the same bowl, add first the flour, then the salt and olive oil. Using the dough hook, mix all the ingredients at low speed for about 7 minutes, until the dough becomes an elastic ball. When done, remove the dough from the hook and check out its texture. It should be smooth and elastic and slightly sticky. If it is too sticky, add just a little more flour (1/2 tsp), mix and check again.
  2. Coat lightly a bowl with some olive oil, place the dough inside and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit in warm place for about 30 minutes. Knead the dough again at medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a working surface and divide into 12 pieces. Take one piece of the dough and roll out into a rope approx. 35cm long. Form a circle and join the ends pinching them together. Place the bread ring on a large baking tray, lined up with parchment paper and repeat with the rest of the dough. (You will need two large baking trays.)
  4. Prepare the ingredients for the garnish. In one bowl pour some water. In a separate bowl or tray place the sesame seeds. Dip the koulouria (bread rings) in water and then in sesame seeds, making sure to cover them on all sides. Place them back on your baking sheets, leaving some distance between them. Let them rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. (For garnish you can also petimezi for extra flavour. Use 1/3 of a cup petimezi diluted in 1/4 of cup water and dip the bread rings first in the petimezi mixture and then in sesame seeds.)
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for about 15 minutes, until nicely golden brown and crusty. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1 ring
  • Calories: 281kcal
  • Sugar: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 390.6mg
  • Fat: 12.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9.9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.3g
  • Fiber: 3.3g
  • Protein: 7.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

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  1. sophia livizos

    I always keep the yeast in the refrigerator and it is cold when first want to use it , is it o.k to use it right away or I should bring it first to room tempeture.

    • I would bring it to room temperature. I am guessing you are talking about fresh yeast? Dry one does not need to be refrigerated..

      • I keep my dry yeast refrigerated as well so it lasts longer. I never bring it to room temp since its going in warm water. You can even freeze yeast it indefinitely

  2. I live in Ecuador, and petimezi is not available. I did, however, manage to find some pomegranate molasses. Do you think it would be worth a try to experiment with using that diluted in place of the water?

  3. Karina Cheung

    Just use sugar in water, works the same way

  4. The USA does not have grams. We have cups, tablespoon, teaspoon. I do not know what 500 grams is to cups.

  5. Perfect and simple – thank you very much! Spasibo!

  6. Can you use baking powder instead of yeast in this recipe?

    • Eli K. Giannopoulos

      No I don’t think that would work as well I am afraid. Its more like a bread than a cake 🙂

  7. Diane Wilde

    I discovered this bread when I took a walking food tour in Athens. Best bread ever! I bought it whenever I came across it after that. Yum! I have been making a rough version of this since I got home. Trying out your recipe now😊

  8. I too discovered this bread walking through Athens. I wondered about it and then on our last day we bought a few for our return airplane flight to JFK. Eating these on the plane I knew I had to make these at home and I found your recipe. It was perfect and pretty close to what I remembered. We even made cheese sandwiches with tbem. Yummy!!! Thank you for this recipe.

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