If you have not tried Spanakopita before, you're in for a treat! Spanakopita is a delicious savory Greek pie made of perfectly crispy layers of phyllo dough and a comforting filling of spinach and feta cheese. I'm sharing my family's favorite spanakopita recipe, complete with tips, video, and step-by-step photos. Trust me, this is so much easier to make than you think!
Spanakopita makes a great side dish for large holiday dinners next to lamb or lemon chicken. But it can easily stand alone as the main dish. Serve it with a big salad like Greek salad; Balela; or this Mediterranean chickpea salad, and favorite dips like Greek Tzatziki or Roasted Garlic Hummus.
This post is sponsored by The Fillo Factory.
What is Spanakopita?
My little one describes spanakopita this way, "yummy, crispy cheese pie with lots of green stuff!"
Spanakopita is a popular Greek savory pie made of perfectly flaky phyllo dough with a comforting filling of spinach and feta cheese nestled in. If you're not familiar with phyllo dough, it is basically layered sheets of tissue-thin pastry dough, typically found in the freezer section next to things like pie crust and puff pastry.
Spanakopita can be made in a large casserole dish like in today's recipe, or in the form of hand pies shaped in triangles or even rolls.
When I was at an Atlanta-area Greek festival a few weeks ago, my daughter's lunch of choice was a piece of spanakopita and a side of Greek salad. Luckily, she allowed me a taste; it was heavenly! I ended up chatting with the woman behind the lavish lunch, her name was Yiayia Helen. We discussed family recipes and shared spanakopita lessons and tips...
Tips for How to Make Spanakopita
1. What is in the spanakopita filling?
The key filling ingredients in a classic spanakopita recipe are spinach and feta cheese. And yes, only use quality feta cheese, no other cheese qualifies for spanakopita.
To the spinach and feta, we add flavor makers in the form of fresh herbs and aromatics. I used two whole bunches of parsley (parsley stems pack a ton of flavor, by the way, so don't be afraid to throw some in) Then, onions, garlic and a little dry dill weed.
To bind everything together, I used four large eggs.
2. Do I need to cook the spinach in advance?
You need a good amount of spinach in this recipe, so using frozen spinach is the way to go. In this easy spanakopita recipe, frozen spinach--fully thawed, of course--is mixed right in with the remaining filling ingredients, no advanced cooking necessary.
But one thing you must do, be sure to drain all liquid from the thawed spinach. I ended up squeezing the spinach by hand a few times until it could no longer produce any liquid. If you do use fresh spinach, you will need to cook it with the onions and garlic, drain, and let cool completely before mixing the filling.
3. The Phyllo
Golden, crispy phyllo pastry, encasing the soft spinach filling is really what spanakopita is all about! Quality of phyllo (fillo) dough can make or break the recipe! I am a big fan of organic dough from The Fillo Factory. It's vegan and contains no preservatives; no cholesterol; and no trans fat. And be sure follow the tips below for best results.
Tips for working with Phyllo Dough:
- Thaw phyllo dough properly; too much moisture will make the dough or sheets sticky and hard to manage. When thawing, do not remove the phyllo (fillo) from the package, place it in the fridge 12-14 hours before using.
-Before you begin assembling the spanakopita casserole, unroll the thawed phyllo (fillo) sheets and place them carefully between two ever-so-slightly damp kitchen cloths. This helps the sheets remain lenient so they won't tear too much.
-Do not skimp on the oil, but don't overdo it either. Some use butter, but I use quality extra virgin olive oil here instead to keep it light. You need to brush each of the phyllo layers with a little olive oil (see the video as well)
-Remember, Phyllo (fillo) sheets will tear, and that's perfectly fine. Just make sure you save a couple good sheets for the top of your spanakopita casserole.
Can I make Spanakopita Ahead of Time? What about Leftovers?
- You can make spanakopita the evening before you need to serve it. Follow the instructions for assembling, but do not bake. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. When you are ready, go ahead and bake according to recipe instructions. Budget 1 hour for baking.
- Already cooked spanakopita will keep well if properly storied in the fridge for 2 to 3 evenings. Heat in medium-heated oven until warmed through. You can also portion cooked leftover spanakopita and freeze for a later time. Warm in oven; no need to thaw in advance.
Watch the video for How to Make Spanakopita:
Never Miss a Recipe! Join my free e-mail list here to receive new recipes, weekly Mediterranean dinner plans, and my free E-cookbook with 15 healthy recipes to try!
Shop our online store for quality olive oils, all-natural spices and more.Print
Spanakopita Recipe (Greek Spinach Pie)
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 pieces 1x
Foolproof family recipe for Spanakopita! Delicious savory Greek pie made of perfectly crispy layers of phyllo dough and a comforting filling of spinach and feta cheese.
For the Spinach and Feta Filling
- 16 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
- 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, stems trimmed, finely chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 10.5 oz quality feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tsp dried dill weed
- Freshly-ground black pepper
For the Crust
- 1 16 oz package The Fillo Factory Organic Dough (#4 pastry sheets), properly thawed (see tips above)
- 1 cup Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil, more if needed
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Before you begin mixing the filling, be sure the spinach is very well drained, and squeeze out any excess liquid by hand.
- To make the filling: In a mixing bowl, add the spinach and the remaining filling ingredients. Stir until all is well-combined.
- Unroll the phyllo (fillo) sheets and place them between two slightly damp kitchen cloths.
- Prepare a 9 ½" X 13" baking dish like this one. Brush the bottom and sides of the dish with olive oil.
- To assemble the spanakopita: Line the baking dish with two sheets of phyllo (fillo) letting them cover the sides of the dish. Brush with olive oil. Add two more sheets in the same manner, and brush them with olive oil. Repeat until two-thirds of the phyllo (fillo) is used up.
- Now, evenly spread the spinach and feta filling over the phyllo (fillo) crust. Top with two more sheets, and brush with olive oil.
- Continue to layer the phyllo (fillo) sheets, two-at-a-time, brushing with olive oil, until you have used up all the sheets. Brush the very top layer with olive oil, and sprinkle with just a few drops of water.
- Fold the flaps or excess from the sides, you can crumble them a little. Brush the folded sides well with olive oil. Cut Spanakopita ONLY PART-WAY through into squares, or leave the cutting to later.
- Bake in the 325 degrees F heated-oven for 1 hour, or until the phyllo (fillo) crust is crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven. Finish cutting into squares and serve. Enjoy!
- Tips for Working with Phyllo: As mentioned earlier in the post, remember that phyllo is paper thin and will break as you are working with it. For best results, place phyllo dough sheets in between two very slightly damp kitchen towels (step #4) before you start working with it (unless you think you will work fast enough that the phyllo will not dry out.) Also, be sure to brush each layer with oil; don't skimp.
- Make Ahead Tips: You can make spanakopita the evening before. Follow up to step #9, cover and refrigerate. When you are ready, go ahead and bake according to step #10.
- Leftover Storing and Freezing Tips: Already cooked spanakopita will keep well if properly storied in the fridge for 2 to 3 evenings. Heat in medium-heated oven until warmed through. You can also portion cooked leftover spanakopita and freeze for a later time. Warm in oven; no need to thaw in advance.
- What to Serve with Spanakopita? Spanakopita makes a great side dish for large holiday dinners next to lamb or lemon chicken. But it can easily stand alone as the main dish. Serve it with a big salad like Greek salad; Balela; or this Mediterranean chickpea salad, and favorite dips like Greek Tzatziki or Roasted Garlic Hummus.
- Recommended for this Recipe: Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives).
- SAVE try our Greek olive oil bundle and our popular Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Entree or Side Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Greek
Keywords: Spanakopita, How to Make Spanakopita, Greek Spinach Pie
*This recipe and tutorial was originally published 11/08/2016. Last updated with new information and photos on 4/15/2019.
Loved this, thanks. We did indeed eat it with your lemon chicken recipe which is also just what I needed in my life!!!!
Used fresh dill instead of dried and doubled the recipe so we could have leftovers. Family loved it!
Are you supposed to cook any of the filling ingredients before assembling the spanakopita?
Hi, Joan. No advanced cooking is necessary here. Enjoy!
I tucked the philo underneath and used 4 layers of filling in the “spanakopita”
I tried to score the top with a very sharp knife, but it lifted the philo to much
I can't wait to make this for an upcoming Greek dinner at friend's. Query. I don't see a link to the video anywhere. Where can I access it?
Hi, Debb. The video should appear above the recipe card towards the end of the post. Unfortunately, though, some web browsers block pop ups which, for some reason, also blocks instructional videos. You may need to adjust your browser settings, or try a different browser on your end in order to see them.
loved this one, my greek friend calls it spanakotiropita. thank you
Made this three times , first time o made the mistake of using 2 whole bunches of parsley which is way too much . I now use 20 ounce bag frozen spinach and 1/2 cup or parsley . I also add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese to spinach
I used mostly this recipe but read many recipes and made these few adjustments and comes out perfect
Thanks so much for the feedback, Jen!
I'm wondering how much sodium is in the recipe? It isn't noted in the nutritional information. Thanks.
Hi, Bren. Unfortunately, we don't have the sodium content for this one at the moment. We were using a different program at the time we created that recipe & are making our way back as we can to revise the information using the new program.
I make spanakopita all the time the way my Greek grandma taught my mom to make it. I use fresh spinach and I do not cook it. Just chop it roughly and then I mix with two bunches of scallions sauteed in olive oil. No cooking, no squeezing out the water from frozen spinach. And my spanakopita is a nice bright green. Try it! By the way, I love all your recipes.
This came out better than the ones I have tried in the Greek diners. Everyone in the family from 10-78 years old loved it. Since it is Ash Wednesday, it will be a top dinner during Lent. Thank you for an easy and delightful recipe. I look forward to trying more of your recipes. Do you by any chance have a cookbook that can be purchased?
So glad everyone enjoyed the spanakopita! Yes, Suzy does have a cookbook on sale. You can click here for all of the details.
I love spinach pie. Growing up my best friend was Greek and introduced this to me. That and mousakka prounouned moose ah ka!! But one thing critical to omit from this recipe imho is garlic!! No no no!! Otherwise fantastic!
Hi. If you are using fresh spinach, how much do you use?
Hi, Alison! You'll need two to three times the amount listed here. And you'll want to chop and cook the spinach down before use.
So easy! Love it so much that I make it at least once a month. I don't always use the parsley if I can't be bothered to run out and buy it and still tastes great. I love onions, garlic and feta so I use more. I usually make on spur of the moment as I've become so much more confident using Phyllo. I defrosted the spinach in a bowl with the rolled up frozen dough on top to save time. Oh ya I also add a teaspoon Italian herbs. Delicious every time 😀
Thanks so much, Janet!