Loukoumades (Greek Honey Donuts)

These Sweet Greek Loukoumades are Always a Hit!

For an irresistible sweet treat, Loukoumades – or Greek Honey Donuts – are a great option and so easy to make!

These pieces of fried dough are dipped in syrup and coated in chopped nuts after – making them a delicious treat.

stack of fried greek donuts on plate with green cloth behind and nuts around.
These Greek donuts are delicious!

It’s always fascinating to see recipes from one country and how they are similar or different to recipes from other countries.

These donuts are enjoyed as a popular street food in Greece, but there are also different variations in parts of the Middle East where they are known as Lokma – among other names.

In fact, they also have some similarity to Dutch Oliebollen and German/Austrian Krapfen.

Ingredients

ingredients to make greek donuts on marble counter top in bowls with labels.
These are the ingredients for Loukoumades.

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need for this Loukoumades recipe:

Dough

  • Flour Use all-purpose flour.
  • Milk You’ll need 1 cup of milk; it needs to be lukewarm since you’re working with yeast.
  • Water Make sure the water is lukewarm (and not too hot).
  • Instant Yeast – You can also use active dry yeast, but then you have to activate it in the 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar first (and remember to not add additional water!)
  • Sugar To add some sweetness to the dough and to help the yeast dough rise.
  • Salt For some flavor.
  • Olive oil – To make the dough nice and soft.
  • Cooking Oil – You can either use a light olive oil but canola oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil or vegetable oil also work well.

Syrup and Garnish

  • Honey – To make the syrup.
  • Orange juice – To make the syrup; for flavor and sweetness.
  • Zest from one orange – We would recommend using an organic orange.
  • Cinnamon – For added flavor.
  • Pistachios & Walnuts – Chopped nuts as garnish.

Recipe Tips

Before you tackle the recipe for these Greek Loukoumades, you should read through the recipe tips so that you know what to expect and achieve best results aka the best donuts!

  • Make sure to use yeast that hasn’t expired yet. Also make sure to work with warm – but not hot – milk and water. Liquid that is too hot could harm the yeast bacteria.
  • When frying the dough, remember to dip the spoon in some oil each time you grab dough so that the dough doesn’t stick to the spoon.
  • On that note, if you don’t want to get your hand too dirty, you can also use a larger ladle to grab dough and the oiled tablespoon to drop bits of dough from the ladle into the hot oil.
  • Instead of making and using the syrup, you can also use honey, maple syrup or chocolate sauce to dip the Loukoumades.

How to Make Loukoumades – Step by Step Instructions

To make these Greek honey balls, you can follow the recipe step-by-step in this section.

We’ve included the recipe process photos so that you can follow along and track your progress!

Otherwise, the recipe card is at the bottom of this post.

dry yeast and flour in a clear glass mixing bowl on counter top.
Add the dry ingredients to a bowl.

In a bowl whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.

yeast and wet ingredients bubbling in clear glass mixing bowl on counter.
Add water and milk.

Next, add lukewarm water and milk as well as the olive oil.

silver whisk dipped in dough sitting above mixing bowl of batter on counter top.
Keep whisking.

Mix with a whisk until you get a runny batter. The batter should look similar to a pancake batter.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours. 

silver pot full of melted honey syrup sitting on grey counter.
Add the ingredients for the syrup to a saucepan.

While the dough is rising prepare the syrup. In a small saucepan combine honey, orange juice, orange zest, and cinnamon.

hot honey mixture in silver pot on grey counter top.
Stir well.

Stir and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

When the syrup is done remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool.

clear glass mixing bowl of bubbling dough on grey counter top.
The dough should have noticably increased its size.

Once the dough is ready (it should have noticeably increased in size), heat enough oil in a medium saucepan so that the balls of dough will not be touching the bottom of the pan while frying.

The oil should be at approximately 320 degrees Fahrenheit. You can test it by dipping some of the dough in it. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough.

fried dough balls cooking in oil in silver pot on counter top.
Fry the loukoumades.

Dip a tablespoon in some oil. Then dip your non-dominant (clean!) hand in the dough and grab some dough while making a fist (so the dough is inside your closed fist).

Now gently squeeze out a small portion of dough between your thumb and index finger to make a small dough ball.

Use the spoon that you dipped in oil earlier to grab the dough ball off your hand and let it drop in the hot oil in the saucepan right away.

Repeat until you have enough donuts in the pan but don’t overcrowd the pan – you don’t want the donuts to stick to each other.

You should dip the spoon in the oil every time so that the batter doesn’t stick to it. 

fried greek donuts floating in silver pot fill of honey mixture sitting on marble counter.
Fry the loukoumades until they are golden brown.

Cook the loukoumades until the bottom is golden brown (roughly 2-3 minutes), then flip them over with a slotted spoon and cook them until they are golden brown and cooked evenly on all sides.

Once the loukoumades are golden brown, transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate or tray to catch some of the excess oil.

Then dunk them in the prepared syrup. Repeat the frying process until you have used up all of the dough. You should end up with around 25 donuts.

greek honey balls covered in nuts with drizzling honey on top.
Sprinkle the loukoumades with chopped nuts.

Transfer the loukoumades to a serving plate and sprinkle with chopped pistachio and walnuts.

Storage Tips

Once you’ve made a Greek donut or two, you’ll want to eat them hot and fresh. They are definitely best served same day!

They’ll last a couple of days in a sealed container on the counter but – like any freshly fried baked good – will get stale quickly.

You can try to revive them with a few seconds in the microwave but they just aren’t the same!

FAQ

Here are some answers to questions about Loukoumades:

What are Loukoumades?

Loukoumades are a fried dough dessert (similar to a donut) covered in syrup and often coated in chopped nuts. Loukoumades are popular in Greece and variations can be found in Cyprus, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.

How to make Loukoumades?

To make Loukoumades, create a leavened dough with yeast and let it rise. Heat oil and fry drops of dough in oil until puffy and golden brown. Meanwhile, heat the honey-cinnamon syrup mixture and when the dough is cooked, dip the fried dough in the syrup and top with chopped nuts, sesame seeds, or chocolate sauce.

Related Recipes

If you are a fan of this Greek dessert with honey, here are some more Greek recipes that might interest you:

greek donuts with bite out of it stacked on plate with crushed nuts around.

Loukoumades (Greek Donuts)

Loukoumades – or Greek Honey Donuts – are a delicious sweet treat. This fried dough is golden brown and coated in a tasty syrup mixture and sprinkled with chopped nuts for a bit of crunch!
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 25 donuts

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast, 15 grams; for active dry yeast see notes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • oil for frying

Syrup & Garnish

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • zest from one orange, organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pistachios and walnuts, chopped (to garnish)

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
    2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons instant yeast, 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Next, add the lukewarm water and lukewarm milk as well as the olive oil.
    1 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Mix with a whisk until you get a runny batter. The batter should look similar to a pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours. 
  • While the dough is rising prepare the syrup. In a small saucepan combine honey, orange juice, orange zest, and cinnamon.
    1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup orange juice, zest from one orange, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Stir and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes. When the syrup is done, remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
  • Once the dough is ready (it should have noticeably increased in size), heat enough oil in a medium saucepan so that the balls of dough will not be touching the bottom of the pan while frying. The oil should be at approximately 320 degrees Fahrenheit. You can test it by dipping some of the dough in it. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough.
    oil for frying
  • Dip a tablespoon in some oil in a little bowl or mug. Then dip your non-dominant, clean hand in the dough and grab some dough while making a fist (so the dough is inside your closed fist). Now gently squeeze out a small portion of dough between your thumb and index finger to make a small dough ball. Use the spoon that you dipped in oil earlier to grab the dough ball off your hand and let it drop in the hot oil in the saucepan right away. Repeat until you have enough donuts in the pan but don’t overcrowd the pan – you don’t want the donuts to stick to each other. Dip the spoon in the oil every time so that the batter doesn’t stick to it. 
  • Cook the loukoumades until the bottom is golden brown (roughly 2-3 minutes), then flip them over with a slotted spoon and cook them until they are golden brown and cooked evenly on all sides.
  • Once the loukoumades are golden brown, transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate or tray to catch some of the excess oil. Then dunk them in the prepared syrup. Repeat the frying process until you have used up all of the dough. You should end up with around 25 donuts.
  • Transfer the loukoumades to a serving plate and sprinkle with chopped pistachio and walnuts.
    pistachios and walnuts

Notes

  • Enjoy the Loukoumades the same day you make them as they taste best when fresh.
  • Make sure that the yeast you’re using is not expired yet and that the milk and water are warm but not hot as this could harm the yeast bacteria!
  • Instead of instant yeast, you can also use active dry yeast but you have to add an extra step. Activate the yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and let it sit for 15 minutes until it starts bubbling. Then add this mixture when you add the milk – also don’t add any additional water and only 1 tablespoon of sugar instead of 1 1/2 tablespoons!
  • When frying the dough, remember to dip the spoon in some oil each time you grab dough so that the dough doesn’t stick to the spoon.
  • Instead of making and using the syrup you can also use honey, maple syrup or chocolate sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 21IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Course Desserts
Cuisine Greek
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This recipe was contributed by
Stefani Stefovska
Born and raised in Macedonia, Stefani started cooking from a very young age. Her family passed down their love for food and cooking together with many traditional Balkan and Greek recipes.

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