Spanakopita is a Greek spinach and feta pie with flaky buttery filo layers. This easy spanakopita recipe is so delicious, easy to put together, and will add some Mediterranean flair on your dinner table.
Every time there's spanakopita on a menu, it catches my eye. The flaky, crunchy phyllo layers with a savory spinach, herb, and feta filling. That combination of flavor and texture, how can I make it at home?!
Here's the best spanakopita recipe I've tried so far that's not too time consuming and difficult, yet produces a consistently delicious spinach and feta pie. If you are in the market for an easy spanakopita recipe using fresh spinach, this fits the bill!
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 the spinach and feta filling sandwiched in between buttery filo layers.
Ingredients You'll Need
- 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 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. Also, I find the cheese melts and tastes better.
- Egg: I use free-range eggs.
- 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 tbsp of fresh herbs uses 1 tsp 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. I also like using this butter for the garlic and lime butter sauce used for this roasted steelhead trout recipe. 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.
- Salt and pepper to taste
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 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. Sometimes, our ovens are actually cooking at a different temperature than we think they are, so I usually keep an oven thermometer in the oven as well to monitor the temperature accurately.
Tips and Tricks
- Soft pliable filo dough. Filo dough tends to dry out pretty easily, so it's imperative to not leave it out 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 a spanakopita stuffing. It's not much more work, and I highly recommend using the fresh stuff.
- Use fresh dill. I highly recommend using fresh dill if available.
- Remove the liquid from the spinach. The key to crispy filo layers is removing the liquid from the spinach. This is why we cook the spinach first prior to making the spanakopita stuffing. I use a paper towel to squeeze out extra moisture once the spinach has cooked and cooled.