Baklava Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 40 min.
Our baklava recipe takes the mystery out of this beloved dessert! Learn to perfect your own flaky, sticky, sweet baklava right in your home kitchen.

Updated: Mar. 19, 2024

Few desserts hold a candle to sticky, sweet, flaky baklava. This beloved sweet treat is complex with a multitude of flavors and textures. Maybe you’re always picking up a triangle (or three) of baklava at your local Middle Eastern cafe, or maybe you’ve traveled to Greece, where you ate a serving every night for dessert. Whenever and wherever you’ve enjoyed it, you’ve probably wondered how you can recreate your own baklava recipe at home.

It’s true that the phyllo layers of baklava make it a recipe that’s more intricate than the easiest desserts. But with a few basic baking tools and some patience, you’ll be on your way to making your own beautiful baklava, right in your own kitchen.

What is baklava?

Baklava is a pastry made of layered phyllo dough and chopped nuts, all drizzled with honeyed syrup. It’s baked as a layered sheet and cut into diamonds, triangles or squares for serving. Part of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, baklava recipes vary among many regions of the world, including Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish versions.

You might be most familiar with Greek or Turkish baklava. The Greek version uses walnuts and honey syrup. The Turkish version uses pistachios, and the syrup contains lemon juice rather than honey. The Lebanese and Moroccan versions use a variety of nuts, and the syrup isn’t quite as sweet; instead, orange blossom water or rose water flavors the syrup.

Baklava Ingredients

  • Phyllo dough: To make baklava just like yiayia, you’ll want to start with a quality phyllo dough. Use a damp cloth to keep the sheets from drying out as you add layers.
  • Walnuts: Slightly bitter, but satisfyingly crunchy, chopped walnuts give baklava its familiar filling. You can buy pre-chopped walnuts, or pulse whole walnuts in a food processor. (And, if you have extra, we have plenty of walnut recipes for you to use them up.)
  • Butter: Use a basting brush to paint the melted butter over the phyllo sheets. The softened fat will give the baklava its characteristic richness and density.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar blends with the bitter walnuts to sweeten things. It also helps bring together the syrupy glaze you pour over the top of the warm baklava.
  • Honey: Although there’s plenty of sugar to sweeten up this recipe, honey brings a warm candied flavor (and stickiness!) to this dessert. You can use basic honey or experiment with different types of honey for a flavor that suits your tastes.


Step 1: Make the nutty filling

Mixing dry ingredients in a small bowlTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, stir together the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the baking pan and phyllo dough

Cutting phyllo dough sheets with knife on wooden boardTMB Studio

Using a basting brush, brush a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with butter. Unrol one package of phyllo dough; cut the stack into a 10-1/2×9-inch rectangle. Repeat with the other phyllo dough package. Discard the scraps.

Step 3: Create the phyllo dough layers

Brushing the sheets with butterTMB Studio

Line the bottom of the prepared pan with two sheets of phyllo dough (the sheets will overlap slightly). Brush with butter (not too much; you don’t want the sheets to be drenched!). Repeat the layers 14 times.

Editor’s Tip: Keep the unused dough covered with a damp towel as you work with it. This prevents the delicate phyllo dough from drying out.

Step 4: Finish the layers, then bake

Spreading walnuts on sheet TMB Studio

Spread the layered dough with 2 cups walnut mixture. Top with five layers of phyllo dough, brushing with butter between each sheet. Spread with remaining walnut mixture.

Top with one layer of phyllo dough, and brush with butter. Repeat 14 times.

Cutting the uncooked Baklava into rectangles with knifeTMB Studio

Cut the large rectangle into 2-1/2-inch squares. Cut each square in half diagonally. Brush the remaining butter over the tops of the triangles. Bake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

Step 5: Make the syrup

Cooking syrup in potTMB Studio

In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, water, honey and citrus zest to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Straining the syrup into glass containerTMB Studio

Strain the syrup with a mesh sieve, and discard the zest.

Pouring the syrup over Baklava TMB Studio

Cool the syrup to lukewarm. Pour it over warm baklava.

Baklava Variations

  • Swap walnuts for pistachios: Try out the recipes from other regions by using pistachios instead of walnuts. You can also try chopped almonds, hazelnuts and pecans.
  • Add flavors to the syrup: Instead of honey, try using rose water, lemon juice or orange blossom water to get a taste of other regional baklava recipes. Here’s our guide on how to use rose water in cooking and baking in case you have extra and want to add it to other recipes.
  • Try making your own phyllo dough: Frozen phyllo is a game changer because it saves so much time. If you want to make baklava totally from scratch, however, try making your own phyllo dough at home! Phyllo dough differs from puff pastry in that it’s thinner and more difficult to make, but it’s certainly worth it if you like a baking challenge!

How to Store Baklava

Storing baklava at room temperature does help retain its crispy texture, but we don’t recommend keeping it out for too long. Once completely cooled, cover the baklava tightly, and store it at room temperature for one or two days. To maintain its freshness, transfer your covered baklava to the fridge, where it can stay up to two weeks.

Baklava Tips

Baklava served in plates with forkTMB Studio

Do you eat baklava warm or cold?

Baklava is typically served at room temperature. This gives the flavors time to marry once they’re out of the oven, and it’ll give the syrup time to soak through all the layers.

Why does baklava go soggy?

Too much butter on the phyllo sheets can result in a soggy dessert. A delicate brush of butter on each sheet rather than dousing the sheets will give you the soft-yet-crisp outcome you’re used to with bakery baklava.

Baklava served in plates with forkTMB Studio

Watch how to Make Baklava


Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 4 dozen.


  • 1-1/2 pounds finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pound butter, melted, divided
  • 2 packages (16 ounces each, 14x9-inch sheet size) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • SYRUP:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon or orange zest


  1. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cloves; set aside. Brush a 15x10x1-in. baking pan with some butter. Unroll 1 package phyllo dough; cut stack into a 10-1/2x9-in. rectangle. Repeat with remaining phyllo. Discard scraps.
  2. Line bottom of prepared pan with 2 sheets of phyllo dough (sheets will overlap slightly). Brush with butter. Repeat layers 14 times. (Keep dough covered with a damp towel until ready to use to prevent sheets from drying out.)
  3. Spread with 2 cups walnut mixture. Top with 5 layers of phyllo dough, brushing with butter between each sheet. Spread with remaining walnut mixture. Top with 1 layer of phyllo dough; brush with butter. Repeat 14 times. Cut into 2-1/2-in. squares; cut each square in half diagonally. Brush remaining butter over top. Bake at 350° until golden brown, 40-45 minutes.
  4. In a large saucepan, bring syrup ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes. Strain syrup, discarding zest; cool to lukewarm. Pour syrup over warm baklava.

Nutrition Facts

1 baklava triangle: 271 calories, 16g fat (5g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 162mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

Baklava is a traditional Middle Eastern pastry made with flaky phyllo dough, chopped nuts and sweet honey. This dessert is very rich, so one pan goes a long way. —Judy Losecco, Buffalo, New York