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.

Spanakopita, Greek savory pie with spinach and feta

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.

Spanakopita pie served next to olives and fresh tomatoes. Phyllo dough box on side.

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.

Spanakopita filling ingredients in a bowl. Spinach, feta, fresh herbs, onions, garlic and eggs
Spanakopita filling ingredients: spinach, feta cheese, fresh parsley, dill weed, onions, garlic, eggs, olive oil, salt and pepper

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.

Spanakopita filling ingredients mixed together
Mix Spanakopita filling ingredients

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.

Place phyllo dough sheets between two clean and slightly damp kitchen towels
Place phyllo sheets in between two clean and slightly damp paper towels. This will keep them from tearing too much as you are working to assemble spanakopita.

-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.

Phyllo sheets being brushed with olive oil
Brush each layer of phyllo with extra virgin olive oil. This photo is about ½ way through the phyllo package.

-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)

Spanakopita filling is placed

-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.

Uncooked spanakopita fully assembled in casserole dish
Once spanakopita filling is spread well in the center, lay the remainder of the phyllo dough sheets on top (you will follow the same process, working one sheet at a time and brushing each layer with extra virgin olive oil.)

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.

One square piece of spanakopita Greek spinach pie served on blue plate

Watch the video for How to Make Spanakopita:

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Spanakopita Recipe (Greek Spinach Pie)


Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale

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


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Before you begin mixing the filling, be sure the spinach is very well drained, and squeeze out any excess liquid by hand.
  3. To make the filling: In a mixing bowl, add the spinach and the remaining filling ingredients. Stir until all is well-combined.
  4. Unroll the phyllo (fillo) sheets and place them between two slightly damp kitchen cloths.
  5. Prepare a 9 ½" X 13" baking dish like this one. Brush the bottom and sides of the dish with olive oil.
  6. 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.
  7. Now, evenly spread the spinach and feta filling over the phyllo (fillo) crust. Top with two more sheets, and brush with olive oil.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

Notes

  • 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.

 

Spanakopita Recipe (Greek Spinach Pie) | The Mediterranean Dish. The best tutorial for how to make spanakopita. Greek spinach pie with crispy, golden phyllo and a soft filling of spinach, feta cheese, and herbs. A holiday recipe for make it for dinner! So easy. See it at TheMediterraneanDish.com

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. I really like this recipe. My only suggestion is to double the amount of spinach and use half the parsley. I think there would be too much phyllo and not enough filling if you didn't. 1 pound of well-squeezed frozen spinach isn't very much.

  2. Cooked this for my family. Every one loved it! It tasted fresh and new, different from what we normally eat in the house. Will absolutely make it again in the future.

  3. It was good, but could use some more flavours as it was quite bland. Either add more seasonings to the filling, or eat it with some sauce on the side to boost the taste.

  4. It's great but could use a little salt and lemon. I used one bunch of parsley and a mild feta.

  5. I enjoyed this , but during the assembly I wasn't sure if I was supposed to use both rolls of the phyllo. The recipe call for 16 oz pkg, so does that mean the entire package which is the 2 rolls which is a lot!
    Thanks,
    Bev G

    1. Hi, Beverly. I use one entire 16 oz package of The Fillo Factory (size #4) pastry sheets for this recipe, which contains 20 sheets. So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  6. Has anyone made this in advance and then baked it later. I want to make it this morning and bake it this evening and I'm concerned it will become soggy.

    1. Hi, Mel. You can make this in the morning and cover it tightly and refrigerate until ready to cook. Later in the day, bring it back to room temp and brush the top with oil before baking. My preference, however, is to prepare the filling and refrigerate in a tight-lid container. Thaw the phyllo in the fridge overnight in it's own box still. Then, the next day, just assemble and bake. I think this yields better results.

  7. I've used this recipe Several times and each time it comes out GREAT.
    I have added or put in Less of an ingredient according to what I want it to taste like.
    My Family and friends ask for this Spanakopita constantly. It's a Big hit/Favorite.
    Thank you. MGI

  8. This is a very light lower fat version of spanakopita. We liked it! I did put more phyllo leaves and less parsley. Fresh dill would give it a more Greek flavor but your recipe may be more palatable for those not accustomed to dill. Greeks often put both feta and ricotta in the filling, which can make the filling more robust. We like the feta only better, and use the sharper sheep’s milk feta. I did cook the onions and spinach in a skillet w olive oil for a few minutes to release the water. I also added green onions. Came out nice. And light. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Joanne. A few other readers have had success using puff pastry with this recipe, so you could certainly give it a try.

  9. I love spanakopita! But I was so very disappointed in this. All I could taste was parsley, not the spinach, not the feta. I even put less parsley than the recipe called for, because it just seemed like too much. All other of your recipes I've tried have turned out great, but sadly, not the spanakopita.

  10. I live in a small African town where phyllo is unfortunately hard to come by. But I'm very interested in other cuisines so I tried my best with the ingredients I have for a barbeque we had tonight. Made the filling precisely the same except for dill weed - we don't have that in the house, I'll get it at some point as I know it's used in some other Greek dishes too - and for the pastry I just used normal pie pastry. Got lots of compliments!

    Might add that it's important to dice the onion very finely or sauté it beforehand, because it almost came out too strong. Still, I love it and I hope to make the real thing one day! X

  11. Can I freeze an already assembled spinach pie to serve in two weeks without compromising the quality or taste? I am having a crowd and I have limited space and time and would like to be able to make this dish in advance. I am familiar with how to work with phyllo and I have made spinach pie in the past.

    1. Hi, Karen.Yes, you can freeze spanakopita. I recommend cooking before freezing, then store in a tight-lid container (or wrap well). Reheat from frozen at 325 degrees f until warmed through.

  12. Cooked this for a Greek Wine Tasting last night.
    It went down a storm!
    Many had memories of the dish on holidays to Greece and Cyprus and they said it brought back many happy memories of sunshine, friendly locals and good food.

    1. Hi, Selena. I have never seen totally uncooked frozen spinach. Frozen spinach is typically blanched (boiled briefly in very hot water and then submerged in cold water to stop the cooking and retain the color).

  13. Greetings, Suzy
    I appreciate you sharing this recipe with us. I made it for lunch today and it was delicious. I have 2 children who refuse to try anything new. Today however, they ate this dish and asked for the leftovers. They then browsed the site for the next recipe they wanted me to make. It will be fun to try your other recipes. Many thanks.

  14. Thank you so much for this recipe. I enjoyed making and more when I ate it. My wife and kid loved it too. I can’t express enough how much we are enjoying it. Thank you once again for this amazing and delicious recipe.

  15. Just to mention, if you can get sheep's milk feta, that's the way to go. That's the real feta. Cow's milk feta just doesn't cut it.

  16. When I make spanikopita I saute the onions in olive oil & butter & then use the oil/butter to brush on the phyllo..
    I also Greek it up a bit mire by adding chopped kalamata olives to the filling.