Baklava

Baklava is sweet and flaky with the perfect nutty crunch. Each bite of this Middle-Eastern delicacy is decadent and delicious!

Baklava may seem daunting to make, but it is actually quite simple. I just takes a bit of time and love. This sweet treat is the perfect amount of sweetness and is so irresistible. For more tasty treats try Perfect Candied Nuts, Pistachio Layer Cake, and Swedish Visiting Cake Bars

Baklava cut into pieces in a serving dish

What is Baklava?

Baklava can be defined as a middle-Eastern dish made of phyllo dough that is filled with nuts and covered in honey. This dish originated in the Ottoman Empire, although it is a common disagreement between the Turks and Greeks as to who first invented this dish.

This sweet dish is a combo of a buttery and nutty flavor. The sweetness of the honey complements the salty and nutty flavor of the walnuts.

While Turkish baklava uses sugar syrup, pistachios, and lemon juice, Greek baklava uses honey, walnuts, and cinnamon. Layering nuts between phyllo dough is the same between both types.

Step by step collage of how to make baklava

How to Make Baklava

PREP. Thaw the phyllo dough according to the package directions. Preheat the oven to 350. Brush the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with melted butter.

FILLING. In a medium bowl, mix together the chopped nuts and cinnamon.

LAYER & BRUSH. Place two sheets of the phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan, and brush with melted butter. Add another two sheets and brush with butter. Add two more sheets of phyllo dough, then brush with melted butter.

LAYER & SPRINKLE. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of nuts on top of the dough, spreading evenly. Layer another two sheets of dough on top of the nuts, and brush with melted butter. Continue to alternate adding nuts and layers of dough, brushing the top of each dough layer with butter, until all of the nuts are used up.

LAYER. Layer two sheets of dough on top of the last nut layer, brush with butter, and repeat twice more so that the top layer of dough is six sheets deep.

CUT. Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava diagonally into rows, then turn the pan and cut the opposite way diagonally, to form diamond shaped pieces.

BAKE. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, until golden brown on top.

SYRUP. While the baklava is baking, make the syrup by stirring together the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the water and sugar to a simmer over medium heat, then stir in the vanilla and honey. Simmer 20 minutes, until thickened slightly. Pour the syrup over the hot baklava, spreading evenly. Let cool completely, then cut into pieces.

Greek Baklava before going into the oven

Ingredient Tips and FAQ

Phyllo dough: Typically you can find frozen phyllo dough at most grocery stores and fresh phyllo dough at Greek markets. Whatever brand you get, make sure it’s the sheets and not the cups!

Puff pastry? Phyllo dough is described as crumbly and light and puff pastry dough is described as a bit denser. While you can substitute puff pastry for phyllo dough, it isn’t recommended because it won’t be as authentic.

Sauce/syrup? This recipe calls for a sweet and simple honey syrup: sugar, water, honey, and vanilla extract. If you want, you can make a more citrus flavored syrup by adding orange zest/juice or lemon zest/juice.

How do you know when baklava is done? It should be a nice golden brown color when it’s time to remove it from the oven and add the syrup on top.

Why does my baklava fall apart? When preparing the dish you are going to partially cut it into diamonds before baking. This helps it cut into individual servings more easily after its done baking. But overall phyllo dough is naturally crumbly, you should probably eat this dish with a fork.

Close up of baklava recipe

Serving and Storing

Baklava should be SERVED at room temperature. It is best if you let it sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours/overnight after baking in order for the syrup to get through all of the layers. This will make it delicious and flavorful!

It should be STORED at room temperature for about a week with a light covering such as a tea towel. They are best 3-4 days after making, but are good for about a week before really becoming inedible. Since it’s stored at room temperature it’s super easy to just serve up that way; no need to rewarm it.

Baklava in a serving dish

For more sweet treats, try:

Baklava Recipe

Baklava is sweet and flaky with the perfect nutty crunch. Each bite of this Middle-Eastern delicacy is decadent and delicious!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 20
Calories: 295kcal
Author: Natalie
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Ingredients

for the baklava:
  • 1 16 ounce package frozen phyllo dough
  • 1 pound finely chopped nuts - walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter - melted
for the syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup honey

Instructions

  • Thaw the phyllo dough according to the package directions.
  • Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, mix together the chopped nuts and cinnamon. Brush the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with melted butter.
  • Place two sheets of the phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan, and brush with melted butter. Add another two sheets and brush with butter. Add two more sheets of phyllo dough, then brush with melted butter.
  • Sprinkle about two tablespoons of nuts on top of the dough, spreading evenly. Layer another two sheets of dough on top of the nuts, and brush with melted butter. Continue to alternate adding nuts and layers of dough, brushing the top of each dough layer with butter, until all of the nuts are used up.
  • Layer two sheets of dough on top of the last nut layer, brush with butter, and repeat twice more so that the top layer of dough is six sheets deep.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava diagonally into rows, then turn the pan and cut the opposite way diagonally, to form diamond shaped pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  • While the baklava is baking, make the syrup by stirring together the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the water and sugar to a simmer over medium heat, then stir in the vanilla and honey. Simmer 20 minutes, until thickened slightly.
  • Pour the syrup over the hot baklava, spreading evenly. Let cool completely, then cut into pieces.

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 288IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg