This Greek Baklava recipe makes a crispy and impressive sweet dessert! With walnuts and cinnamon layered between flaky phyllo dough brushed with melted butter, it's baked and then drizzled with sugar and sweet syrup!

A plate of homemade baklava stacked on top of each other.
Table of Contents
  1. Why We Love This Recipe
  2. What You'll Need
  3. Greek Baklava Recipe
  4. How to Make Greek Baklava
  5. Recipe FAQ's
  6. Tips for Success
  7. What kind of pastry do I buy?
  8. Substitutions and Variations
  9. More Delicious Dessert Recipes
  10. Greek Baklava Recipe

Years ago, a friend mentioned to me that her favorite tradition during the holiday season was making homemade baklava and we have started the same tradition since then.

Although there are a few steps to assembling the baklava, none of them are difficult! It only takes trying it once to realize just how easy it is to make truly fantastic baklava at home!

You kind of have to love nuts to love baklava. If you do, you might also love these Pistachio MacaronsQuick and Easy Candied Walnuts, and Burnt Almond Cupcakes.

I'm a HUGE baklava fan. I mean, nuts and honey and a flaky pastry? You can't beat it. Since the first time I tried this Greek baklava, it has been one of my favorite treats that I tend to have cravings for.

This Greek baklava recipe is perfect for a make-ahead dessert. It stays good after being freshly baked for up to 7 days, or up to 4 months in the freezer! Make up a double batch and enjoy baklava easily for any special occasion!

For more delicious desserts using pastry, check out my Caramel Apple Pie Crescent Rolls, these Cuban Guava Cream Cheese Pastries, Classic Cream Puffs, or these Easy Blackberry Turnovers!

Diamond-shaped pieces of homemade baklava with honey and walnuts.

Why We Love This Recipe

  • Customize this Greek baklava recipe with nuts and spices to suit your taste.
  • Made with ingredients you can easily find at the grocery store.
  • This detailed guide will show you how easy it is to make baklava! The instructions might look intimidating, but really it's just making a simple and quick syrup, then layering a package of thawed phyllo dough with butter and chopped nuts, then baking it!

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Pastry - Phyllo dough thawed according to package instructions.
  • Butter - Salted butter will keep the pastry moist between each layer.
  • Nuts - We're using walnuts for this Greek baklava.
  • Cinnamon - Ground cinnamon adds a warm flavor to this dessert.
  • Granulated white sugar & honey - To make the sweet syrup. Use good quality honey for the best results.
  • Lemon juice - Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best, but use bottled if you have it on hand instead.
Top view of Ingredients for making Greek baklava laid out on a worktop.

Greek Baklava Recipe

My only experience with baklava as a child was Genie's mention of it in the Disney movie "Aladdin."

There are many variations of baklava, depending on where it is from in the Mediterranean or the Middle East. Some baklava is sweeter; some more heavily spiced with cloves and cardamom in addition to the cinnamon or perfumed with orange blossom or rose water. And the nut-filling used in baklava can be different from region to region, country to country.

The way baklava is assembled or even sliced gives clues to its origins. Diamond shapes, triangles, rectangles, and squares are the most common kinds, although I have also seen circles, cups, and "cigars," which are basically just little rolled-up tubes of baklava.

I did quite a bit of research when I was trying to decide what kind of baklava to make! I knew that I wanted to go with a Greek approach since my favorite baklava always has a strong honey flavor to it, but I also really love pistachio baklava.

The walnut and cinnamon filling with honey syrup and diamond-shaped baklava slices of this baklava all indicate a Greek origin. The flavor was absolutely incredible, with just the right balance of sweetness, warmth, and butteriness from all the honey, cinnamon, butter, and walnuts, with that little bit of lemon juice to offset the other flavors.

This really is a very easy classic Greek baklava recipe. Having now made it dozens of times, I can't believe it took me so long to try it!

A large pan of homemade baklava cut into diamond shapes.

How to Make Greek Baklava

  1. Prepare pastry. First, you'll need to thaw the phyllo dough completely by placing it in the fridge overnight. Let the package of phyllo sit the next day, unopened, on the counter for 1 hour prior to making your baklava so it can come all the way to room temperature.
  2. Make syrup. Combine the sugar, water, honey, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil for 4 minutes more without stirring. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Prepare the sauce before assembling the baklava so it has plenty of time to cool completely before pouring over the baked phyllo dough. This can even be done a day ahead.

Sugar, honey, and water in a saucepan to make syrup for Greek baklava.
  1. Prepare nuts. Chop walnuts in a food processor (affiliate link) by pulsing 10-12 times until coarsely ground or chop with a sharp knife until very finely chopped. Stir together the walnuts and cinnamon until combined.
Ground walnuts and cinnamon in a food processor.
  1. Prepare pan. Heat oven to 325 degrees F and butter the sides and bottom of the baking dish (9x13-inch). Trim phyllo to fit in the bottom of the pan, if necessary. Keep the trimmed dough covered in a damp cloth so it doesn't dry out.
  2. Bottom layer. Layer 10 sheets of phyllo pastry into the bottom of the pan, brushing a thin layer of melted butter between each layer and keeping the unused phyllo dough covered with a damp cloth to prevent it drying out.
  3. Layer chopped nuts. Sprinkle approximately ⅕ of the chopped walnuts and cinnamon (roughly ¾ cup) in a thin, even layer over the first 10 pastry sheets.
  1. Repeat with 5 phyllo sheets. Repeat this process 4 more times but with only 5 sheets of phyllo dough between each layer of nuts instead of 10. Don't forget to brush each phyllo layer with more of the melted butter between before adding the next sheet. Sprinkle another ¾ cup of the chopped walnut mixture between each layer of 5 sheets of buttered phyllo dough.
  2. Final layer. Finish the baklava with a final, top layer of phyllo dough brushed with butter between the layers using the remaining 6-10 sheets of dough. Brush the top sheet of phyllo dough with butter as well.
  1. Slice before baking. Carefully slice the baklava into 1 ½-inch wide strips lengthwise, then slice diagonally to create diamond-shaped baklava. Or just slice squares if you prefer.
  1. Bake and soak. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the baklava is golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle all of the cooled syrup over the baklava.
Pouring cooled syrup over hot baklava in a baking dish to soak.
  1. Cool, then serve. Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 4-6 hours without being covered so the baked pastry can soak up all of the syrup and enjoy!
Slices of baklava with walnuts and honey scattered haphazardly next to a metal baking dish.

Recipe FAQ's

What is the difference between Greek baklava and Turkish baklava?

There seems to be a dispute about who really invented modern baklava, with the Greeks and the Turks making the strongest claims. Supposedly, baklava was a favorite of the Sultan at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
It was the Greeks who invented the phyllo (or filo) pastry dough that is used in baklava today. However, many other countries like Lebanon, Iran from the Middle East, and even Hungary in Europe have baklava traditions that stretch back centuries.
The main ingredients in Greek baklava are walnuts for the nut of choice for the filling, and honey for the sweet syrup.
Pistachios or a mix of pistachios and almonds are more often associated with countries like Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, and Azerbaijan. And supposedly, there are strong feelings held by many Turks that honey doesn't belong in baklava. I also have a Turkish baklava recipe, if you want to try it and see the difference for yourself!
Less traditional baklava, like that found in Hungary, uses an apricot filling. I even saw some baklava recipes calling for chocolate chips!

What is Greek baklava made of?

A traditional Greek baklava recipe uses phyllo dough, walnuts, cinnamon, and honey syrup. It's traditionally diamond-shaped as well, and it's one of the best baklava types I have tried!

How do you store baklava?

Baklava can be stored on a plate just covered with a clean tea towel for 1–2 weeks at room temperature.

Can you freeze baklava?

Baklava can be frozen for up to 4 months. Wrap small batches of cooked baklava with plastic wrap. Then put them in an airtight container or a freezer bag, and store in the freezer. I usually do 10-12 pieces per frozen batch so we can have a couple of pieces each as dessert whenever we like. Thaw at room temperature before eating.

Tips for Success

  • Phyllo pastry. Most frozen phyllo dough is sold in 16-ounce packages but some include only 1 large roll of phyllo dough with 18-20 sheets while others contain 2 smaller rolls totaling 40 sheets. It's not a big deal, though. If you buy the larger sheets, just cut them in half, and you are good to go.
  • Keep phyllo from drying out. Don't worry if some of the dough cracks and tears. I also found that despite keeping a damp towel over my phyllo dough, some of it still seemed to want to crack and tear. It's super thin stuff, and I ended up sort of piecing together a few layers of my baklava with broken and torn scraps of dough, hoping it would turn out okay. And it totally did!
  • Timing. Make the syrup BEFORE baking the baklava so that it has plenty of time to cool completely prior to the baked baklava coming out of the oven. It's important to pour cooled syrup over hot baklava; otherwise, it won't be absorbed properly, and you will end up with soggy baklava.

What kind of pastry do I buy?

You are going to need 36-40 phyllo layers that are trimmed to the size of a 9x13-inch baking dish, which is about 8oz. of phyllo.

I have seen 16 oz. packages of phyllo pastry dough that come with either 18 large sheets in one roll or 40 smaller sheets in 2 rolls. 

Either pack will work, so long as you have 16 oz. of phyllo pastry. 

I just cut the 18 large sheets in half down the middle to fit, giving 36 sheets. The 40 smaller sheets might still need to be trimmed slightly around the edges to fit the pan. 

Substitutions and Variations

  • Change up the spices to include some whole cloves, cardamom, or cinnamon.
  • Add some aromatics with orange blossom or rose water.
  • Change the kind of nuts used in the nut layers.
  • The way baklava is assembled or even sliced also gives clues to its origins, with diamond shapes, triangles, rectangles, and squares being the most common shapes, although I have also seen circles, cups, and "cigars," which are little rolled-up tubes of baklava.

More Delicious Dessert Recipes

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Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Greek Baklava

4.94 from 33 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Servings 36 slices
This Greek Baklava recipe makes a crispy and impressive sweet dessert! With walnuts and cinnamon layered between flaky phyllo dough brushed with melted butter, it's baked and then drizzled with sugar and sweet syrup!

Ingredients
  

Baklava Pastry & Filling

  • 16 ounces phyllo dough thawed according to package instructions
  • 1 ¼ cups salted butter melted
  • 1 lb finely chopped walnuts about 4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Syrup

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions
 

Pastry

  • Thaw phyllo dough completely by placing it in the fridge overnight. Let the package of phyllo sit the next day, unopened, on the counter for 1 hour prior to making your baklava so it can come all the way to room temperature.
  • Butter the sides and bottom of the baking dish (9x13-inch). Trim phyllo to fit in the bottom of the pan, if necessary. Keep the trimmed dough covered in a damp cloth so it doesn't dry out.
  • Chop walnuts in a food processor by pulsing 10-12 times until coarsely ground or chop with a sharp knife until very finely chopped. Stir together the walnuts and cinnamon until combined.

Syrup

  • Prepare the sauce before assembling the baklava so it has plenty of time to cool completely before pouring over the baked phyllo dough.
  • Combine the sugar, water, honey, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil for 4 minutes more without stirring. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Baklava Assembly

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Sprinkle approximately ⅕ of the chopped walnuts and cinnamon (roughly ¾ cup) in a thin, even layer over the first 10 pastry sheets.
  • Repeat 4 more times but with 5 sheets of phyllo dough instead of 10, brushing each with between before adding the next sheet and sprinkling with ¾ cup of the chopped walnut mixture between each layer of 5 sheets of buttered phyllo dough.
  • Finish the baklava with a final, top layer of phyllo dough brushed with butter between the layers using the remaining 6-10 sheets of dough. Brush the top sheet of phyllo dough with butter as well.
  • Carefully slice the baklava into 1 ½-inch wide strips lengthwise, then slice diagonally to create diamond-shaped baklava. Or just slice squares if you prefer.
  • Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the baklava is golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle all of the cooled syrup over the baklava.
  • Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 4-6 hours without being covered so the baked pastry can soak up all of the syrup.

Notes

Order of assembly
  • 10 phyllo sheets, brushed with butter between each sheet, then ¾ cup walnut mixture;
  • 5 phyllo sheets, brushed with butter between each sheet, then ¾ cup walnut mixture;
  • 5 phyllo sheets, brushed with butter between each sheet, then ¾ cup walnut mixture;
  • 5 phyllo sheets, brushed with butter between each sheet, then ¾ cup walnut mixture;
  • 5 phyllo sheets, brushed with butter between each sheet, then ¾ cup walnut mixture;
  • 10 phyllo sheets, brushed with butter between each sheet and on top of the final sheet.
Storage
  • Store: Baklava can be stored on a plate just covered with a clean tea towel for 1–2 weeks at room temperature.
  • Freeze: Baklava can be frozen for up to 4 months. Wrap small batches of cooked baklava with plastic wrap. Then put them in an airtight container or a freezer bag, and store in the freezer. I usually do 10-12 pieces per frozen batch so we can have a couple of pieces each as dessert whenever we like. Thaw at room temperature before eating.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 118mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post was originally published in December, 2017. The photos and content were updated in December, 2022.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Baklava is one of my favorite things! I haven't made it in ages but this is making me want to make it again soon!

  2. I love baklava! It's definitely a holiday treat with the nuts & honey.
    I'd love mine with a bit of ice cream, though a tad non-traditional.
    I also like how you provided some background on the Mediterranean region!

  3. 5 stars
    Yum! I love Baklava and it is nice to learn there are different types. I am excited to try this Greek version with the honey and walnuts!

  4. 5 stars
    Also Georgia has a variation of Baklava dessert. It's very similar but made with a bit different dough (at least the one I tried). It's called very similarly, Pakhlava.

    Yours looks amazing - so flakey and I can almost taste the sweetness! Yum

  5. 5 stars
    This is amazing...so informational and gorgeous photos. Love this. I haven't had Baklava in so long, and was more of a Middle Eastern version.

    1. I always use salted butter, but it would be fine with unsalted too. I honestly don't think you would notice a difference with this particular recipe.

  6. Love this recipe, trying it tonight. Do you think I could subsitute agave for the honey or would it destroy this recipe? Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    The you for the recipe. Just made it yesterday and it turned out incredible !!! For the syrup, I substituted Truvia for the sugar and used honey brought back from Greece 🇬🇷. Wish I could attach a photo here if it. Thanks again Amy !!!!

    P.S. My next dessert will be Spanakopita !!!

  8. 4 stars
    what do you think of using pecans in addition to other nuts? do you use black walnuts or english? how about meyer lemons as sub for regular lemon?

    1. You could absolutely use pecans. Pretty much any mix of nuts will work. I think mine are english walnuts. As for the meyer lemon question, I'm really not sure - I haven't actually cooked with meyer lemons!

    1. Puff pastry is too thick and bread-ish for traditional baklava. I'm not saying it would be bad, it just would change the recipe quite a lot and I haven't tried anything like that.

  9. 5 stars
    This is the best recipe I’ve found! I added pistachios to the walnuts, added a couple more layers, and per a suggestion from a friend, added more honey. I also put a few whole cloves in the syrup while boiling. Thank you for the “basic”!!!

    1. I always use a 9x13-inch baking dish. It's the same one I use for casserole, not a half sheet baking pan like I use for cookies.

  10. 5 stars
    I always come back to this recipe for baklava. I've traveled abroad & tasted several versions including the Hungarian one but this one is best to me. My friends in Croatia like me to add very thin slices of lemon on top before baking. Me? I'm a purist. I'd lost the original link to the first recipe. Thanks for this one.

  11. 5 stars
    Tried this after tasting some at a fundraiser. I used this same recipe. I think I cooked it a bit too long so maybe try an hour and 5 min. My oven runs a little hot so maybe the temp was too high. I think next time I will also ground the nuts a bit finer. It was totally a hit at my house this Christmas and I will definitely make it a tradition.

  12. 5 stars
    Wow! WOW WOW WOW! This was so good, I can't believe how well it turned out, it tastes amazing, I could not recommend this anymore. Thank you!

  13. I thought I didn't really like baklava until making this tonight at my wife's Mothers Day request. It came out great! Best I've ever had! Wife is happy! I used a really nice wildflower honey and I think maybe that made a difference. Thanks very much for the recipe.

    1. You are welcome! I'm so glad you found your love of baklava! This version made with honey is honestly my favorite as well.

  14. I’d never made baklava before. This was an absolute winner. SO delicious— even my husband who “doesn’t like baklava” likes this.

  15. I tried this recipe for the first time last year and made 3 batches, The compliments were out of this world .From people who are baklava connoisseurs ! So I'm making it again this year as gifts and to share at the office.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. You made me look like the best baker 🙂

  16. My family makes it with a syrup made of water, sugar, cinnamon sticks & 1 Orange rind (cut the rind off the orange just like peeling an apple and try to keep the rind in one piece). Boil the syrup and pour the hot syrup over the cold scored Baklava. Recipe from Andros, Greece.

    1. Oh the orange rind sounds like a wonderful flavor addition! I'm definitely going to need to try that and I appreciate your input! Thank you!

  17. Hello to anyone who reads this. I’ve been baking baklava now for 35+ years people tell me at some of the best they’ve had. I’ve read the recipes on several different posts and my baklava recipe doesn’t look like a lot of them or any of them. But it’s really really good! It is Not calorie friendly but it’s a holiday treat so who cares? 
    First thing is don’t touch your dough with water, yuck. Totally soggy and unnecessary. The only thing that should touch your Filo sheets is butter. And lots of it. Each sheet of dough should be gently touched but covered with melted butter about every five sheets or so with the walnut mixture.  The walnut mix also has me confused. I was taught to put half a cup of white sugar half a cup of brown sugar into the walnut mix along with the cinnamon. This gives your baklava a whole world above taste! Yep you still put on a cup to 1 1/4 of prewarmed honey after it’s all done nicely warmed and drizzle over the pre-cut previously baked baklava. Try this for a batch I can pretty much promise that you will never go back again to the old recipe. Since I’m writing this at Christmas time happy holidays to all. 
    PS. I’m not often on line so please don’t contact me through email.  My apologies

  18. Recipe is great. I just didnt like the whole commentary way to much to get through just to get to the recipe. Went ahead and went with the original.recipe so I could actually make them. Otherwise it would take a additional hour to read

    1. If it helps, next time right at the top of every post there is a button that says "jump to recipe". If you click on it, it will scroll past all the other content with helpful tips and tricks (as well as some background information on the recipe) if that isn't of interest to you. 🙂

  19. My frist  baklava so I was very excited! My greek husband thought it was the best baklava he has ever tasted! Thank you! 

  20. 5 stars
    Hi Amy! Thank you for your recipe for Baklava! It's very close to my family's recipe, but I used your recipe and got rave reviews from the family! Perfect in every way!