Spanakopita, also known as Greek Spinach Pie, is a wonderful recipe of golden flaky filo dough layers surrounding a flavorful spinach cheese filling. Made with lots of onion and garlic, tons of fresh spinach, ricotta and feta cheeses, and golden flaky phyllo, this recipe is packed with flavor and amazing texture.
What is Spanakopita:
Spanakopita, or spinach pie as it's commonly known as, is a Greek savory pastry.
- Filling: The traditional filling is typically made from chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions, egg, and seasonings.
- Pastry: The pastry is phyllo dough which can be homemade but can also be found premade at most major grocery stores.
- Serving suggestions: You can serve spanakopita warm, room temperature, or even cold. It can be served alongside other Mediterranean inspired favorites or on it's own as a main dish. I love it for breakfast with a poached egg on top.
Why this recipe works so well:
As with all recipes, I put my own personal spin on a traditional recipe to tailor it to my tastes and preferences. There's a few reasons why this particular recipe stands out.
- Lots of vegetables: Not only do I use fresh baby spinach, but there are two whole onions, lots of fresh garlic, and fresh parsley in my Spinach Pie. I've seen other recipes that use frozen spinach and/or much fewer vegetables.
- Extra flaky dough: This recipe uses a few techniques that create the most wonderful, flaky, golden brown phyllo dough that will melt in your mouth.
- Easy to make: As long as you handle the phyllo dough properly, this Spanakopita recipe is easy to follow and bake.
As with most recipes, you can vary or substitute to your liking. This is what I chose to use in my Greek Spinach Pie and I absolutely loved the results:
- Spinach - Use the fresh baby spinach that comes pre-washed
- Yellow and red onions - Each gives a slightly different flavor
- Fresh garlic and parsley - lots of it
- Olive oil - it's worth every penny to find a good quality one
- Eggs - only the best when they come from your backyard chickens!
- Ricotta and Feta cheese - I found equal amounts of both gave the best results
- Phyllo dough - you can't have Spanakopita without it
- Salt - lots of fresh spinach requires salt
How to make Spanakopita:
Full ingredient list and detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Cook vegetables: Sauté the onions and garlic. Once golden brown, add the spinach, parsley and salt and cook until the spinach has wilted.
- Combine: Mix the cooled spinach mixture with the eggs and cheese.
- Assemble: Layer sheets of phyllo dough with olive oil in a baking dish, top with the filling, and cover with additional phyllo dough sheets layered with olive oil.
- Bake: Place the Spinach Pie into the oven and bake to a perfect golden brown and you're done!
Recipe tips for the best results:
- Use a very large pan: All of the vegetables will lose most of their volume and will cook down to a small manageable amount, however they will take up a lot of space when raw. Use the largest pan you have for best results and add the spinach in batches, if needed.
- Remove all liquid: To get the best Spanakopita, you will need to ensure as much liquid has been removed from the vegetables as possible. To do this, allow them to fully cool in a colander to allow any excess liquid to drain out. Then, give them an extra squeeze before adding to the phyllo.
- Pre-cut slices: Before you place the assembled Spinach Pie into the oven, pre-cut square or triangle shaped pieces using a sharp knife. Otherwise, the flaky golden top layers will crumble if you cut after it is baked.
Other Mediterranean inspired recipes:
This recipe easily compliments all of your favorite Greek and Mediterranean recipes. Here are some of my favorites:
- Homemade Baklava
- Tabouli Salad
- Tzatiki Sauce
- Greek Salad
- Mediterranean Farro Salad
- And from my friend Suzy over at the Mediterranean Dish, Lamb Burgers
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion (diced)
- 1 large red onion (diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 24 ounces spinach (fresh, pre-washed baby spinach, chopped)
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley (stems removed, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 16 ounces phyllo dough
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add yellow and red onion. Stir to coat in hot oil, then saute until golden brown, only stirring to avoid burning. Stir in garlic and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
- Add spinach, parsley, and salt. If pan isn't big enough, you can add it in batches until it cooks down and makes more room. Cook until all spinach is wilted. Transfer everything to a wire mesh sieve or colander and let it cool. Any liquid that drains off can be discarded.
- Once the spinach mixture is fully cool and any additional liquid has been pressed out, transfer to a large bowl. Combine with the eggs, ricotta, and feta cheese and stir to combine.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To bake, you will need a 9x9 baking dish.
- Unroll phyllo dough. Cut the dough in half so that it fits in the pan better. Use damp towels or paper towels below and on top of the dough to prevent it from drying out. Using the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and a pastry brush, coat the bottom of the baking dish with oil.
- Add a couple sheets of dough and then add a thin layer of olive oil. Continue layering the dough and the olive oil until about half the dough has been used. Allow the dough to go up the sides of the pan. Once half the dough has been laid down, spoon all of the spinach layer onto the base layer of the dough and spread it out evenly.
- Top the spinach layer with two pieces of dough at a time, brushing with a thin layer of olive oil after every two layers. Once all of the dough has been used, fold any over hanging dough over and tuck down into the sides of the pan.
- Pre-cut the squares with a sharp paring knife prior to baking. Bake in preheated oven until golden and crispy, about 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.
This recipe was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don't worry - the recipe hasn't changed!