Here is a classic spanakopita recipe. This Greek spinach pie is made with phyllo dough, spinach and feta. It's packed with so much flavor. One slice is never enough! Be sure to check out our step by step tutorial and video.
Greek food is central to Mediterranean cuisine and always involves tasty and fresh ingredients. A few of our most popular Greek recipes include chicken souvlaki, Greek meatballs (keftedes), pastitsio, and, of course, the famous Greek moussaka. This easy spanakopita recipe is another popular Greek delicacy that's super delicious and fun to make at home, just look at those crispy phyllo layers!
What is spanakopita?
Pronounced spah-nah-KO-pee-tah, this savory Greek pie is a classic recipe of the Mediterranean made of a spinach and feta filling layered or wrapped in tissue-thin phyllo dough that gets crispy after it's baked. Every Greek restaurant or pop-up at the farmers' market carries this savory pasty and you can usually buy it by the slice.
People in different regions of Greece may use different herbs for the filling. Spinach is the most common filling, which you'll find in almost all spanakopita recipes. However, people use other greens such as leeks, chard, and green onion as well.
Two ways to make spanakopita
You can make this spinach and feta pie two ways. Both are delicious and easy to make:
- In a baking dish: The phyllo dough and the spinach filling are layered in a casserole dish and sliced before or after the spinach pie is baked. In today's recipe, we are using 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. You've probably seen pre-made spanakopita like this in the frozen food section of your local supermarket.
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this spanakopita recipe at home, most of them being the herbs and greens for the filling.
- Onion: I usually use yellow onion for this recipe but white onion works as well.
- Garlic: I used only 3 small cloves of garlic. If the cloves you have are bigger, use one or two. We don't want the garlic flavor to overpower everything else.
- Spinach: Our recipe calls for fresh spinach. In the FAQs, I've also explained how to use frozen spinach.
- Parsley: This adds so much flavor to the dish. Remember: don't discard the stems because that's where all the flavor is!
- Dill: You can use fresh or dried dill for this recipe.
- Green onions: Use both white and green parts to make the filling.
- Feta: I always prefer to get a block of feta and crumble it myself since it's softer and more delicious.
- Eggs: We use eggs to bind all the ingredients together.
- Phyllo dough: You can use the phyllo dough found in the frozen section of many supermarkets. Make sure to thaw it in the fridge before using.
- Olive oil: The layers are phyllo dough are brushed with olive oil for extra crispiness and flakiness.
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 puffs 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.
Don't be intimidated! Follow this recipe step by step (don't forget to watch the video) and you'll be able to make this dish with no hassle!
Make the filling
Start by sautéing 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.
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 five layers of phyllo sheet, brushing each sheet or two with olive oil.
Once you're oven is hot at 350ºF, bake spanakopita in the oven until the top is golden brown and crispy, about one hour. 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 on hand. Once you take a sheet out, cover the rest with the damp kitchen towel.
You can serve spanakopita as an appetizer or a delicious vegetarian dinner. Here are some ideas for sides:
- Greek salad: classic and tasty! A plate of fresh Greek salad is always a good idea!
- Tzatziki: One of my favorite sides for almost any Greek dish.
- Greek potatoes: You can make these potatoes while the spanakopita is baking in the oven. So delicious!
What to do with leftovers
Spanakopita is best served warm right out of the oven. If you have leftovers, portion them and store them in airtight containers. You can reheat it in the oven at 250ºF for about 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.
It's also possible to freeze the leftovers. 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.
Freeze now and bake later
This dish 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.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. If using frozen spinach, thaw it completely and squeeze out all the excess water to avoid soggy spanakopita. You don't need to sauté spinach after it's thawed. Simply sauté onion and garlic and add them to thawed spinach and the remaining ingredients as instructed in the recipe.
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, so you need to let it thaw overnight in the fridge before using it. Please don't use your microwave or oven to thaw phyllo dough as it would make the dough sweat and get mushy.
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.
Yes you can make this a day in advance. Follow the instructions to assemble the 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 as instructed.
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.
Notes and tips
- Make sure to wash and dry the herbs before you start cooking the recipe.
- The spinach and herbs are all finely chopped. You can use a chopper to get the right consistency.
- 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 recipe.
- 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 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup parsley chopped
- ½ cup fresh dill chopped
- ⅓ cup green onions chopped
- 1 cup crumbled feta
- 3 eggs
- 1 pack phyllo dough thawed according to the packing
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350F and coat a 9x13 pan with non stick spray.
- Heat 2 tablespoon 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.