12 Simple Traditional Greek Desserts

The western world owes a lot to the proud country of Greece - not only was this once great empire the cradle of western civilization, but it also gave us art, science, literature and the Olympic games. 

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However, it seems that this fascinating country is still often overlooked when it comes to its traditional cuisine - especially when considering how little we seem to know about Greek desserts and their preparation. 

So to demonstrate all the sweetness that this country has to offer, we have selected 12 of the best Greek desserts that we could find. Not only are these desserts delicious and steeped in Greek history and culture, but they are also simple to make and can be prepared from the comfort of your home. 

So take a look down below and see which one of these simple and traditional Greek desserts takes your interest. 

1. Rizogalo

For the first entry on our list, we have decided to choose a traditional Greek dessert that is sweet, delicious and easy to make. 

Rizogola is essentially a Greek version of rice pudding, which can be served either hot or cold. 

The pudding is made using a combination of short-grain white rice, whole milk, cornstarch and vanilla extract. 

Once the rice pudding is ready, it is traditionally served in a round terra-cotta dish and is topped with a fragrant layer of cinnamon, honey and crushed nuts. 

The final result is a rich and creamy rice pudding that is bursting with a variety of amazing textures and tastes. 

2. Baklava

If there is one Greek dessert that truly embodies the country and its culture - it’s baklava. 

Often found in bakeries and market stalls across the world, baklava is a unique cultural snack that is made by stacking layers of crispy filo pastry with a crushed pistachio filling. 

Once the baklava has been properly baked, the pastry will take on a rich golden-brown hue and will then be sweetened with a sugary syrup made from honey and lime juice. 

The filo pastry absorbs the syrup and then sets into the finished confection, which is distinguished by its crunchy consistency and ripe, nutty taste. 

Although this dessert may sound highly intricate, it doesn’t have to be made perfectly to get the baklava’s signature crunch and flavor. 

3. Sokolatopita

We all love chocolate, and sometimes there’s nothing better than sinking your fork into a slice of moist chocolate cake. 

So why not try making a chocolate cake the Greek way? 

Sokolatopita is a mouth-watering Greek-style chocolate cake that takes the meaning of decadence to a new and intoxicating level. 

Not only is this chocolate cake moist and brimming with that devilish chocolatey flavor, but it is also easy to make and can be sourced using simple ingredients you have in your kitchen. 

Made using flour, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract and orange zest - this cake is finished off with a decent layer of rich dark chocolate sauce. 

What more could you ask for? 

4. Loukoumades 

If you have ever attempted to make donuts, then you know how hard and dangerous the process can be. 

Not only are you expected to fry the dough in hot oil, but you need to make sure it retains its shape and structure during the cooking process. 

Luckily for you, Greek donuts are a lot easier to make. They also taste better and look amazing. 

Loukoumades are essentially the Greek version of the common donut, and they don’t need to be shaped or crafted before they enter the oil. 

Taking the form of small balls when cooked, these donuts are golden-brown in color and are traditionally served with a decent drizzle of honey and some ground walnuts. 

Usually made for children as a sweet snack, these donuts will please anyone with a sweet tooth. 

5. Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Some people believe that the cheesecake may have originated in Greece, with historical records showing that the dessert was eaten by athletes during the Olympic games held in 776 BC. 

Although the origins of this classic dessert are still unclear - we do know that Greece produces some of the best cheesecakes in the whole world. 

The traditional Greek cheesecake is made using Greek yogurt and is considered to be lighter and more refreshing than its denser cousins. 

The cake itself is made using cream cheese, yogurt, honey, double cream and vanilla essence, which results in a smooth and delicious batter that pairs beautifully with the crunchy biscuit base. 

Traditionally served with a layer of jam on top, Greek cheesecake is not only decadent but rarely requires you to put on the oven. 

And what is better than that? 

6. Revani Cake

The Greeks love a lot of things, from fresh honey to colorful flavors and pillowy sponge cakes - so why not sample a tasty dessert that combines all three?

Revani cake may look like a dull and uninteresting sponge cake, but it is actually bursting with a sweet and citrusy flavor that captures the taste buds and refuses to let them go. 

Made using a classic cake mix of flour, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar and butter - this cake is baked to perfection and then smothered in a simple syrup consisting of honey and sugar. 

What you end up with is a simple sponge cake that is brimming with a heady floral flavor and is usually served alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnished with crushed pistachios. 

So if you are looking for a traditional Greek dessert that is simple yet highly effective - then Revani cake is the thing you should be trying to bake. 

7. Tulumba 

There’s truly nothing better than a plate of traditional homemade tulumba, and you are going to see why. 

Tulumba is a sweet pastry dessert that is particularly popular in Greece, although it can also be found in various Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey and Iran. 

The dessert itself bears a great resemblance to the Spanish churro and consists of a sweet batter that is shaped into tubes before it is deep-fried in hot oil. 

Although tulumbas are very similar to churros, they are different from most other deep-fried desserts because they are smothered in a sugar syrup once the frying process has been completed. 

This flavorful syrup is made using a blend of sugar, water and lemon juice - and is known to give the tulumbas a sweet and punchy flavor. 

Tulumbas are incredibly easy to make, and require very little skill or method - the only issue is that they are very moreish and you may eat the lot before you realize what you have done. 

8. Kourabiethes 

If you enjoy making festive bakes during the Christmas season, then you should consider making some kourabiethes - which are essentially traditional Greek Christmas cookies. 

Usually shared among friends and family during the holidays, these cookies are made from a delicious mixture of butter, almonds, vanilla extract and rose water. 

Known for their crisp and light texture, these Christmas cookies are filled with an array of aromatic flavors and are served with a decent coating of icing sugar. 

Because these cookies are so simple to prepare, you can make plenty of batches for yourself and the whole family. 

And don’t be stingy with the icing sugar, because the more you use the more authentically Greek these delicate cookies become. 

9. Melopita

We’ve said it once and we’ll probably say it a hundred times more, but Greek people love honey and the floral substance often plays an important role in a variety of delicious Greek desserts. 

Arguably the most popular honey-based dessert to come from Greece is the Melopita, which is essentially a Greek honey pie. 

Not only does this traditional dessert look beautiful, but it also comes with a rich and heady aroma that will transport you to a sweeping field blooming with wildflowers. 

Although the dish is commonly referred to as a pie, it does not actually bear a great resemblance to the classic pastry dish. In fact, melopita doesn’t even have pastry, or crust, or even a filling! 

All you have to do is mix the ingredients together and put the resulting mixture into the oven, so it bears more resemblance to a cake than a pie. 

Melopita is traditionally made using cheese, with ricotta or anthotyro being the top choices for constructing this delicious dessert. 

The combination of cheese and honey gives this pie its iconic flavor and it promises to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. 

10. Tsoureki 

If you always find yourself at a loss for something to bake during the Easter holidays, then you could always try your hand at making some tsoureki - which is a traditional Greek Easter bread.

Blending the floral aromas of orange zest, ground mastic and ground mahlab, this bread is not only delicious but a piece of Greece’s culinary tradition. 

The bread is known for its soft and spongy texture and is sweet on the tongue. Traditionally made with the classic knot pattern, it is garnished with roasted almonds before being served. 

So if you are hosting an Easter party and need something to keep the guests happy, this spicy and fruity bread promises to keep everyone occupied. 

11. Ergolavi 

When it comes to simple Greek desserts, it doesn’t get any easier than ergolavi - which are tasty Greek cookies brimming with almonds. 

To make these delicious cookies, all you need is five simple ingredients - so you know there is very little you can do to mess this recipe up. 

The cookies are made using almond flour, granulated sugar, orange zest, salt, egg whites and sliced almonds - and that’s all you need to get these cookies in the oven. 

Sometimes simple desserts can lead to amazing results, and we promise that these almond cookies are beyond sublime. 

12. Greek Orange Semolina Cake

We end our list on a true Greek staple, Greek orange semolina cake is a delicate and intoxicating dessert that is drenched in aromatic orange syrup. 

Made by mixing a simple cake batter, the sponge is baked until golden-brown and is then saturated with the citrus liquid. 

The result is a light and sticky sponge cake that bubbles with zesty orange notes. If you want to offset the tartness with something a little sweeter, then you can also top the cake with creamy Greek yogurt icing. 

Garnish with a handful of crushed pistachios and you have a dessert that will please even the smallest of sweet tooths. 

From Greek baklava with melted butter, powdered sugar, and chopped nuts, Greek pastry deserts are amazing with that flaky phyllo dough. It's my family's favorite Greek dessert. Through in some fresh fruit and you have a little bit of heaven. I really like phyllo pastry and semolina custard.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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