Traditional Spanakopita Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Traditional Spanakopita Recipe


Photos by Sarah Elliott
Photos by Sarah Elliott

Full disclosure — this is not a healthified version of spanakopita, the delicious and classic Greek spinach pie.  This is the real deal, with no dairy spared.  I know you come here for lightened up versions of classic recipes or dishes with a big nutrient boost, but so many people have begged me for this recipe and I promised to oblige.  I make spanakopita once or twice a year, always for the break fast on Yom Kippur.  I always make two large casseroles and they are always a highlight of my buffet.


Spanakopita Recipe | Pamela Salzman

I make a lot of lovely salads and veggie frittatas for the breakfast, but the spanakopita is the real deal — lots of butter, feta, and cottage cheese.  It’s really, really delicious.  Libby, the Greek mom of one of my dearest friends from college shared this recipe with me about 20 years ago.  Over the course of 20 years, I normally tweak a recipe a little every year, but I have not changed this one even a little. I tried once using less butter and another time using whole wheat phyllo dough. Eh. I’m not sure why I had to try.

Spanakopita Recipe | Pamela Salzman

I did create a recipe for a quinoa and spinach salad with feta and dill which I titled on the side, “Spanakopita without the Guilt.” That salad I eat many times a year.  Real spanakopita I do not.  And I certainly don’t need to make anyone feel guilty about eating a little dairy, especially after having fasted the last 24 hours!

Spanakopita Recipe | Pamela Salzman

There is some work involved here, but you can prep ahead if you want.  I usually make the spinach mixture for the casserole in the morning and then assemble it early that afternoon and bake it in time to serve it around 7:00 pm that evening.  But you can also make the entire casserole today and freeze it before baking.  Thaw it out the night before and bake it right before serving.  Spanakopita makes a delicious brunch, lunch or dinner dish and leftovers are wonderful reheated in the toaster oven the next day.

Spanakopita Recipe | Pamela Salzman

Yom Kippur is in a week and I’m just starting to tweak my menu from last year.  I usually change the frittata or vary the salads and desserts a tad.  I’d love to hear what you are making.  Although this spanakopita recipe is staying on the menu as is.  Again!

Spanakopita Recipe | Pamela Salzman

Spanakopita Recipe | Pamela Salzman


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Spanakopita Recipe
  • 1 package filo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator*
  • 3 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed (or use 2 16-ounce packages)
  • 1 bunch fresh scallions or 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 pound goat or sheep milk feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • Handful of grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 large eggs + 1 extra yolk
  1. Melt 6 Tbs. butter in a sauté pan and add scallions and dill. Saute until transparent.
  2. Squeeze excess water from the spinach. You can use a dish towel to wring out the moisture.
  3. Beat the 3 whole eggs in a large mixing bowl and add the spinach, sautéed scallions and dill, feta, cottage cheese, and grated cheese. Mix well together.
  4. Melt remaining butter. Brush the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish with melted butter. Place 10 sheets of filo dough one sheet at a time into the baking dish, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Put filling into baking dish. Add 10 more sheets of filo dough, buttering each one. Beat the egg yolk and brush the top sheet of filo with the egg. Cut into squares before baking (12 or so).
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until golden brown.
*If the package has 20 13 x 20-inch sheets, just cut the stack in half to make 20 13 x 10-inch sheets and save the other stack for another time.


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  1. Hello!
    Where is the video that appears on insta – I had hoped it would be here, too. Glorious recipe. I’m homebound at the moment and will be making this soon. Thanks so much!!

  2. I made this last night. It was my first attempt at spanikopita. I used puffed pastry instead of phyllo. It came out great and my guests loved it. I will make it again and again I’m sure.

    • Puff pastry is a great quick sub for phyllo in this recipe! Thanks for letting me know you made that sub. 🙂

  3. Can leftovers be frozen? Defrosted and then reheated?

    • yes and yes!

  4. Thank you for sharing- this is one of the few authentic recipes online- exactly how my grandfather made it. I bet Libby was from the same area of Greece as my grandfather.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Glad it brought back memories. I love this dish so much!

  5. Hi, I love this recipes so much and have made it so many times ~thank you!! I am making for a dinner party on Friday, wondering if I can make ahead (maybe 6 hours), refrigerate, and then bake before we eat? What do you suggest in order to help with my prep time? Thanks so much!

    • Absolutely! You can even make the filling the day before and then assemble 6 hours in advance and bake when you want. 🙂

      • Hi! Can you assemble the night before or would it get soggy? Trying to figure out how far in advance I can assemble the spanakopita where it would still be good. Thank you!

        • Totally! I usually assemble it up until the point of baking the day before and it turns out great. Or you can make the filling the day before and then assemble 6 hours in advance and bake when you want.

  6. Hi Pamela,

    I have a question. Lets say you make this dish early in the day and you want to warm it up and serve it in the evening. How would you do this? In the oven? Would it dry out the spanakopita? Or should I just serve it room temperature?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Oh, shoot! I’m getting to this comment pretty late. Sorry! Ok, I would reheat it, covered in a 350 oven until warmed through. Doesn’t need to be piping hot. Stick the tip of a knife in there and then feel the knife. If it’s warm/hot, then it’s reheated enough. The time will depend on how cold the spanakopita is to start.

  7. This was amazing!!! Thank you for another perfect recipe

    • Ah, so glad you tried it! I know it’s a little bit of work to butter all the phyllo, but well worth it!

  8. At what temperature?

  9. I’m going to make this for Yom Kippur too! How would you reheat leftovers so it stays crispy?

    • I actually make the casserole just before serving. Leftovers I reheat in the toaster oven. 🙂

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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