Golden Balls – Loukoumades

Obviously, that last post was quite a bit more than ‘tongue in cheek’! As you can probably guess, I’m really looking forward to eating something someone else has cooked as soon as possible.

As (despite requests) Kouzina Karantina won’t be offering a ‘take out’ service anytime soon, I reckoned I owed a recipe, and this is a cracker.

I’m not known for making puddings. Generally speaking, by the time I’ve done a full selection of mezedakia (little sharing plates) for starters and a main course, I’ve lost interest in making something sweet. to finish it all off. But loukoumades  – a sort of doughnut- is one Greek dessert that is so supremely delightful,  that I absolutely love making it.

To call loukoumades a dessert does feel a bit poncy, to be honest. In the past, there were shops where loukoumades were the only thing on sale, one of the most famous being  ‘Aigaion’, on Panepistimiou Street, in Athens.  With something like the vibe of a British Chippy, this was a place you popped into because you wanted to eat the best loukoumades in town, not because you wanted to sit and have an elegant pastry. It was functional, unpretentious, and constantly served these exquisite golden balls of freshly fried dough. They were crisp and drenched in honey and absolutely perfect.

These days, the loukoumades tradition carries on – sometimes in a more refined incarnation, as a dessert at a trendy restaurant or patisserie – and I don’t knock them at all. Honeyed loukoumades with a side serving of mastiha ice cream is a combination most likely devised by the gods.

At the forefront of keeping the loukoumades tradition on course is  ‘Lukumades’. At their main shop just of Irini Square in Athens, they get the style absolutely right. This is a street food version where you can have your balls in the traditional manner, with honey, cinnamon and maybe a sprinkle of crushed walnuts; or stuffed with any variety of (totally Greek) fillings- lemon, mastiha or ‘bougatsa‘ (aka vanilla)  flavour.

Anyway, enough of all that. Here’s the recipe. You will never make another pudding.




Describing loukoumades as 'Greek doughnuts' really does them an injustice! They're much lighter and always eaten warm, straight from the pan. They're usually finished with honey and cinnamon but once you get the hang of these, you can experiment with other toppings! They're great with a chocolate sauce and ice cream but the options are endless!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek


  • 200 ml milk
  • 200 ml water
  • 25 gm caster sugar
  • 3 tsp dried active yeast NOT FAST ACTING
  • 350 gm plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Honey and ground cinnamon to finish.


  • Warm the milk and water - it needs to be just tepid, not hot.
  • Mix in the sugar and yeast, and leave it for a few minutes until it gets frothy.
  • Take a large mixing bowl, and put in the flour and salt, and then the olive oil and the milk/yeast mixture.
  • Mix it all very well until the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with some cling film (or a plate) and leave it in a warm place to rise.
  • After about 30 minutes, uncover and mix it all again and then replace the cover.
  • Now it needs to rest for at least an hour in the fridge.
  • Loukoumades are deep-fried, so take a large deep pan and put in plenty of sunflower oil. If you have a deep-fryer, that is a much better option.
  • I have a sugar thermometer, so I put that in the oil and heat it to 200 degrees. If you don't, drop a little cube of bread into the hot oil to test that it is hot enough to turn the bread into a crouton really quickly.
  • To drop the blobs of dough into the oil you need to be very careful - it's all very hot!
  • I use an ice cream scoop and a dessert spoon to take small amounts of dough - 2 spoons work well too.
  • Carefully drop the blobs of dough into the oil and fry until golden. They puff up a lot during cooking so don't overload the pan.
  • Drain the cooked loukoumades on kitchen paper and then transfer to a plate and drizzle with honey and cinnamon.
Keyword Greek desserts, Greek sweets, loukoumades
This is how they cook them at ‘Lukumades’ – a machine drops the blobs of dough into the pan. Don’t fill it like this at home !


7 Replies to “Golden Balls – Loukoumades”

  1. Many years ago, I missed the ferry to Pserimos (next to Kalymnos) and so caught a day trip boat which visited three islands, Pserimos being the first. The captain said his cousin had rooms so I sat with the trippers and had frappe and then paddled in the sea while he went to find his cousin and all the others had loukoumades. Suddenly, l heard a loud voice, “Madam you have not had your sweet balls!” And turned to find a waiter up to his trousered knees in the sea, holding aloft my plate of loukoumades. So from then on it’s sweet balls to me. I think he brought me enough for two.
    The boat and passengers left, leaving me, my sweet balls, and perfect peace.

  2. Hi, what is happening if I use instant yeast? what is the reason of not fast rising yeast and I was wondering also the reason of keepin fridge ? thank you so much :))

    1. Hi! Because this dough doesn’t have a long proofing time and then cooks really quickly in the hot oil, I’m not sure that ‘fast acting’ yeast would work properly. To be honest, I’ve always used regular dried yeast, but next time I’ll try it with fast-acting stuff to see!
      I think proofing yeast dough in the fridge controls the fermentation. So I would think that here it stops the dough from turning into something like sloppy bread dough.
      Hope this all helps ..? Please let me know how you get on! 🙂

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