Turkish Simit Recipe

When thinking about Turkey, I can’t help but imagine a man walking down the street with a giant plate on his head, carrying a mountain of crispy golden brown Simits. If you’ve never been to Turkey and have no clue what I’m talking about, I’m here to introduce you to Simit – a Turkish bagel with roasted sesame seeds on top.

This delicious sesame-crusted bread is often served as a traditional breakfast, with a cup of steaming Turkish tea, a side of creamy feta cheese, a fried egg, and some fresh vegetables. The combination of flavours and textures is one of my favourite memories from Antalya, or even Turkey as a whole!

Whether you’re a first-time traveller to Turkey or a long-time fan of its cuisine, a warm, fresh Turkish Simit is a must-try.

History of the Turkish simit recipe

The exact date when simit was first made is not known. However, it’s believed to have originated in ancient Middle Eastern civilisations and was thought to have been brought to Turkey by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

The Ottoman Empire was known for its vast trade network and cultural exchange, so it is possible that simit was introduced to Turkey through these channels. But where it originates from is still a bit of a mystery.

Simit in other countries.

Simit is a traditional bread that is primarily associated with Turkey. However, it has also spread to other countries and regions, particularly in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

In some Middle Eastern countries, simit is a popular street food. In Greece, it is called “koulouri” and it’s often sold by street vendors. In Poland, it is known as “obwarzanek” and is also a popular street food. But Matt and I agreed that we prefer a homemade simit to all others. And here is the Turkish recipe, which is super easy to make.

Matt is trying polish simit

Simit Ingredients:

collect your ingredients for smit
  • All-purpose Flour: 450 g
  • Warm Water: 270 ml
  • Fresh Yeast: 4 g (or 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast)
  • Kosher salt: 1 tsp
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds: 100 g
  • Grape or pomegranate Molasses: 4 tsp (or an alternative of your choice: see the tips below)
  • Water: 100 ml


1.In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and salt.

mix dry ingredients for simit

2. Add in warm water, and mix the ingredients until a dough forms.

add some water to simit dough

3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.

4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

simit balls

5. Brush each ball with some vegetable oil and let it rise in a warm place, covered, for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

6. While the simit dough is rising, prepare a syrup: for that mix 4 tablespoons of molasses with 100 ml water and let it boil.

sweet syrup for simit

7. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 220°C.

8. Roll each ball into narrow strips. Gather two strips and form a braid, wrapping them around each other into a circular shape. Pinch the ends of the braid together to make a ring.

forming simits

9. Dip the ring into the molasses mixture and then into sesame seeds so that the simit is covered all over with sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining rings.

10. Place the simits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Simit can be enjoyed warm or cold and can be served as a breakfast or a snack.

Tips for simit recipe:

  • Grape molasses is a common ingredient in Turkish recipes for simit. It adds a rich, sweet flavour and a dark colour to the bread. You can use grape molasses or pomegranate molasses. However, if you’re like me and don’t have grape molasses on hand, there are several alternatives that you can use in its place.
    • Honey: Honey can be used as a substitute for molasses in simit recipes. It will add a similar level of sweetness but will have a slightly different flavour profile.
    • Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is another great alternative to molasses, as it provides a similar level of sweetness and a unique flavour to the bread.
    • Brown sugar: Brown sugar can be used as a substitute for molasses. It will add sweetness and will also help to darken the colour of the bread.
    • Date syrup: Date syrup has a similar consistency to molasses and will also sweeten the bread.
    • Agave syrup: Agave syrup can be used as a molasses substitute. It’s a more neutral sweetness and more liquidy too, so you might need to adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour, bread flour or a combination of both. The dough should be soft, elastic, and not too sticky.
  • Here’s a secret tip for making simit dough: add a small amount of vinegar to the water. This will help to improve the flavour of the simit and give it a tangy taste. The acid in the vinegar will also help to strengthen the gluten structure of the dough, making it more elastic and easier to shape. Start with a small amount, about 1 teaspoon of vinegar for every cup of water, and adjust to your taste. This tip is not commonly used in traditional Turkish simit recipes, but it can give your simit a unique twist and make it stand out. Give it a try and see how it turns out!
  • Store it properly: Once cooled, store the simit in an airtight container at room temperature. Simit can be stored for up to 3 days, but I would recommend eating it freshly baked. Instead of storing the delicious Turkish bagel itself, it’s better to store the dough in the fridge or freezer and bake more when you want them.
  • Experiment with flavours: Turkish Simit bread is versatile. You can experiment with different flavours by adding spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg, or by adding different seeds such as poppy, flaxseed, pumpkin or sunflower seeds instead of more traditional sesame seeds. 
  • Simit sandwich: Simit sandwiches are often enjoyed as a Turkish breakfast, a snack, or a quick meal on the go. Treat it as a Turkish bagel and add some tasty fillings. Some popular filling options include Turkish feta cheese, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, ham and cheese, or Nutella.
  • Dip it: You can use this simit recipe to create a crusty bread to dip in soups or sauces. Both hummus and baba ganoush go well with this simit recipe. If you wanna mix and match cultures, you could dip the circular bread into a tasty borscht, or perhaps mop up the delicious sauce from a pastitsada.

Enjoy Our Yummy Simit Recipe

While there are plenty of bread recipes to choose from, traditional Turkish bread is one of the best, yet most simple, foods from Turkish cuisine. Besides a good old Turkish pide, simit bread is probably our favourite Turkish food to make at home.

You can also partner your simit bread with a Turkish dessert to really amplify the mood. Homemade baklava is a good one to start with!

If you enjoyed this, don’t miss out on our other easy recipes! We have a wide variety of dishes that are sure to satisfy your cravings. From classic favourites like scones and banana bites, to new and exciting flavours like Greek stifado or Madeiran banana fish, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, be sure to check out our other delicious recipes from around the world and discover your new favourite dish.

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