Why We Love This Spanakopita Recipe
This spanakopita recipe is our go-to! We’ve been enjoying it for years. Even our children are crazy about it! And who could blame them? It’s crispy, cheesy, salty, and has the creamiest filling.
But first, what is spanakopita anyway? It’s a savory Greek pie that layers spinach and cheese between crispy sheets of phyllo dough. Sounds delish, right?!
It’s a super comforting dish, very similar to borek, and is often served alongside chicken or lamb.
While a traditional spanakopita is layered in a baking dish, our fun little twist is to roll the phyllo into long logs, then twist and shape the spanakopita into spirals. This ensures that every single bite you take is crispy crispy crispy!
Spanakopita Recipe Ingredients
The signature flavors in Greek spanakopita come from a mix of spinach and feta cheese.
- Fresh baby spinach: Yes, you can substitute with frozen spinach, but you’ll have to make sure you really squeeze out all the excess water and moisture. We’d much rather dirty up the food processor and just use fresh spinach.
- Eggs: These act as a binding ingredient to hold the filling together.
- Cottage cheese: Don’t hate! This adds the most amazing texture to the spanakopita filling!
- Feta cheese, crumbled: A must in any spanakopita-inspired recipe. Salty and delicious! We use fresh feta packed in brine, but the crumbled variety is fine too.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: To season everything!
- Lemon zest: Trust us, the bright flavor this adds is a necessity!
- Fresh oregano, chopped: Do not underestimate the power of fresh herbs. We really prefer them to dried, but certainly you can substitute, as needed.
- Unsalted butter melted: The melted butter acts like a glue to hold the sheets of phyllo dough together. We’re also pouring some over the rolled spanakopita spirals to help them turn golden brown in the oven.
- Phyllo dough: Gotta have that crunchy phyllo dough!
Note that different brands of phyllo dough create different sized sheets. You can use any brand and any size, just note that the amount of filling per spiral might need to be altered based on the size of the phyllo sheet you’re working with.
How To Make Spanakopita Filling
- Finely chop the spinach. Place fresh baby spinach in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment, working in batches as needed. Pulse until very finely chopped, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat with remaining spinach.
- Make the spanakopita filling. To the spinach, add eggs, cottage cheese, feta cheese, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and fresh oregano. Mix to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
It’s seriously so easy to make this filling! If you end up with any leftovers after rolling out each little spanakopita packet, you can mix the filling with scrambled eggs for a delicious Greek inspired omelette. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you how unbelievably delicious this is!
Assemble And Bake The Spanakopita
Now that you’ve made the easy spanakopita filling, set up a work station. You’ll need to work quickly so that the phyllo dough doesn’t dry out and tear too much! But honestly, if it rips a tiny bit, it’s no big deal, don’t fret!
- Assemble the spanakopita spirals. Unroll the phyllo dough. Working with one sheet at a time, spoon on about 2 tablespoons of melted butter. No need to brush it on top, just use the tablespoon to portion it and loosely spoon onto the dough.
- Quickly add another sheet of phyllo dough and repeat with butter. Top with a third sheet of phyllo and then pour on ¼-½ cup of spanakopita filling along the bottom (long side) of the dough into a long thin line, leaving an inch of space on either end. The amount will depend on the size of your phyllo sheet.
- Shape the spirals. Fold the dough over and around the filling, then roll the phyllo into a long log. Carefully work the log into a spiral and transfer to a large skillet. Repeat with remaining sheets of phyllo and dough to create remaining spirals. (Note: you could also fold these into spanakopita triangles and bake on a rimmed baking sheet!)
Our biggest tip is not to roll the spirals too tightly! This will result in the phyllo ripping. Keep it loose to prevent any rips.
Cook the spanakopita! Brush each spiral with remaining melted butter, then bake at 350 F for 60-70 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. You can serve this spanakopita recipe immediately (it’s best hot!) or at room temperature.
What To Serve With Spanakopita
We’re not claiming that our Greek grandmother taught us how to make this recipe — she didn’t, both my grandmas were Jewish! — but we insist that if you are looking for a flavorful, creamy spanakopita filling, with as much crunch from phyllo dough as is possible, you’ve absolutely got to give these easy spanakopita spirals a try!
The ratio of filling to phyllo ensures maximum crunch. So worth the effort involved!
Can These Be Reheated?
Absolutely! They will certainly be crunchiest straight out of the oven, but if you’ve got leftovers, store in an airtight container in a fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat them in a toaster oven (or conventional oven) at 350 until warm throughout and crispy, about 10 minutes.
Honestly, we’ve been making these for years and year. They are seriously loved by all and such a delightful fun way to get some Greek flavors (and a lot of spinach!) into your dinner. We absolutely adore this recipe!
If you make this Spanakopita recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below.
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For more holiday appetizers, check out the following recipes:
- Food processor fitted with blade attachment
- Large mixing bowl
- Large skillet though these can easily be baked in a casserole dish!
- ¼ cup measuring cup
- Tablespoon measuring spoon
- 11 oz baby spinach
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 10 oz cottage cheese
- 10 oz feta crumbled
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 2 tsp fresh oregano chopped
- 11 Tbsp unsalted butter melted, divided
- 1 16 oz package phyllo dough defrosted (36, 9"x14" sheets)
- Make the spanakopita filling. Preheat oven to 350F. Place spinach in a food processor fitted with blade attachment, then pulse until finely chopped, working in batches as needed. Transfer to a large bowl. Add 3 beaten eggs, 10oz cottage cheese, 10oz crumbled feta, 2 tsp Kosher salt, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 2 tsp chopped oregano. Mix well, then set aside.
- Set up your work station. Place the spanakopita filling and melted butter in front of you. You'll need a ¼ cup measuring cup and 1 Tbsp measuring spoon.
- Assemble spanakopita spirals. Unroll phyllo dough. Working with one sheet at a time, spoon 1 Tbsp melted butter. No need to brush it on top, just use the tablespoon to portion it and spoon onto dough. Quickly add another sheet of phyllo dough and repeat with butter, essentially splashing it on top. Top with a third sheet of phyllo and then pour ¼-½ cup of filling along the bottom (long side) of the dough into a long thin line, leaving an inch of space on either end.
- Shape the spirals. Fold the dough over and around the filling, then roll the phyllo loosely (not tight!) into a long log. Carefully work the log into a spiral and transfer to a large skillet. Repeat with remaining sheets of phyllo and dough to create remaining spirals.
- Bake the spanakopita spirals. Brush or pour the reserved melted butter (about 2-3 Tbsp) on top, then bake for 60-70 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Serve immediately.
- Spanakopita spirals are best fresh. The longer cooked phyllo dough sits, the less crunchy it becomes. If you are reheating, place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking oil, place strudels on the baking sheet, then spray again. Cook until crispy again, about 10 minutes at 350 F.
- Assembled, uncooked spanakopita spirals can be frozen for up to 6 months. To cook from frozen, add about 5 minutes to cook time.