This delicious take on the traditional phyllo/spinach/feta triangles will make you wonder why you haven’t tried Spanakopita before!

I get that working with phyllo dough is a scary prospect, even for a seasoned cook such as moi, but I’m here to put your mind at rest!  There is no worry about the dough tearing or not folding it properly because it’s kind of a free-form thing.

Just layer the phyllo dough with filling, more scrunched-up phyllo and filling and then fold it all up around the filling.  It’s a snap!

No excuse for not making this.  And once you taste it, you’ll agree that it needs to be on your regular meal rotation!

There are a bunch of steps but they are all fun!  Let’s begin by combining the filling ingredients:  chopped fresh spinach, onion, scallions, garlic, dill/mint/parsley, and feta.  Use your clean hands to combine it all (fun, yes?).  Add the egg, salt and pepper and mix until the egg disappears into the mix.

Unwrap the phyllo and lay it flat.  You don’t have to worry about covering it with a damp towel (as in other phyllo dough recipes) as we will be using it quickly.

Now, add a generous amount of olive oil to the bottom of a large cast-iron skillet and then lay 4-6 sheets of phyllo on the bottom, rotating the pan each time you lay a new sheet down and letting the edges of the phyllo drape over.  Drizzle more olive oil over the phyllo.

Scrunch up 2 or 3 sheets of phyllo and lay over the flat phyllo. Drizzle again with olive oil.

Arrange half of the filling over the scrunched up phyllo.  Scrunch up 4-6 more sheets and arrange those over the filling.  Drizzle with olive oil again.

Spoon the remaining filling over and then fold up the edges of phyllo that drape over the pan.

Scrunch the remaining sheets of phyllo so that they fit nicely on the top (not like the smaller scrunches from before but just so they tuck into the edges of the pan).

Drizzle again with olive oil.

Use a sharp serrated knife and cut the spanakopita into squares.  This will make it easier to cut it after it’s baked.  Bake the spanakopita for 45-60 minutes or until the top is very crispy and nicely browned. 

You’ll still need to slice it but it will make the pieces look better if you do the preliminary slicing.

Spanakopita is delicious as leftovers.  It will keep in the fridge for a week and it can also be frozen.

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Makes: 12-16 servings

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Bake Time: 45-60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour & 45 minutes


  • 1 & 1/4 pounds (20 ounces or 565 grams) baby spinach (see Chef’s Note about frozen), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup red onion (from 1 small or half a large), finely chopped
  • 6 to 8 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill, or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces or 340 grams) feta, drained, crumbled
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-pound (454-gram) package phyllo/filo pastry, defrosted (see Chef’s Note)
  • Olive oil


Heat oven to 375°F. In your largest bowl, place spinach, onion, scallions, garlic, herbs, and feta. Use your (freshly-washed, of course) hands to mix everything together, truly squeezing the feta into the other ingredients and breaking up the spinach a bit more as you do. When the ingredients are tightly mixed, taste a pinch and add salt and pepper as needed to season it well (I use 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and many grinds of black pepper). Add egg and mix until it disappears into the spinach.

Unwrap and unroll your phyllo so it’s in a flat pile and ready to use. I do not keep it covered with a cloth because we will use it fast.

Coat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or equivalent pan (12-inch cake pan or a 9×13-inch baking dish) generously with olive oil. You are going to want to be generous with the olive oil throughout this dish for the best flavor and texture; I estimate I use 1/2 cup total in this dish, but probably more.

Arrange 4 to 6 sheets (see Note about phyllo types) of phyllo around the pan, draping each across the bottom and letting the extra hang off over the side of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Rumple 2 to 3 sheets phyllo (one at a time) so they just cover the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Arrange half of the spinach mixture across the bottom. Scrunch 4 to 6 sheets of phyllo (think: hamburger-shaped) and arrange over spinach; drizzle with olive oil. Spoon remaining spinach mixture evenly over these scrunched sheets. Fold the parts of the phyllo sheets draped over the sides of the pan over the spinach filling, one at a time. Drizzle this closed top with more olive oil. One at a time, rumple remaining sheets so they fit over the top of the pan. Every layer or two, drizzle with more olive oil, and finish with a final drizzle olive oil.

Use a sharp, serrated knife, cut the spanakopita into serving-sized squares. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the top is very crispy and nicely browned. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving; you’ll need to cut again, most likely, but it won’t mess up the pastry very much.

Leftovers keep for 1 week in the fridge (and could also be frozen). To reheat from the fridge, place uncovered in a 350-degree oven until warmed through and the pastry is crisp again, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Spinach: You can use fresh or frozen spinach for this. If using frozen spinach, you’ll need roughly 1 & 1/2 10-ounce packages (each package is equivalent to 1 pound fresh). You’ll want to defrost it and squeeze out any extra liquid when you do.
  • Phyllo/filo: Phyllo usually comes frozen and most packages will tell you to defrost it in the fridge for a day before using. Phyllo pastry comes in many thickness. The original recipe recommended No. 7, which is thicker than what I could get, No. 4. All will work, but there might be fewer sheets of a thicker one a 1-pound package, and this is totally and completely fine. But, when there is a range in the recipe (i.e. “Crumple 4 to 6 sheets…”), you’ll use the lower number for a thicker phyllo.

Recipe by Smitten Kitchen


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