Loukoumathes, Greek bakery treats

Loukoumas, a simple round puff with sugar, it’s the old-fashioned style of doughnut, no frills attached to it. Ubiquitous in Greek bakeries, you can grab a loukouma when you are on the go from Athenian street sellers or grab one on the beach during summer. It’s so easy to make your own loukoumathes at home as well.

Head straight to the recipe.

Greek breakfast has never made a name for itself. We can perhaps make an exception for Greek yogurt with honey and nuts. When in Athens, you will normally rush out of the door and grab something from the bakery on your way anywhere. The bakery is a necessary pitstop. It can be a simple koulouri, the sesame bread rings or loukoumas, the sweet version which is nothing more than an old-fashioned doughnut sprinkled only with sugar, no filling, no icing, nothing fancy added to it.

My childhood weekends were filled with tiropites, cheese pies, loukoumathes, sugar doughnuts and chocolate milk from the baker’s. It didn’t matter if we were in Athens or on holidays, a good breakfast would always be there to start a day. I would sink my teeth into it, feel the sugar melt in my mouth, get sugar sprinkled dots on my cheeks and wash it all down with large gulps of cold chocolate milk. Cartoons were always playing in the background, an imperative Saturday morning routine that could make time stop momentarily.

Loukoumas, this sweet childhood treat cannot be restrained indoors. Do not confuse with the tiny loukoumathes with honey and cinnamon, a close cousin but a different story all together. This fried ring of dough can travel well and accompany you everywhere. In the summertime, when all activities seem to be magically transferred to the seaside, the visit to the bakery can wait.

There would always be fruit in a bag, peaches, grapes, figs from the tree and a thermos of cold water in the beach bag. Summertime is all about long dives in the sea and nonstop splashing, until you reach a shade to catch your breath. And oh, what a delight there is a loud voice cutting through all other splashing noises: Doe-naaa, frai doe-naaa! Our doughnut man, ‘loukoumantzis’, carrying a large tray secured by a long leather strap along his neck, it’s filled by rows of doughnuts that have come to meet you on the beach, all the way from the bakery. Just 1 euro each. Just bite in the sugar doughnut and push aside the salty seawater from your brow.

You still find the doughnut man strolling the Greek shores with his precious cargo, even if not as often as in older times.  So, a weekend treat it is, loukoumas and a fail-proof recipe for delicious ring-puffs of fried dough to accompany you on your outings.


traditional Greek sugar doughnuts

  • 600 gr plain flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 9 gr dry yeast (1 sachet)
  • 250 ml milk
  • 100 gr butter (room temperature)
  • 40 gr caster sugar
  • 8 grams salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • for dusting
  • 250 gr of sugar
  • A tsp of salt
  1. In the stand mixer add all your ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, butter, and of course yeast. Switch on to medium and let it mix for around 5 minutes you are going to get a supple, soft dough.
  2. Transfer the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rest for about 30-40 minutes or until it doubles in size.
  3. Once risen, lightly flour your kitchen counter and using a rolling pin, stretch out the dough to 1,5-2 cm thickness.
  4. For cutting out the doughnuts you can use 2 nesting rings or simply a mug and a smaller bottle cup for the middle ring.
  5. Remove the excess dough, rework into a ball and roll out again.
  6. Heat up the oil in a heavy based pot- it should be 160 C for frying the doughnuts. if you don’t have a thermometer put a wooden chop stick/skewer in, check if bubbles gather around it, you are ready to fry.
  7. Add in the doughnut gradually and let them in for 1 minute each side. Rest in a kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil.
  8. To serve dip in sugar! It washes down very nicely with a bottle of chocolate milk.

I hope you enjoy these doughnuts as much as I do. Really, how do you prefer your doughnuts? Is it a bakery treat for you as well or do you make them at home? Let me know in the comments.

From Athens with love,


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