Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

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This Greek Spinach Pie is traditionally made by buttering layer after layer of phyllo. Try my easy Spanakopita recipe using my simplified method for a crisp, gorgeous pie.

Spanakopita in a metal rectangular baking pan cut into squares.
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My recipe for spanakopita is one my Sitto learned at her Greek Orthodox Church and shared with me. The original includes the best of everything, and my original post went to the heart of a grandmother who never had children of her own yet amassed an unbelievable number of children and grandchildren. A woman I take after in a whole bunch of ways.

Spanakopita, or spinach pie, is traditionally made as phyllo dishes always are: separating the delicate sheets of phyllo and buttering each layer, with a rich filling in between. It takes some doing to keep the phyllo from drying out while all of that buttering is taking place!

But now, with my fabulously simplified method, spanakopita can be pulled together in a fraction of the time. The secret here, my hack, is to pour the butter over the whole assembled and cut pie, allowing the butter to absorb before baking. Game changer!

Ingredients on the counter for spinach pie

What is Spanakopita?

Spanakopita is a traditional Greek spinach feta pie. Layers of thin, crisp phyllo pastry are filled with a luscious filling of spinach, cheese, herbs, and eggs. The phyllo assembly typically calls for buttering each thin layer individually, which is time-consuming and takes some finesse because the phyllo can dry out quickly.

Why you’ll love my Easy Spanakopita Recipe

Time Saver. Move over, time-consuming Spanakopita. No more carefully brushing butter on every single sheet of phyllo dough! This recipe stacks the phyllo dough on the bottom and on top of the filling. You’ll cut the dough into sections before baking and pour the clarified butter all over the top of the Spanakopita. It takes longer to bake it than it does to make it! And this simplified method results in a pie that tastes just as fabulous as the original method, but much more quickly.

Loaded with Flavor. This crisp, rich, cheesy favorite uses fresh crumbled feta cheese, fresh chopped dill, yummy spinach, and buttery baked phyllo for a WOW in every mouthful!

Spinach. It’s no wonder this green leafy vegetable is considered a superfood. It’s packed with nutrients, low in calories, and high in fiber. A win-win ingredient.

Phyllo Dough. If you’ve never baked with phyllo dough, fear not! You won’t have to separate the individual sheets of delicate dough. This recipe makes it easy to create spanakopita without any fuss.

Perfect for any Occasion. This spanakopita shines as a main course and is “company worthy”. It can complement any buffet as a side dish, perk up a brunch/ lunch, or even be cut smaller for appetizers.

Butter ghee in a jar

Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

Frozen Spinach. I prefer the ease and convenience of frozen spinach because I usually have it on hand and it tastes as good as fresh spinach when it’s all baked in. Of course, you can use fresh spinach after you wilt it and just like the frozen, you’ll need to drain and squeeze out any excess moisture.

Feta Cheese. For the best and most robust flavor get the feta cheese in a block and crumble it yourself. Precrumbled feta cheese will work too so no worries if that’s what you have.

Cottage Cheese. Cottage cheese offers a mild flavor and creaminess to the cheese mixture.

Cream Cheese. I like cream cheese because of its smooth texture and it adds a nice tang to the taste.

Eggs. To bind the cheeses and the spinach together.

Scallions. These are young onions, the cousin of garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives. Scallions add the perfect amount of onion flavor without being as strong as red or yellow onions.

Fresh Dill. This awesome herb is what gives the filling its pop. It’s a game-changer in Spanakopita. I love fresh chopped dill but you can use dried dill in a pinch.

Clarified Butter. Clarified butter, also called ghee, is simply butter with the solids removed. I use this kind of butter exclusively with any of my phyllo dough recipes because it gives the crispy texture and golden brown color to the dough. Regular butter has solids that turn to liquid when baked which can cause soggy phyllo dough. You can easily make your own clarified butter or you can purchase butter ghee at your local grocery store. I prefer butter ghee rather than oil-based ghee.

Phyllo Dough. Use the 9 x 14-inch package of one pound of phyllo dough, which contains 2 packages of 20 sheets each. Because there are generally two sizes of phyllo readily available, I call this size the “short box” of phyllo. The “long box” of phyllo contains one sleeve of sheets that are 14 x 18 inches. If you use the long box of phyllo, simply cut that stack in half crosswise to make two stacks that fit in your 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Generally to prevent sleeves of open phyllo dough from drying out, a kitchen towel over top is key. For this recipe, the phyllo stacks go directly into the pan so the dough doesn’t have time to dry out.

Phyllo dough for Lebanese baklawa, Maureen Abood

How to Make Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

For the Filling:

Step 1. Squeeze the spinach in the sink to remove as much excess liquid as possible.

Step 2. Stir the feta, cottage cheese, and cream cheese until well incorporated.

Step 3. Add eggs and stir to combine. Stir in the scallions, spinach, dill, salt and pepper.

Filling in a bowl for spinach pie

For the Phyllo Crust:

Step 1. Brush the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan or baking dish with clarified butter.

Step 2. Unwrap one of the packs of phyllo dough and unfold it on the counter. Trim the long edge to fit in the pan. Place the whole pack (20 sheets) in the bottom of the pan.

Step 3. Spread the spinach mixture over the phyllo dough.

Filling in a pan for spinach pie

Step 4. Unwrap the remaining pack of dough and unfold it on the counter. Trim to fit in the pan. Place the whole stack on top of the filling.

Step 5. Use a sharp knife to cut the phyllo dough into even sections, cutting all the way through to the bottom of the pan.

Step 6. Pour the melted Clarified butter over the entire top of the phyllo dough. It may look like it’s resting on top but give it a minute, it’ll seep down into the cuts. You can tilt the pan to move the butter, so it covers the dough completely.

Step 7. Bake the Spanakopita for 40-50 minutes or until golden. Cool for 10 minutes.

buttered phyllo for spanakopita in a pan
Spanakopita the easy way: with the butter poured over the assembled and cut pie.

Tips for making Spanakopita this easier way:

Be sure your knife to cut is sharp. Precutting the phyllo dough before baking is the key to having the clarified butter soak into all the layers from the top to the bottom of the pan. A freshly sharpened knife will make it easy to cut through all the layers of dough.

Make this ahead of time and bake later. The Spanakopita can be made ahead and left in the refrigerator, covered, for a day, then baked when you’re ready. Or you can make it ahead and fully bake it, let it cool completely, and refrigerate. Then when you’re ready to serve just reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through.

Substitutions and Additions:

Substitute dried dill if you don’t have fresh dill. Use two teaspoons of dried dill for this recipe if you can’t get fresh herbs.

Use fresh parsley if you don’t have dill. Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley is another great herb commonly used in Spanikopita.

Ricotta Cheese can be substituted for cottage cheese. It’s a classic that works well in this recipe too.

If scallions aren’t available, substitute chopped onion and garlic, a clove, can also be included.

How to store Spanakopita:

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Reheat slices on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 -13 minutes, or until heated through.

Freeze baked Spanakopita in a freezer-safe dish for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating in the oven.

Baked golden spanikopita spinach pie in a pan

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make spanakopita in advance?

To make it in advance, assemble the whole pie, cut it into pieces, and pour the butter over top. Then, cover and refrigerate for up to one day and bake just before serving. Bake the spanakopita cold, as directed in the recipe, adding a few more minutes if needed.

Why is my spanakopita soggy on the bottom?

The bottom layer of the pie may get too wet if too much butter is used, or if the spinach is not squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible from the thawed, frozen leaves.

What do you serve with spanakopita?

Spanakopita is a rich, filling, and satisfying dish. If you’re serving the spanakopita as a main dish, make light sides such as Greek salad, Lebanese salad, or roasted cauliflower.

Serve spanakopita as a side dish for meats such as seared lamb chops with mint, grilled kofta, chicken shish tawook, or beef shawarma.

Do you eat spanakopita hot or cold?

Spanakopita is great hot or cold. That said, I find that it tastes most delicious when it’s hot, so I like to reheat any leftovers in the oven.

Other Similar Recipes:

My (Much!) Easier Lebanese Baklava

Easier spanakopita with golden cut pieces in a pan
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5 from 14 votes

Easy Spanakopita Recipe

My simplified method for spanakopita, Greek Spinach Pie, is to pour the clarified butter over the assembled filled phyllo. So much faster! And the results are just as crisp, flaky and delicious as if you buttered every layer individually. Cut the pie into however many pieces you'd like, larger for a main dish, medium for a side dish, and small for appetizers for a crowd.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 8 pieces

Ingredients 

  • 8-10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 7 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced (both white and green parts)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A Few grinds black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup clarified butter, melted
  • 1 pound package frozen phyllo dough, 9”x14”, thawed to room temperature, unopened until just before using
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Instructions 

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Squeeze the spinach in the sink to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • In a large bowl, combine the feta cheese, cottage cheese, and cream cheese until well incorporated (it helps to stir the room-temp cream cheese in a small bowl first to loosen it and smooth it out).
  • Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the scallions, spinach, salt, pepper, and dill.
  • Brush the bottom of a 13” x 9” x 2”-inch glass or metal (not dark) pan with a teaspoon or two of the clarified butter.
  • Remove one sleeve of the phyllo from its wrapping and gently unfold it. Trim the long side by an inch so it will fit into the pan. Lay the entire stack in the bottom of the pan and smooth to fit.
  • Spoon the filling over the phyllo and gently spread the filling evenly over the phyllo.
  • Remove the other sleeve of the phyllo from its wrapping and do the same as with the first: trim the long side by an inch so it will fit into the pan. Lay the entire stack over the filling layer and smooth to fit.
  • Use the tip of a sharp chef's knife to mark where your cuts will be around the edge of the pan: one mark on the short side and three marks on the long side, evenly spaced. Then cut the length of the phyllo down the middle, making sure to cut all the way through to the bottom of the pan. Make three cuts crosswise to get 8 large pieces, again cutting all the way through to the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour the melted clarified butter evenly over the assembled and cut pie. Use the tip of the knife to again cut through where the cuts were made previously to ensure the butter gets fully absorbed.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the spanakopita rest for a few minutes, then cut from the pan and serve.

Video

Notes

Storing: You can store leftover slices in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Reheat on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 -13 minutes, or until heated through.
Freezing: Freeze baked spanakopita in a freezer-safe dish for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating in the oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 1004mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3744IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 8 pieces
Calories: 523
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33 Comments

  1. Kasey says:

    5 stars
    5++++++++ I rarely give a recipe 5 stars, yours deserves more!!! I have been a banquet cook for 3 years, having been a dairy farmer for the last 30 years, it is my new career since selling the milk cows. Anyway, we have been doing 5 course Wine pairing dinners once a month to boost income for the business. The owner is an expert forager and this months wine dinner she decided to have a foraged item in each course. I picked a bushel of Stinging Nettle leaves, mostly smaller ones from the top, cooked down like spinach, squeezed and pulsed in the food processor. I made no other changes and it was outstanding! I used your wash and rinse method for the butter, again, thank you for the lesson!! The most difficult part was cutting into serving sizes before baking as I had to cut them smaller. I made 4 pans to feed 70. I made Ramp chowder and ramp butter for on top of biscuits. I own land that has a creek and an over abundance of Ramps for my use. I will be making this recipe many times in my future!!! I am going to explore your web page for other useful recipes knowing they will be as wonderful as this one.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Kasey WOW! I’m honored! Thank you for your wonderful note and your high rating for this wonderful recipe. Your world sounds just so enchanting and truly amazing. Ramp chowder and ramp butter! Delicious. Please keep in touch as you explore here, I’ll love to hear from you.

  2. Pia says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe. It turned out amazing.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      That’s wonderful Pia, thank you! You have a beautiful name.

  3. Stella Kartsonis says:

    5 stars
    Amazing results !! After decades of wrapping triangles of spanakopita I made this and will never do it any other way !! We Greeks love our unique recipes just as you love Lebanese dishes…I’m sharing this with others and will try baklava…however I may divide the phyllo into 3 or 4 sections to
    have more than one nut layer. I think it will be ok and i will use whole cloves on each piece. So glad I discovered you !! Happy baking and cooking !!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Stella this is an honor! I’m so happy to hear from you and that you like this method. Some of my best friends in the world are Greek and we share so much in common. Your baklava with cloves sounds divine!

  4. Lynette Tellefsen says:

    5 stars
    Really easy and delicious! I did add extra spinach. I love that there is cottage cheese and cream cheese as well as feta. Sometimes the feta can be overwhelming. I will definitely be making this again. It was so easy to put together. Thank you for a great recipe! It turned our perfectly.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Ohhh love that, extra spinach. Thank you Lynette!

  5. Judy says:

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness this was so delicious! Great fresh flavor! Loved the simplified method of pouring the melted ghee over the phyllo. I was a bit concerned at first,,,,is the ghee going to be absorbed? Will it taste greasy? No,,,it was perfect!! Big hit for Easter. Thank you for the recipe. Loved your video too! You are a natural!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Judy thank you so very much! I’m happy the spanakopita was a hit too…such a great method! And that filling…!

  6. Nancy Lonergan Larsh says:

    can you recomend the best way to keep spanokopita warm for a buffet. i want to leave out once heated. i don’t want them soggy. should i use a chafing dish? a heat lamp. appreciate your thoughts including don’t leave out just keep replenishing from warm oven, thank you!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Nancy, great question. You could use a chafing dish as long as you don’t keep the lid on tight. I’m afraid it will just steam and the phyllo will soften. Keep the lid ajar and the chafing dish is a good option. Certainly replenishing from the warm oven is simple, it’s just not always easy to do if they don’t eat it up right away and it lingers even shortly and gets cool.

  7. Olivia Eskander says:

    Hi Maureen,
    Beautiful recipe so excited to do it for my grand children than I was so disappointed to look and see ingredients are 3oz etc …
    I live in Australia and we use grams, I don’t know why Americans don’t consider us and use both, I noticed this in so many recipes.
    So please could you please include grams in your recipes, because you have many testy ones. Thanks Maureen. X

  8. Geoff Stuart says:

    Maureen, scallions come in many sizes, so “4 scallions” could mean anything. The last bunch I bought were nearly 1/2 inch thick, nearly as big as leeks! I’m sure using four of them would be a disaster. Can you give us a rough estimate for how much CHOPPED scallions you need in this dish? 1/2 cup? 1 cup?

    Thanks!

    Geoff

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Geoff! You won’t go wrong with thicker or thinner scallions for this recipe. But in general, use about 3/4 cup chopped scallions. Delicious!

  9. Beth Schroeder says:

    Maureen,
    Can I make the spinach pie and then freeze it for later? What is the best way to freeze it if I can? Then how to reheat it?
    Thanks, Beth Schroeder

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Beth great question, you sure can. You can freeze it fully assembled with butter, unbaked, then bake from frozen (extend bake time as needed). Or you can freeze it after baking then reheat on low. In either case, wrap the whole thing well before freezing.

  10. Sands says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I’ve tried a few and this was the best one yet with one change.
    I only used one sleeve of the dough with 9 pieces on the top and 9 on the bottom. It was all I had. It browned up and the flavor of the fresh dill did the trick. So easy, a time saver and so good!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Excellent tips Sands, thank you! Can’t wait to have this simplified dish again soon here…

  11. Lauren Petrouleas says:

    This is our Greek family’s favorite easy spanakopita recipe. Easy and delicious. Remember to use a feta cheese in the brine and fresh dill… chefs kiss!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Excellent recommendations and much appreciated from your Greek family, Lauren!

  12. Karen Golden says:

    Thanks so much another great recipe! It has been a life saver this summer with entertaining. I have a crowd coming for Coast Guard Festival and I feed them breakfast before they head out for the Parade. Folks will be taking plates of food outdoors to eat, and your Spanakopita works really well with my morning buffet spread. Do you think I could adapt this to a large Nordic half sheet pan by simply doubling the recipe? Or am I better off just making (2) 9 x 13 pans?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Karen I think it’s easiest to manage in two 9×13 pans, but you could absolutely make this in the half-sheet pan using the larger sized phyllo available in some groceries.

  13. gail k. says:

    Made this for late Mother’s Day. My son had emergency surgery Mother’s Day Monday, he’s fine now but we had to delay… He’s vegetarian, so worked hard to find something he and my other son would both be happy to eat is always a challange.And this is perfect.Thank you.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Well that’s just wonderful to hear Gail, thank you and what lucky sons you have.

  14. Joan Rossy says:

    Made it this weekend and we loved it! Thanks

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      So happy! Thank you!

  15. Susan anderson says:

    I have a greek. Husband, an has”e been making greek food, f[r 40 years.. I do spinach pie in 2 parts, filling ,takes 1 hour, goes in fridge… Next day, fix, 2 buttered pans, 13 x 15, butter every 2 layers, divide filling in both an bake. I come out, with plenty of pie an some to freeze

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Fantastic Susan, love the make-ahead plan.

    2. Prema DiMauro says:

      What would the results be without adding the butter at the end. It seems extreme

      1. Maureen Abood says:

        Hmmm, I have not heard of making phyllo pastry of any kind without adding butter (or oil).

  16. Linda Little says:

    I made this recipe for Mother’s Day and it was delicious and so easy. We served it as a side with grilled lamb chops. Your recipes are so good. Thank you Maureen.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Your lamb with the spanakopita sounds SO GOOD!!!! Thank you Linda!