Greek Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)

What is spanakopita?

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie that is made from phyllo dough, feta cheese, and spinach. It’s a savory pastry that works for a main or an appetizer.

Adapting Greek spinach pie

Traditionally, spanakopita is made with a spinach and feta cheese filling but is a very versatile dish and can be adapted to the ingredients you have on hand and still turn out great.

Phyllo dough – In Greece, spinach pie made with a homemade phyllo dough, known as village dough. Village dough is thicker than store-bought phyllo dough, however it is hard to find in stores and takes more preparation, so store-bought works just fine.

Cheese – In this recipe I like to add ricotta for a creamier filling, but you can substitute for 2 eggs to bind the ingredients. You can also add a bit of shredded parmesan and adjust the amount of feta to your liking. You could also add some sour cream as well.

Onions – Any type of onion will work in this recipe. I used green onions, but you can substitute for 1 cup of red onions or yellow onions.

Herbs and spices – Parsley, dill, and basil all work well in the filling. Garlic and pesto can be added for a more complex flavor. In some recipes you’ll find a pinch of grated nutmeg, too.

Substitute fresh spinach for frozen

You can substitute fresh spinach for frozen spinach in this recipe, however, you will want to make sure that it is squeezed dry. Once frozen spinach is thawed it will contain lots of water, which will make your spanakopita watery and soggy if there is excess moisture. Most frozen spinach comes in 10-ounce packages, you’ll want 20 ounces of frozen spinach if you are substituting!

Spanakopita appetizer bites (Spanakopitakia)

This dish is great for both an entree or as an appetizer. For an appetizer, score into four parts the long way and six parts lengthwise. I find this way the easiest and fastest for an appetizer, however, you can also make spanakopita triangles by cutting the phyllo dough into 3 by 10-inch strips and brushing the olive oil. Then place a spoonful of filling to the bottom right of the strip and fold the corner so that it forms a triangle. Continue to roll the dough over until you reach the end of the strip!

This recipe can be a little messy, so keep in mind the type of event you are having — dinner party? Yes! Black tie event? Probably not.

Tips for working with phyllo dough:

Thaw phyllo dough by placing it in your refrigerator the night before you want to make a spinach pie. Keep it in its packaging until ready to use.

When making the recipe, keep the phyllo dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the pie. Phyllo dough is super thin so when it is exposed to air, it dries out very quickly and can result in the dough breaking or cracking. When ready to use a sheet, cover the rest with a damp kitchen towel until ready for the next sheet.

If you have any unused dough wrap it in plastic tightly and place it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

How to make spanakopita

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat a large pan and add half of the spinach until it has wilted down about 2-3 minutes. Set aside the wilted spinach, and repeat with the remaining spinach. Gently squeeze the spinach to get rid of excess water.

Combine the wilted spinach, green onions, feta, basil, spinach, ricotta, and dill in a medium bowl until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

Get a 9 x 13 baking dish and spray it with olive oil on the bottom and the sides. Add one sheet of phyllo dough to the bottom of the pan and fold it over so it fits in the pan. Brush the top with olive oil starting with edges to prevent cracking. Layer 7 more sheets, brushing each sheet with olive oil.

Then add the spinach and cheese mixture on top of the phyllo dough and spread it over the pan evenly.

Layer another 4 sheets of phyllo dough on top of the spinach-cheese mixture, brushing each sheet with olive oil. Tuck any remaining overhanging dough into the pan to seal the filling. Brush the top layer generously with olive oil. 

Using a knife, score the spanakopita cutting only partway through. I suggest cutting it into 12 squares for an entree, or 24 for an appetizer. This will make it easier to cut and prevent the phyllo from breaking.

a slice of spanakopita

Place the spanakopita in the oven and bake for 1 hour until the top is crispy and golden brown.

Can you reheat spinach pie?

If you are fortunate enough to have any leftovers, reheat spanakopita by using a toaster oven or regular oven. Using a microwave results in a soggier version.

Oven: Preheat to 350 and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until pie is warm

Toaster oven: Reheat for 4 – 5 until warm throughout.

What to serve with spanakopita?

  • Hummus and pita
  • Greek salad
  • Kabobs
  • Grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs

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Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Greek Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie that is made from phyllo dough, feta cheese, and spinach. It’s a savory pastry that works for a main or an appetizer.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: spanakopita
Servings: 12
Author: Globally Flavored

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces spinach fresh
  • 10 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 green onions chopped
  • ¼ cup basil chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dill
  • Olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
  • phyllo dough thawed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Heat a large pan and add half of the spinach until it has wilted down, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside the wilted spinach, and repeat with the remaining spinach. Gently squeeze the spinach to get rid of excess water
  • Combine the wilted spinach, green onions, feta, pesto, spinach, ricotta, and dill in a medium bowl until all ingredients are evenly mixed.
  • Get a 9 x 13 baking dish and spray it with olive oil on the bottom and the sides. Add one sheet of phyllo dough to the bottom of the pan and fold it over so it fits in the pan. Brush the top with olive oil starting with edges to prevent cracking. Layer 7 more sheets, brushing each sheet with olive oil.
  • Add the spinach and cheese mixture on top of the phyllo dough and spread it over the pan evenly.
  • Layer another 4 sheets of phyllo dough on top of the spinach-cheese mixture, brushing each sheet with olive oil. Tuck any remaining overhanging dough into the pan to seal the filling. Brush the top layer generously with olive oil.
  • Score the spanakopita into 12 squares with a knife, cutting only partway through. This will make it easier to cut and prevent the phyllo from breaking.
  • Place the spanakopita in the oven and bake for 1 hour until the top is crispy and golden brown.

Notes

Thaw phyllo dough completely by placing it in your refrigerator the night before*
Place a damp kitchen towel over the phyllo dough sheets when not in use to prevent it from drying out and breaking

 

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