Ancient Roman Honey Cookies with Sesame Seeds

16 Jan

Every year for my Latin class in grade school, we had a (semi-traditional) Roman Banquet.  I chose to bake sesame cookies fairly consistently for two reasons.  First, they’re extremely easy and require few ingredients, and second, they’re delicious – the perfect combination of cookie and biscuit.  Yet another reason to admire the Romans.

This morning, after waking up late and enjoying my first free day in a while, I decided to revisit this wonderful snack.  Since the cookies are sweetened with honey (they’re not overly sweet), I can completely justify eating them with breakfast.

Ancient Roman Honey Cookies with Sesame Seeds

I originally made these cookies in high school with a recipe from my Latin teacher. After searching a bit online, I found a recipe below from The Sacramento Bee, which is very similar to the recipe my teacher gave me, and then I made a few changes based on what I remembered doing. The ancient Romans would have used slightly different ingredients, but this recipe is adapted to fit modern kitchens.

Particularly if you’re in the mood to make fun shapes (see picture above), you can get creative with this recipe!

Ancient Roman Honey Cookies

Makes about 40 small cookies. Takes an hour and a half (including one hour of chilling time in the fridge).

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature; extra melted butter for dipping
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds


In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine butter, honey and eggs with an electric mixer until well combined. Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Cover and chill the dough about 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two baking sheets. Form chilled dough into 1-inch balls (or fun shapes) and place dough on prepared baking sheets.

Flatten each ball slightly on the sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure not to overcook or they will be dry.

When ready, remove cookies from baking sheets. While warm, dip in bowl of melted butter and then roll in sesame seeds. Cool on a wire rack.


I’d love to hear from any Latin students/parents of students about ancient Roman festivities taking place in schools. Feel free to leave a comment below!


85 Responses to “Ancient Roman Honey Cookies with Sesame Seeds”

  1. Brittany March 30, 2019 at 9:10 pm #

    Hello! I was just wondering if anyone knows how to make a Roman costume out of a sheet. I know it sounds dumb, but I am not really sure how to do it. Thx so much for the good recipe!!

  2. Amelie March 18, 2018 at 6:38 am #

    I’m about to cook them for my Latin hw hope they are tasty! 💎❤️

  3. Caden December 12, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    Making these for Saturnalia! An awesome recipe!

  4. Lily April 19, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I am going to make these for my Roman project in socail studies📝Yay!!

  5. Hi April 17, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    I need these cookies for a Roman play it made my life so easier and it made my grades to up totally luv these cookies💙

    • Lily April 19, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      Mine is for a roman project

  6. Tristen April 3, 2017 at 2:26 am #

    Thsee cookies are really good, I made them for my latin 3 class

  7. carlos February 28, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    i need help contact me through my xbox my gamertag is Astrohnot i dont have a phone

  8. carlos February 28, 2017 at 10:49 am #

    i need help wittttth these cookies as i am slowwwww in school and cant do things like thisssss but neeeeed to briiiiinnnnggg my graddddeee uppppp

    • Tessa June 12, 2018 at 10:22 am #

      sammee dude

  9. Mitra December 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    Yay! this helped me with my latin Saturnalia FESTUS!

  10. Graham Fam May 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    Thank you for having this recipe online it helped us a lot with our project.

  11. Tori February 24, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    At my school we are a Latin based school. We learn Latin so much our core values are in latin

    • carlos February 28, 2017 at 10:47 am #

      really thats nice 🙂

  12. Tori February 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    What kind of season are these cookies are served in

  13. Lacey Olivia January 26, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    I am doing this roman project and it is going to be great can’t wait I am so excited.can I also say that this website is very helpful thank you so much

  14. katie December 3, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    used it for food day everyone loved them, I’M LATIN yyaayy

  15. Apricots and Cream October 13, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    FYI You totally saved my ass for the Latin presentation tomorrow!!
    Thank You! 😀

  16. :P :D :) September 14, 2015 at 5:36 am #

    Thx helped me with my HASS project

  17. Aerin July 4, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    I’m doing this for my roman project at school on the 14 July it’s going to be great.
    ” ”


  18. Brian June 1, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    Wow, this is an awesome easy recipe for me to use for my Latin project party. We had a choice, to either make a Roman craft or to make a Roman food. I wanted to cook something for my class and magistra. Many recipes needed wine or was just to complicated (logics for roman food lol) but this one was a simple dessert that sounds tasty. Hope my class and magistra will like it!

    • Aerin June 7, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      Great idea it was cool

    • Aerin July 4, 2015 at 8:08 am #

      Really cool!!!! · ·



  19. scrufulufugus May 7, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Reblogged this on Val D Spot and commented:
    Lets eat!!!

  20. Lauren Wildgoose May 6, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    These are amazing! I made them cause my class is doing this historical feast, and everyone has to bring something. These will go over great!

  21. dylan January 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    Has anyone translated this recipe? if so please let me know

  22. Kelci December 21, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Hi! my name is Kelci and I’m a freshman in high school, and I take Latin. I am planning to make these cookies for a project and was wondering if you would know what the Romans would have used in place of ingredients that they didn’t have back then, that we have to use for this recipe. If that makes any sense I would really appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!

  23. Ria van Koppen December 18, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Hi! Salutem plurimam tibi dico from the Netherlands!
    Just made a *second* batch for my 5th graders (Latin students, age 16-17 years), after distributing the first batch to my 3rd and 2nd graders.
    I really love these – actually, I love them so much, I put them in my personal recipe book, metrical conversions of The Continent and all. Thanks for the recipe – would you like a scan (or a text file) of the recipe in European measures in return?

    • Meg P December 18, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      I made these with my sixth-grader, for her Social Studies “Food Feast.” We split the recipe and did one half with sesame seeds, as written. Due to possible nut allergies (sesame seed allergies often cross over with nut allergies), we finished the second half by dusting with sifted powdered sugar. The teacher approved the plan, and everyone is happy!! Thanks for a simple and successful recipe!

  24. kiarahbella November 3, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    created this for my Latin II class… turned out great!!!!!

  25. shima May 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Hi my eight year old has ancient Romans as her topic for homework, found this recipe. Just made the mixture. Waiting for it to chill. Fingers crossed they turn out good!!! Everybody else’s has!!!

    • Liz May 23, 2014 at 6:35 am #

      I hope they turned out great!

      • Aerin July 4, 2015 at 3:56 am #

        That’s a nice comment

  26. Miaandme April 30, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Great recipe! I didn’t make it but I’m going to make it for my project!
    Wish me good luck

  27. Molly April 10, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Thanks they are really good

  28. aspen December 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    Thank you so much! I have to make a roman dessert for my school project and this is a great help!

  29. Kristen November 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    I made these for my world history class:)

  30. Sarah November 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Thankyou so much a life saver recipe! I have an assignment due in this week and this recipe is super easy even for a stuff up everything cook like me. I know this is a hard question but do you have any information/history on these cookies? THANKS again!

  31. Erica November 13, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Hello! I am a Latin student and I saw this wonderful recipe! Do you possibly have any more dessert recipes that I can use for my dessert project? Thank you! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  32. nicole September 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    my daughter is 6 and they are doing Romans at school til christmas …i have looked at lots of recipies but lots of them use nuts which arent allowed at school …so we are looking forward to making these on sunday to take to school xxx

  33. Laura September 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    My friend and I are making these next week for our banquet in Latin 1 next week!

  34. Dylan June 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    The best cookies ever

    • carlos February 28, 2017 at 10:47 am #

      thats what a mom would say

  35. Sawyer Kearns May 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    I really like how easy they are and I have a foreign language banquet tonight at my high school so thanks for the recipe

  36. Max April 28, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Oh my god you’ve saved the day! I have a homework assignment for tomorrow, and I made these biscuits with my grandma, hope I get a good grade!

  37. Natalia April 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    hi. I am sitting here reading this recipe aloud for my brother to make in his Latin I class at 9pm the night before this silly project is due that apparently his entire grade relies on. We’re also making a cardboard sword. I don’t know what’s happening.

    Thanks for the recipe though. It smells delicious.

  38. Abby March 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I needed to make a roman food for my honors ancient history class and this will be perfect! We are having an Ides of March day celebration and I’m sure these will be a hit Friday! THANK YOU SO MUCH 🙂

  39. rach March 10, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I was searching for a good ancient Roman recipe, but I couldn’t find anything good, but then I found this! I’m going to make them for my Roman Potluck for history class. 🙂

  40. Abrianna March 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    I am definitely making these for the Ides of March celebration in my Latin class 😀 Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  41. Gabbriele February 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Im making this for a Roman Civilization project in school and right now im waiting while it chills in the fridge.

  42. Cristina Alcala January 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    I’m so interested in making these cookies for my history class ! How many cookies does this one batch make ???

    • Liz February 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

      Hi Cristina! This recipes makes about 40 small cookies.

  43. Thomas Talboy December 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    This is great. I used to teach Latin in San Francisco and one of the projects I started was a Roman Food and Dining Project. I had the students translate Latin recipes then put them into a good modern setting. I am always looking for more examples of modern uses of Roman recipes. Thanks!

    • Liz December 19, 2012 at 8:40 am #

      Hi Thomas,

      That’s fantastic! There’s something wonderful and rewarding about reading authentic Roman recipes in Latin. You may have seen this, but PBS has a great site with ancient versions of recipes converted into modern ingredients and techniques:


  44. Faith December 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Yay! I’m so excited I found this recipe! Every year the sophomore Latin class gets to celebrate Saturnalia on the last day of class before Christmas recess and we need to bring something in. I’m not the type to bring grape juice so I wanted to do something that actually tastes good! I’m so happy I found a dessert! I’m so excited to bake them! Gracias tibi ago!

    • Liz December 19, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Hi Faith!

      Thanks for your comment about Saturnalia – I hope the cookies go over well. Good luck baking them and enjoy the party!


  45. Emmalynn October 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Brought these in for my sister’s election into the classics club at my school. Since Roman methods of campaigning were encouraged, a.k.a. bribery, these were a huge success. She got the position. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Liz November 1, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      Hi Emmalynn,

      So glad to hear the cookies helped with your sister’s Roman-style campaigning! 🙂

      Have a great day,

  46. Green boy September 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    I am making these cookies for my Latin class…. I Hope there good

    • Liz September 11, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      Good luck! I hope you like them.

  47. Megan June 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Hey! Thank you do much. We’re having a Roman Feast at my school this year. I’m baking these cookies right now. 😀

  48. Bryce Corbitt June 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Oh my goodness! I am so happy you’ve posted this recipe! I have made this recipe again for a Roman food project in my social studies project. I’ve made a double batch this time and still no leftovers! Thank you so much as my whole class loved it and this recipe was counted for a large amount of my grade. Thank you so much.:)

  49. Bryce Corbitt April 30, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    Hello, I am actually doing a project for my latin class on Roman Food. I was searching for authentic food i could make, which ended up being harder to find then I thought. But I found this recipe, along with another one to make. My class loved it so much and I just want to thank you

    • Liz April 30, 2012 at 9:58 am #

      Hi Bryce! I’m so glad you were able to use the cookie recipe! I first made them for my Latin class, but now I just make them as regular cookies because they’re so delicious. Thanks for your message and I hope you continue to be interested in Ancient Roman culture!

  50. greenegirl99 February 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Love these, i made them for History class once…made them again. 🙂

    • Liz February 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      So glad you liked them! I did the same thing – I started making them for class, but now I just make them because they’re delicious!

  51. Fatima February 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I used this for my sister she loved it.

  52. leanne houghton January 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    excellent, my 8 year old son had to do something for roman day in school to earn extra points these are excellent very easy and tasted great,
    thank you

    • Liz January 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      I’m so glad you liked them. Thanks for your comment!

  53. Liz December 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    My 7 year old son’s Roman homework is due in tomorrow and your recipe has saved the day! He has completed the Plebeian and Patrician Cook book and it was just left to make something delicious. They have turned out fantastically well and are really delicious without being too sweet. Thank you for taking the time out to do something like this on your day off…thank goodness for people like you! xxx

  54. KNH November 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    My Latin class is having a Roman Forum Day and my forum is a sweet shop. I have been searching for easy, authentic desserts for hours and this is perfect! Thanks so much!

    • Liz November 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

      I’m glad you found the recipe! They’re very easy to make and taste delicious. I hope you enjoy the cookies and have a great time at your Forum Day!

  55. PatW March 29, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    I found this, just Googling around, in a sudden impulse of curiosity. In Lindsey Davis’s Saturnalia she mentions sesame balls (Falco’s sister Junia makes horrible ones) and I wondered what they might be. I’m trying these!

    • Liz March 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Pat! Ancient Roman cuisine is a big interest of mine, so I love making these cookies.

  56. Lisa Beaton November 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    I made these cookies for my 8 yr old son, as he was having a Roman day in his school, he dressed up as a Roman Gladiator and took the cookies in for his School Banquet. They were a success with all the children. I also kept some for myself for breakfast and was delighted, i want to make more!! Thankyou!!

    • eatingplaces November 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

      I’m so glad you liked the recipe. I hope he continues to study Roman culture and share these cookies with his classmates!

      • hayden April 30, 2014 at 1:00 am #

        They are amazing, thanks for the recipe.

  57. Jill January 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    Magistra would be proud.

    • Mary December 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

      Hey do u have to sesame seeds?

      • Meg P December 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

        We did half the batch with sesame seeds, and half the batch without. For my daughter’s 6th grade class (sometimes nut allergies can carry over to sesame seed allergies)…. the cookies “without” were gobbled up and much more popular, but “That’s Kids” for you! Both versions were yummy, but the sesame seeds definitely make them feel more authentic! 🙂


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