Easy Baklava recipe for the classic Greek dessert with layers of buttery phyllo dough, cinnamon walnut baklava filling, and sweet syrup.
Crispy sweet Baklava is a traditional, well-loved Dessert that you’ll find in most of your favorite Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants. For more classic old-world dessert recipes, try our Italian Tiramisu and Mexican Tres Leches.
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Sabrina’s Baklava Recipe
This beautiful dessert is well loved around the world and a special treat that is sure to impress! It has flaky, crunchy layers of phyllo dough, nuts, and cinnamon all covered in a sticky glaze for an irresistible snack. Our easy Baklava recipe uses a store-bought package of phyllo dough so that any home baker can master this traditional, delicate sweet dessert.
What is Baklava?
Traditional Baklava is a special dessert recipe made of delicate phyllo dough filled with layers of nuts with cinnamon and smothered in a sweet simple syrup. This delicious dessert is enjoyed in many parts of the world, including Turkey, Iran, and Greece. It’s a classic old world treat that dates back to the Ottoman empire and once you’ve tried a bit, you won’t wonder why it’s been around so long. The sticky sweet buttery flavors and distinctive flaky pastry make it an unforgettable dessert!
- Syrup: To make the syrup we just used a mixture of sugar, water, and lemon juice. The lemon helps brighten the flavor of the sweet and comforting Greek Baklava. The sugar reduces down into a simple syrup that covers the crispy phyllo pastry without soaking in, giving it a sticky almost honey-like coating.
- Walnuts: The earthy walnuts are the main filling for this tasty Greek treat. Pistachio Baklava is also a popular choice but we love the creamy flavor of walnuts and they blend more smoothly. Try toasting the nuts first for a deeper flavor.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon goes perfectly with the sweet glaze and earthy, creamy walnuts. You don’t need much of it, just a teaspoon, to just lightly flavor the filling.
- Sugar: Since you are covering the baked Baklava with a sugary simple syrup, you don’t need a lot of sugar in the actual filling. For lightly caramel flavor, try this with brown sugar!
- Phyllo Sheets: The paper-thin, flaky phyllo pastry is perfect for making light and airy dessert recipes. Add melted butter between each phyllo sheet for buttery, flaky pastry.’
- Butter: Melted butter is brushed between the phyllo sheets to give it a delicious buttery flavor and makes the delicate pastry just melt-in-your-mouth amazing!
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Baking Dish: This recipe makes a big batch of baklava so you’ll use a 9×13 baking dish. Using a larger baking dish means you don’t have to trim the phyllo sheets too.
- Sharp Knife: You’ll want a sharp knife to score the phyllo dough before baking it and then to cut clean lines after the pastry is baked.
- Sauce Pan: The simple syrup is made in a sauce pan on the stove top. You want medium sauce pan so that it doesn’t spill over the edges.
How to Make
Time needed: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Make the Syrup
Add the granulated sugar, water, and fresh lemon juice to a pot over medium heat. Bring the syrup to a simmer, occasionally stirring until it’s reduced by half. This should take about 6-8 minutes. Take syrup from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Prepare for Baking
Preheat the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add walnuts, sugar, and ground cinnamon to your food processor. Then pulse until the nut mixture is blended into small pieces.
- Prepare the Phyllo Sheets
Lay out the first sheet of phyllo pastry dough. Brush the dough with melted butter. Repeat with 10 pieces, laying the sheets of phyllo dough over each other and adding melted butter between the layers.
- Assemble the Layers
Add half of the walnut mixture over the buttered phyllo. Repeat with 6 more sheets of phyllo dough, then top that in another layer of nuts. Add another 10 layers of buttered phyllo sheets. Brush one more layer of butter over the top to finish. Then use a sharp knife to cut a diamond pattern into serving-sized pieces.
- Bake the Baklava
Put the pan in the heated oven and cook the Baklava until golden brown. After baking, pour the syrup over the hot Baklava. Let the hot Baklava cool completely before slicing again along the same diamond pattern that you created before baking. Use a spatula to add the pieces to serving plates and enjoy.
Can Baklava be made ahead of time?
Yes, Baklava is a fantastic make-ahead dessert! You can assemble it then store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it for 2 months before popping it in the oven. You can bake it from frozen, adding 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
Baking Baklava Tips & Tricks
- Score Before Baking
When making Baklava, you slice it both before and after the cooking time. Cutting ahead of time allows the syrup to seep all the way to the center of the delicious dessert recipe.
- Blend the Nut Filling
We like to blend the walnuts with sugar and ground cinnamon so it is easy to bite into but still has some texture. You can blend the cinnamon-scented nut mixture even more for a paste-like consistency or pulse it less for a crunchier filling.
What to Pair With Baklava
Drinks: You could also enjoy Greek Baklava during the day with a latte or Cold Brewed Coffee for something bitter to balance out the sweet Baklava recipe.
How to Store
Store: To keep leftover Baklava, cover the pan in plastic wrap or foil or seal pieces in an airtight container. It can stay good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Make sure it has cooled for at least 2 hours before wrapping it up to keep it from steaming and getting soft.
Freeze: After it cools down completely, you can freeze the Baklava for up to 3 months. Place a piece of plastic wrap between the lid to prevent ice crystals. Let it thaw, uncovered, at room temperature before serving.
This delicious baklava recipe makes a fantastic treat to give during the holidays. Since you are slicing them into diamonds, they already look fancy but you can always give them a melted chocolate drizzle. Wait until they are fully cooled down before wrapping each piece in cellophane to keep them fresh and crunchy.
After baking homemade Baklava, you should let it cool before serving. The traditional dessert is served at room temperature, so it’s neither hot nor chilled.
This is a common dessert to serve during religious celebrations in many cultures. Christians may serve this excellent recipe for Christmas and Easter. It’s also commonly enjoyed by Muslims during Ramadan, and Jews may have it for Rosh Hashannah. Baklava has become a staple recipe in many cultures and makes an excellent addition to any special occasion.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 cups walnuts
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pound phyllo dough
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter , melted
- In a pot on medium heat add the sugar, water, and lemon juice, and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes./timer].
To Assemble and Finish:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking pan with baking spray.
- To a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon and pulse until the walnuts are really small pieces.
- Add the first sheet of phyllo dough and brush with melted butter.
- Repeat for a total 10 times, then add ½ of the walnuts.
- Repeat with 6 more layers of phyllo dough brushed with butter.
- Top with remaining walnut mixture.
- Repeat with 10 more layers of phyllo dough brushed with butter.
- Brush the tops of the dough with more butter, then use a knife to cut the dough into a diamond pattern, but cut into it
- Bake for 75 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Immediately pour over the syrup, then let cool completely.
Pistachio Baklava: You can also make the layer of nuts in this recipe with pistachios. Add the pistachios to the food processor and pulse until broken into pieces. Then layer the nut mixture with the phyllo dough as usual.
Honey Baklava: If you prefer, replace the granulated sugar in the syrup with a cup of honey. Then pour the honey syrup on the crispy Baklava after baking. Let the honey Baklava cool and enjoy!
Chocolate Baklava: For a chocolatey twist on this classic dessert, you can add coarsely chopped dark chocolate to the nut blend. This variation tastes particularly delicious if you use walnuts or hazelnuts for the nut filling.