Lebanese Spinach Pie (Fatayer Recipe)

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Lebanese spinach pies, or fatayer, are savory little pockets of dough stuffed with a flavorful spinach filling. Fatayer are shaped into adorable triangles and baked to golden brown.

Lebanese spinach pies on a vintage blue plate, by Maureen Abood.com
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Lebanese spinach pies, or fatayer, are among those special foods that send us into total reverie, perhaps one of the finest bites in the Middle East! The Greeks give us their spanakopita recipe that includes feta and phyllo dough, while Lebanese spinach pies are made with thin, tender bread dough that is stuffed with spinach and onion and shaped into small hand pies.

What is Lebanese Spinach Pie (Fatayer)?

Most every cuisine has their own version of a savory hand pie. For the Lebanese and many throughout the Middle East, our spinach pie is called fatayer (pronounced fuh-tie-uh). The dough is easy to work with, and the filling is a mouthwatering blend of spinach, onion and lemon. These golden little triangle-shaped pies are about 3 inches in size. Fatayer are a delicious part of Lebanese Mezze, small bites to enjoy before a meal or as their own little meal with a drink. It’s amazing if any of the fatayer last from just out of the oven to wherever the baker’s destination for them might be. They are that delicious! You want to eat them ALL and fight over who gets the last warm fatayer, from the moment they are pulled from the oven.

The shapes and sizes of fatayer may vary with every cook. The smallest fatayer I have seen were teeny, tiny little bites as part of a passed appetizer cocktail hour at my brother’s wedding. Knowing how challenging it can be to shape fatayer, this was an amazing feat, these tiny bite-sized triangles! The largest fatayer my cousin Jim makes, the size of a man’s hand, beautiful and wow, so easy to eat the whole big fatayer in one fell swoop…. 

My fatayer successes and failures (oh yes) all inform my best recipe for Lebanese Spinach Pie success. The dough recipe here takes just one rise (rather than the typical double-rise of the dough ball), rolls with ease, and results in a tender envelope for the filling. Follow my tips and methods for the most beautiful, delicious spinach pies, soon to come out of your oven too!

Fatayer Lebanese triangle shaped pies on a sheet pan

How to make Spinach Fatayer

Step 1: Make the dough. The dough needs about 90 minutes to rise, so start this first. Make the basic dough mixture in a stand mixer with the hook attachment or by hand. Kneading the dough by hand takes longer because the dough is sticky.

Step 2. Make the spinach filling. Our goal in mixing the filling is to remove as much juice as possible, creating a dry mixture that won’t release the juices that can cause fatayer seams to split.

Step 3. Roll out the dough. Once the dough is doubled in size, roll half of the dough ball out on the counter. Carefully lift the dough off the counter to allow the dough to contract. Roll again and lift again, then a final roll will do it to keep the dough nice and thin.

Step 4. Cut the dough in circles. Use a 3- to 4-inch round cutter. Cutting the dough circles is similar to making cut-out cookies.

Step 5. Fill the fatayer. Fill each circle with a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each round. Be careful not to let the filling touch the edges of the dough where it will be gathered and pinched closed.

Step 6: Shape the triangles. Bring three sides of the dough circle together in the center, up over the filling, and pinch into a triangle. Pinch the dough firmly, shaping as you go. Place the fatayer on a baking sheet (you’ll need two, lined with parchment paper or foil) as you finish each one. When they are all shaped, go back and pinch the seams on each fatayer again!

Step 7: Bake the fatayer in a 375° F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

What You’ll Need to Make This Lebanese Spinach Pie – (Spinach Fatayer) – Recipe

What You’ll Need for the Dough

Active dry yeast

Sugar, just a touch to encourage the yeast

Warm water

All-purpose flour


Neutral oil, such as canola, avocado, or safflower oil. Look for expeller-pressed when purchasing seed oils like these, which means chemicals are not used to extract the oil

Extra virgin olive oil, to coat the pies before baking

How to Fold the Dough

To shape the dough for fatayer, be sure that the filling placed in the center of each flat round of dough does not touch the edges. That juice can keep the seams from staying closed.

Pull the dough up from the edge in three places at once, bringing those three points together above the filling. Stretch the dough to get there as needed.

Pinch the three points together very firmly. Then pinch the three seams from the center, firmly, to form the triangle.

Once all of the fatayer are shaped, go back and pinch the seams one more time. This is your insurance policy to get the seams to stay closed!

What You’ll Need for the Filling

Spinach. Fresh or frozen chopped spinach (my preference is frozen chopped)

Yellow onion, finely diced

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice or lemon crystals

Cinnamon or allspice

Toasted pine nuts or toasted chopped walnuts

If using fresh spinach, sprinkle with salt in a bowl. Set aside to macerate (get the juices flowing) for 10 minutes, then squeeze the spinach to release as much juice as possible. Discard the juice.

If using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out as much juice as possible, and discard juice.

Tips for Making the best Lebanese Spinach Pies

Don’t overproof the dough. We are working to keep the dough thin and tender rather than puffy and bready. This is why the dough rises just one time, taking care not to let the dough rise more than double in size.

Work swiftly when rolling and filling the pies. We do this for two reasons: the longer the dough sits, the more it will continue to rise. And, the longer the dough is exposed to air, the dryer it becomes. The dough seals better and stays closed when it is sticky during the process, not dry.

Substitute sumac for lemon juice. Some fatayer recipes call for Middle Eastern ground sumac in place of lemon juice in the spinach mixture. Sumac has a citrus-y flavor and doesn’t introduce more liquid to the filling; this reduces the juices that can cause the fatayer seams to open during baking.

Cook the spinach in a dry skillet. This is another way to evaporate the moisture in the spinach, by “cooking” it. Add the spinach to a dry skillet over medium heat and sauté until dry. Cool completely, about 30 minutes, before proceeding.

Fold the dough rather than pinching three seams. This is an alternative to the traditional fatayer triangle shape. Simply fold up the sides of the dough round (that has filling atop) three ways, laying the dough up over the filling and over each of the prior folds, to create a closed pocket.

Use frozen bread dough as a substitute for homemade. Many a baker substitutes the homemade dough with frozen dough balls. Thaw the dough, allow it to rise to double in size, then roll each ball into a flat round and proceed. Frozen dough yields more bread-like fatayer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make fatayer in advance?

Fatayer freezes really well. Bake and cool completely, then freeze the pies in zip top freezer bags or airtight containers for up to six months. Reheat in a low oven until warmed through.

What do you eat with fatayer?

These little pies taste so good all on their own, but do include them as an appetizer with yogurt dipping sauce, hummus, or Lebanese Baba Ganoush. They make a great lunch with a side salad. The pies are also right at home with any Lebanese or Middle Eastern spread, such as grilled chicken shawarma, Lebanese grilled kafta, Lebanese baked kibbeh and so many other dishes. Fatayer is especially popular and delicious at brunch.

What is the difference between Greek spinach pie and Lebanese spinach pie?

Greek spinach pie is spanakopita, a savory phyllo pastry with spinach and feta cheese filling. Lebanese spinach pie is fatayer, a yeast dough stuffed with lemony spinach and onion filling.

How do you pronounce Fatayer?

Fatayer is Arabic and pronounced: fuh-TIE-uh. The “r” at the end of the word is essentially silent.

What do Lebanese call bread?

The Arabic for bread is khubz (cubz), also transliterated to khubez, khoubz, khubooz.

Can you use other fillings for fatayer?

There are many wonderful versions of fatayer that are traditional: spinach, seasoned lamb or beef, and cheese. Experiment on your own too, to enjoy lots of fatayer flavors! Try Feta and Kale fatayer, for example.

Spinach fatayer on a platter
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5 from 5 votes

Lebanese Spinach Pies (Fatayer)

These little pies filled with spinach are a Lebanese favorite. They're also wonderful with classic fillings like kale and feta, spiced meat or squash. Fatayar freezes well in a ziplock freezer bag and can be reheated from frozen, or simply thaw to room temperature and eat. Serve fatayer warm or room temperature as an appetizer, or for a meal with a salad.
Prep: 2 hours
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 fatayar


For the dough:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup neutral tasting oil, such as avocado, grapeseed, safflower, vegetable, canola
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the spinach filling:

  • 8 cups fresh spinach, OR 2 lbs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or allspice
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted
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Make the dough:

  • Proof the yeast by dissolving it in ¼ cup of the warm water with the sugar and letting it activate for about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk together the flour and salt in a mixer bowl or medium bowl. Create a well in the center and add the neutral oil and proofed yeast mixture. Using a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment or by hand, slowly work the wet ingredients into the dry, adding 1/2 cup of water slowly. Add more of the water only as necessary to create a sticky dough.
  • Knead by hand or with the dough hook in the mixer until the dough is very soft, smooth, and tacky/sticky to the touch (but it should not leave dough on your fingers when touched). The kneading by hand can be awkward at first because it’s such a wet mess, but as you knead, the dough will firm up a bit and absorb all of the water.
  • In a clean bowl at least twice the size of the dough, lightly coat the dough and the sides of the bowl with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 90 minutes. Take care not to overproof the dough.

Make the fatayer:

  • If using fresh spinach, sprinkle with the salt in a medium bowl. Set aside to macerate for 10 minutes, then squeeze the spinach of as much juice as possible. Discard juice. If using frozen spinach, squeeze as much juice as possible, and discard juice.
  • Combine the spinach and onion. Just before filling the pastry, add cinnamon or allspice, pepper, and lemon juice. If using frozen spinach, add salt (fresh has already been salted to remove the juice). Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
  • Roll half of the dough out on a dry work surface to 1/8-inch thickness (see how here). Gently lift the dough from the edges to allow for contraction. Cut dough into 4-inch rounds. Cover with plastic wrap. Knead together the scraps, cover with plastic, and set aside.
  • Fill the rounds of dough by placing a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each round. Be careful not to let the filling touch the edges of the dough where it will be gathered together and closed. A good way to keep the filling in the center is to lower the spoon with the filling over the center of the dough (parallel to it) and use your fingers to slide the filling off the spoon and into the center of the dough circle. Place three nuts on top of the filling; this method works better than adding the nuts to the filling because it’s easier to be sure each fatayar has enough nuts.
  • Bring three sides of the dough together in the center over the filling and pinch into a triangle. Close the dough firmly.
  • Place the fatayer on the baking sheets, pinch the seams again, and generously brush or spray the dough with olive oil. Bake in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Set the oven on convection bake for the last 5 minutes of baking to encourage browning.
  • Repeat the process with the other half of the dough, then with the scraps that have been kneaded together and left to rest for a few minutes before rolling out.


Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 939IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 fatayar
Calories: 121
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  1. Fatima Saab says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was so helpful and the only one that has worked for me thus far. Thank you soooo much. They are delicious!!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Fatima I’m so happy to hear this! Thank you! Delicious…

  2. JR says:

    My sitto owned a Syrian bakery and made the best spinach pies …she always added sumac to the ingredients, something I don’t always see in other recipes.
    Have you ever seen spinach pies with sumac Maureen?

    PS Your reference to using Rhodes dough had me smiling…such a great memory!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      This is neat JR! Sumac yes, with spinach in fatayer and often in place of lemon. It allows for a dryer filling which is helpful in shaping. Very delicious too! Funny about the Rhodes dough!

      1. Becci says:

        My grandma used to soak and add a few golden raisins to the spinach mixture sometimes. It gave an amazing, sweet layer of flavor that I loved!

        1. Maureen Abood says:

          Ohhhh delicious!! Must try, thank you!

  3. Mandy says:

    I make a big batch of these every year. They’re so good – they taste just like the ones I like from my favorite market!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      That is so great and delicious!!

  4. SHEBL ABI-NADER says:

    can I purchases a few dozen in the Virgina Beach Area.

    757 575 4860

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Oh Shebl, I’m so sorry, I don’t sell prepared foods. Try Beirut Bakery in the Detroit area, they ship great fatayer!

  5. Virginia says:

    Well, I’m a little late to the party, but I’m making spinach fatayer today, and thought I’d chime in on the spinach.

    I use frozen spinach … it has less liquid to begin with. I absolutely hate the process of squeezing fresh spinach. So I cook it first. I just dump it in a skillet with olive oil, and stir and saute until it’s nice and dry, adding the onions at some point in the process. Once that mixture is out of the pan, I toast the pine nuts in it. It’s so much easier than squeezing!

  6. Amy Wazwaz says:

    I am an American Muslim married to a Palestinian, I tweaked my spinach pie recipe from a normal one like yours, but I found everyone loves it now. I do not put onions in mine. I use fresh spinach. Approx one bag makes five spinach pies. I usually make between 12-17 bags of spinach at once and will make approx 75 plus spinach pies. They last a day max. I use Rhodes frozen rolls. It makes perfect dough everytime. I add lots of sumac, lemon juice, cumin and salt from the very beginning after I have chopped it all up. I mix it throughly in big bowl. Let it set for at least three hours stirring often. I drain all the liquid I can get out of it before using it. Yes, pretty much squeezing it to death in handfuls after handfuls. I also pinch mine. I know many who do the fold over method. But I just can not get myself to do it. After baking I brush them with olive oil and cover them with towels to cool and soften up. To my surprise. As an American most of my husbands family say my spinach pies are the best. But my family loves the sour insides of them and the dough turning out perfectly everytime is a major help.

    Now you made me very hungry for them, and we just moved into a new house with a horribly crappy double oven set. I ordered new ovens but still have to wait almost two more weeks before they will stove and be installed. Convection ovens really make such a great experience when baking foods like these.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Amy I love this! Thank you for sharing, your fatayer sound soooo good. I hope your new oven arrives SOON!

  7. Madeleine G. says:

    I came across your website and recipes in a quest to reclaim a bit of family history! My jiddi passed away this past summer, and with it many secret ingredients, tips, and drinks. In the aftermath of his passing, I managed to master his infamous Kibbeh recipe! I’m now on a personal quest to learn all the recipes from my childhood and bring them back to the family table. Thank you for your lovely articles! I can no longer pick up the phone to pester my jiddi about his recipes, but I feel newfound confidence in your writing.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Madeleine, this is precious. I’m so sorry about the loss of your Jiddi, so hard. He’d be thrilled wouldn’t he that you are making all of our wonderful recipes?! I am too. Please let me know any questions and love hear more about what you’re making. It’s my honor to be on this meaningful journey with you.

  8. Suhail sahhar says:

    Maureen my mother made the perfect fat Ayer sabanegh. I remember with mom she was always very patient with her cooking. It was like art being created. She was never in a hurry. I feel we live in such a time that we want everything microwave speed. But the best food like art takes time.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      We have soooo much to learn from mothers like yours. Patience and care, patience and care. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  9. Jan Rines says:

    Maureen, perhaps this suggestion is already listed (I’m not going to read through all of those comments!)… have you tried the ‘Martha S.’ approach? Squeeze the spinach in a ricer. Its amazing how much water you can get out, with the bonus that its much less messy than covering your hands, towels, etc. with spinach juice.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Jan–I love the idea and would love to try it. Thank you for encouraging all of us to get the water out with a ricer! Sounds like I need to get one!

  10. Ashley says:

    Hi Maureen! Would you happen to know of a version that is cheese-only? The Lebanese food festival in Richmond, VA does a version with cream cheese, feta, onion, etc. and it is to DIE for!!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Ashley, that sounds delicious! I have a recipe in my cookbook that is labneh-only, with scallions and mint. I’ll have to get after one here on my blog too!

  11. Cindy A says:

    Hi Maureen, have you made these with whole wheat flour? My husband and I are going to make these for Easter. Crossing my fingers that they stay closed!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Cindy, I think what would work well is a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flours. My pita recipe in my cookbook is a mix and it’s great. I haven’t tried it with the fatayar dough–let us know how it goes!!! Keep the dough somewhat sticky for better closure, no flour on the roll-out and one rise for the dough.

  12. Lori says:


    Can I make my Fatayar and freeze it until needed and then pull it out and bake it? I have a party coming up and I wanted to make a bunch of these in advance.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Lori–absolutely, but go ahead and bake the fatayar, then freeze them. Warm them in a low oven (150-170 degrees) til they’re warmed through before serving, and they will be same as fresh-baked. If they seem dry at all on top, brush with a touch of olive oil or melted butter.

  13. Maria A. says:

    Love these little pies of goodness! So versatile a vehicle for all types of fillings. I am going to make the spinach and roasted pine nut version for my next wedding reception catering event. Fabulous recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How great, perfect for weddings!

  14. Grace Maroun says:

    Hi! Have you tried refrigerating extra dough? Does it keep well or does the texture change?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I find that any additional rising time isn’t great for this dough, since we’re after a thinner pie dough. I haven’t tried but you could give freezing the extra dough a whirl!

  15. Simone says:

    Hi Maureen! I’ve just recently begun trying to cook the recipes that my Teta and aunties perfected over the course of their long lives. Your method for spinach fatayars has proven the best I’ve tried so far. Thank you for helping me to perfect this special dish. I’m not there yet, but I’ll keep trying!

    Simone Seikaly
    Salt Lake City, Utah

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Wonderful! I’m so glad Simone. Thank you!

  16. Ahlam says:

    Hi Maureen,

    I’ve tried this recipe a few times, and find it incredibly sticky–so sticky that my rolling pin just gets stuck! Any tips? Will adding another cup of floor take away from the dough? Thanks!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Ahlam–oh goodness!! Try holding back on the water, about 1/4 cup, adding a tablespoon at a time and stopping as soon as the dough is sticky (but no dough sticks to your hands). This will be better than adding flour. Let me know how that works for you!

  17. Ann Matchinsky says:

    Maureen, I’ve been making this recipe since your book came out. The dough is the best tasting, easiest handling I’ve found for any type of little savory pie. As with all of your recipes I’ve tried, it has become the standard I go to. I work in a bookstore and there are two cookbooks I recommend every chance I get; yours and The Model Bakery Cookbook. Thought you might be familiar with it given your bay area connections! Your book is a treasure, thank you.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Ann, you made my day! Thank you so much. I’m putting The Model Bakery book on my hit list immediately…

  18. mariam says:

    hi…i always have trouble getting them to stay sealed for the bake..so much work and i want a pretty traingle! yes squuezed dry ..sticky dough but i just dunno…any other tips or ideas..PLEASE!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I hear you Miriam. I’m going to post more about tips and info for making fatayar soon. Stay tuned!!

  19. Linda says:

    Hi Maureen- I love this recipe and I have been making them consistently (with a few small tweaks to the spinach prep) and they have been coming out wonderfully.

    I have a question for you: Do you know the shelf life of these? Normally I refrigerate them for a couple of days after baking while we eat them., but I also feel like I have seen them in bakeries in cases that are not refrigerated. I am wanting to send some in the mail to a friend but I am curious if you have had any experience in that. It would probably take 2 days for the package to arrive. Any input would be helpful. Thanks!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Linda–I haven’t tried this but I don’t know that they’d do so well out of refrigeration for two days. Maybe try leaving a few out in a box at home and seeing how they do to test it out?

  20. crystal herndon says:

    Is there a way to make the dough gluten free? Thanks!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Crystal, I have not developed a gluten-free dough recipe for this, but maybe someone reading here does and can shed some light!

  21. Amy O'Neill Houck says:

    I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit–I haven’t been to cooking school, just Sitto school, but I definitely get the perfection bug in my baking from time to time, and I totally have the same frustration with spinach fatayer. Love your blog! –Amy O’Neill (Markos) Houck (an Irish-Syrian-etc. living in Alaska)

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Amy, hello! And thank you so much! How nice to have another Sitto-school friend here!

  22. Rena says:

    Hi Maureen,
    Thank you for your wonderful recipes. My fatayar turned out crispy instead of soft and chewy. I thought I followed the recipe exactly. The dough was soft and sticky, the filling is fantastic. What could I have done wrong?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Rena…hmmm…it sounds to me like bake time might have been a little long? Also they tend to get softer as they cool, with the moisture from the filling permeating the dough.

  23. Christine says:

    Hi Maureen,
    Thank you for sharing such lovely recipes.
    How much water would you recommend if I use already activated yeast?
    Many thanks x

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you so much Christine! Still use the same amount called for and it ought to work perfectly.

  24. Lila Kaylor says:

    Hi. Loved the part about th spinach ones opening!!! My Mother and Sito always pinched them in a square because if this reason. Leaving an opening on the top. It was awesome that way. The lamb filled ines are my favorite and no matter what they look like not a soul complains because they are delicious

    1. Maureen Abood says:


  25. Sunny says:

    These look amazing, and I love that you’ve started including and adding more vegan recipes in your repertoire. I will be sharing those around for sure!!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Fantastic, thank you! Lebanese cuisine includes all kinds of vegan recipes! Many are in my cookbook as well.

  26. Jenny says:

    I’m really excited to try to make these tonight, but I may cheat a bit using refrigerated Pillsbury (thin) pizza dough. Do you think this would work? Can you offer any pointers for using a refrigerated dough?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Jenny–My mom used frozen dough on occasion but I don’t have experience with the refrigerated. Anyone else? I suspect it will be tasty if not as thin and wholesome as homemade.

  27. dan says:

    Made this reciepie last year for xmas eve,I hope they turn out like they did last year cause they were so good i’m doing them again,noticed they tasted better the next day because lemon marinated with spinach better than same day,so this time I’m gonna let spinach mix rest overnight to marinate,hope its not to much,I doubt it but I’l find out.thanks for recipie,tastesed just like a Lebanese bakery I used to stop at as a kid,still haven’t tried with lamb pie makeing myself maybe some day soon.
    Happy New Year

  28. Anna Khouri Rumsey says:

    I have a shortcut for flattening the dough. When I make spinach pies, I usually do 6-8 dozen at a time for my large family for Christmas, etc. One of my most poignant memories is from many Christmases back about 20 years. I took care of my Sitty– she lived here with me. At about age 97, she stayed out in the kitchen with my husband and I making spinach pies. I rolled dough, she filled it and my husband pinched the sides together. We must have made about 8 dozen or so. She lived to be 102. She taught me all her recipes and I should have written them down– I just do them by rote pretty much. Anyway– my shortcut is to use my pasta maker to sheet the dough. Just pass it through a couple of times, it will be the perfect thin-ness to make the pies. Be blessed.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      This is something! What a great family you have, and what a great idea for the pasta maker…will have to try it!

  29. kim says:

    In terms of making these in advance for a house gathering, can they be assembled in advance, refrigerated uncooked, then popped into the oven before the guests arrive, or do you recommend baking them after assembling, and reheating after that???
    These have always been a favorite, and would like to try them for the holidays….

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Great question–I always bake them before freezing or refrigerating. They reheat beautifully.

  30. Greenporte says:

    Hi Maureen, we are accustomed to some of the best spinach fataya outside of Lebanon (Naya Express, NYC) but we moved away and now pick up dozens only when visit the city. So I made your recipe and, while it is excellent, my dough was not nearly as thin as Naya’s — a little bready. Might it might need more oil?


    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Well I’m so glad you like the recipe–I’m surprised you found this doughy, since it’s made to be rolled thinly with ease. If you are having trouble rolling the dough out,maybe it’s not sticky enough or is rising too long. Keep the dough sticky by not using any flour to roll it out; make sure to do just one rise of the dough and not for much more than 90 minutes.

  31. Athba says:

    Question. How did you get the fatayr not to open when having it in the oven because mine did. But it tastes amazing though. Thank you

  32. Anne Abowd says:

    Thanks Maureen, for a reminder about how fatayer should be made, by a pro. My recipe was a response in how to do this in a hurry and on short notice. The idea for an egg wash came from my daughter Lizzy, and solved my usual problem of the tops not browning well. It leaves a lovely crusty glow to the pies even if they insist on opening up in the baking. Also, the cheese adds a nice flavor and soaks up some of the marinade. Some of your cousins here have gone “vegan” or at least vegetarian, but never complain about the ones mixed with some feta. They go into denial mode, you might say…and that’s fine with me 🙂

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I love this Aunt Anne! Egg wash would be beautiful, and the cheese delicious!

  33. Jean says:

    Excellent dough recipe. I used it to make a meat filled Senegalese fataya / fataya.

  34. Reem Khamis says:

    Love that I finally found a recipe that makes sense and looks delicious. I’m wondering if I can make the dough ahead and freeze it to be thawed and filled a few days later? Would it be better to free the whole dough or after its cut into rounds?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Great! You can freeze the whole dough, since this is cut out rather than pulled into balls as some fatayar recipes call for.

  35. Zelda says:

    I’ve been making spinach fatayer for years using a bread dough recipe that approximated the look but missed the taste and texture completely. Your recipe worked perfectly the first time and now I can make authentic fatayer that will stand up to the standards of family in Montreal and Lebanon.Thank you so much. Now I have fatayer that can compete with the experts.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      This makes my day Zelda! Thank you!

  36. Claudia Kramer says:

    Maureen, I made these last night and it totally transported me back to my time spent in Lebanon. So delish. I came by some fresh spinach at the farmers market and having found your awesome blog just a day before I just couldn`t help myself! I will make sure to try the meat filled version very soon! Have you posted about a cheese filled variation? I remember those from Beirut. I´m also dying to try the knafe. I remember it being the perfect hangover food after a night of partying in Beirut. Sometimes I have a nightmare wandering around Beirut not being able to find knafe. So this is totally happening soon! Cheerio from Munich in Germany

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Cheerio to you too! What I’d give for a night out partying in Beirut! I agree about the cheese variation: must post it! I have a recipe for labneh-filled fatayar in my book.

  37. Hilly Abbasi says:

    Hi, I was wondering how much salt to use to macerate the spinach. Whenever I try it always comes out too salty in flavor. Thanks!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hilly, I call for a teaspoon of kosher salt. Regular iodized table salt is saltier. Cut back by half if yours is too salty; you can always taste your filling and add more salt if needed!

  38. Roger Toomey says:

    Now that I read this I do remember my Grandmother squeezing vegetables. But I didn’t pay attention to what they were going into or ever ask why she did anything she did with cooking. I guess the answer was in the genes all the time.

  39. alicia says:

    Thank you for a great looking recipe but more importantly, thank you for working out all the kinks! How frustrating it can be when you know how a recipe should turn out, but for one reason or another you’re not quite there. I look forward to trying this one out. As an aside, I find that putting a small handful of thawed, chopped spinach in a clean dish towel, gathering the towel into a small bundle and squeezing it is extremely effective in getting all the excess water out. Married to a Greek, I’m much more liable to make spanakopita using this shortcut. Thanks again!

  40. Deidre says:

    Merry Christmas Maureen,
    I just finished baking these for our Christmas dinner. Meat fatayar and kibbe sanee in the freezer; ma’amoul in containers. My kitchen has the aroma I remember from my grandmother’s kitchen when we would arrive in Michigan each summer for our annual visit. Oh how I wish she were still here to ask her how to do this or that! Thank you–your recipes are so close to hers. Grandma Namey was known to be a great cook!

  41. Ronnie says:

    Hi Maureen; These little treats are to die for, my Mom made them & she added raisins to the mixture, gives them a spiced up
    taste………….Thanks for a great site……………….

  42. Ronnie says:

    Hi Maureen; These little treats are to die for, my Mom made them , she added raisins to the mixture, gives them a spiced up

  43. Maureen Sharib says:

    I made these today and ran a second batch of dough after the first batch didn’t rise.
    I purchased a three pack of Fleischmann yeast yesterday at Kroger (exp date 2017) and used warm not hot water but still the dough didn’t rise as well as the the meat pie dough I made the other day w/ your meat pie recipe.

    Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

    The filling is delicious BTW and for your info I don’t mind the dough but my fussy Lebanese husband with the wonderful Lebanese cook mother notices.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hmmm. There are days when my dough comes out differently too, or doesn’t rise. You tried fresh yeast which would be my first thought too. Did the yeast seem to activate before you added it to the mix? If it doesn’t get creamy and bubbly fairly swiftly I always throw it out and start again, thinking my water may have been too warm or some other condition affected it.

  44. Caroline says:

    Hi Maureen,
    where you ve been hiding Maureen !! your recipies are amacing!!
    I want to thank you so much ! I made the spinach and meat pies and they turned perfect ! just exactly how my mom makes them in Palestine !!Thank you again ! I am going to try more and more of your recipe

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Wonderful! Thank you!

  45. Jeannine says:

    I am so happy I found you (by mistake)! I used to make spinach pies years ago. My mom taught me and I lost the recipe. Yours is perfect. We typically do Lebanese for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to bring these back to the table.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Wonderful Jeannine! Enjoy!

  46. Judi says:

    I’m wondering why so much yeast. It seems to me that you wouldn’t want the fatayr to puff up while baking.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Judi–they don’t puff up–there is just one rise to the dough, and the oil and water keep it thin and sticky. The recipe works beautifully!

  47. Serenity says:

    Hello, so gkad I found this recipe. I was wondering how far in advance would I be able to make these without having to freeze them? Also, what would I do on the day of serving them? And if I end up freezing them? I would like to make them for company, but I have to do it in advance. Thanks for your time!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      You can make the pies up to two days in advance, keeping them in the refrigerator in an airtight container–reheat them in the oven at about 325 degrees until they are warmed through. To reheat frozen pies, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat same as the others. You can also reheat straight from frozen, just keep the oven at a lower temp and bake a little longer so as to warm them through without over-browning the exterior.

  48. Nabiha says:

    I absolutely cannot wait to make these! I want to store them up for Ramadan so my question is, can i freeze them raw and, to eat, simply pop them in the oven?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hello Nabiha! If you freeze them raw, flash freeze them on sheet pans and then you can put them in zip-locks to freeze. I typically bake them and then freeze them, then to serve just reheat them in a 350 degree oven and they’re perfect.

  49. Christina Gabriel says:

    Maureen-your website is wonderful! Thank you so much! I would like to make cheese filled ones. I was wondering if you had a suggestion for a combination of cheeses. Thank you!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hello Christina–thank YOU so much! For cheese-filled fatayar, the options are wonderfully broad. Try a combo of feta with labneh or goat cheese with parmesan. Add some chopped scallions or chives or minced garlic and pinch of salt too.

  50. Lorraine says:

    These are absolutely delicious! My best friend is from Lebanon and I grew up eating many Lebanese dishes. My favorite was always Spinach pie. Regretfully, I never learned from Mom how to make these. Your step by step recipe and authentic ingredients are a dead ringer and I make them every year. This year I will be taking them for my girlfriend’s family Easter-they are going to be thrilled. One note, I found that rubbing my finger tips in flour while pinching the pockets works very well in keeping them closed. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I’d like some of your fatayar Lorraine! I’m so happy you are making them!

  51. Cleopatra says:

    I have made spinach pies with my mother in law’s recipe a hundred times but this time I used your recipe but they came out dry and hard. I live in Southern Florida. Could the sea level have made a difference in your recipe.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Cleopatra–how strange! I’ve made this dough many times in southwest Florida without an issue. Was the dough soft and sticky? I wonder if it needed more water.

  52. Sam says:

    Thank for the very good information about the spinach farayer.
    May I ask how best to store them after i take them out of the oven? Keep them out in a bread basket with a bread/cloth cover, refrigerate…? I do not want hem to gent soggy.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Sam–thanks for your question. I keep them in the refrigerator if we’re eating them within a day, otherwise I freeze them. Either way, before serving I always reheat them in the oven, which takes care of any sogginess and makes them like new!

  53. jak zadowolic kobiete says:

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the internet.
    I will recommend this website!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you!

  54. steve george says:

    We used your recipe with a twist! My mother use to make these with a meat and labne filling. We gave it a try and it came out great. Basically we precooked the meat and drained. Then we added the lemon,onion,salt,pepper and mixed in labne! Did everything else per your instructions. Unbelievable!
    Thanks for the great receipes!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Sounds delicious, Steve! Love meat with labne in fatayar!

  55. bunny says:

    I can’t wait to try your dough recipe. My grandmother used to make spinach pies by the ton, her dough was just perfect, a little chewy and perfectly seasoned and not too thick. I have not been able to replicate it, no matter how hard I try!!! I’ve been using bread dough, but its just not the same thing and too thick. So I can’t wait to let you know how they turned out! Thanks!

  56. Mary says:

    I love this recipe.
    My mother in law is Lebonese, she made spinach pies years ago, I was so happy I ran across this recipe, delicious. There is only one problem, not enough, my family wolves them down in no time.
    Can this recipe be doubled?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Mary, and thank you! You sure can double this recipe; just be sure to add the water slowly and hold back so the dough doesn’t become too moist.

  57. Michael says:

    Awesome like Tita made

  58. shelly says:

    My grandmother used to make pies with spinich or dandelion greens and used to use cream cheese and pine nuts. Can’t seem to find a recipe using cream cheese. Can anyone help? Thanks

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Shelly, that sounds delicious. You could just add 3 ounces of cream cheese to the spinach mixture here. Be sure to soften the cream cheese first and stir it well on its own before stirring it into the spinach.

  59. Liz says:

    My mother always added olive oil to the spinach and onion mix. She said to make the spinach mix similar to making Lebanese spinach salad. I am curious to see how it tastes with oil only brushed on the top of the dough.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I’ll be interested to know what you think of this method, Liz!

  60. aeljachi@gmail.com says:

    Two more things:
    – Swiss Chard could replace spinach filling or mixed with it
    – Thyme added to the filling is a great flavor enhancer

  61. aeljachi@gmail.com says:

    The photos look exactly like the fatayer of my childhood and I will definitely try it this week. However, I have two remarks:
    Summaq is more a must than a choice, in my opinion.
    “½ teaspoon cinnamon or allspice”, cinnamon sounds out of place as well as the two spices do not relate to or substitute for each other.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you AJ–I use cinnamon or allspice not because they are a substitute, but because either one is delicious and one or the other is often used in our regional cooking. My extended family never used sumac as a flavoring in the pies but I have tried it and it’s lovely!

  62. Steve says:

    Fantastic recipe- thank you!!
    Everyone that tried them loved them. Many commented that they tastes better than
    The one we buy from the Lebanese bakery’s.
    I added feta & mozzarella to your lovely recipe.
    Thank you!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How great, Steve! The cheese sounds like a wonderful addition….

  63. Klinger says:

    These look fantastic, just like my mother makes, and I bet they taste delicious!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I’ll take that as a high compliment to be compared to your mother’s fatayar! Thank you!

  64. Aunt Anne and Uncle Tom say Happy Birthday from the kitchen ! says:

    Hi Maureen, Thanks for a great recipe. Coincidentally I just finished baking a batch of 50 for a party.
    Have to admit: To save time, I used a couple bags of frozen dough balls (Krogers freezer) quick thawed in a warmed oven in one hour. Meanwhile make a marinade of 1/4 cup olive oil; juice of 1- 1/2 lemons and some grated lemon peel; 4 large garlic cloves, minced; ground sea salt; pepper; a tsp. sumac.
    Add to this an entire container (Costco) of fresh organic spinach–chopped fine in processor; 1 large onion, chopped fine; 2 good handfuls pine nuts, pan roasted in a bit of olive oil; about 1 cup of feta cheese, broken into fine pieces; Let the mix soak up the marinade while you pat out about 10 dough rounds at a time on a floured counter . Preheat oven to 425 convection, or 450 regular, and line an oiled cookie sheet with parchment paper brushed with olive oil.
    Whisk two eggs with a tsp. water till frothy and brush pies all over with the egg wash. Bake for about 10-12 minutes till golden brown. Personally, I don’t mind if a few open up while in the oven. They look like little pizzas, oozing with a lovely juice that sometimes spills onto the parchment and gets crusty and homemade Of course, we eat those ones right away and save the “perfect ones” for the party 🙂
    Bon appetite, Sweetie!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Aunt Anne, your recipe sounds SO delicious–thank you! I will be trying it!

  65. Mary Leo says:

    I’m so glad I found you! My mom used to make fathad along with all kinds of Syrian/Lebanese food. Boy, I wish I had paid more attention!!!
    My fathad always comes out runny (beef and spinach) and it soaks through the dough. Then when you try to eat it, the bottom falls out. 🙁
    I’ll try your method using fresh spinach. Do you think I should pre-cook it first to get the juices out?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hello! You can pre-cook frozen spinach to dry it out (in a dry pan) but cooking the fresh spinach will just make it too moist. Let me know how it goes! I’m glad you’re here!

  66. Maz says:

    Hey Maureen,

    Have you tried adding Sumac and Pomegranate molasses to the filling? That’s how I do it, and it tastes heavenly.

    I agree the dough is the trickiest part. I use a recipe by Barbara Abdeni Massaad, which calls for using a combination of cake flour and bread flour. It’s the same dough recipe for making mana’eesh. The dough is good. However, they don’t always stay closed. 🙂

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hello, and thank you! I love Barbara’s recipes too, especially for the za’atar flatbread. Love the sumac and pomegranate molasses here too!

  67. Olivia says:

    Hi Maureen,
    I could not wait until I finished baking these little beauties before commenting. With flour all over the laptop, oily fingers and a mouthful of the best fatayer dough I have ever eaten, I bless you. I stumbled across your website and instantly had faith your recipe would work. You sounded like you knew you what you were on about lol. I had no problem working with the dough and thankfully none popped open. Thank you for posting and I can’t wait to try out more of your recipes. Congratulations on the award too.
    Love, all the way from down under Sydney, Australia.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How great Olivia, thanks so much! I’m glad you like this fatayar recipe as much as I do, and that yours came out so well “down under”! Thanks and please keep in touch!

  68. Julia says:

    Great site, thanks for sharing the recipes. My mom had Lebanese heritage. We baked the lamb fatayers, but she sent me to a store to buy the spinach fatayers.

    Will try baking them soon, though it will make me emotional.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you Julia–the emotion of our food is half the flavor. Enjoy.

  69. Teresa Sawaya says:

    My mother and grandmother, (from Zahle) called them “Sfeeha”….made with meat filling…have any of your other bloggers used this term? Love them and so healthy too!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Oh yes Teresa, I love sfeha with the meat filling which are the hallmark pies from Ba’albek and Zahle. There is a great recipe for them in my upcoming cookbook!

  70. Vanita Mirchandani says:

    These look delicious.
    I made some with a pepper and cheese filling and used
    refrigerated biscuit dough.But had a similar problem of keeping them closed.
    Some stayed close and some opened up.Maybe will try using toothpicks next time.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      My grandmother sometimes used biscuit dough, according to my mom. Your cheese filling sounds delicious, Vanita!

  71. Yvette says:

    Oh, your recipe looks wonderful and how I love Lebanese food and, ofcourse Lebanese People! I have some in me, from my Mother’s side, my Great Grandparents (Macksouds)were from Lebanon. God bless you and your Family and thank you for sharing.!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How great Yvette! We have Macksouds in Michigan too. Blessings on you and yours and please keep in touch!

  72. Angie says:

    I agreed to make some Lebanese food for an international event we were having. Then I panicked. The only thing I had ever made was hummus. I thought about calling the aunts to get some recipes. What was I thinking, they don’t use recipes. My only consolation is that Siti was 1800 miles away and wouldn’t have to see or taste anything I tried to pass off as Lebanese food. Your recipes for spinach pies and baklawa were so great and easy to follow. Your recipes have been a fabulous panacea for our lack of any middle eastern food here in Oklahoma. Thank you.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      That’s so great (and funny!) Angie, thank you! I love knowing you’re finding a taste of delicious Lebanese food from my site, in Oklahoma.

  73. Kathy Masloob says:

    My daughter recently told me that she uses dried chopped onion from the food co-op to help absorb the moisture from the spinach. I haven’t tried it yet. I keep a paper towel handy to dry my fingertips quickly if they touch the spinach and I am ready to pinch the dough with dry fingers. I also keep flour nearby to pat on the dough edge I am going to pinch, if the spinach juice (or lemon juice) gets the edge wet. You have to work quickly, for sure!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      That’s all great stuff, Kathy, thank you! I’m interested in the use of dried onion for this.

  74. Denise Cernansky says:

    I can’t wait to make these! When I lived in a Pennsylvania Steeltown, we had a great Lebanese Restaurant called Mill City Inn. Owned by the Mowad family. I learned a lot from them and many other nationalities (Italian, Greek, Serbian, Ukrainian, Croatian what a wonderful melting pot that was in the 60’s-80’s for me. I’m 1/4 Hungarian and loving it!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you Denise! Enjoy the spinach pies and I’ll love to know how it goes for you!

  75. Mandy Brzezinski says:

    I have been looking for this recipe for a long time! I’m so stoked to try it! Lebanese food is my favorite mmm MMM!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How great Mandy! Let me know how it goes!

  76. Soll Ballesteros says:

    i tried your recipe,and my employer so as the kids,loved it.
    am a nanny who works for a lebanese family.

    thanks for sharing it,GOD BLESS.

  77. Christina says:

    Hi Maureen
    I’m having trouble when I bake the pies, as they open up. I have tried putting less of the mixture in and making the dough a little bit thicker but it doesn’t seem to help. Just wondering if you had any other ideas?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      It can be frustrating, I know! It helps to be sure your dough is sticky (did you add all of the water?) and not to use flour when you roll it out. Sticky dough stays together better when it’s pinched. You can also try egg white wash around the edges before pinching them together. Pinch numerous times too, to make it a very firm closure. Be sure when you put the spinach on the dough not to let any of the spinach touch the edges of the dough where it will be pinched.

      1. Christina says:

        Thanks Maureen. I didn’t use all of the water; I had about 1/8 left. I’ll try the egg white trick too. Thanks!

  78. Christina says:

    Hi Maureen-I was wondering if you have a recipe for the meat filling too. Love them both!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Christina, I haven’t posted that recipe yet but I do make the meat fatayar often, with about a pound of ground beef, 1 chopped medium onion, salt, pepper, cinnamon. Cook that mixture and squeeze a lemon over it, then continue as you would with the spinach using the meat instead (with toasted pine nuts, too). Enjoy!

      1. Christina says:

        Thank you Maureen! I’m enjoying your recipies!

  79. john says:

    I made fatayar or spinach pies once and the recipe called for cooking the spinach can you or do you have those directions on how to cook and what ingridents go into it I used thegas burner to cook it cant remember directions

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi John–I don’t cook the spinach first because it is not necessary to do that–if you want to do that you can sauté it over medium-low heat as a way of drying out the frozen spinach or wilting the fresh spinach. The less juice you have the easier it will be to seal the fatayar dough.

  80. dolores says:

    This summer my daughter excitedly called me after having found your wonderful and warm
    website with foods my mom used to make. Now most of my life, these recipes were “MOM’s” and
    not any like it. WELLLLLL, you have hit a home run with me because as I grew up (born in Detroit, but
    had to move to Arizona when very young), there was no interest on my part to learn how to cook…but
    mom was queen of the kitchen and did not invite me to do any cooking…..just to clean up! But, the other
    week I decided to make the spinach fatayar and…..yummmmm, JUST like Mom’s except when she made
    the spinach mixture, she combined all the ingredients into a bowl and then filled the dough….she cried many times when the dough would not close and when cooking all opened up. Your method made such beautiful little fatayars and they tasted sooooo good. Here is the offshoot: I had dough left over, so
    since already rolled and rising, I tossed them onto my pizza stone and had 4 of the MOST delicious
    breads EVER! SO soft! My recipe for bread is the same as yours, but I only have on my recipe ” 1/4 cup of oil to 6 cups of flour” so with your 1/3 cup per 3 cups, they are so wonderful. I have made the bread every other day since I started!! Wooo HOOOOO! My husband, who is not born Lebanese, loves
    our foods……when I make them. We are only 2 now, so harder to make stuff. So, my reason for writing
    is that I thank you from the bottom of my tummy (which is where I think my heart is!) for giving all of us
    a wonderful reason to cook again. You write so beautifully. When You spoke of Naomi Nye and how her
    voice spoke to you, my daughter and I “hear” yours with all our hearts. You are one in a million.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Dolores!! I am SO touched, so very touched. Thank you from the bottom of my tummy-heart too! Nothing could make me feel more energized and thrilled than a message like yours. Sending much love to you, your family, and your special Lebanese history. Please keep in touch! xxxx.

  81. Patricia Abood says:

    Do you have a recipe for meat filling for the fatayer that you like? I know some people cook the meat before filling the dough but I find it’s too dry. My dad baked it with raw meat and it was delicious. It was even good cold.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hello there–I have this on my list for publication, but in short it’s a simple mix of sauteed onion, ground lamb or beef, with cinnamon, salt, pepper, lemon. And pinenuts!

  82. Brent Taylor says:

    My mothers maiden name was Mansour her moms madin name was abufadel the recipe when they made meat pies includded zatar spice and mint spinich no zata but had mint also i cook for a living i cook for the head start program in bullhead city az a hour and a half from vages on the colarado river i barowed my Lebanese cookbook my mom gave me with notes in it to correct the recipes to a cef i worked with he had a hart atack died they. Clened his office out and took my cookbook my mother pssed 20 years ago her sister. Is still alive im going to call her and see abought the recipes thanks for having the blog needed to talk abought it to someone miss my mom thanks Brent

  83. Sharon says:


    I am going to make these today. Like you with imjadara, as a child I couldn’t bring myself to eating grape leaves. My cousins all loved them as children. Now as an adult I too love them. funny how our tastes change as we grow up.

    Do you think you could share your recipe for the meat filling? I would love to try them as well.

    I enjoyed your “cousin” article. I have cousins that are more than that and I call them my “sister cousin” or “brother cousin”.


  84. Saara says:

    Since I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe in August I’ve impressed my friends and family constantly. Everybody loves the pies! Last week I made about 250 of them for a birthday party of a friend. Thank you so much Maureen and greetings from Finland!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Wow! You are a fatayar pro, Saara! Thanks so much for sharing.

  85. Lori Feghali says:

    I am going to try making these tomorrow, I’m an American married 24 years to a Lebanese gentleman. I make, my version, of lots of Lebanese food, but, I have never tried spinach pies, so wish me luck!!! I also want to do cheese pies, as well, not too sure what the recipe is for the cheese filling (I can not eat bread nor cheese so I could not tell what would go inside).

  86. Lopitta says:

    We use sumac too. Much tastier than lemon. You can stuff them with most greens. Try silver beet instead of spinach.
    Yours look great. I’ve made them once and I was so proud of myself especially when hubby polished them off by bedtime. I’m too scared to do another batch. It was so time consuming.

  87. Nadooa says:

    I use very little lemon juice but make up for it using a spice called sumac. It is much tastier than lemon juice or even any alternative like citric acid. It has a flavor that I really do like. We use it on chicken and onions when we make Imsakhan over here in Palestine. I just made some actually! I never could get the dough right but it worked just fine today 🙂

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Nadooa, love sumac, and what a great idea to use it in the fatayar with the spinach. I will try it!

  88. Beth says:

    Maureen, thank you for the wonderful recipe. I made these with my 3.5 year old daughter and she had a great time both making and eating them. While mine were not all uniform in size and shape, not one opened up. Thanks for all the good advice.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How great to hear that Beth! Children and fatayar go together! My nephew asks me to make some special for him without onion…

  89. Elizabeth Abood-Carroll says:

    Cousin Maureen,
    It’s encouraging to know that a great cook like yourself has struggled making spinach fatayer too. The ingredients are basic but it can be tricky to get it just right. Luckily, the “mistakes” taste good. For the flour, I have had good luck using King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour. For those, like me, who need to know exactly how warm the water needs to be to get the yeast to activate, I found the right water temperature is 115 F. Thank you for the tips about getting the water out of the spinach and putting the pine nuts on top! Why didn’t I think of that?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you cousin for sharing your details! Let’s make fatayar together someday soon!

  90. Taleb Abulibdeh says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe Maureen. Although i’m half Palestinian, half asian, this recipe still reminded me of grandma’s cooking and living back home. I doubled the whole nuts and used cinnamon as my spice of choice. It was amazing

    Thank you

  91. Elaine Archer says:

    Maureen, You have awakened the sleeping Lebanese in me. Moving away from my MI home at an early age I also moved away from the chance to learn to make some of the great foods my mom made so deliciously well. All of your instructions and helpful hints will help me through my usual mistakes. Your special way of writing, beautiful pictures and recipes have certainly inspired me to increase my cooking (as well as my waistline). I’m hoping you start a revival in the younger generations to keep these wonderful recipes alive.

  92. Vernice Gigante says:

    Hello Maureen I have been looking for a recipe for a long time that took me back to my childhood. I grew up in Brooklyn New York my grandmother on my mother side was Lebanese and her last name was Abood also. She would make them for the holidays and she would always put some on the side for just me to take home. I can’t wait to try your recipe I will be making them for Easter and surprise the family. Thanks for the memories!

  93. ira handwerker says:

    i also had a question…. i am a vegetarian and grow a garden in the summer.. i have used chard and purslane instead of spinach from my summer garden.. has anybody ever used other vegetables for a filling such as koosa.. i never tried it yet…

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thanks Ira–Coosa would no doubt taste good, just would need to be careful of all of the liquid from the squash!

  94. ira handwerker says:

    i am not an experienced baker but i do cook a great deal of mideastern foods.. my family is from turkey as well as yemen.. however i do love making spinach pies and i am surprised i never had a problem with the pies opening during baking.. i use part bread flour and keep it on the sticky side i find they seal better that way.. ive tried variations on the filling i always use some sumac and sometimes i add raisins other times i use some pomengranate molasses.. they are always delicios and truly my favorite.

  95. Emm says:

    Maureen, where can I find the “meat pie” version of this recipe?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Emm, use the same dough and for the filling: saute 2 cups chopped yellow onion, 1 lb. ground round. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, lemon juice. Add toasted pine nuts, and go!

  96. Ali Hoffman says:

    Hey Cousin Maureen,
    My house at school is doing a Middle Eastern Night, so I figured I had to try and represent 🙂 My mom told me to go to you as far as making the spinach fataya. Your fataya definitely looks a lot different than my moms, but I want to try because alot of people that I live with are vegetarians. A few questions though: How do you slice the dough so perfectly, what is a 4” round cutter and where can I find one? Also, could I use this same dough for some meat fataya?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Ali, how great that you’re going to make the fatayar! Your mom is a pro. The dough will roll out nice and thin for you because there is no second rise as is typical for breads. The round cutter is a cookie cutter that is round, 4 inches wide. I use the round top of a canister that is 3 or 4 inches, depending on how small I need the fatayar to be. The top of a cup will work too, it just may take a little more doing to cut the dough if it isn’t very sharp. And yes, this dough works great for meat fatayar too. Let me know how it goes!

  97. Viviane@Taste-Buds says:

    I just stumbled on your blog. I am a (relatively) new Lebanese expat to California. I made Fatayer for rhe first time in my life last Easter at my in-laws (yeah I can be confident like that lol). They were a hit! I love Fatayer, they are a little shy of magical!
    I found that a salad spinner can do magic to dry the spinach. It is like the tool especially made for this! Another thing that I found to work is to drain the filling some before putting it on the dough.

    Glad I found your blog.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Great ideas, thank you Viviane!

  98. ira handwerker says:

    i forgot to mention i also use ground sumac in the spinach pies and a handful of raisins like my grandmmother from aleppo did

  99. ira handwerker says:

    ilove making both spinach pies and occasionally themeat variation.. my family were from aleppo and also turkey so i grew up withthem..in the summer i havemade them with chard and even dandelion greens.. i like using a bread flour for the dough.. i never really had a problem with them opening up but even if they do imsure hey would taste just fine

  100. Alyce says:

    Just made these. Yum! I added feta, hope you don’t mind. My 3 year old gobbled it right up. Great way to get him to eat his green veggies. Thanks for this!

  101. Ronnie Moses says:

    I love Spinach Pies, My Mom made them for us when we lived at home many years ago and since she is gone we do not get the special taste of the Middle Eastern foods such as she made……she also put raisins in her spinach pies, this really sets them off and a wonderful taste….try it sometimes…..

    Keep up the good cooking…………Ronnie……..

  102. Marisa Kradjian says:

    These look awesome and your hints and tips will enable me to make a huge improvement on the recipe I’ve been using! Just wondering about pre-baking and freezing for the holidays. How is the taste and texture when frozen and reheated? Close enough to fresh? What’s the maximum on freezing- like could I prepare on Sunday to freeze then reheat on Thursday? I would like to bring some to a friend on Thanksgiving but can’t see myself doing all the work the morning of. Thanks!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Marisa, and thanks for your great questions. I freeze baked fatayar all the time and they are great for at least a month out of the freezer. They reheat and taste/texture are excellent. You can and should prepare them Sunday for Thanksgiving and freeze!

  103. Peter Hassarani says:

    Hi Maureen,

    I am of Lebanese descent. You can take the boy out of Lebanon but you can’t take the Lebanese out of the boy. My mother, God bless her, went to Him too soon. When I married, my wife who is not Lebanese, did not have the benefit of mums cooking prowess to guide her. Over the years I have relied on relatives to get that magical taste of home made Lebanese cooking and of course our own versions of certain dishes. I recently retired and although I keep busy it occurred to me that I had time to research and try some of my mums dishes. Fatayer was my favourite as a child. I tried your recipe and was pleased at my first attempt. Although some opened they tasted just as good as the others. I did not use pine nuts because mum didn’t. But there was one one ingredient that I remember mum added which was a small amount of chopped fennel leaves. I will definitely try that extra ingredient next time. Some of the other dishes we have made include merhshe kooseh, kibbe mekleea, kibbe naya, loubyeh, hummus and felafel. We have even tried our hand at pickling olives. One dish that I would like a recipe for is Fasoulyeh. I remember a rich stew of kidney beans and lamb on the bone served with rice and egg noodles. I would be forever grateful if you have a recipe for that stew. Keep up the good work….

    Peter Hassarani

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      What a wonderful comment Peter, thank you. I’m delighted to hear about your cooking adventure. I will find out about fasoulyeh and will let you know!

  104. Nina says:

    I love your recipe! I’ve tried making my dough with whole wheat flour, but it becomes dry and a little hard. Have you tried it with whole wheat dough? Is there a secret?

    1. Alyce says:

      I used 1/3 whole wheat flour in mine with great success.

  105. Kristin says:

    Thank you for this recipe! So easy to make but I agree, trying to keep the triangles closed is a challenge, but fortunately they all taste the same! I will be making these for our Eid party this weekend. Thanks again!

  106. Roslyn says:

    Lovely photos! A Lebanese-Australian chef told me she uses citric acid rather than lemon juice in her fatayer to get the requisite tang without the extra liquid.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I’ve seen citric acid used in some cookbooks but haven’t worked with it myself. Very interesting and worth a try!

      1. Janet Moore says:

        I use it Maureen….it works wonderful. I also use it in salads when the tomatoes are so very ripe that you otherwise would have a half filled bowl of juice. Which by the way I love and dunk my bread in. But, the Citric Acid is an amazing fresh lemon taste. Hope you try it sometime. If you do, let me know how you like it.

  107. Jody Namey Atty says:

    My daughter is coming home next week. We’ve never made fatayar without my Mom (who now lives in assisted living) but we’re going to give it a try thanks to your great suggestions! I hope we can make Mom proud!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Jody, this is great!! Your fatayar will be wonderful and will make a Mama proud! Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  108. Cindy Hunter Morgan says:

    O.K. No staples. A quick whipstich with dissolvable thread? Chris or Dick could help sew them up.

    1. Maureen Abood says:


    2. Janet Moore says:


  109. Roger Toomey says:

    I wish I had asked more questions when my Grandmother and Mother (who learned from my grandmother) were alive. They made these regularly. Don’t remember any complaints about them being hard to make or they wouldn’t have made them. My aunts don’t refuse to give recipes and advice, they just don’t get around to answering emails. (Maybe I should try calling.) My Grandmother had 9 children and 20 some grandchildren and on the holidays we never ran out of anything. And she used a wood stove because she just couldn’t bake correctly with an electric.

    Anyway, I haven’t thought about making them in a long time. Your blog brings back so many things that my mind had put in storage.


    1. Maureen Abood says:

      They just had what it takes, didn’t they?! The wood stove–wow. It would be great to see a photo of her baking at her wood stove.

  110. Beth says:

    Ah the plague of too-wet spinach. I have started to dry out my frozen, thawed spinach by heating it in a saute pan over medium heat until the liquid has stopped bubbling out – I have found that this makes it dryer than I can ever can by just squeezing – maybe that would help with the filling?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Clever, Beth!! I will give this a try!

    2. Janet Moore says:

      This is what my mother would do. She squeezed out the spinach and heated it in a saute pan to finish taking the rest of the moisture out. Then she added the lemon while it was hot and it absorbed the lemon….they were delicious. And, I might add, they looked just like yours Maureen….yours are beautiful.
      Thanks for sharing …

  111. Diane Nassir (My maternal grandmother was an Abowd) says:

    Dear Maureen,
    You ALWAYS push the right buttons, and as always, I was smiling AND laughing all the way through your article because I was NEVER able to get my spinach fatayar to stay closed — never have made it on my own since leaving my mother’s kitchen as I always felt like an abject failure. Her spinach and meat pies were always beautiful and perfect, as are yours. And yes, you are so right, our mothers were fstayar making machines–working hard all morning and afternoon for love of family, so we could eagerly gobble them up as they came out of the oven–very difficult to wait for them to cool to eating temp!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I can just SEE the whole scene, Diane! Beautiful!

  112. Rosemary says:

    These were, by far, Mom’s specialty. We’ve all spent hours with Mom trying to master her dough and recreate the mountains of spinach (and meat) pies that she could produce, BY HERSELF, in one afternoon. It was like a fatayar production line at the kitchen table. Mom never served spinach pies that popped open — because someone always ate them, hot from the oven, to destroy any evidence that they ever existed! It’s Lent, so I’ll make some spinach pies in Mom’s honor. Thanks for the reminder, Maureen!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      What a woman!! Thank you Rosemary, and let me know how your fatayar come out.

  113. tasteofbeirut says:

    Love spinach fatayers so much and have been getting some serious practice with them here in Beirut. Yours look picture-perfect!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How wonderful that you are spending all of this time in Lebanon, Joumana!

  114. Lynda says:

    These are lovely – I love spinach everything.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Then these are right up your alley, Lynda. Such good spinach flavor, combined with the delicate golden exterior.

  115. myron abood says:

    Who is this Maureen Abood, the fataya guru? Is she a welcome relative of mine? and how we became so lucky.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      And who is this Myron Abood?! Cousin?! The Abood clan is everywhere!!

  116. Jerry Wakeen says:

    Great article, will forward to wife’s laptop who makes and loves spinach pies.

    Years ago we met with a cousin, husband and two young girls. We made spinach pies and used the dough also for other bread. We jokingly had races to see who could finish them up the fastest. I stole one from the oldest girl and pretended I had done it. She quickly caught me and took it back. If there was a way to attach a photo I could amaze you with a shot of her smiling face and the “big kahouna”, which was a rather large pie that we took a picture of. Every pie was different, I think they all opened up in the center. Thanks for the hints and details.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      A big kahouna fatayar!!! Perfect!

  117. Marci Duryea says:

    Oh Maureen, your fatayar look so beautiful! We like both the meat and the spinach here. Perhaps next week when my daughter is off for spring break, we will make some!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you Marci! They ARE delicious with meat, super delicious. Let me know if you make some!!