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.
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 (ya see what I did there?) 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
- Cottage cheese
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon zest
- Fresh oregano, chopped
- Unsalted butter melted
- Phyllo dough
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.
Assemble And Cook Spanakopita Spirals
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!
- Assemble the spanakopita spirals. Unroll the phyllo dough. Working with one sheet at a time, spoon on 2-3 tablespoons of 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. 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.
- 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!)
Cook the spanakopita! Brush each spiral with remaining melted butter, then bake at 350 F for 50-60 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!
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For more holiday appetizers, check out the following recipes:
- 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
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp fresh oregano chopped
- 11 Tbsp unsalted butter melted, divided
- 1 16 oz package phyllo dough defrosted (18 sheets, 13"x18")
- Make the spanakopita filling. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place spinach in a food processor and pulse until just roughly chopped, working in batches as needed. Transfer to a large bowl. Add eggs, cottage cheese, feta, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and oregano, then mix well. Set aside.
- Set up your work station. Place the spanakopita filling and 1 stick of melted butter (reserve 3 Tbsp to brush on top) in front of you. You'll need a ½ cup measuring cup and 1 Tbsp measuring spoon.
- Assemble spanakopita spirals. Unroll phyllo dough. Working with one sheet at a time, spoon on 2-3 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. Top with a third sheet of phyllo and then pour on 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 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 reserved melted butter on top, then bake for 50-60 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.