Spanakopita recipe, made the modern way! This version still has the buttery, flaky phyllo dough crust that surrounds a cheese and spinach filling. This popular Greek dish takes only minutes to prepare!
Spanakopita is my comfort food. This is what reminds me of my family, my childhood, and our traditions.
I grew up in a household without a bread basket on the dinner table. Instead, we had mom’s spanakopita recipe. As a young kid, I had no choice but to like spinach.
My mom would painstakingly make super-thin layers of dough for her spanakopita or “pita” as we call it. The entire process would take a good portion of the day with the mixing, the rising, the resting, and the rolling.
In our house, store-bought phyllo dough was only used on special occasions.
What Is a Spanakopita Recipe?
Spanakopita’s English translation is “spinach pie”. Spanakopita (spana-ko-peeta) recipe is made with phyllo dough (a specialty, paper-thin dough that is typically found in the freezer section of your supermarket.
The phyllo dough is heavily brushed with butter and layered with spinach, cottage cheese, and feta cheese mixture. It is labor-intensive and quite time-consuming.
This recipe is none of those. This is my quick and easy version of the Greek classic!
How To Make This Quick Easy Spanakopita Recipe
As mentioned above, this recipe uses and starts with phyllo dough. Phyllo dough is vellum and tends to tear easily. It requires a light touch, but when it is buttered and baked, it yields the flakiest pastries ever (both sweet and savory).
To start the spanakopita, you should first prepare the filling as it requires a little bit of cooling time.
I like to use frozen spinach for this recipe. If using frozen spinach, make sure that you drain out all excess liquid from your spinach or else you will end up with a soggy bottom.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the spinach and onion until heated through. Allow the mixture to cool then combine the vegetables with garlic, cottage cheese, crumbled feta cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper stirring to combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. As mentioned above, phyllo dough can tear very easily. Once I open the package, I unfold the dough layers and cover the exposed dough with plastic wrap AND a damp paper towel. This will prevent the sheets of phyllo dough from drying out and cracking.
You will use two sheets of dough at a time and butter them excessively. Butter will not only yield a crisp, buttery dough, but it will keep the dough soft and moist.
Rotate each pair of phyllo dough in a clockwise manner until all sheets of dough have been used up.
When all the sheets of dough have been used, place the spinach mixture in the center of the dough.
Fold the sides up and over part of the spinach. The center of the pie should be exposed.
Once again, grab the melted butter and now brush the butter on the newly exposed, folded phyllo dough. You really want the dough to shine with butter (I never said this was a light recipe).
Bake the savory pie in a 400-degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
To serve, cut the pie into a triangle (like a pizza) using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.
I know I already mentioned this, but it bears repeating. Phyllo dough dries out really quickly. Once it dries and cracks it is unusable.
I like to keep my phyllo dough on a silicon mat next to me while I work. I loosely cover it with plastic wrap and a damp towel. This keeps the dough from drying out.
When working with phyllo, make sure you aren’t distracted, you will need to work quickly with this dough.
For the filling, I use frozen spinach but fresh, finely chopped spinach (this is a great way to use up fresh spinach!) can be used as long as it has been cooked down and wilted. If using frozen, be sure to drain it completely or else you will end up with a soggy pie.
Ricotta cheese can be used in place of the cottage cheese in this recipe.
Feel free to mix in green onions, shallots, or fresh herbs like parsley and dill.
While spinach and feta are the perfect combo, feel free to use goat cheese instead of feta. Cooked leeks can also be used with the spinach.
What To Serve With Spanakopita?
Serve warm as an appetizer, side dish or AS the meal itself. Spinach pie pairs wonderfully with Avgolemono Soup or this Greek Chicken Souvlaki Salad! This is a great recipe for entertaining, holidays special occasions, or just because you are in the mood for a little Greek food!
Can This Spankaopita Be Made In Advance?
Yes! I will often prepare the recipe as directed, cover, and store the spanakopita in the fridge. When I need it, I will bring it to room temperature while the oven preheats. Brush more melted butter on top just before baking.
Alternatively, you can prepare the recipe as directed and place the spinach pie on a cookie sheet to freeze.
How To Store Spanakopita
Store your spanakopita in the fridge, it will last for about one week. Make sure it is covered so that the layers do not dry out.
Can Spanakopita Be Frozen?
Yes, it can. Once the pie has cooled completely, cover it with plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer. Spanakopita can be frozen for 1-2 months.
The best way to reheat the spinach pie is in the oven. The dough will be limp if microwaved.
You can also freeze spanakopita BEFORE baking. Assemble the as directed up to the baking. Wrap the pie completely and securely before freezing.
When it is time to bake the pie, place the frozen pie on a baking tray and bake as directed.
- 1/2 a 16 oz package of frozen phyllo dough
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 10 oz package frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 teaspoon greek seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add diced onion and cook until translucent. Add spinach and cook until heated through. Remove and let cool slightly.
- In a bowl combine spinach mixture, garlic, cottage cheese, feta, seasoning, nutmeg and salt.
- To assemble, lay two phyllo sheets vertically on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Take two more phyllo sheets and turn them so that they are at the 11:00 and 5:00 positions.
- Continue to arrange phyllo sheets in a clockwork fashion. Butter the tops of each new pair of phyllo dough as you go.
- When all sheets have been used, place spinach mixture in the center and spread out into a circle, carefully fold phyllo over the edge of the spinach mixture allowing a majority of the center to be visible.
- Butter the edges.
- Bake for 25-30 or until edges are golden and center is set.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 231Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 30mgSodium 557mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 6g