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spanakopita on serving board side view

Greek Spanakopita Recipe

This Greek spinach pie is a combination of layers of buttery, flaky, and crispy phyllo dough with a tart spinach and feta cheese filling!
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 (approx.)

Ingredients

For the spanakopita filling:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach (or 16 ounces thawed, frozen spinach) * see notes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

For the crust assembly:

  • 1 pound phyllo dough (about 18 sheets large), thawed ** see notes
  • 3/4 cup (1 & 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  • Make the spinach filling: In a large skillet, combine olive oil, onion, garlic, and salt. Place over medium heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion turns translucent and softens.
  • If using frozen spinach: Move your skillet off the heat. Drain the frozen spinach very well and squeeze out any excess water, then add the spinach to the skillet along with the lemon juice and feta cheese. Toss to combine, and set aside to prepare the crust.
    If using fresh spinach: Wash and drain the spinach well. Add the spinach leaves to the skillet, and continue to cook over medium heat until the spinach is wilted and all of the liquid evaporates (about 5 to 10 minutes). Cool the spinach mixture slightly (for about 10 minutes), then add the lemon juice and feta cheese. Toss to combine, and set aside to prepare the crust.
  • Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  • Start layering: Spread some of the melted butter (about 1 tablespoon) along the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Place 2 layers of phyllo dough on top. The standard size for phyllo dough is about 12 x 18 inches (which is how large my sheets were). So you may need to fold or cut each sheet in half to fit into the baking dish.
  • Spread another layer of butter over the phyllo. Top with 2 more layers of phyllo dough. Repeat the layering process, alternating between a layer of butter and 2 layers of phyllo dough, until you have about 16 layers of dough (or 8 large sheets folded). Do not top the last layer of phyllo with butter.
  • Evenly spread half of the spinach mixture over the last layer of phyllo dough. Top the spinach layer with 2 layers of phyllo dough, followed by a butter layer, and 2 more sheets of phyllo. Top with the remaining half of the spinach mixture.
  • Repeat the layering process again with 2 sheets of phyllo, followed by a brushing of melted butter, until all of the phyllo dough is used up. Top the assembled spanakopita with a final layer of butter.
  • Cut the spanakopita into your desired piece sizes (it's much, MUCH easier to cut before baking!) I like to go with 12 portions, but you can cut them smaller or larger if you like.
  • Bake in the center of your preheated 325°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool slightly before serving!

Video

Notes

* You can make spanakopita with fresh or frozen spinach, but the preparation is slightly different. If using frozen spinach, thaw and drain very well. I recommend giving the spinach a squeeze with your hands for good measure to get as much liquid out as possible. Frozen spinach does not need to be cooked with the mixture. You can just add it in and skip the cooking step.
If using fresh spinach (which is what I did here), you'll need to wash it and cook it with the onions and garlic before moving to the next step. Cook the spinach until it's wilted and there's no longer any liquid coming out. You'll then need to let the mixture cool slightly (about 10 minutes should do) before adding the feta cheese. 
I used baby spinach for my spanakopita, so I left the leaves as is. If your spinach leaves are a bit large, I would give them a rough chop before adding them to your filling. 
** My favorite part about spanakopita is the layers phyllo dough! So I do add a generous amount of pastry! If you'd like a more filling heavy spanakopita, you can decrease how much dough you add. You may also end up using less butter. As a general rule of thumb, you should look to add a little over 1/3 of the dough as a bottom crust, 2 or 3 sheets of phyllo between the spinach layers, and another 1/3 of dough as the top crust. 
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