I finally conquered my fear of making spanakopita, the Greek savory spinach and feta pie, and yes, this means I’m going to tell you all about it. It took me so long because, however pathetically, I find filo/phyllo, the thin dough used to produce the flaky layers in many Middle Eastern and Balkan pastries, stressful: the tissue-like sheets can dry into crumbles in what feels like seconds. Having to brush each layer with butter or oil before using it is challenging in a small kitchen, and a lot of work in any size. Over the years, I’ve auditioned many spanakopitaish pies that allowed me to hedge a bit on the phyllo — triangles (only one sheet at a time made it less scary), spirals (ditto with one sheet; this recipe is in Smitten Kitchen Every Day), galettes (using a pie-like dough), and even “skillets” where I just messily crumbled some phyllo on top. All were good. None were this. This is exact spanakopita I crave, more doable than I thought possible.
So what changed? TikTok, my favorite diversion. I’ve spent the last few weeks working on the copyedits for my next cookbook [coming this fall! I cannot wait to tell you more about it] but obviously that also means I would scroll TikTok to rest my brain a little between detangling gram and grammar inconsistencies. A spanakopita video from Eat Like Greek With Julie (TikTok, Instagram, YouTube) appeared and it’s all I’ve thought about since. I probably watched it 24 times over the next two weeks. The moment my edits were in, I went straight to the kitchen to make it. It did not disappoint, not even a tiny bit.
Five things were different about this spanakopita than any I’ve made before:
The result is the best spanakopita I’ve ever eaten, and certainly made. I hope you feel equally triumphant when you pull it off at home.
6 months ago: Deviled Eggs
1 year ago: Parmesan Oven Risotto
2 years ago: Roasted Squash and Tofu with Ginger
3 years ago: Plush Coconut Cake
4 years ago: Sheet Pan Meatballs with Crispy Turmeric Chickpeas
5 years ago: Chocolate Dutch Baby
6 years ago: Blood Orange, Almond, and Ricotta Cake and Cabbage and Sausage Casserole
7 years ago: Key Lime Pie and Make Your Own Vanilla Extract
8 years ago: Pear and Hazelnut Muffins and Warm Lentil and Potato Salad
9 years ago: Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard, and Garlic
10 years ago: Buttermilk Roast Chicken
11 years ago: Baked Potato Soup
12 years ago: Black Bean Soup + Toasted Cumin Seed Crema and Cranberry Syrup and an Intensely Almond Cake
13 years ago: Clementine Cake and Mushroom Bourguignon
14 years ago: Chicken Caesar Salad and Fried Chicken
1 years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
- 1 1/4 pounds (20 ounces or 565 grams) baby spinach [see Note about frozen], roughly chopped
- 1 cup red onion (from 1 small or half a large), finely chopped
- 6 to 8 scallions (about 2.25 ounces or 65 grams) 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 Note]
- Olive oil
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.