Spanakopita pie is a popular Greek recipe made with creamy spinach and feta stuffing nestled in between filo layers. This is the best spanakopita recipe using fresh spinach, dill, feta cheese, garlic, and flaky buttery filo dough. It's easy, delicious, and relatively quick to put together.
This recipe has some modifications from a traditional Greek version with the use of nutmeg, yogurt, and some parmesan.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love that this spinach and feta pie is made from scratch. The fresh spinach and herbs really make this savory pie worth trying. Also, I'm a big fan of this specific recipe because it has a generous amount of spinach and feta filling sandwiched in between buttery filo layers.
- Fresh spinach. I recommend using fresh spinach, specifically full-grown spinach leaves for this recipe if possible. Fresh baby spinach is an acceptable substitute. I haven't tried using frozen spinach for this recipe, so I'm not sure how it will turn out. If you use frozen spinach, make sure to drain the excess liquid.
- Filo dough sheets: For this particular recipe I used the filo dough sheets (#4) from The Filo Factory. Any type of frozen or fresh filo dough will work for this recipe. Filo is very hard to work with if it's dried out. Make sure to thaw the filo from the freezer to the fridge the night before. If the filo dough sits in the fridge for more than 2 days, it often gets dried out and is difficult to use.
- Feta cheese: Any type of feta cheese can work.
- Greek yogurt: I use Greek yogurt for this recipe, however, plain yogurt is an acceptable substitute. It doesn't matter if the yogurt is fat-free or full-fat, so go with whichever you prefer.
- Grated parmesan: If you are able to finely grate the parmesan cheese fresh, try doing this. Otherwise, use finely grated parmesan cheese. I prefer grating my parmesan cheese (or any cheese for that matter) because it doesn't contain potato starch like pre-grated bagged cheeses.
- Garlic cloves: I prefer fresh garlic, always. Jarred garlic or tube garlic is not quite the same.
- Fresh dill: Try to get fresh dill if at all possible. If you can't find fresh dill, then use dried dill. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh herbs, so every 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs uses 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
- Scallion green onion: I highly recommend using green onion or scallions for this recipe.
- Butter: My absolute favorite butter is Kerrygold. It's pure Irish butter that's dark in color and very flavorful. Alternatively, you can use olive oil or ghee.
- Ground nutmeg: Freshly ground nutmeg is the best. Already ground nutmeg is second best. If you don't have nutmeg on hand at all, you can omit it.
How To Make Spanakopita From Scratch
This easy spanakopita recipe does take a little bit of time, but it can be broken down into 3 main steps: preparing the fresh spinach, making the spinach and feta filling, and assembling the spanakopita pie.
Prepare The Spinach
Put the spinach on a cutting board. Cut off the stems.
Wash the spinach 3 times. Spinach often times is very dirty, so it may take more washes to completely remove the sand and dirt. Roughly chop the spinach.
Add the spinach to a nonstick pan. Cook on medium heat covered for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the water has fully sweated out. Drain the liquid from the spinach.
Make sure the spinach is cooled prior to assembling the stuffing. Chop the spinach once it's cool.
Make The Spinach and Feta Filling
In a bowl, mix the egg, Greek yogurt, feta cheese, chopped green onions, minced garlic, chopped fresh dill, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Assemble the Spanakopita Pie Using Filo
Using a pie dish (about 8" to 10" in diameter), add a sheet of the filo dough sheet. Spread the melted butter over the filo dough sheet. Place a second filo sheet at a rotated angle. Spread more melted butter.
For every filo sheet, spread some melted butter. Continue with this process until 7 to 10 sheets have been laid. If you would like more filo layers, add more filo sheets. For this exact recipe, I used 8 filo sheets. Add the spinach and feta filling on top of the filo layers.
Slowly wrap each filo layer up over the spinach and feta filling. The filo dough might be difficult to handle, try to do this delicately. Continue wrapping each individual filo sheet until all of the sheets have been folded over.
Spread some shredded parmesan on top, if desired. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the middle of the oven at 375 ℉ (190 ℃) using convection bake or at 400 ℉ (205 ℃) using regular bake. Keep an eye on the pie because filo can burn quite easily.
Tips and Tricks
- Soft pliable filo dough. Filo dough tends to dry out pretty easily, so it's imperative to not leave it uncovered. If using frozen filo dough, thaw the dough in the fridge a day ahead of time. Do not keep the filo dough in the fridge for more than 2 days (if using originally frozen filo dough). Cover the filo dough with a damp towel while assembling the spinach pie.
- Just enough butter on the filo sheets. If you add too much butter to the filo sheets, they begin to stick together making the layers difficult to individually wrap up over the spinach filling. I spread about 1 spoon of melted butter all over the filo sheet. Each filo sheet needs some butter.
- Use fresh spinach. Fresh is better than frozen for this spanakopita stuffing. Baby spinach leaves are a suitable substitute.
- Use fresh dill. Use fresh dill if available.
- Remove the liquid from the spinach. The key to crispy filo layers is removing the liquid from the spinach, which is why the spinach is cooked first prior to making the spanakopita stuffing. Use a paper towel to squeeze out the extra moisture once the spinach has cooked and cooled.
Filo Dough Desserts
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The Best Spanakopita Pie
- 20 ounces of fresh spinach prior to removing the stems
- 6 ounces feta cheese
- ½ cup greek yogurt optional
- 3 scallion green onions
- 3 springs of fresh dill 2 tablespoon fresh chopped dill or 2 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese optional
- 6 tablespoon melted butter Kerrygold
- 16 ounces package of filo pastry sheets #4 ** see notes
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
Prepare the Spinach
- Cut the stems from the spinach leaves. Roughly chop the spinach. Wash the spinach 3 times to make sure all of the sand and dirt have been removed. Strain the spinach.
- In a large nonstick pan on medium heat, add the roughly chopped spinach and cover with a lid. Once the spinach has wilted and the water has separated from the spinach (about 3 to 5 minutes), remove the spinach and drain.
- Allow the spinach to cool. Finely chop the spinach. The spinach will be a lot smaller once it has cooked. This is completely normal.
Make the Spinach and Feta Filling
- Peel and finely mince the garlic. Chop the green onion and the dill.
- Mix the greek yogurt, feta cheese, chopped spinach, chopped green onion, minced garlic, chopped dill, egg, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and salt. Set aside.
Assemble the Spanakopita Pie
- Unwrap the thawed filo sheets. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Very delicately, handle the filo sheets one at a time. Layer a filo sheet on the pie dish. Using a brush spread the melted butter. Don't add too much butter to make the filo sheet soggy, just a thin layer.
- Add another filo sheet slightly rotated (the filo sheets are not square so we need to rotate them so the filo will wrap evenly). Spread more butter. Continue to do this for about 7 to 10 filo sheets. If you want more filo crust, use 10 sheets total. If you want less filo crust, use 7 sheets total. The sheets will wrap up over the spinach and feta filling to create a top layer.
- Add the spinach and feta filling.
- Wrap the filo sheets on top of the spinach and feta filling one at a time. It's not necessary to add more butter at this step. On the last few sheets, sprinkle a little bit of parmesan (or alternatively, add the parmesan on the top at the end).
- Cook the spanakopita pie for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 ℉ (190 ℃) using convection bake or at 400 ℉ (205 ℃) using regular bake.
- Cut and enjoy!
- For this recipe, I used The Filo Factory filo dough (#4). The sheets are 12" x 17" in size, and the package contains roughly 24 sheets. This recipe will not use all of the filo sheets (it will roughly use a little less than half the container).
- Be very careful to not dry out filo pastry sheets. They dry out very easily and make it difficult to wrap or fold the pie. If using frozen filo dough, move the package from the freezer to the fridge the night before. Don't thaw at room temperature because it can dry out the filo sheets. Don't keep the filo dough in the fridge for longer than 2 days because it will dry out the dough. Lay a damp towel on top of the filo sheets to keep them from drying out at room temperature while assembling the pie. Handle the sheets delicately because they break easily.
- I recommend using a pie dish (between 8" and 10" in diameter) for this spinach and feta pie.
That's not how you assemble Greek pies. You layer two phyllo sheets, add half the filling, two more sheets over the filling, then the rest of the filling and two more sheets on top. The phyllo sheets in the middle make a huge difference. The yogurt and the parmesan are also unnecessary for me, as a Greek, but do try layering the phyllo like I told you, it makes for much better pie.
Hi Maria, thanks for the comment! And thanks for the tips on assembling the Greek spinach pie. I'll try making it next time with your method.
I’m Greek as well (in Greece) and we never layer in the middle, only top and bottom! But we never put yogurt or parmesan in our spanakopita, kind of tired of non Greeks taking our beautiful cuisine and distorting it and then calling it Greek food
Hi Irene, thanks for your comment. I have more of a postmodern philosophy in food, which is, there are multiple right ways to cook something.
Excellent dish. This was my first time cooking with phyllo dough, so it was rather intimidating initially yet it turned out well. I put the phyllo dough in the fridge the night before and it was still a tad frozen. Had to leave it at room temperature for about another hour to thaw. I made the filling in the mean time and so it added a little bit of extra time but not too much. But that filling was soooo sooo so good. The fresh spinach and dill and feta are what makes it so good.
So glad you liked it!! I love that fresh spinach filling too.