Have you every tried spanakopita? Spanakopita is a classic Greek pie made with phyllo dough, spinach and feta. It’s packed with so much flavor and one slice is never enough! Learn how to make spanakopita recipe with a video tutorial.
Greek recipes are an important part of Mediterranean recipes and are always made with tasty and fresh ingredients. A few popular Greek recipes are chicken souvlaki recipe, Greek meatballs (Keftedes), tzatziki recipe and of course, the famous Greek moussaka. This easy spanakopita recipe is another popular Greek recipe that’s made with crispy phyllo and a delicious spinach, feta and herb filling.
What is spanakopita?
Pronounced spah-nah-KO-pee-tah, this savory Greek pie is a classic recipe of the Mediterranean. Every Greek restaurant or pop-up at the farmers market carries this savory Greek pasty and you can usually buy it in slices. Spanakopita is made of a spinach and feta filling layered or wrapped in tissue thin phyllo dough which gets crispy after it’s baked.
People in different regions of Greece may use different herbs for the filling. Spinach is the most common filling which is used in almost all spanakopita recipes. However, people use other greens such as leeks, chard and green onion to make this Greek savory pie as well.
It’s common to make spanakopita in two forms:
- In a baking dish: The phyllo dough and the spinach filling are layered in a casserole dish and are sliced before or after the spinach pie is baked. In today’s recipe, we are making This Greek spinach pie in a large baking dish.
- Hand pies: Spanakopita triangles are made with the same phyllo dough and spinach filling, but the filling is wrapped in a phyllo dough individually.
What goes into classic spanakopita recipe
The most important ingredient when making this easy spanakopita recipe is the spinach. I’m going to show you how to make spanakopita with fresh spinach and in the FAQs, I’ve also explained how to make it using frozen spinach since it’s also common to use frozen spinach when making this Greek spinach pie. Other ingredients used in this feta and spinach pie recipe are:
- Green onions
- Phyllo dough
- Olive oil
The herbs used in this recipe are all fresh and finely chopped. Make sure to wash and dry the herbs thoroughly before chopping them. As for the phyllo dough, you need to let it thaw overnight in the fridge before using it. Therefore a little bit of planning is needed to make this Greek spanakopita recipe.
Try to find the highest quality feta at your supermarket and use it for this recipe. Feta adds so much flavor to this recipe and it’s best to use the highest quality one you can find. I always try to get feta from local and ethnic Mediterranean shops because their cheese is fresh and sold in bulk and has more authentic flavor.
Phyllo dough vs puff pastry
Puff pastry and phyllo are two different products that cannot be used interchangeably. While puff pastry has a butter base, phyllo dough has a flour and water base and almost no fat. Puff pastry puff into layers when baked whereas phyllo sheets get crispy and flaky when baked. Phyllo sheets are much thinner than puff pastry (almost tissue thin) and you need several layers when making a dish.
When using phyllo dough, you need to brush each layer with melted butter or olive oil in order to stick them together. Both phyllo and puff pastry can be used for sweet or savory recipes.
How to make Greek spanakopita recipe
Making this spinach spanakopita recipe includes a few steps:
- Make the filling: Start by sauteing the onion and garlic in some olive oil over medium heat. Add in spinach and cook until wilted. Discard the excess liquid and leave the spinach to cool for a few minutes. Once the mixture is cool, mix it with chopped parsley, dill and green onion. Add in crumbled feta and the eggs.
- Assemble: Brush the baking dish with some olive oil and layer a sheet of phyllo dough in the baking dish. Brush the phyllo sheet with some olive oil and top it with another phyllo sheet. Repeat until you have five layers of phyllo sheets. Spread the spinach and feta filling evenly over the phyllo. Top with another 5 layers of phyllo sheet, brushing each sheet or two with olive oil.
- Bake: Once you’re oven is hot at 350ºF, bake spanakopita in the oven until the top is golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes and then slice and serve.
Keep the phyllo from drying out
Phyllo is a very delicate and thin dough that dries pretty quickly once exposed to air. This might make working with phyllo a bit hard. It’s best to have a couple of damp kitchen towels at hand and once you take the
How long to bake spinach and feta pie
It usually takes about one hour for spanakopita to bake to perfection. You will know your spinach pie is ready when the top is crispy and golden brown. There is no need to cover the pie when baking it.
Spanakopita is best served warm right out of the oven. If you have leftovers, please portion them and store them in airtight containers. You can reheat spanakopita in the oven at 250ºF for about 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.
It’s also possible to freeze leftover spanakopita. Wrap the slices individually in plastic wraps and then aluminum foil and then freeze. To reheat, simply unwrap them and place them on a baking sheet coated with non stick spray. Bake at 275ºF for 30 minutes, no need to thaw in advance.
What to serve with spanakopita
Spanakopita can be served as a complete meal on its own with a side of Greek salad, white bean salad, Greek chickpea salad or this delicious Mediterranean salad. You can even serve it with these delightful Greek potatoes and turn it into a completely dinner. It also makes a great side dish for meat dishes such as roasted lamb or chicken.
Is spanakopita served warm or cold
You can serve Greek spanakopita warm or at room temperature. It’s not common to serve this spinach pie cold right out of the fridge. I prefer to heat mine a bit in the oven before serving.
Can classic spanakopita recipe be made in advance
Yes you can make this Greek spinach pie a day in advance. Follow the instructions to assemble the Greek spanakopita but don’t bake it. Wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil and refrigerate. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven and bake spanakopita as instructed.
FAQs and tips for making the best spanakopita recipe
Can I use frozen spinach to make this Greek dish?
Yes. If using frozen spinach, thaw it completely and squeeze out all the excess water to avoid soggy spanakopita. You don’t need to saute spinach after it’s thawed. Simply saute onion and garlic and add them to thawed spinach and the remaining ingredients as instructed in the recipe.
Can I freeze spanakopita?
This Greek spinach and feta pie freezes very well. The key is to freeze spanakopita before baking. Once you’ve layered the phyllo sheets and the filling, wrap the dish tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. You can freeze it for up to two months. To bake frozen spanakopita, please uncover the dish and bake it at 350ºF for about one hour and ten minutes. Check to make sure it’s cooked completely and if not, bake for another additional ten minutes.
Pre-crumbled feta or a block of feta?
This is a very good question. While crumbled feta is more convenient, it lacks flavor and that fresh texture that we are looking for. Crumbled feta tends to be drier since each piece is exposed to air whereas a block of feta, because of its dense and packed texture, contains more moister and therefore more flavor. In conclusion, I suggest using a block of feta for this spanakopita recipe and crumble it yourself when you’re ready to make the recipe.
Where can I find phyllo dough?
Phyllo dough is usually kept in the freezer section of every supermarket. You can find phyllo dough in the freezer section of your local supermarket next to puff pastry and pie crusts.
Note that phyllo dough comes in frozen form therefore you need to let it thaw overnight in the fridge before using it. Please don’t use microwave or oven to thaw phyllo dough as it would make the dough sweat and get mushy.
Can I use butter instead of olive oil?
This is a matter of personal preference. You can definitely use melted butter to layer phyllo dough. However, I prefer using olive oil because it’s healthier and it doesn’t alter the flavor.
My phyllo dough tears apart, what should I do?
That’s completely okay. Phyllo is very thin and delicate and it might tear while you’re assembling the spanakopita. As you can see in the video, mine also tears while assembling and that’s totally fine. There will be no change in texture or flavor.
Easy Spanakopita Recipe (Greek Spinach Pie)
- 1 lb spinach chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
- 1/3 cup green onions chopped
- 1 cup crumbled feta
- 3 eggs
- 1 pack phyllo dough thawed according to the packing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350F and coat a 9x13 pan with non stick spray.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan and saute onion until golden. Add in garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add in chopped spinach and cook until wilted. Turn the heat off.
- Transfer the spinach mixture to a large bowl and let it cool. Drain the excess water the spinach releases.
- To the spinach, add chopped parsley, dill and green onions and mix well.
- Add in the eggs and feta cheese. Stir well to everything is combined.
- To assemble, place one sheet of phyllo dough at the bottom of the pan, make sure it covers the sides of the pan as well.
- Brush the phyllo dough with olive oil and add another sheet of phyllo.
- Repeat until you have 5 sheets of phyllo dough layered.
- Spread the spinach and feta mixture evenly on the phyllo dough.
- Place another phyllo sheet on the spinach mixture. Brush with olive oil and top with another layer. Repeat until you have 5 to 7 sheets of phyllo dough layered.
- Fold the excess phyllo dough that's hanging from the sides onto the pie. It's okay if they break or tear.
- Brush the top and the sides with olive oil.
- Bake in the oven for one hour until the top is golden and crispy.
- Let the spanakopita cool for a few minutes and then slice it into squares.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Phyllo dough is very delicate and thin and might break or tear as you work with it. This is very normal and there is nothing to worry about. Phyllo dough dries very quickly therefore it's best to cover it with a slightly damp towel as you work with it.
- I usually use one sheet of phyllo dough for each layer but you can also use two.
- You can use frozen spinach for this spanakopita recipe. If doing so, please thaw the spinach and squeeze it hard to get rid of all the excess water.
- You can make spanakopit- Greek spinach pie in advance. Follow the steps in the recipe to make the filling and assemble the spanakopita but don't bake it. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and refrigerate. Once ready to bake, follow the instructions and bake it in the oven.