Hearty Xinohondros: A Traditional Cretan Delight


Xinohondros, a cornerstone of Cretan cuisine, is a unique and hearty soup that embodies the rich culinary heritage of Crete. Made from fermented cracked wheat and goat’s milk, Xinohondros offers a distinct flavor and robust nutritional profile. Often cooked with vegetables or meat, this traditional soup is both comforting and nutritious, making it a staple in many Cretan households.

What is Xinohondros?

Xinohondros is a traditional Cretan soup made from two main ingredients: fermented cracked wheat and goat’s milk. The fermentation process imparts a unique tanginess to the wheat, which, combined with the creamy texture of the goat’s milk, creates a delightful and hearty dish. This soup can be enjoyed in various forms, often incorporating vegetables like tomatoes, zucchinis, and carrots, or meats such as lamb or chicken, enhancing its flavor and nutritional value.

The History of Xinohondros

The origins of Xinohondros can be traced back to ancient times, reflecting the resourcefulness and culinary ingenuity of the Cretan people. The use of fermented wheat and goat’s milk allowed for the preservation of these ingredients, making them available throughout the year. This dish has been passed down through generations, maintaining its status as a beloved staple in Cretan cuisine.

Health Benefits of Xinohondros

Xinohondros is not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits:

  1. Rich in Nutrients: The combination of fermented wheat and goat’s milk provides a rich source of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
  2. Probiotics: The fermentation process introduces beneficial probiotics, promoting a healthy gut and improved digestion.
  3. High in Fiber: The cracked wheat adds a good amount of dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
  4. Antioxidants: Vegetables and herbs added to the soup contribute antioxidants, which help combat free radicals and reduce inflammation.

Recipe for Traditional Xinohondros Soup


  • 1 cup cracked wheat
  • 1 cup goat’s milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 zucchinis, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb or chicken (optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable or meat broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs (such as parsley or dill) for garnish


  1. Prepare the Fermented Wheat: Mix the cracked wheat with goat’s milk in a large bowl. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours to ferment.
  2. Cook the Meat (Optional): In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lamb or chicken and cook until browned. Remove the meat and set it aside.
  3. Sauté the Vegetables: In the same pot, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add the carrots, zucchinis, and tomatoes, and sauté for another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Combine Ingredients: Add the fermented wheat and goat’s milk mixture to the pot, along with the browned meat (if using). Pour in the broth and stir well to combine.
  5. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the wheat is fully cooked and the flavors have melded together.
  6. Season: Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  7. Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with fresh herbs, and serve hot.

Variations of Xinohondros

While the traditional Xinohondros recipe is beloved, there are several variations that you can explore:

  1. Vegetarian Xinohondros: Skip the meat and use vegetable broth instead for a lighter, vegetarian version of the soup.
  2. Seafood Xinohondros: Replace the lamb or chicken with seafood like shrimp or fish for a coastal twist.
  3. Spiced Xinohondros: Add spices such as cumin, coriander, or paprika to give the soup a spicier flavor profile.

FAQ about Xinohondros

What is Xinohondros made of?

Xinohondros is primarily made of fermented cracked wheat and goat’s milk. It often includes vegetables and can be cooked with meats such as lamb or chicken.

How is Xinohondros prepared?

Xinohondros is prepared by fermenting cracked wheat with goat’s milk, then cooking it with vegetables and optionally meat in a broth until the wheat is tender and the flavors are well combined.

What are the health benefits of Xinohondros?

Xinohondros is rich in nutrients, probiotics, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, making it beneficial for gut health, digestion, and overall wellness.

Can Xinohondros be made vegetarian?

Yes, Xinohondros can be made vegetarian by omitting the meat and using vegetable broth instead of meat broth.

What variations of Xinohondros are popular?

Popular variations include vegetarian Xinohondros, seafood Xinohondros, and spiced Xinohondros, each offering a unique twist on the traditional recipe.

Internal Links

  1. Cretan Cuisine: Vibrant Flavors – An overview of the vibrant and diverse Cretan cuisine.
  2. Gamopilafo: Cretan Wedding Rice – Learn more about the traditional wedding dish.
  3. Sfakianes Pites: Pies from Sfakia – A deep dive into another traditional dish from Sfakia.
  4. Greek Kalitsounia: The Crete Specialty – Explore the flavors of these savory Cretan pastries.
  5. Cretan Mushrooms in a Red Wine Sauce – A delicious mushroom recipe with a Cretan twist.
  6. Dakos Salad Recipe from Crete – A refreshing Cretan salad perfect for any meal.
  7. Cretan Honey: The Greek Island of Crete – Learn about the unique honey varieties from Crete.
  8. Traditional Greek Cooking Techniques – Explore the methods that make Greek cooking special.
  9. Exploring the Richness of Greek Desserts – A journey through the sweet side of Greek cuisine.
  10. Greek Food Festivals and Traditions – Celebrate Greek culture through its food festivals.

External Links

  1. Digital Heroes Caffe: Visit Digital Heroes Caffe for a variety of premium Greek products and more.
  2. Cooking with Greek People YouTube Channel: Watch videos and tutorials on Greek recipes and cooking techniques.


This is more than just a soup; it is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Crete. With its unique combination of fermented cracked wheat and goat’s milk, this dish offers a delightful balance of flavors and numerous health benefits. Whether you enjoy it with vegetables, meat, or on its own, Xinohondros is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Explore this traditional Cretan recipe and experience the comforting and nutritious flavors to your home.

Author: Bob

With over 20 years in Bioinformatics and AI in Molecular Diagnostics, Bob Stavrou advises BiCos, focusing on authenticating OLIVE OIL DNA. He's also a passionate contributor to YouTube Cooking with Greek People and appeared on Greek TV show Savvatokiriako Me Ton Manesi, bridging science and culinary arts. Watch it on Alpha TV.

Table of Contents

About the Author