The problem of estimating the prior probabilities q sub k of a mixture of known density functions f sub k(X), based on a sequence of N statistically independent observations is considered. It is shown that for very mild restrictions on f sub k(X), the maximum likelihood estimate of Q is asymptotically efficient. A recursive algorithm for estimating Q is proposed, analyzed, and optimized. For the M = 2 case, it is possible for the recursive algorithm to achieve the same performance with the maximum likelihood one. For M 2, slightly inferior performance is the price for having a recursive algorithm. However, the loss is computable and tolerable.