Greek Baklava



I seriously don’t know how I  have managed to have this blog for over three years and never blog baklava. Surely I have made baklava in that time but it’s always been something I take to work or over to a party, etc. so I guess I never remember to photograph it and write a post about it.   This time, too,  I made the baklava for my coworker’s birthday.  Making a whole tray of baklava for Tom and myself is not really a good idea – in many ways. This way, we still get to steal a couple pieces without going overboard.  Plus, I know my coworker’s a big fan, and I figured this would be a different departure from your standard birthday cake or cupcakes. (Last  year I actually brought her a Greek walnut cake, karidopita, which I have also apparently never managed to blog…).

Baklava varies by country.  Greek baklava tends to just be walnuts, while some other varieties (Turkish, Lebanese, etc.) use pistachios, almonds, etc. Any combination of nuts will be delicious, but I tend to  just stick to the basics and go with all walnuts.

Baklava is easy enough to make. I’ve never been a huge fan of working with phyllo, but so long as you work relatively quickly and are relatively patient, it’s fine.  In fact, this is one of the easier things to make with phyllo because everything just gets layered so if  you tear a sheet here or there, no biggie (and you should have a few extra sheets of phyllo leftover anyway, to replace any casualties).  I also keep a damp towel on the phyllo I am not working with, to keep it from cracking/breaking.

Although the layering takes a little time, everything still comes together quite easily as there aren’t many other ingredients or steps.  The finishing touch to the baklava is the syrup that gets poured over it, which soaks into all the layers and makes an indulgent, syrupy, delicious triangle of walnutty heaven. I make the honey syrup for pretty much every Greek dessert the same way, which is equal parts sugar, water, and honey. Many people use less honey, but I love honey, so I use a little more. I also don’t add sugar to my filling. Some do and some don’t, but the syrup is sweet enough for me (especially with extra honey) and permeates the baklava, so I don’t think sugar in the filling is necessary. By all means, add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the walnut mixture if you want it to be sweeter, though.

In my opinion, this is best made the day before it’s eaten.  The syrup gets a chance to soak in more, and besides, who doesn’t like having a chance to make something in advance instead of having to worry about it the day of?



Greek Baklava

  • 20 minutes
  • 1 hour
  • about 24 pieces


  • 1 lb. walnuts (add a couple handfuls more if you want it nuttier)
  • 1.5 heaping tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. ground cloves (I tend to go toward the higher end, but it's about what you want)
  • 1 (16 oz.) package phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • strip of lemon or orange peel, or a couple tsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. Toast the walnuts, either in a dry skillet or a 300 degree oven, until fragrant.  Place in a food processor along with the cinnamon and cloves, and buzz until walnuts are pretty finely crushed (obviously you don't want a powder, but no huge chunks, either). Increase (or preheat) the oven temperature to 350.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan, and place one layer of phyllo at the bottom. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter, and then add another layer of phyllo, and brush with more butter. Continue this process until you have layered about 7 sheets of phyllo.
  3. Spoon 1/4 of the nut mixture evenly over the top. Repeat the process of the phyllo/butter layering again, but this time only use about 5 sheets of phyllo. Continue the layering of the 5 sheets of phyllo and 1/4 of the mixture of walnuts.  Finish off with 7 layers of buttered phyllo (and don't forget to brush butter on the top layer, too).
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut your baklava into diamonds or triangles (at this point, you can also trim any ragged ends or phyllo that sticks out).  I used to do diamonds but mine were always a little funky shaped so now I just do triangles.  Place in the oven, and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, make your syrup by combining the water, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick (if using) and citrus rind in a saucepan. Simmer the mixture for about 10-15 minutes until well combined and slightly thickened. Pour hot syrup over cooled baklava (or room temp syrup over warm baklava).

45 thoughts on “Greek Baklava

  1. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been intimidated to try making baklava for years, but this looks easy enough. Looks like one of the ones I used to get at a local bakery. yum!

  2. Your Baklava looks perfect!! It slices so beautifully. My sister LOVES baklava – all kinds. I can’t have it because of my nut allergy, but I have been tempted to make it w/o nuts…although I’m not sure how that would turn out considering the nuts are such an integral part of the dessert!

  3. OMG gorgeous!!! I puffy heart baklava so much….

    Do you have any good recipes for making phyllo dough from scratch? I’d love to try my hand at a gluten free phyllo dough to try to make this recipe…

    1. Well, I certainly don’t need an excuse to make a karidopita, so I will try to make one soon and get the recipe up here. I actually bought some paximathia the other day because I happened to come across them, which is not always the easiest thing to do.

  4. I love baklava too and homemade is so much nicer than shop bought. Having said that, the best I ever tasted was from a baker in Alexandria, Egypt – yum yum. I make mine with a mixture of almonds, walnuts and pistachios.

  5. Hi Elly! I just came across your blog looking for a baklava recipe (Jenn of Jenn Cuisine sent me). Will be making this tomorrow, can’t wait! And it’s nice to “meet” you 🙂

  6. This was my second time making baklava and I really liked your recipe. It was very easy and very tasty! I’ll definitely be making it again! Thanks!

  7. I am so excited to give this a try. I love Greek food, but have never attempted this. You make it look pretty straight-forward. Thank you.

  8. I made these yesterday…and they were soooo good! My husband loved them so much he said he could eat the whole plate (he opted against this and brought some to work today!) Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  9. This looks amazing. Next time my dad comes to visit, I’m making him some – baklava is one of his favorite things! I was going to make some for his birthday but worried it wouldn’t stay fresh in the mail.

  10. Pingback: Baklava Recipe
  11. My son made baklava using this recipe for a Greek food project for his social studies class, and it was the best baklava I have ever had. (He got an A+). I made it again today using this same recipe. It does not fail.

  12. I made this last night for my book club, and it was DELISH!! I’ve made several not so memorable baklava recipes but this is one that I am definitely keeping! (I am a half Greek girl that grew up in Chicago 😉 ). Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *