Simit is indeed the quintessential Turkish food; these sesame-encrusted bread rings must be the most popular snack at home. You can have simit for breakfast with a cup of cay (tea), sliced cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. You can enjoy them for a mid morning or afternoon snack with cheese or simply plain. Turks prefer savory accompaniments to simit, though I must say it is also lovely over some butter and jam. Their flavor and deeply satisfying texture are quite unlike anything else.
There are mobile simit stalls everywhere, especially in Istanbul (Istanbullus pride themselves as to have the genuine article). Recently, there are also Simit Houses opened all around the country, where you can enjoy simit with various fillings; cheese, olive paste, sucuk (Turkish spicy sausages made from dried cured beef). A magnificent revival of this all time favorite street food.
When I saw the Simit recipe at Leanne Kitchen’s delightful book Turkey; Recipes and tales from the road, I was over the moon. No one bothers making simit at home, as it is so widely available and so good. But living abroad, you don’t mind tackling to make it and would be surprised to see how easy to make them. This simit recipe is adapted from Leanne Kitchen’s version and based on Australian cup measurement (1 US cup in volume equals about 0.95 Australian cup measurement) . I hope you enjoy them at least as much as we did.
We love savoury pastries in Turkish cuisine; variety of boreks, gozleme, pogaca, flatbreads with various fillings, pide and regional specialty pastries are all included at my cookery book (though please kindly note that simit is not at my current book), Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Signed copies are available at this link, and it is delivered worldwide including USA, we hope it would bring joy for home cooking.
Prep time: 40 minutes (+1 hr for the dough to rise) Baking time:15-18 minutes
1 pinch sugar
15ml/3 teaspoons dried yeast
500gr (1lb 2oz/3 1/4 cups (Australian) or generous 4 US cups) plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
125ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) pekmez (molasses like syrup, see note)
155g/5 1/2oz golden sesame seeds
Combine the sugar and 60 ml (2fl oz/ 1/4 cup) lukewarm water in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for about 8 minutes, or until foamy, then add another 310 ml (10 3/4 fl oz/ 1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water.
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir to form a coarse dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface ( a little bit of extra flour on the surface will help the dough to come together) and knead for 6-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F/Gas 7) and line a large size baking tray with baking paper. Knock back the dough on a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 8 even sized pieces. Combine the pekmez with 60 ml/2fl oz water in a large bowl. Place the sesame seeds on a large plate. Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your hands to roll the dough out to make 60 cm (24″) long ropes. Fold in half so two ends align, then lift off the board and use your hands to twist each rectangle into a two stranded “rope”. Place back on the work surface and join the ends together to make a circle, pressing the ends firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 8 rope circles.
Dip each ring, first into the pekmez mixture, immersing completely to coat, then drain well and toss in the sesame seeds, turning gently to coat. Transfer to the prepared tray and set aside at room temperature for about 20 minutes, to puff slightly. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until deep golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Simit are best eaten on the day of making but will keep, frozen in an airtight container, for up to 1 month.
Note: Pekmez is a molasses-like syrup made from the juice and must of certain fruits, usually grapes or figs. It is available from Middle Eastern and Turkish grocery stores.
They look really appetising. I must look out for pekmez.
Nice to hear from you Phil, thanks for visiting. If you live near Addlestone, Surrey, there is a Turkish grocery shop right by the Tesco. They carry Pekmez ( and other Turkish ingredients like pepper paste, bulgur etc)
These look so very delicious on the plate…can’t wait to try them out. Love the picture of the Simit stall in Istanbul.
Thank you Peri:) Simit is such a huge part of the Turkish cuisine; it is a very humble pastry but we have so much emotional attachment to it. it is a joy to share with you all. xxx Ozlem
I had them first in a gorgeous Turkish bakery in Germany, and liked them so much, that I baked them at home. They are now among the European breads I regularly bake in my home kitchen for a local natural food store. My customers love them!
No Turkish food here in Maine, sigh!
Merhaba Karin, many thanks for stopping by. Great that you make your own simit, once you get the hang of it, so easy and satisfying, isn’t it? My best wishes, Ozlem
Do you use instant yeast in this recipe? Also, some recipes call for oil…have you ever tried that?
Hi, yes I use dry instant yeast as in the recipe; I haven’t use oil, this recipe worked well as is, hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun, Ozlem
As a seven year old, I was living in Ankara in 1947. My two abiding food memories were of yaort sold by the yaortji with two pans of fresh yaort over his shoulders who would come to the door of 24 Akay Sokak and of Simits. Is there anywhere in South East Englash where one can buy Simits?
Hello Stuart, many thanks for your comment. Wonderful that those memories of living in Ankara still alive with you. My childhood holidays passed in Antakya and I have memories of folks carrying yoghurt in big pots over their shoulders – and they still do!- As for simit, I found a Turkish market in North Cheam carrying them, below is the link with the details. Hope you can make it there.
Alternatively, I have a Simit recipe in the blog, if you would like to have a go, it turns out pretty good, here is the link:https://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2012/02/simit-sesame-encrusted-bread-rings/
hope all these helps, kind regards
Ozlem, these look so good! We don’t bother making it at home, but you might need to learn it if you’re abroad or if you like doing things from scratch like me! I love how yours are thicker than the street versions! Crunchy crust and soft dough in the middle make me crave for these simits right now! Turkish tea would be a perfect companion to these, but I love them with ayran too!
Merhaba Zerrin, you are right, most probably I wouldn’t bother if I lived in Turkey and could get the real thing so easily : ) It really is not difficult making them at home, you get the texture and the taste almost as good as the simit : ) I am sure your version would be just amazing, love all your baked goodies : )
[Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
Aferin sana,Özlemcim!!! Wonderful! x
Cok tesekkurler Sevgili Claudia : ) Ozlem x
Hi there what can I use in place if pekmez? Because it’s not available in the country I live kn
You can use grape molasses or date molasses too. If non available, perhaps some pomegranate molasses; though pomegranate molasses is much tangier so you may need to add a little sugar to your taste. Do hope you enjoy making Simit at home,
Want to give these a try also. They look delicious!
Thanks for stopping by Jo, I hope these Simit rings may bring happy memories of your visit to Istanbul!
Thank you, Ozlem! I made these today and they are delicious!
Hi Kim, delighted to hear it, so glad you enjoyed your simit, afiyet olsun!:)
I really wish to make this recipe but when it comes to shaping the dough, I have a hard time imagining how to do it based on the instructions. Can you post a video or show step by step photos for forming the dough into the simit bagels?
Hi Cali, doing a video demo is something I’d like to master, hope soon too. Unfortunately I can’t do it at the moment as we are moving houses; but it turns our really well, as most folks reported. Please email if you have any further questions, good luck!
Also can you use pomegranate molasses as substitute for pekmas? I brought back some pekmas from turkey but i prefer to use it for when I am weak or sick.
Hi Cali, I guess you can, though pekmez has a thicker consistency and slightly sweeter taste, so you may need to adjust – love nar eksisi too!
I’ve spotted this Turkish shop nearby (from where I’m sure I can buy some Pekmez), so I’m ready for my first simits 🙂 we call them “covrigi” or turkish bagels 🙂 Yours look so great, I’ll just have to try your recipe!
Merhaba Lidia, many thanks for stopping by – so glad you’ll have a go at simit, afiyet olsun!:)
Ozlem hanim verdiginiz tarifeye bire bir uyguladim ve harika oldu sadece ertesi gun sertlestiler bi oneriniz varmi bu konuda. Tesekkurler…
Merhabalar, cok sevindim simitin guzel olduguna, sagolun mesaj icin. Genelde tum simitler ertesi gun eski tazeligini yitiriyorlar; ben biraz islatip izgara altinda biraz isitiyorum ertesi gun, yaninda peynir yada yag – recel ile cok guzel oluyor. Umuyorum yardimci olur, selamlar, sevgiler, ozlem
always following you.
simit breads are my favourite and i do buy them in Istanbul whenever i can visit. it’s a sure thing to do… now.. with this recipe, i hope i can do it my self here.
thank you Ozlem …
Merhaba Raky, you’re very welcome, hope you enjoy it – and many thanks for stopping by 🙂
I live in an area where there is very little access to any sort of ethnic food products. Is there anything I can substitute for the pekmez mixture?
Merhaba Kat, I hear the Italian Saba or Vib cotto is similar to pekmez, grape molasses, can you get that one? Here is a link fwith more info http://www.thekitchn.com/ingredient-spotlight-saba-93329. Taste is sharper than a good balsamic vinegar, more thicker, I hope it helps. Many thanks for stopping by!
Hello I have just found your recipe and site I love the look of your simit I can’t wait to try it.I have a question about the pekmez I am in the states and I want to try the recipe.is there a suitable substitute?
Hello Coutney, many thanks for your note; pekmez is grape molasses, if you can find a similar thing or grape molasses that would work well. Treacle may work as a good substitute, hope you enjoy making simit!
Thanks so much for this great recipe. I am not able to find new sources of pekmez here in Vancouver BC. I am glad I still had some left from my travels. I am wondering if a thick cream honey could be a substitute. Thanks, Deb
Merhaba Deborah, you may use other fruit molasses like fig or date molasses, also diluted treacle may work too; I think honey maybe too sweet without the fruit component in it – hope it helps, Ozlem
Please could you advise what I can use instead of pekmez I live in New Zealand and can’t seem to fine it anywhere
Love your cooking and tips.
Merhaba Nuray, you may use other fruit molasses like fig or date molasses, also diluted treacle may work too – hope it helps, many thanks for your kind words, delighted to hear you enjoy the recipes here : ) Ozlem
Nuray, we have pomegranate syrup in new Zealand which I use. You can think it down so its not so thick.
I just tried these today and they turned out heavenly! thank you so much for the recipe.
However, I used a date syrup because I couldn’t find Pekmez, so my Simits did not turn out as golden as yours, I was wondering if it’s because i didn’t use Pekmez?
Merhaba Lina, many thanks for your kind note – delighted to hear you enjoyed making Simit:)! Pekmez does give a darkish golden color, so I presume it’s because of that – so glad they turned out heavenly! Selamlar, Ozlem
This looks delicious!
I have a question, 380 ml water for 500 gms flour means 75% hydration (wet dough)
How can I achieve a sturdy dough?
Hi, thank you for your note – the dough comes together well. When shaping, make sure to sprinkle good amount of flour on the surface, the dough won’t stick and it turns out well. I hope you enjoy it, Ozlem
I love your website and your recipes.
I have made simit today after having them in Istanbul/Turkey when we visited 2 years ago.
Like you, i dream of them!!
This recipe is based on a combination of recipes and trial and error.
I have used pomegranate syrup to dunk them in.
Nuray, In NZ, use pomegranate syrup or a date syrup which most speciality shops will sell.
Sabato online and also The merchant in Taupo(where I live has them).
Some Asian shops have the juice which you can reduce down to a syrup.
Next week I am making your Lamb stew with yoghurt and aubergine…Looking forward to it.
Merhaba Greedy Bread – cool name! – many thanks for your kind notes, delighted to hear you enjoy recipes here. Simit is a very special street food and I liked how you make them; pomegranate molasses is a good substitute to pekmez, with thinning down; living abroad, I appreciate any substitute ideas we can get, many thanks for that. Slightly sweeter date syrup is a really good idea too. Do hope you enjoy the lamb stew next week – just checked out your blog, really lovely!:) Selamlar, Ozlem
I just want to thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.I’ve been making your simits for more than a year. it’s one of my favorite.
All the best
From Kuwait .
Merhaba dear Ghanima, many thanks for your kind note. Delighted to hear you are enjoying my simit recipe, afiyet olsun : ) My best wishes, Ozlem
Just found a recipe to make simit and am doing final proof right now,
. Didn’t use pekmez as unavailable here in Philippines but used molasses instead.
So far so good. We want to visit Turkey after…things settle down…
Merhaba Chris, delighted to hear it, I hope you enjoyed making Simit – and do make it to Turkey, a fascinating land to visit. I will be in Istanbul in March and can not wait. Believe me it is safer than most places around the world at the moment. Best wishes, Ozlem
This is a delicious recipe and perfectly satisfies my craving for authentic Turkish simit.
A helpful note for those who cannot access grape pekmez. I used a mixture of regular molasses and pomegranate molasses. Just under 1/2 C of molasses mixed with about 2 Tbsp. of pomegranate molasses for a bit of tart flavor. If you cannot get your hands on grape or pomegranate molasses, plain molasses will be just fine!
Once, I tried this recipe using pure pomegranate molasses (the very sour stuff). Never again. It was way to sour and did not give the simit the sweetness it needs.
Thank you, Özlem, for sharing this recipe!
Merhaba Holly, many thanks for your kind note – so glad you enjoyed making Simit! Many thanks also for the tip re molasses – you are right, pomegranate molasses would have been too strong, what you suggest here is a lovely idea. Elinize saglik! Ozlem
I love simit, and I decided to try this recipe because the one I usually follow has been taken down, as have the two others I used before. I have to say that this is, by far, the worst recipe of the four. Once the dough was ready, I found it nearly impossible to work into rings, and after trying (and failing) with half the dough, I decided to check the recipe more carefully, to find out that the gr/cup equivalence is wrong: 500 gr of plain flour=4 cups, not 3 1/4. So I added some more flour, and it kind of worked, but of course it is far from good. I still have to try them, though, but I am guessing the taste, with the last-minute flour addition, will not be as crisp as it should. Not a good beginning to this mother’s day-particularly for my little Cem who woke me up at 4:30 to make these for his mom.
Merhaba and I am sincerely sorry for your experience, especially on Mother’s Day. This recipe is adapted from the Australia based Leanne Kitchen’s version and the Australian cup size is slightly different than the US cup size. I did state it clearly at the recipe now but please accept my sincere apologies. I do hope it worked out at the end. I wished you were closer and I could have given you my fresh bake to compensate. Happy Mothers Day to you and my best wishes.
I tried the recipe today and it was perfect. I used date molasses. Thank you so much for the recipe.
Merhaba dear Amina, so glad you enjoyed this Simit recipe, afiyet olsun! Ozlem
I cried reading your simit recipe. My dad grew up in Turkey and we have visited a few times. Some of the best memories of my life are in Turkey. Reading your recipe descriptions and looking at these pictures fills me with such joy and longing for Turkey and special times with my family. I am so excited to bring back some of those memories through cooking with your recipes. Thank you for making authentic Turkish cuisine so accessible.
Dear Myia, thank you so much for your lovely note, your kind words mean so much to me. So glad the Simit recipe brings such happy memories, you made my day. I live abroad and miss home dearly and recipes and sharing with you all has been such a special connection, they do bring memories alive and I hope you enjoy making your own Simit. With this note, I have my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland is now available to order – and signed copies for a limited period! – at this link, if you’re interested in; packed with authentic recipes and beautiful photos from my homeland. Many thanks again and Afiyet Olsun! Ozlem xx https://www.gbpublishing.co.uk/product-page/ozlem-s-turkish-table-hardback
Hi Ozlem thank you for the recipe I am from Lebanon our food is inspired from the Turkish recipes and are similar so I love Turkish recipes and especially Simit, we have here Simit Saray to buy from but I would prefer to do it at home so can I use Lebanese carob molasses instead of pekmez. Thank you.
Merhaba Lina, thank you from your kind note, yes you can use your Lebanese molasses, hope you enjoy making Simit, my best wishes, Ozlem
I am so happy to have come across your cookbook with such yummy recipes. My turkish boyfriend is also happy to be my food taster as its difficult to find good turkish food in new zealand.
I am busy trying out new recipes each week so thank you
Merhaba deat Leanne, so delighted to get your note, so glad you are enjoying my book : ) Afiyet Olsun, my best wishes – look forward to your delicious creations and food photos! Ozlem
I am Australian, my husband is Turkish & we live in Brazil. I made pekmez yesterday from grape juice and made Simit this morning and they are absolutely fantastic! Thank you for your recipe. We love it!
Merhaba Jodee, absolutely delighted to get your note and that you enjoyed Simit – elinize saglik and afiyet olsun! Just to let you know, I have a Turkish cookery book now available, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, over 90 delicious, authentic recipes, signed copies are available to order at this link, if you’d like https://www.gbpublishing.co.uk/product-page/ozlem-s-turkish-table-hardback , my best wishes, Ozlem
Merhaba Ozlem. I just ordered your book. Can’t wait to get it! Regards, Jodee.
Merhaba dear Jodee, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table and that it inspires for delicious Turkish meals, Afiyet Olsun! Ozlem
These look amazing. Do you think I could replace the pekmez with a dark honey for the dipping mixture?
Merhaba Dalia, they really are; I think dark honey would work – I would dilute it with a 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, to balance the sweetness and to add a bit of tanginess. Hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem
dont have pekmez
have pomergranate mollases.could i use that or something else?
Merhaba, pomegranate molasses maybe a little too tangy; grape molasses would work or a little bit of honey added to pomegranate molasses may also be an option, Afiyetler Olsun, Ozlem
Thank you for the recipe.
Can I substitute pekmez and use dates syrup (Silan) instead?
Merhaba, yes you can use dates syrup too, hope you enjoy it.
Just to let you know, I also have a Turkish cookery book called Ozlem’s Turkish Table – it is signed copies at the moment! – it is a special book with my personal stories and stunning photography and over 90 authentic Turkish recipes and shipped worldwide promptly, if interested, you can order it at this link:
Many thanks, I hope you enjoy making Simit,
This looks like pretzels. Does it also taste like pretzels? Ill have one of this for lunch with my quinoa salad.
Hi, they are not as hard and crispy as pretzels – crunchy outside but soft inside – hope you enjoy it, Ozlem
I love turkish food
Thanks for sharing your yummy delicious recipes
Thank you for the recipe. I wonder if I can make the dough a night before and bake in the morning next day to have the fresh simit for breakfast without waking up very early!
Thank you 🙂
Merhaba, I think you can – I haven’t tried this way but i can reckon it will work, would love to hear how you get on – Afiyet Olsun!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I love simit so much, and I always wanted to learn how to bake it! My Turkish husband loved it!
Really delighted to hear you enjoyed my simit recipe, afiyet olsun to you and your husband, many thanks for your kind note!
Marhaba. This is Morvarid from Iran. Best simit recipe ever. Çok teşekkür ederim. They taste just like Istanbul’s simits.
Merhaba, delighted to hear you enjoyed my Simit recipe, afiyet olsun – cok tesekkurler! Ozlem
This is an excellent simit recipe, thank you. Worked perfectly.
I started off scared by how wet the dough was (like Mahmoud Halim). It seemed more like a sponge when I knocked it back.
But with a bit of flour sprinkled on it was a wonderful dough to handle.
Maybe that could be in the recipe to sprinkle on flour and not be scared of how wet it is?!!
I also only needed 100g of sesame seeds to completely cover the simit (though by the end they were swimming in a pool of pekmez!) … 235g seemed like it would be a lot being wasted.
Thank you so much for your kind note, delighted that you enjoyed my Simit recipe. You are right for the sesame seeds – I tend to really coat both sides but abou1 155gr was enough, I revised that, thank you. A little bit of flour on the surface while kneading the dough really helps, I added that too. Many thanks again and afiyet olsun, Ozlem
thank you so much for your kind share! xx