Spanakopita Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 40 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling
Our Greek spanakopita recipe features a seasoned spinach and feta cheese filling stuffed between layers of crisp phyllo dough. This delightful spinach pie works as a side dish for meaty Mediterranean mains, or it can stand alone as a vegetarian main dish.

Updated: Apr. 26, 2024

This spanakopita recipe is a wonderful way to incorporate more spinach into your diet, and it shows how delicious spinach can be if it isn’t a veggie you normally prefer.

Spanakopita is an iconic Greek recipe made by layering crisp phyllo dough with a rich combination of spinach, feta cheese and herbs. The buttery phyllo dough pairs well with the grassy spinach, herbaceous seasonings and tangy feta cheese, while the creaminess of the spinach filling contrasts with shatteringly crisp dough to create a pie that’s flaky on the outside and perfectly soft in the middle.

This savory spinach pie is versatile too. It’s light enough to serve as an appetizer or snack but complex enough to stand as a vegetarian main or a side dish for your favorite Mediterranean recipes. And don’t forget about breakfast—the leftovers are a fantastic way to begin the day.

Tips for Working with Phyllo Dough

Phyllo (also spelled “filo”) dough is paper-thin pastry dough used for savory treats and sweet dishes like baklava. The word phyllo comes from the Greek word for leaf, referring to the thinness of the sheet. The flaky dough tears easily, so working with it can be a little intimidating. Just keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be a pro in no time!

  • Thaw the phyllo dough: Phyllo dough can be tricky to work with when fully thawed, but it’s impossible to unroll when frozen. To briefly thaw the phyllo dough, take it out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter while you prepare the spinach mixture.
  • Brush phyllo with oil: Brush each sheet with oil to achieve the crispest, flakiest texture. Use a light hand, though, as too much oil can weigh the sheets down and give them a greasy finish.
  • Cover the phyllo dough: Phyllo dough dries very quickly. Have all the other ingredients ready to go before unwrapping the dough. Then, once the dough is unwrapped and unrolled, keep it covered with a damp towel.
  • Handle phyllo dough gently: The delicate sheets are very thin and tear easily. Work on a smooth, dry surface and handle the sheets carefully to avoid tearing the fragile dough. If the dough does tear, it’s not the end of the world: Just save one perfect sheet for the top layer, and no one will know about the torn layers underneath.
  • Refrigerate leftover dough: We use the entire box of phyllo dough in this recipe, but if you halve the recipe, you will end up with extras. Wrap opened phyllo dough tightly, and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days (or in the freezer for up to three months).

Ingredients for Spanakopita

  • Phyllo dough: You can find phyllo dough in the freezer section at the grocery store. Be sure to plan ahead and give the dough enough time to briefly thaw.
  • Olive oil: We like to brush the phyllo with oil to keep the sheets light, but melted butter also works. For the best flavor, use a high-quality olive oil (try one of our Test Kitchen’s choices for best olive oil brands).
  • Spinach: Frozen chopped spinach is a real time saver! Simply thaw it, then squeeze it really well to remove any excess moisture before cooking it alongside the onion and garlic.
  • Feta cheese: This soft, sheep’s milk cheese has a bold, briney flavor. We like to use rich and tangy Greek feta for this recipe, but you can change the flavor profile with mild, creamy French feta or bold Bulgarian feta.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a binding ingredient to hold the spinach and cheese filling together.
  • Fresh herbs: The combination of parsley and dill gives the filling a fresh, grassy flavor profile. Chopped fresh mint is optional and adds a refreshing, lightly sweet character.

Directions

Step 1: Start the spinach mixture

Cooking onions and spinachTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook and stir until tender, three to five minutes. Add the garlic, then cook and stir for 1 minute longer. Stir in the spinach. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool for five minutes.

Step 2: Finish the spinach mixture

Mixing ingredients in large bowlTMB Studio

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, feta, parsley, dill, mint if desired, salt and pepper.

Mixing the wet ingredients with onions and spinachTMB Studio

Stir the egg and feta mixture into the spinach mixture.

Step 3: Lay out the phyllo dough

Brushing the doughTMB Studio

Brush a 13×9-inch baking dish with some of the remaining 1 cup oil.

Unroll the phyllo dough. Layer eight sheets of phyllo in the prepared dish, brushing each sheet with oil. Press the dough up the sides of the pan if necessary. Keep the remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.

Step 4: Layer the spinach mixture and phyllo

Spreading spinach and onion mixture on brushed doughTMB Studio

Spread the spinach mixture over the phyllo layers. Top it with the remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with oil.

Cutting dough in equal piecesTMB Studio

Cut 12 rectangles through only the top layer of the phyllo.

Editor’s Tip: Scoring the top phyllo dough helps the dish release steam so the spinach pie doesn’t turn out soggy. Scoring also makes the soon-to-be-crisp phyllo much easier to cut later.

Step 5: Bake the spanakopita

Picking up piece of baked Spanakopita TMB Studio

Bake until golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand for five minutes before cutting.

Recipe Variations

  • Make handheld spanakopita: Instead of layering the ingredients in a baking dish, make a handheld spanakopita appetizer.
  • Experiment with herbs and spices: Most Mediterranean spices would go well in this Greek spanakopita recipe. Try adding oregano, marjoram or thyme.
  • Use another green: Substitute another type of green like kale or Swiss chard. Just be sure to cook the greens first and squeeze out any excess liquid to avoid a soggy spanakopita.
  • Substitute leeks: Use leeks instead of onions to give the filling a softer, sweeter character.

Can you make spanakopita ahead of time?

To make this Greek spanakopita recipe ahead of time, cover the unbaked dish and store it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take the dish out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed, increasing the time as needed for the spanakopita to heat through and become golden brown on top.

How to Store Spanakopita

Spanakopita has the crispiest texture just after baking, as the leftovers can get a little soft and soggy in the refrigerator. That said, leftover spanakopita will last up to four days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat spanakopita in a 350° oven until warmed through.

Spanakopita Tips

Spanakopita served on plateTMB Studio

What do you serve with spanakopita?

You can serve this Greek spanakopita recipe as a side dish with other Mediterranean dishes like chicken tzatziki or lamb chops. It’s also a fantastic vegetarian main dish, especially when served with a refreshing Greek salad, a side of hummus and pita bread.

Can you make spanakopita with fresh spinach?

We use frozen spinach in this recipe for ease, but you can substitute fresh spinach. Cook the spinach in a large skillet with olive oil until it wilts down and releases its liquid. When it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess liquid. Then, proceed with the recipe as directed.

How do you fix soggy spanakopita?

If your spanakopita is soggy on the bottom, you may not have removed all the liquid from the spinach. Any excess liquid will release as the spanakopita bakes and cause the pastry to become wet and soggy. Unfortunately, there’s no good way to fix it once the casserole is baked, so make sure to squeeze the spinach well before adding it to the filling.

Can you make spanakopita with puff pastry?

You could try to make this recipe with puff pastry or crescent roll dough, but it wouldn’t be the same. Authentic Greek spanakopita is made with phyllo dough. Read up on the difference between phyllo dough and puff pastry.

Spanakopita

Prep Time 40 min
Cook Time 45 min
Yield 12 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 package (16 ounces) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (8 ounces each) crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat; add onion. Cook and stir until tender, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in spinach. Remove from the heat; let cool 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, feta, parsley, dill, mint if desired, salt and pepper. Stir in spinach mixture.
  3. Brush a 13x9-in. baking dish with some of the remaining 1 cup oil. Unroll phyllo dough. Layer 8 sheets of phyllo in prepared dish, brushing each with oil, pressing edges of dough up sides of pan if necessary. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.)
  4. Spread spinach mixture over phyllo layers. Top with remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each with oil. Cut into 12 rectangles through top layer of phyllo only. Bake until golden brown, 45-50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 273 calories, 20g fat (4g saturated fat), 41mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 3g fiber), 8g protein.

This Mediterranean dish is always a crowd-pleaser! Phyllo dough can be tricky to work with, so I always make sure the dough is only briefly thawed before using it. Usually, I take it out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter while I prep the spinach mixture. —Lora Moncure, Portland, Maine