spanakopita triangles + then some

Apparently, making marshmallows at home isn’t as “normal” as I would have thought, but then again, I am the last person one should be using a yardstick of kitchen normality, or not as long as I am pickling grapes or making wedding cakes with a mini-oven and a single, eensy counter.

green onionssauteeing spinachsauteed spinachfeta

Of course, it doesn’t mean that my brand of crazy will match yours, however. I mean, someone actually asked if was going to make my own phyllo next. Are they mad? I hate working with phyllo. Who invented this stuff? It’s fragile and fussy and requires a ludicrous amount of manual labor, and then it leaves papery flakes of pastry everywhere, but mostly on this abdomen shelf I’m growing (sorry, kid. One day you’ll be more than just a crumb catcher! Just not today.)

mixed mushroomsmushrooms choppedmushrooms, green onion and garlicstilton

So go ahead, ask me why I was up to my elbows in phyllo all day yesterday, my dress dusted with flour and spattered with butter? And my answer is that I’m blaming pregnesia (again, sorry kid — but it’s true) for the fact that I simply forgot how much I hate working with this flaky madness, and signed myself up to wrap hundreds of triangles of appetizers in it.

buttering the phyllomore butter, more phyllomounding the fillingtriangles, ready to be froze

You see, we’ve decided to act like grownups for once in our life (you know, before someone else makes their appearance and all but assumes that we are) and have a little housewarming party this weekend, which gives me the perfect excuse to dust off my “Cook This” list, subcategory “Cheese”. Yes, I have an entire list of recipes that include cheese that I have yet to make. Obviously, my priorities are completely whack.

phyllo triangles

In this case, Spanakopita Triangles with some Wild Mushroom and Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Triangles throw in for good measure. Because who doesn’t love buttery pastry stuffed with various cheese vehicles? Certainly nobody I want to party with. I’ll hand phyllo this, at least, it sure does bake up pretty. And it freezes great, so I can get a head start on all of the cockamany things I’ve been dreaming up. Like a mocktail and a nap. Did I mention I’m six months pregnant? Make that a long nap.

mushroom blue cheese triangle

One year ago: Breakfast Apricot Crisp
Two years ago: Gâteau de Crêpes

Spanakopita Triangles
Adapted liberally from Gourmet

Makes about 30 pastries

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound fresh spinach (coarse stems removed if ‘grown-up’ spinach; baby spinach can be used in full)
3/4 pound feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt one tablespoon butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, add onions and garlic and saute for a minute, then cook spinach, stirring, until wilted and tender, an additional 4 to 8 minutes (less for baby spinach, more for grown-up spinach). Remove from heat and cool, about 10 minutes. Press mixture in mesh colander (or wring in cheesecloth) to remove as much liquid as possible (I find this more necessary with baby spinach than the heartier stuff, which left almost no excess liquid), then coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let filling cool and follow instructions for phyllo triangles (below).

Wild Mushroom and Blue Cheese Triangles
Inspired by this galette

Makes about 30 pastries

1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini or shiitakes
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 pound assorted fresh wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini and shiitakes, brushed clean and chopped small
1/2 pound fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean and chopped small
5 ounces blue cheese crumbles
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until softened. Drain and mince the mushrooms. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to cook, stirring, for one minute more. Increase the heat to high, add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid they released has completely evaporated, six to eight minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool, then stir in blue cheese, adjust seasoning to taste, and follow directions for phyllo triangles (below).

Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Triangles
Inspired by this tart

Makes about 30 pastries

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 large yellow onions, chopped small
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature

Heat oill 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté fennel seeds until a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Stir in onions, teaspoon salt, and pepper, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very tender and lightly golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let onions cool. Stir in mustard and goat cheese and follow instructions for phyllo triangles (below).

Phyllo Triangles
To make 30 pastries

Filling of choice
10 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a small saucepan, then cool. Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel. [I won’t lie, as I got more confident with the phyllo I sorta skipped this part, opting instead to work quickly. Proceed at your own risk, however!]

Take one phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack crosswise into 6 (roughly 12- by 2 3/4-inch) strips.

Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near one corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.

Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool slightly.

Do ahead: Pastry triangles can be formed, but not baked, three days ahead. Arrange in one layer in heavy-duty sealed plastic bags, then freeze. Bake frozen pastries (do not thaw) in same manner as above.

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192 comments on spanakopita triangles + then some

  1. The last book I bought was a “finger foods” cook book, mostly because I love eating with my hands. The only thing that keeps me away from phyllo is the fact that I have no idea how to wrap them into pretty little triangles like you did. They always end up broken and torn, then i just end up baking them and making a mess. Maybe I’ll just stick to tartlets

    Awesome appetizers! You deserve that long nap and mocktail.

  2. RA

    Ohhhh, I see. From your Flickr descriptions, I thought these were all combined into ONE triangle! And I was all, “Whoa, I have to see this.” And now I am all, “Whoa, I need to eat those mushroom ones.”

  3. Phyllo IS sort of a pain in the butt, but it’s so tasty, andI think people know how annoying it is, so they are always so impressed. These triangles look tasty!

  4. Amazing! Spanakopita are probably in my top 10 favorite foods. They were the only things I didn’t get sick of when I was vegetarian and the breakfast I sought everyday when I was in Greece.

    They are so much work though as you say they freeze well, so it is wroth making extra. Pus a package of phyllo is a TON of dough! Your mushroom and blue cheese triangles look great too.

  5. Sarah

    Spanakopita is one of my top 10 foods. I can’t wait to try it with the Smitten Kitchen spin. I hope the party is a big success!

  6. Aaah these are pretty much my most favorite party food. Good thing I won’t be invited to your housewarming party because I’d probably eat them all. :)

  7. Kaye

    I’m not ashamed to go all midwestern and shove each of those fillings into a crescent roll instead… phyllo is a nightmare!

  8. I hate working with phyllo too! My husband is lebanese and I decided to surprise him by making bakhlava from scratch once (and only once!). He came home to a wife wrapped in phyllo, fingers stuck together with honey and couldn’t stop laughing. Next time, I made him help me and I did the butter brushing while he separated each phyllo sheet. Much more successful!

  9. Kristen

    yes, growing up is hard to do. i purchased my first home in January and haven’t quite gotten around to having a house warming yet (and people will but the heck out of you until you do). so, i finally decided to have one and the question is, what to serve? naturally, I look to your site for inspiration and i think i’ve found some..these look great, never worked with phyllo..but hey, people come into my domain, they will be my food testing guinea pigs! happy housewarming!

  10. some blessed person gave me a bunch of frozen homemade spanakopita as a gift when my baby was born. BEST GIFT EVER!!! The got us over the hump between when people stop bringing you food and you feel like you have enough brain space to cook again. You could start dropping hints to your foodie friends at the party…perfect!

  11. Elisheva

    Deb, you and David Lebovitz are conspiring together to convince us all to drop everything and make spanakopita triangles! And I want to, I really do – but I haven’t been able to find kosher phyllo, even though I know it exists. The eternal frustrations of keeping kosher…

  12. I’m phyllo challenged, it scares the bee-gee-zers outta me and therefore have never tried working with it. Now that my daughter is home for the summer I might just brave it and try this recipe! Thanks for the inspiration! WOOT WOOT!

  13. Sarah Docherty

    These look AMAZING!! I have just the ‘cookout’ to make these for :)

    Also, for the concerned commenter: they were baked long enough and at a high enough temperature to kill any lingering bacteria.

  14. Christy

    I think that since these are baked and heated through, the soft cheese is ok. My doctor had told me as long as cheese or deli meat is heated to steaming hot, then listeriosis is not a concern.

  15. NicM

    Ooh I’m always bugging my mom to make spanakopitas for family gatherings. And the homemade marshmallows will be great for my gluten-free friend who said something in those Jet Puff ones is not ok.

  16. Amy

    Elisheva, where do you live? I have seen kosher frozen phyllo dough in the regular supermarket, and I think they were common brands, although at the moment what the brands were escapes me.

    These are beautiful. I don’t know that I have the patience for the triangles, but it is making me crave spinach pie! Mmmm….

  17. Melissa

    I hate phyllo too, but I have found that some of these same recipes can be made in tart version which involves less finagling with the phyllo…just layering sheets instead of making triangles. Of course, the triangles are much better for finger foods with cocktails (mock or real!)

  18. I hate phyllo. But Nigella has this beautiful chickpea and zucchini pie that is so fragrant and wonderful I forget this from time to time. That is, until I’m cursing myself on while still only on the second layer.

    And must laugh at your dusty belly. I remember throwing a white shirt on to go crib shopping and when getting out of the car 20 minutes later, being appalled at the sight of chocolate on my belly. “When did I get chocolate on myself?! I seriously have been wearing this shirt for 20 minutes!! I didn’t even eat chocolate!! Oh yeah, that’s melted chocolate on my steering wheel from yesterday. WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE ME?”

  19. Tara

    I thought working with phyllo was a pain until I discovered spray olive oil. It’s fast and easy to get an even layer of oil on your phyllo and you don’t have to worry about tearing it with the brush. Plus, olive oil tastes good and is healthier than the butter.

    1. deb

      Tara — Great advice. I saw that suggestion on my box of phyllo and really want to try it next time (when I’m not going for a butter flavor).

  20. I will be trying these very, very soon. I adore spanakopita, but I also just purchased a giant thing of blue cheese for a different recipe, and I’ll have plenty left over. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

  21. olivia

    ooh, i second melissa–making a pan of spanakopita is immensely easier and less crazy-making. just layer a few sheets of phyllo, filling, and then more phyllo on top. kinda like baklava. i was in greece for 5 months and while cafes and bakeries make spanakopita in triangles (assuming youre going to walk out with it and eat as you walk), restauarants make it in the pan and then slice it into triangles, since you’ve got a plate. i took cooking classes there and they taught us both methods and said they’re both ‘traditional’ and acceptable, if you have any obsession with the ethnic purity of a dish.
    and can i just say how AWESOME your alternative spanakopita flavas look! YUM.

  22. Kristina

    I have a great “spanakopita tart” recipe that you would probably like! Too rushed now to write it but let me know if you want it. Thanks for your post!

  23. Liz in Canada

    Question about the freezing: could you flash freeze these on a baking sheet, then put them in bags? (my freezer’s so crammed, a single layer in a bag would quickly turn into a mush in a bag…)

    1. deb

      Liz — Yes, I actually flash-froze mine for the same reasons. The trickiest part is that even when frozen, phyllo is still really brittle. I’m trying not to bump the bags around too much, but they’ll definitely be less “perfect” when we serve them. Not like anyone will complain or anything.

  24. annie

    Ummm, maybe I can make these for our anniversary (42) tonight. I’ll have to hurry! Hope your housewarming party is carefree and fun…I’m sure the food will be terrific!

  25. meg

    I LOVE spanakopita. I used to live in a larger town with an incredible Greek restaurant that made the best homemade spanakopita.
    Now that I live in a small town without any really great restaurants I have to make all these things myself, in my tiny kitchen.

    Being 7 months pregnant I find more food gets stopped by my ‘top shelf’ before it ever falls onto my belly, ha ha.

    meleyna – Your story made me laugh, it sounds like something I would do.

  26. Mel

    YUM! I just made spanakopita for the first time this past weekend (Barefoot Contessa’s dinner sized version). I can’t wait to try these other phyllo filllings. I have to admit i was nervous about phyllo–i seemed to remember something on this site about you being scared of the stuff. and it seems to me if Deb is scared of it, what makes me think I can handle it? alas, it was labor intensive, but not so bad and totally worth it!

  27. rebecca

    Of course it is not the same a s your amazing, adorable finger food triangles, but one of my sisters is vegetarain and at one point spanakopita was one of her top foods. If you ever just want to make it for yourself without the party pressure my sister often prepared it like a lasagna –layering the phyllo, spinach and cheese (your mushroom sounds awesome!). Again, not as charming as yours, but still yummy and satisfying. And by the way, marshmallows not normal? We make ’em at home once a year, on Passover. O yeah, I guess, all culinary things Passover are a little not normal … enjoy the housewarming :)

  28. Elisheva

    Amy – I live in Montreal. I’ve checked two grocery stores with major kosher sections and nothing, just store brand non-kosher phyllo and kosher puff pastry. I know we’ve had kosher phyllo before, though, since we used to make borekas at home. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere – I’ll keep hunting!

  29. I actually like working with phyllo. I don’t do it often. I just think it’s neat how papery it is and how the finished product is so unlike the uncooked sheets. Your recipes looks really good.

  30. Phyllo can be a real stinker to work with, for sure, but you did a super job! My mother made spanakopita a lot- in pie form. I haven’t made it in years. Love your recipes! And congrats on your pregnancy. Happy napping!

  31. Liz

    God, I thought you were going to say you made the phyllo dough from scratch! We would have had to stage an intervention, I think.

  32. Mouthwatering spanakopita ! I made some for last night dinner they are So Delicious~~~Thanks for sharing your recipe:)
    Join our growing food community and submit your heirloom recipe for all the world to share:)

  33. At Christmas time, I came across a very similar recipe that I really, really wanted to serve … but I just couldn’t bring myself to deal with the phyllo. I’d get tired just thinking about it. This one, however, I think I will have to try, as I love the sound of the filling you’ve got going on here. I do like the suggestion about the oil spray – I bought a Misto last month, and it’s coming in very handy. Congrats on your new digs – I read about you being close to the Union Square farmers market, and got jealous, all the way from Cincinnati ….

  34. yumyumyum… But where is the NUTMEG?

    I made spanakopita and I used a good grating of nutmeg, which REALLY brings out that nutty also even meaty flavor. Nut meg is great with dark greens and cheese so I think it it pretty indispensable her.

    The other versions are just so good I am going to faint from delight.

  35. melissa

    Okay – if you can tackle three different kind of phyllo triangles when you’re six months pregnant, I can buck up and take on the phyllo purses I was wary of making this weekend for my sister’s engagement party. Despite its finicky demeanor, phyllo makes some pretty awesome appies!

  36. Phyllo is kind of a pain, yes…but it reminds me of that vaguely irritating friend you have who you never want to see, you get roped into going out with her, complain about it profusely, and then end up having a pretty good time when you actually get down to it.

  37. Your brand of crazy is my brand of crazy (just more NYC)! Love it. :)

    I want to make phyllo dough from scratch at least one time (there is a recipe in the Pie & Pastry Bible), basically just to earn bragging rights.

    I have also misted olive oil on the dough for savory phyllo recipes and can confirm it works really well! It keeps you working quickly.

  38. Jen

    It’s funny that you mention the marshmallow making not being “normal” because when I first saw your post, I like she’s making marshmallows now?! Who makes marshmallows? And then I saw all these posts from other people that make them, and thought maybe you weren’t so crazy :)

    The phyllo pies look and sound delicious.

  39. Amber

    I actually have made my own phyllo. And though it is a bit of a process it is beautiful to work with – not nearly as fragile.

  40. DK

    I love love spanakopita! Unlike you, Actually I am glad about the phyllo dough though – I have made them from scratch for my Apple Strudel and they are not that hard to make! Really – You can check that post of mine in my blog – It was very easy to work with and all I had to clean was a table cloth.

    I have been meaning to make these for a while now, Probably will do so now after me drooling so much at the pictures! Yum!

  41. Rhonda

    Those triangles look so good. I think I have phyllo in the freezer. If not, well, another trip to the store and see what else is looking good in the cheese and veggie departments.

    Deb, go take that nap. You’ll wish you had in a couple of months.

  42. I’ve just found this site and am completely blown away. Those triangles look amazing. I especially like the sound of the wild mushroom and blue cheese variation.
    Elisheva- It’s not only Montreal, I live in Jerusalem and finding phyllo dough in the regular kosher supermarkets is not an easy task.

  43. Kay

    I love that first picture! Wow! I can’t even figure out how you did that!
    Out of these 4 recipes, the phyllo trainges sound the most in my comfort zone. :)

  44. Estie

    There’s a brand named Athena that sells kosher filo in the U.S. It’s in all the major grocery stores here (I live in Chicago). Good luck!

  45. Coco

    You are killing me, here! I haven’t experienced the horrors of phyllo yet, but now I have no choice! Oof, I should’ve had lunch before checking my RSS feeds!

  46. Actually, I don’t mind working with phyllo dough at all. I use Tara’s trick, too, and spray with olive oil (I usually use PAM). One of my favorite foods Moroccan foods is b’steeya which is super simple to make and blows people away — all due to the magic of phyllo dough. I love the caramelized onions and goat cheese idea. Yum.

  47. Susan

    I bought some phyllo once when I had the brilliant idea to make mini tart shells with it and fill with various fillings for a party. It was a nightmare. I ended up tossing the whole crackly wad of out. If I’d had any presence of mind, I would have crumbled it up and used it as a crispy coating for some casserole or chicken or something, but I was too frustrated by the whole ordeal. I later realized that if I had formed it on the back of my mini muffin pans instead of trying to line the inside of them with the dough, it would have gone so much easier. Where was my head?

    I’ve heard so many good things about spanakopita (for some reason the spelling of this not look right to me?), I may have to give it a go.
    Thanks, Deb.

  48. MplsCathy

    Oh, heavens to Betsy. Deb, I love you and your fabulous, fearless recipes. I am a ‘uge fan of spanakopita – but even better than that, I just love how these are filled and enclosed. Brilliant. I can’t wait to make them.

  49. Nadia

    And the moral of the story? Don’t go around throwing flippant remarks at pregnant women in case they take you up on them! But those pastries do look stunning. Bread and spinach, so utterly delicious. I make my own spinach triangles the Levantine way with the simplest dough (water, flour, olive oil and salt) stuffed with spinach, chopped red onion, olive oil, lots of lemon juice, salt and summac plus pomegranate molasses for added tartness if needed. All the hard graft and labour are in the triangle making but I am still hopeless at achieving pretty looking pastries like these.

  50. They look fantastic! You’re right, who doesn’t love pastry stuffed with cheese. I love both versions, but would have to try the goat cheese one first, it’s my favorite!

  51. Vesna

    It makes me sad to hear that you’re not interested in making filo pastry from scratch! My mum and grandma have never BOUGHT filo pastry and they make strudel basically every week. Mind you they’ve had years experience and it is very tricky and time consuming but the texture is a million times better. The flakiness is flakier and it’s less likely to go soggy after sitting around for a while. If you find someone willing to show you it would definately be worth it. I hope you try it one day even if you don’t feel up to it yet!

  52. rebecca

    To Elisheva in comment 45. In Denver the regular supermarket carried phyllo dough in frozen section–a brand called apollo (I believe) that was kosher. Also, the Greek store in Denver carries kosher phyllo dough, in fact all their baklavalike Greek pastries (made with phyllo) are kosher certified.

  53. cs

    Oh how I miss fresh phyllo. I used to be able to buy it in the northeast. One thing I must say is that with the frozen if it is not entirely, completely defrosted it shatters to pieces. So please make sure to defrost it properly. I have had panic moments where I run out of melted butter and have grabbed a can of olive oil Pam. Not so pretty a moment but hardly a difference in taste after hitting the top layer with proper melted butter. I like to work in a bit of cream cheese with the feta, a bit of dill and nutmeg–fresh preferred.I Love the new filling ideas.

  54. Claire

    OK, I have to ask – where did you get your phyllo in NYC? I have looked for it in the city and came up empty handed at Trader Joes (Kinda funny story – Went to Trader Joes on 14th because I had a craving for spanakopita… wandered the aisles for a while looking for phyllo but only found puff pastry and so i finally asked someone and they take me straight to the puff pastry and i tried to explain the difference between phyllo and puff pastry but it was kinda lost on him… so I leave with 2 giant bags of things that were not on my list at all and frozen spanakopita to tide me over…)

  55. lovely- vancouver, b.c.

    just browsing around for a different spanakopita (triangle) recipe and found yours which makes me interested for you have other fillings for phyllo pastry. But i noticed you didn’t used nut meg and eggs for the spanakopita. what’s the difference it make when you dont use the latters. Another thing is it possible to freeze spanakopita after you made it for future use; if so, how long and and some advise how to cook it from the frozen state.thanks for good and different variations of filling for phyllo pastry. i love different kind of food and also cooking. also planning to make this out for a living; making some cooked food or ready to cook food which i can freeze and cater it to small restaurant here or parties.

  56. Erica

    Your recipes as always look delicious!!!

    My family is from former Yugoslavia and my grandma makes strudel from homemade filo pastry almost every week. I used to help her when I was younger, and I must say that I find it easier to make and work with than using shop bought pastry. It doesn’t shatter and fall apart. But you do need a large bench to stretch it out on!
    And it stays crisp for days after being baked, not like shop bought filo.

  57. nick

    I love love love making and eating spanakopita!!! But i have found that i just don’t like the taste of phyllo dough. To me it just seems to taste like straight flour. I have found that an amazing alternative is to use puff pastry dough. just cut two equal squares or triangles and sandwich your filling between them. it is so much easier and faster to prepare as well.

    1. deb

      Lovely — I skipped the nutmeg because I don’t care for it in my spinach (I didn’t realize it was so standard; I’d have left it in but noted that I skipped it). I hadn’t heard about using eggs before, but I really don’t think there is any bad way to make it.

      Claire — Whole Foods Union Square, both times. Yes, twice because I ran out, and then I had extra and couldn’t bring myself to waste it so I made the goat cheese/onion one.

  58. Stiffler

    i love spanakopita and thought of making it numerous times. . .but never have. i’m thinking it’s time to give it a go.

  59. Sairis

    Deb, and everyone else who hates phyllo: Get yourself to Poseidon Bakery on ninth avenue and buy some fresh hand-made phyllo. Fresh phyllo is much easier to work with. Not as prone to drying out and not to delicate. And that’s without talking about the taste!

  60. i LOVE making phyllo triangles. i have stuffed them with veggie “beef”, goat cheese and dried apricots, and a cream cheese, cottage cheese, feta cheese and spinach combo. spanakopita is pretty awesome though. who doesn’t love finger food?

  61. Denise

    Wonderful! I had this for the first time years ago at a Greek festival. I love these and now I can make some at home…so excited!!

  62. Mickey

    Two words for working with phylo – Cooking Spray. I know it’s not authentic, but it is so much easier than dealing with a pastry brush and melted butter. And if you have some phylo left, you should make some yummy apple turnovers. So easy!

  63. Johanna

    I hate *buing* phyllo. Because I never know where to go. Okay, probably the turkish or greek shops that sell kebab and vegetables and salads sell it, too, but then I nearly never go into one of them so I could actually check, as … well … I’d be the only customer, and I don’t like being the only customer, especially when I don’t even know if I will or rather can buy anything! Aah, problems of life. I have an awesome cheese wrap recipe (using quark – anyone know quark here? It’s normal in Germany, so.) I want to try though. Maybe next year, or the year after …

  64. I love all three variations but the blue cheese version sounds particularly unique and tasty. I also like the idea of baking them. Phyllo pastry from scratch is a challenge for me..but these look so good I may have to get over my fear!

  65. Hi Deb. You should check out Moroccan brick dough- similar to filo, but eggy and stretchy. rockin site by the way, it is the single food site to stay top of my list for years.


  66. Angela

    You brought back memories of living in a real city…but even more, memories of having a belly shelf that accumulated spatters, crumbs and drips.

  67. These look so yummy! Do you serve them warm or room temp? I’m searching for some picnic-friendly foods. (Please excuse me if you mentioned this already in your post. No, I’m not 6 months pregnant, but I’ve been 6 months pregnant 4 times and now have the fuzzy brain to prove it. I was interrupted no less than 4 times while reading your post. . . I transported a bug to the great outdoors with a 4 year old, toasted a bagel for a starving 7 year old, took a phone message for a sleeping 12 year old, and discouraged salt-and-vinegar chips as a breakfast choice for a 9 year old.)

  68. I love spanakopita! It was the first real meal I made growing up when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said that I wanted to cook a meal!

    So tasty. The recipe I used was from the Betty Crocker International Food Cookbook, and it used eggs. I think it was just to give the filling more body, so it wouldn’t be too liquidy. I’m sure it would be pretty good even without eggs.

  69. Kristen

    Fresh, never frozen, phyllo will change your life and love for phyllo – forever. My source is Poseidon Bakery in Manhattan. It’s soooooooooooo easy when it’s this good!

  70. I second Sairis and Kristen in that it seems much easier to work with fresh phyllo than with frozen. It’s also good for the late deciders among us: you can buy it on the way home and make your pastries right away. I get mine at Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue. However, my triangles are generally kind of distorted (some fat and squatty, others with long pokey points) — but delicious nonetheless. I will have to try one of your alternative fillings the next time I make them.

  71. I’ve made Spanakopita’s only once and didn’t find them too difficult. Yours look fantastic and this post was a great reminder to make them again.

  72. Once you remember that no one will count the crispy layers or check to see if your phyllo packets have rips and tears because they are too busy eating to notice, working with phyllo is fun. You can also set it out in a big rectangle with lots of layers, set down your filling and roll it like a jelly roll. End with the seam side down. Before baking, make little slits where you want to cut your pieces, and you’ve got bite-sized or bigger pieces pieces in a snap.

  73. Stella

    I have been working with phyllo since I was young – we used to get it fresh in SF, and it was amazing. I don’t have much of a hard time with it anymore, but you definitely have to keep it covered as you work. I like to work with about 20 sheets uncovered at a time, keeping the rest under a damp towel.

    Also, I recently started using olive oil in a mister bottle instead of brushing butter on. I like the result so much better since this method lets me use much less fat, so there’s no greasy taste to take away from the feta/spinach.

    I usually use an egg in with my filling too, and like the consistency the egg gives.

  74. Kate

    I’ve made Spanakopita several times, and really want to try your other fillings. They sound amazing. The freeze ahead tip is a new one for me, so I am doubly excited about having a freezer full of an instant cocktail party. Thanks so much.

  75. Kim

    I took a class all on phyllo dough from the owner of a Mediterranean restaurant (he grew up in Turkey) and he suggested adding pomegranate seeds to the filling. I make it every winter now…definitely recommend you try it when they’re in season.

  76. Shaina

    These look FANTASTIC. I may have to brave the brand-new territory of phyllo dough and whip up a few of these.

    On a slightly unrelated note, Deb, does your “Cook This” list (subcategory “Dessert”) include a recipe for white chocolate macadamia nut cookies? I’ve tried two different recipes so far, and neither of them are quite what I’m looking for, but everything you post seems to turn out exactly the way I want it.

  77. lilivati

    Hehe, my great-grandmother made her own phyllo dough. My dad and grandma have tales of sheets of it hanging all over her house on phyllo days.

    I’m a quarter Greek and grew up around the stuff…one of the first cooking projects I helped my mom with was baklava. It holds no fear or annoyance for me. *grin*

  78. gail

    I didn’t read thru all the comments, but I work with phyllo alot . There are different thicknesses and of course, the thicker ones are MUCH easier to work with. As a matter of fact, when we make spanikopita, we use just one sheet , brushed with butter, then fold it up. Fresh is always better than frozen. Since we switched to the thicker phyllo (#7), they are so much easier, and faster, to make. Your recipes look great..can’t wait to try them!

  79. Just finished making these! Ha.

    Wait until you are feeding the baby and eating at the same time, and drip/crumble food onto the side of his/her head. Possibly in his/her ear.

  80. I have two packages of phyllo in my fridge at the moment, and was lucky enough to grow up in a house where my Mom used it all the time, and I don’t have any fear of it whatsoever. I’ve got lots of other fears, but won’t get into them here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  81. Mary

    Instead of folding the dough into triangles (which I always mess up), I’ve begun to roll it, tucking the ends in midway through, kind of like a burrito. It’s easier for me; I find myself with less ripped phyllo.

  82. Marla

    These recipes look great! I was taught to work with phyllo dough from my Armenian mother-in-law. Two comments — brush egg whites on the finished triangles before baking and the crust will be golden and shiny (similar to a pie crust). The freshest phyllo dough I have found is in the Arabic grocery stores on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It is best when used immediately.

  83. Marla

    And one more thing — the best place to get authentic feta cheese is also in the Arabic grocery stores on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn — ask for Bulgarian feta — it’s the best. My mother-in-law used to make them give her a taste to approve it before she bought.

  84. I have a spanakopita obsession, but these… omg yes. I don’t know how I’d decide which ones to make, so I’d have to make all of them. Blue cheese, Goat Cheese, and Feta? That is not a fair decision!!!

  85. kim

    i just recently stumbled upon this wonderful glen of kitchen genius. can i just say i love reading your blog. i look forward to it the days i get around to checking it ( i mean after i spent hours upon hours catching up on what i’d already missed!) i’m always left laughing and thinking, i could make that–even if it’s something seemingly impossible (ie: the above delicacy). thanks. keep going. this is easily one of my top favorite corners of the web!!!

  86. KGS

    Crumbs, drips, and stains on your “belly shelf” are just part of nature’s gentle breaking-in period for the year ahead of you, when your entire torso will become a target for far worse things…

  87. ZoeMcC

    I love the flavor of spanakopita but not the rolling of the individual triangles. I just make a whole pie — lining the quiche dish with many layers of the phyllo (I butter between every sheet because I hate that slippery floury taste between layers when you don’t), overlapping the sheets off the side of the dish. Fill with your filling (yours sounds lovely!) and then cover with many layers of buttered phyllo. Bring the under layer up over the top layer and crimp or twist them together like you would any pie, and cut a few slits in the top and bake until the whole thing is crispy golden brown.

  88. Amy

    I practically grew up on spanikopata and what we called ‘cheese triangles’ I’d be making these right now but I have 3 small kids. I’ll save these recipes for when they’re older!

    Enjoy the last 3 months of being pregnant. It never gets any easier than that

  89. They look delicious. Ah, pregnancy, what fun. I stopped using the side table to place my drinks on. My tummy did just fine. :)

    My mom makes her own Phyllo, still, and she taught me, but I don’t have the patience. One trick I found out from a friend of mine, is to take a can of oil spray or your own oil spray bottle and spray it on the phyllo sheets. it’s quick, no mess, and very easy.

  90. My husband makes an awesome spanikopita with sweet italian sausage, spinach and feta cheese. We will have to try your variation…it looks delicious!

  91. I did it! I made homemade marshmallows. Great! Thank you. Although I have followed your web site for a while now, I have only admired but not tried to cook anything. Actually I baked some double chocolate chip cookies but I already know how to bake so it wasn’t a leap of faith. The marshmallows were a new experience. The first time I had the sugar boiling, my 2 year old started crying and I went to help her. Next thing ya know, the fire alarm is going and the house is filled with smoke! Oops! No worries, I had enough sugar and corn syrup to start that part over again and then it all went smoothly. What a fun thing to see the ingredients truly morph into something new. I’m hooked. Now maybe I’ll keep up the good work and try more “new to me” styles of cooking. Thanks so much for bringing new things to my old ways over here in New Hampshire. — Mountain Mom Report.

  92. Lauren

    How long can you leave them in the freezer? In the recipe above it says three days ahead but can they be frozen for longer? I wanted to make a whole batch – some to eat and some to freeze for later. Thanks!

  93. I always make spanakopita as one big pan, which means less fussing with the phyllo (but also a higher filling-to-phyllo proportion, which may be good or bad). The only thing is that I have to add an egg or two to the filling in this case to make it hang together. But it brings the spanakopita (my favorite food) process down under half an hour.

  94. Yumm

    I hope I don’t get stoned for saying this, but I used Pillsbury dough in place of phyllo to make these…and they were deeeelicious!

  95. Propagatrix

    I second the addition of dill, which adds a lovely flavor to hot spanakopita but makes COLD spanakopita absolutely celestial.

    Of course, as many times as I make my own, it never quite comes up to the level of Oakland Gyros at the corner of Oakland and Locust in Milwaukee.

  96. I just made spanikopita “triangles” last night following David Lebovitz’ recipe. The filling was really good but the triangle shape was impossible to obtain. I think I don’t understand this “fold like a flag” instruction very well. Would it be possible for you to post more tips on that? I think what I really need is a precise diagram. Perhaps I’ll google that, “spanikopita folding diagram”. :-)

  97. Rhea

    I grew up on spanakopita. You can bake them all off and freeze them after they come to room temp- eliminating the need to lay everything out flat in the freezer. !0 to 15 minutes in a moderate toaster oven is all you need for the reheat. Also try a drier mixture with browned beef or lamb, onions, cinnamon, and pine nuts. For sweet my grandmother would do a mixture of dry jack, cottage cheese, sugar, and nutmeg. Like a kugel strudel. Sprinkle different toppings on the different types to tell them apart (ie cinn on meat filled, parm on spinach, powdered sugar on sweet). Thank you for loving food as much as we do!!!

  98. Michellers

    Made all three flavors for a baby shower and they were a huge hit! I was up at midnight the night before, folding up the triangles like a woman possessed, but it was worth it. I love the idea of sprinkling different toppings on them to differentiate. But it didn’t really matter at the party because they were all equally delicious.

  99. Linda

    So here’s my question: I’m seeing on the recipe that they will be okay when made three days ahead, and then some comments are saying that they’re good when flash frozen or when they’re baked and then frozen and then rethawed and baked again. What’s best? I know phyllo is brittle, but I’m fairly certain they won’t get knocked in the freezer. Let’s say, hypothetically, that one would be wanting to make these for a party in three weeks and is concerned about how much time she-er-one- might have to work with, and might be making them this weekend instead and then freezing? :)

    1. deb

      There isn’t just one way to make things ahead, however, my preference is to flash-freeze things unbaked and bake them as needed. Food always tastes best when it is freshly baked.

  100. Fyfe

    I made this as appetizers for Thanksgiving, made them the Tuesday night before and flash froze them uncooked, then popped them in the oven directly from the freezer that Thursday. They were wonderful (although I’d overfilled, so some of them were little erupting spanakopita volcanos). I’ve still got half the batch frozen to use for another holiday party next week.
    I’ve got to say, the phyllo wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I expected, just time consuming. I made the filling one night, then the next night put on a movie and spent about 2 hours just wrapping. It didn’t make to much of a mess, and for how great they looked (and tasted) it was definitely worth it!
    Thanks for such an awesome recipe and extremely easy-to-follow instructions!

  101. Gretchen

    These look amazing? Can you recommend a different cheese to sub for the blue, goat cheese and feta? Cream cheese perhaps? Mozarrella? I’ve been looking for a great greek appetier for a dinner party this weekend but hate to say don’t care for those types of cheeses!! I know I know it won’t be “authentic” :)

  102. Mels

    I am now addicted to your recipes. All of them. I must make every one. I’m on a mission. ;) Seriously though, I was looking for a recipe for a party we are attending next week and this will be perfect! Deb if you’re still answering questions, if I make these on Thursday to cook on Friday, do I have to flash-freeze them or can I just leave them in the fridge overnight? I looked back through the posts but I couldn’t find where you might have answered this…thank you!!!

  103. Robin

    Hi Deb!

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years now, but this is the first time I’ve posted. I’ve really enjoyed cooking along with you and everything I’ve made from this blog has gotten rave reviews by friends and family. I followed the “how to make brunch and still sleep in” instructions for a New Year’s Day brunch, and I really could bake biscuits after only four hours of sleep! Ok, so I have a question about the phyllo triangles – do you think these suckers can be frozen for more than just a few days? We’re planning an open house the day after our wedding (yes, I’m nuts) and I’m looking for some appetizers that I can prepare a couple weeks to a month ahead and stick in the freezer. Thanks!

  104. Robin

    Phyllo dough is really easy to make with a pasta makere. And it’s much better than frozen as it doesnt’ dry up & break so easily. My pasta maker cost less than $30 on, and users have posted many tips in their Comments on the machine. On “”, probably on a Greek or a middle-Eastern cooking site [there are MANY cooking sites], are extensive tips on making & working with phyllo dough, as well as numerous recipies. I’ve made an apple tart [could be a Mark Bittman’s recipe]…one of my greyhounds loved it so much that the humans had only a tiny taste.

  105. Debra

    Delicious spanikopita triangles. I was in a bit of hurry so mine didn’t look quite as tidy as yours and they did leak out a little. Everyone loved them though at our Mid-Eastern/Mediterranean Mother’s Day lunch.

  106. Debra

    After making the spanikopita ones for Mother’s Day I made the mushroom – blue cheese ones for a party. Wow! This is a recipe I know I will use again and again. Each triangle is just about 2 bites of deliciousness. Great to make ahead and freeze.
    Once again though, mine did not look as neat and perfect as yours. Practice will make perfect I hope. Thanks for another great recipe.

  107. Dora

    Hi Deb,
    Why can I make them only three days ahead?
    (Of course, I’m ignorantly hoping there’s no reason at all, so I can make them a week ahead)

  108. KC

    These are seriously addicting. I made the spanakopita triangles for my son’s college graduation party and they were a huge hit. I used frozen spinach–mostly because I already had a ton of it. I also couldn’t help throwing some nutmeg in there and would have added some parm if I had remembered. They are time-consuming, but soooo worth it. I also made some filled with a buffalo chicken mixture I got from the All Recipes site (buffalo wontons). This is also a great thing to stick inside phyllo triangles and I highly recommend it. Now that I think of it, I’ll just put everything in phyllo triangles from now on. Can’t wait to try the mushroom and bleu cheese ones. Thanks!

  109. Erin from Mississippi


    I made these today in order to use up some neglected veggies and teh remainder of the parmesan I had in the back of the fridge.

    I ended up with delicious leek, bell pepper, and parmesan triangles – and I didn’t even have to buy the phyllo dough since I still had some in the freezer from when I was making vegetable samosas. Thanks for one of those recipes that can be easily adapted!

  110. Marie M.C.

    I saw that someone else mentioned an olive oil spray (does it come in a can?) but I heard you can just melt butter and put it in a spray bottle. Deb, if anyone can make phyllo at home I bet you can do it. On a Martha Stewart show — a long time ago — she profiled a phyllo maker here in San Francisco. When I finally tracked him down his shop had closed. Grrrrr.

    I watched a cooking show where someone was stretching phyllo dough. It just didn’t look that difficult. The big plus is homemade phyllo is far easier to work with (or so I’ve heard). No, I’ve never tried to make it myself. I’m waiting for you to show us how.

    I just read a comment where someone said they made phyllo using a pasta machine. Hmmm. Gotta check it out.

  111. Danielle

    I just wanted to tell you that your brand of crazy is the exact same as my brand of crazy. When I am pregnant, my craving will definitely come in the form of MAKING food, not eating it.
    My mother (I’m only 17) knows when I want to make something as soon as I start pacing around the kitchen, looking in random cabinets. She rolls her eyes, and gets out of my way. Of course, she is rewarded, haha. May it be an hour from then, or six hours, she gets to enjoy what ever I have come up with that day.
    I think we would get along very harmoniously.

  112. Lynn Duquette

    Don’t be afraid of phyllo! It is really not that difficult to use. It is helpful to make it on a large wooden board, and then cut it into strips with a razor blade. I always make eight strips from each sheet. I do keep the sheets of phyllo covered with a dish towel, but not the plastic wrap. You need to be pretty liberal brushing with melted butter (which I do in the microwave and have never cooled first). Sometimes you can get a “bum” package of phyllo that is dry and breaks, but usually this is not a problem. Do be sure to defrost it in the refrigerator. Also, phyllo triangles will keep in the freezer much longer than three days; I say at least a month. I freeze them briefly on a cookie sheet and then put into zip-lock bags.

  113. Ada

    I made the spanakopita triangles since I had some leftover phyllo dough, and they were great! I love your filling, since it’s a good balance of both cheese and spinach, and I love that they didn’t turn out greasy, like some of the ones I’ve had from Greek stores. Awesome!

  114. Arielle

    The trick with working with phyllo dough (not sure if anyone recommended this yet – since i didn’t read all the comments) is to cover the sheets that you’re not using with a wet paper towel. This will keep them moist until you are ready to use them. (my husband makes his own baklava). The paper towel should be wet, not dripping. Good luck – they look delicious!

  115. Sarah

    I’ve just found your blog courtesy of Time and I am so glad that I did. These look SO good. I will be testing out the blue and goat cheese versions shortly I am sure. Thanks for the ideas and lovely pictures!

  116. Kristin

    I made these last night for a Christmas party and they were so delicious! My husband and I teamed up against the phyllo dough and were able to get through everything before it dried out and it all worked out wonderfully! We have a few leftovers because there were several people who either did not like mushrooms or blue cheese, but I am completely fine with that as I now have delicious leftovers that I can munch on for the next few days.

  117. Martina

    I have a long standing quest to create the perfect phyllo dough dish- it comes from growing up eating fantastic buraks at a Serbian restaurant in Milwaukee. My mother’s Spanikopita recipe is tons of feta, montery jack chives and eggs mounded into a complete mess of phyllo wrapped as a sourt of messy burrito with tons of butter. Looks terrible, but delicious. I recently discovered using a spring form pan to form layers of phllylo/filling/butter and mixing the spinach and feta with cream cheese. Yum!

  118. Tricia

    I made the spinach and feta Spanakopita two days ago and flash froze them, just like you suggested. We ate them tonight as an appetizer for our Christmas meal/party tonight and they were fantastic! They’re quite easy and so very tasty! Thank you for yet another winner recipe!

  119. Laura

    I’ve made these a couple of times now, and they’re great. Instead of cutting the phyllo lengthwise into strips, I did it the short sideways and you get a better dough-to-filling ratio, I think. The onion goat cheese were divine….had to extend the filling amount to make more and added mashed potato and rosemary to the onion mixture. All good!

  120. Kathy

    I just frittered away my lunch break (again) hitting “Surprise Me!”. Love, love that feature! I have noticed a need for a Spinach sub-category under Vegetables. Dear husband brought home a giant bag of spinach from Costco and I’m hoping to get through it before it goes bad. SK to my rescue as usual – a search for “spinach” yielded many inspiring recipes. Thanks!

  121. Maggie

    Does anyone know the secret for how to stop the triangles from exploding during baking??? I have tried under-stuffing them vs tightly stuffing and expressing all the air out, baking in a 350 oven vs baking in a 400 oven, spacing them tightly on the tray vs spacing them widely on the tray, adding a beaten egg to the mix, sprinkling water on the top before baking and making a little pinhole in the top before baking….but I always get explosions!

      1. Maria

        So my experience with traditional spanakopita is that if they are too wet they explode. You really must get your spinach very very dry.

  122. Winnie

    Hi Deb,
    So am I to use just two sheets of phyllo dough per triangle?
    I’ll be working with phyllo dough for the first time.


  123. Bracha

    whenever i need to bring a quick dish somewhere i always make this spinach-feta in a puff pastry braid. while this won’t work for a quick dish. its a nice way of mixing it up for when i have time.

  124. Shelly

    Great recipe, although I did add a handful of fresh dill to the spinach and feta. Love the caramelized onion and goat cheese as well. The trick is really to get the extra liquid out of the mixture before making the triangles. I hung the spinach mixture in a cheesecloth while I made the onions for other filling. Love your recipes, I know that I can ALWAYS count on the recipe coming together exactly as the recipe says it should.

  125. Zorica

    I love the fillings in this recipe! My family has always made spanakopita or tyropita triangles and I’ve been wanting to experiment with something different. Also, while I love the use of butter on here (or butter anywhere else for that matter), I use the following technique: Fill a pint glass with 1/3 cup olive oil and top off to nearly the brim with soda water. Use your brush to disturb the mixture and wet an entire sheet of phylo with it. Fold to the longer side and brush and then fold in the same direction and brush one more time. Place some of your filling at an angle at the bottom and then fold upwards into a triangle. Brush with egg yolk before baking. This produces a lovely little parcel that’s fluffy and tender on the inside with just the right crisp. I also like a single egg white in the filling for creaminess, but that’s just me and my love of cheesy eggy things.

  126. Christie

    This is my first phyllo experience, and you scared me enough that I took my time. Filling is delicious (I forgot to squeeze the spinach, so a little drippy), and I overfilled the practice batch. But they are YUM and the real deal for Christmas Eve will, I’m sure, be a hit (even with the in-laws who are teasing me for bringing vegetables). Thank you for your work here – I love cooking your recipes and have never had one fail to turn out. :)

  127. Lisa

    Can you freeze the triangles with filling once baked? Or do you need to assemble and freeze unbaked? OR do you just freeze the triangles then make the filling and bake when ready?

  128. Mamma Bella

    Thank you for posting this fabulous recipe for spanakopita. Your clear-and-concise directions as well as your great photos took the fear of working with phyllo out! I used 16 oz. frozen, chopped spinach instead and swapped the butter out with olive oil- and it was perfectly crispy and flaky!! I also prepped it the night before, keeping them single layer in the fridge in zip-top bags, and baked them in the morning so they could be fresh for my morning meeting. Everyone LOVED it and were so impressed by my culinary skills!! Much appreciated!!! ❤

  129. Maria

    I have found the key to working with Phyllo ( from the Greek-meaning leaf) is that it is fresh and not nearing its expiration date as can be the case in many supermarkets where it just doesn’t move fast enough.

    If you have a Greek market close by and you can buy it there-you will see a completely different pastry. It isn’t dry or crumbly and you will find it doesn’t even dry out as fast as you are working with it, it stays pliable.

    Good luck!!

  130. Alison

    This recipe is one of my favorites and I was so excited to make it next weekend – but then I couldn’t find phyllo at the grocery store (apparently it’s only a winter product). Anyone have any tips for “faking” the process using pie crust? Thanks!

  131. Maura

    I made the spanakopita. They were a huge hit(!) and made me feel like I had graduated a culinary level somehow. I did a bit of research and combined multiple recipes/tips & tricks across the interwebs. SK’s instruction on how to fold the triangles were key for me. I added dill and breadcrumbs (the latter: to soak up any extra moisture). They also freeze so great! These will now be in my regular rotation for sure.

  132. Meryl Schneider

    Spinach triangles – I used shallots instead of green onions and garlic, added roasted pine nuts, chopped kalamata olives and preserved lemon (stove-top) instead of the lemon juice. I hadn’t used filo in a while so I was a bit daunted. I found cutting into 6 strips too fiddly so I just did four. The triangles were a bit hefty for finger food but fine as we were sitting at the table. The hardest part was washing, drying and trimming the spinach – may use frozen next time. But they were a success, although I have to add it was my father-in-law’s 91st birthday and somehow – what with Covid etc and a holiday the next day here in Germany which meant the shops were mostly sold out, no one else brought food so of course they were a success. The real test will be to see if anyone asks me to bring them again! PS – tried to work quickly ala Deb, and cutting into just 4 strips helped – so I just covered the waiting filo with a damp towel, no plastic wrap.