The Istanbul Simit being held by someone in front of an Istanbul Simit Van

Bite into the Heart of Istanbul with Every Mouthful of Simit

Embark with us on a savory adventure as we uncover the story behind the humble yet irresistible Istanbul Simit – the famed circular bread crowned with the nutty, crunchy goodness of sesame seeds.

As the undisputed king of Turkish bread, the Simit has woven itself into the fabric of Turkish cuisine, delighting taste buds with its delicate crunch and delectable flavor.

Favoured by many, and widely consumed as a snack or breakfast item, the Simit has a history dating back to the Ottoman Empire and beyond.

Now firmly established as a beloved staple in Turkish society, you’re invited to join us as we delve into the fascinating world of the Istanbul Simit and uncover why this delicious bread has captured the hearts and taste buds of so many for centuries.

Let’s take a bite!

History of the Humble Simit

The Simit has a long and rich history, tracing back through the Ottoman Empire at east 600 years.

Its origins can be traced back to the city of Istanbul, where it was first produced and sold in the street markets.

Some claim the bread is a “rip-off” of the famous Gevrek bread that bakeries from the Aegean city of İzmir were known to produce en-masse.

Records however, seem to suggest otherwise and identify that in fact, it was the bakers of İzmir who “ripped-off” the recipe from their Istanbul counterparts.

Nevertheless the bread (be it Simit or Gevrek) was originally prduced with a simple mixture of flour, water, yeast, and salt, and was covered with sesame seeds for added flavor and texture.

In the centuries that followed, simit evolved and changed to become the delicious and beloved treat that it is today.

The modern-day simit recipe includes a mixture of flour, sugar, yeast, and milk, and is often shaped into a circular shape before being covered in sesame seeds.

Simits are also widely sold now with fillings like sucuk (sausage), kaşar cheese, or zeytin (olives) – plain salad Simit has now become very popular also.

The process of making simit has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years, and the traditional methods are still used in many simit bakeries today.

Istanbul Simit and Tea snack

Simit Production | How is the Istanbul Simit Made?

The production of simit is a time-honored tradition in Istanbul, with bakers following a strict and precise process to ensure the quality and flavor of the bread.

The ingredients are mixed together and kneaded into a dough, which is then shaped into a circular shape and covered in sesame seeds. The dough is then left to rise, before being baked to perfection in a wood-fired oven.

The baking process is an art form in itself, and the bakers must have a deep understanding of the dough and the oven to produce the perfect simit.

They carefully monitor the temperature and the baking time, ensuring that the bread is evenly baked and has a crisp crust with a soft, chewy interior.

The sesame seeds give the bread a crunchy texture and a rich, nutty flavor, and the end result is a delicious and satisfying treat.

Fun Fact?

The kürekci, or paddle master, is the unsung hero of the simit-making process. This skilled artisan holds the key to perfection, with a keen eye for placement, as they must expertly position each simit in their vast ovens with precision and care. Without the kürekci’s meticulous touch, the simit’s crunchy exterior & warm, tender center wouldn’t be possible.

The Popularity of the Simit

Simit has become a staple food in Turkish cuisine, and its popularity has spread far beyond the borders of Istanbul.

It is consumed as a snack or a breakfast item, and is often enjoyed with tea or coffee.

The bread is widely available, and can be purchased from street vendors, bakeries, and supermarkets.

The popularity of simit is due to its delicious flavor, its convenient and portable size, and its affordability. A simit and tea is far cheaper than a McDonalds meal for example.

The Istanbul Simit has become a popular food for people of all ages and backgrounds, and is loved for its simple and satisfying taste.

The bread is also widely used in Turkish cuisine, and is often served with savory or sweet toppings, such as cheese, honey, or chocolate.

Istanbul Simit Bakery

The Simits Future

The Simit has a bright future ahead, as the demand for this beloved bread continues to grow both within Turkey and beyond.

There are now famous Simit Houses in many countries and the famous and very well known Simit Sarayı brand is leading that charge with its ambitious international expansion plans.

The traditional methods of production are still used in many bakeries today, and the quality of the bread remains as high as ever, but in addition, new and innovative recipes are being developed, and simit is being used in new and creative ways in Turkish cuisine.

The Simit is also becoming more widely available, and can now be purchased online or in specialty stores around the world. The popularity of simit shows no signs of slowing down, and this beloved bread will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

Fact or Fiction?

Legend has it that the scrumptious Simit was originally created in the opulent kitchens of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in the 1500s, though there’s a distinct lack of official documentation to support this claim. Despite this, the simit remains a staple in Turkish cuisine, its origins shrouded in mystery but its delicious taste forever etched in history.

Simit Recipe

The Simit us very easy to make at home and this simple Istanbul Simit Recipe should be east to follow:


  • 500g (17.6 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 7g (0.25 oz) instant yeast
  • 10g (0.35 oz) salt
  • 30g (1.05 oz) sugar
  • 30ml (1.0 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 300ml (10.1 fl oz) warm water
  • sesame seeds


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar.
  2. Stir in the oil and warm water, then knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  5. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal pieces and roll each one into a rope about 20 cm (8 inches) long.
  6. Shape each rope into a circle and place the ends together, then twist the ends and press them firmly to join.
  7. Brush the simits with some water and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  8. Place the simits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown.
  9. Remove the simits from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy your fresh, homemade simits!

Did You Know?

The Simit was called Halka-i Simit right up until the 18th-century. After that, it just became know by its shorter version, Simit. Halka means circle in Turkish by the way!

Simit Vs Bagel

The simit has a sweeter taste on the palate than a classic New York-style bagel. Also the textures are very different from each other with the bagel known for its thick crust and dense, chewy interior, whilst a simit is recognised as being lighter and less doughy, though still crisp on the outside.

The Istanbul Simit | Conclusion

The simit is a delicious and beloved type of bread that has been enjoyed by Turkish people for centuries.

Personally we love a simit snack ourselves with a nice hot tea to fill that gap between lunch and dinner.

From its humble origins in the Ottoman Empire, The ISTANBUL SIMIT has grown to become the undisputed king of Turkish bread, and its popularity continues to spread both within Turkey and beyond.

What do you guys think of Simit – have you had one before? Do you like them? Let us know by leaving a comment in the form at the bottom of our About Us Page

Cheers everyone and thanks for reading!

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What Does Simit Taste Like?

Simit has a soft and chewy interior, a crisp crust, and a rich, nutty flavor from the sesame seeds.

What Is Simit Made Of?

These days the base recipe of Simit is made from a mixture of flour, sugar, yeast, and milk, and is shaped into a circular shape and covered in sesame seeds.

Where Did The Simit Originate?

Simit originated in Istanbul, Turkey, during the Ottoman Empire.

Where Can I Buy Simit In Istanbul?

Simit can be purchased from street vendors, bakeries, supermarkets, and specialty stores around the world, as well as online.

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