‘Lazarakia’ Recipe, traditional Lenten bread for ‘Saturday of Lazarus’

Image Credit: Jennifer Hock/Illumination Learning

The Saturday before Palm Sunday is “Saturday of Lazarus” and on this day it is a tradition to make “Lazarakia” (literally meaning “Little Lazaruses”).

These are traditionally small, sweet and mildly spiced bread, made only once a year.

They represent the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Each region of Greece has a variation of how they make them, however, most have a similar sweet tasting flavour. They are of course Nistisima (Lenten) meaning they do not contain any dairy or egg products.

We hope this tradition of making “Lazarakia”  will be passed from generation to generation.


  • 800g of plain flour
  • 1.5 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 sachet of yeast
  • 150g of sugar
  • 1 levelled tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 50g of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) of ground cloves
  • 50 g finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 50g raisins (optional)
  • whole cloves to decorate


  1. In a mixer, add the yeast, sugar and lukewarm water. Whisk until the yeast and sugar dissolve and set it aside for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Add the flour, cinnamon and ground cloves into a large bowl and give these dry ingredients a quick mix.
  3. Add into the dry mixture, the olive oil and the activated yeast. Knead these ingredients together until the dough doesn't stick to your hands at all. In this step, you can also add the option of the chopped walnuts or the raisins.
  4. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a couple of trays with baking paper.
  6. After the dough has rested and risen, divide the mixture into small balls.
  7. To shape each of the balls into small men roll them out into an oblong shape, create two slits on one end for legs. In the middle, cut a slit on each side and wrap across the front to represent arms. Insert 2 whole cloves above the arms where the head should be to create the eyes.
  8. Transfer the little Lazarus buns on the oven trays and into the oven.
  9. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden.
  10. Take the trays out of the oven and allow to cool before serving.


*Images courtesy of Jennifer Hock/Illumination Learning and Mothersblog