Baklava is a delicious dessert made with buttery layers of phyllo dough, chopped pistachios, and walnuts, all covered with sweet honey syrup. It’s incredible!

I LOVE Greek food, especially BAKLAVA. The sweet and sticky forkful of every bite is amazing, and when you get to enjoy it with your family and relatives, that’s the BEST part.

It really was not difficult to make, though if this is your first time, I can understand if you are intimidated by the thought of making it. I promise it doesn’t have to be perfectly made, because it will all come together just fine. Know that it is a bit time-consuming, but in the end, it’s absolutely delicious and well worth the effort. This is a standout dessert for special occasions!


Walnuts and pistachios in between sheets of phyllo dough soaked in a honey syrup.

Is Baklava a Greek dessert?

I had dinner with a Turkish couple and enjoyed lots of their native dishes. They surprised me by serving Turkish Baklava for dessert, as I always thought it was Greek! I learned that, in fact, several cultures claim Baklava as a native dessert.

Different countries make Baklava with different ingredients. There is no “right” way to make it, although you might have your Mediterranean friends fighting over whose is best!

Phyllo dough squares with nuts and honey.

Is Baklava hard to make?

This recipe is a homemade baklava recipe – it uses minimal ingredients, starting with pre-made phyllo dough. If you eat at Middle Eastern or Greek restaurants, you’ll find their Baklava to be much more intricate than what we make in our home kitchens.

I promise, this recipe comes together pretty easily and is worth the extra effort!
It may be frustrating at times with the phyllo dough tearing or trying to spread the butter over the sheets. Stick with it though! It’s like making a Lasagna, it is a bit labor intensive and may look messy as your assembling, but once baked everything comes together beautifully.
Besides, no one’s going to know if you used a few ripped pieces or missed some spots with the butter.

Is Baklava Gluten-free?

Unfortunately, traditional Baklava is not gluten-free, as phyllo dough is made using wheat flour and other ingredients that contain gluten. The good news is that there are plenty of gluten-free baklava recipes online!

Ingredients for Baklava.

What ingredients do I need?

Here are the ingredients you need for the baklava filling:

  • 1 cup pistachios, chopped finely
  • 1 cup of walnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 pound phyllo dough – this is NOT puff pastry
  • ¾ cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • One teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

You need the following ingredients for the citrus syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Finely ground pistachios (for garnish)
The butter and nut filling for Baklava.

How to make Baklava Step-by-Step

First, we’re going to prepare the spiced nut filling:

Mix the nuts with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium bowl. If you have a food processor, put everything in there and pulse about ten times to get the right texture. It’s an easy way to chop all those nuts!

Process photos for Baklava.

Build the Layers

Gently roll out the phyllo dough and cover it with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.

Line a jelly roll pan (11×16 inch) with aluminum foil, leaving the edges long so you can fold them up to encase the Baklava when you add the syrup later.
*See my notes in the recipe card about using a 9 X 13-inch pan.

Place the first sheet of phyllo dough into the pan and brush it with melted butter. Repeat 7 times until the bottom layer is 8 sheets thick, making sure to brush each sheet with butter.

Spoon a thin layer of the nut mixture onto the phyllo dough. Cover this layer with two more phyllo sheets, brushing each one with melted butter. Continue to alternate nut layers and two layers of phyllo, each brushed with butter, until the nut mixture is gone. Don’t forget to butter the top layer!

Using a very sharp knife, start at one of the corners and very gently make diagonal cuts through the sheets of phyllo dough. Repeat the process going the other direction so that the cuts crisscross and make diamond shapes. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly golden brown and the edges appear slightly crisp.

Making honey syrup to pour over Baklava.

Make the Syrup

While the baklava bakes, make the citrus sugar syrup.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, ground nutmeg, and cinnamon stick. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce to low heat and allow the syrup to simmer for 7 minutes, constantly stirring as the sugar dissolves. You’ll be able to tell if it has dissolved by dipping a clean index finger in and rubbing it against your thumb.

Let the sweet syrup cool completely and remove the cinnamon stick. Then, spoon the cooled syrup over the top of the warm Baklava and let the entire dessert cool and rest for at least 4 hours. I honestly think it’s best the next day!

A tray of Turkish dessert bars.

Baklava Tips

  • Thaw the Phyllo dough by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight. It is sold in your grocer’s freezer section.
  • The Phyllo dough may and most likely will break apart, especially if it is something you have never worked with before. Try not to become too frustrated and start throwing things around your kitchen! Just put the pieces back together as best you can and continue on. The great thing about this is that in the final result, just like in a lasagna, the perfection of the construction will not matter, and it will all taste just as good. It’s just important that you attempt to build it as best you can.
  • To prevent the phyllo dough from tearing, roll it out onto a clean flat surface, and cover it with a damp tea towel. Take only the sheets you need as you assemble and brush with butter then recover with the towel. This will help keep the dough moist and workable.
  • I read that for best results, cooled syrup + hot Baklava = fantastic dessert, whereas hot syrup + cooled Baklava = not so much. So make sure the syrup is cooled and the Baklava is hot!
Layers of phyllo dough, walnuts and pistachios soaked in a honey syrup.

Can I make Greek Baklava ahead of time?

This is the perfect make-ahead dessert since this Baklava needs 4-8 hours to absorb the syrup fully. You don’t even have to refrigerate it- just serve it when ready!

Do I need to refrigerate my Baklava?

Actually, Baklava will keep well at room temperature for up to a week. If you want it to last longer, store it in the fridge, and it will keep up to 3 weeks.

Should I eat Baklava hot or cold?

People typically serve baklava at room temperature. If you keep yours in the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature before eating, as it is typically a bit firm and tougher to cut and chew when cold.

A pan of baklava squares.

Can Baklava be frozen?

Yes, this dessert freezes well! Store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Can I change which nuts I use for this recipe?

Absolutely! I use a combination of nuts in this recipe, but some people prefer only walnuts or don’t like pistachios. Follow your taste buds! You can even use almonds. You’ll want to use a total of 2 cups of chopped nuts in whichever combination or of the specific nut you choose.

Walnuts and pistachios in between sheets of phyllo dough.

Love Greek Food?

If you enjoy Greek cuisine, you’ll love these recipes:

  • Turkey Gyro Pockets with Tzatziki sauce combine the flavors of a gyro made healthier with turkey in a bite-size crescent roll. These are great for a party!
  • Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad is a light yet satisfying recipe that is perfect for lunch or dinner! It’s delicious served warm or cold!
  • Spanakopita is another excellent use of phyllo dough, this time with layers of spinach, onion, and herbed Feta cheese. This “Greek lasagna” is so good!
  • Greek Honey Walnut Cookies are filled cookies that mimic the flavors of Baklava. These are so sweet and tasty!

 Want other dessert recipes? Here are a few that I highly recommend. 




Keep an eye out for my newest recipes!

Baklava – adapted from Simply recipes by Garret McCord of Vanilla Garlic.




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Baklava is a delicious dessert made with buttery layers of phyllo dough, chopped pistachios, and walnuts, all covered with sweet honey syrup. Delicious!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Turkish
Keyword Baklava
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 233kcal
Author Lynne Feifer



  • 1 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 lb phyllo dough
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground cloves


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Finely ground pistachios for garnished optional


  • In a small saucepan, combine ingredients for syrup; water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, ground nutmeg, and cinnamon stick. 
  • Bring ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and allow syrup to simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Set aside and allow to cool completely, removing cinnamon stick. 
  • Prepare a 11 x 16-inch jelly roll pan by lining it with tin foil. Grease it by brushing it with melted butter. *See notes below for making in a 9 X 13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  • In a medium bowl, combine the finely chopped nuts with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Gently roll out the phyllo dough and cover with a damp towel. (It will tend to dry out very quickly when you're working on it.)
  • Place the first sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. With a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until the bottom layer is 8 layers thick, with each sheet being brushed by butter. 
  • Spoon on a thin layer of the nut mixture. 
  • Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat: nut mixture and then two sheets of phyllo dough, each brushed with butter, until there is no remaining nut mixture. 
  • Using a sharp knife and starting at one of the corners, very gently make diagonal cuts across the baklava. Repeat process going in other direction so that they criss-cross. 
  • Fold the tin foil up along the sides and ends so that the baklava is encased. This will allow the syrup to soak into the sides easier after it is baked. 
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and edges appear slightly crisp. 
  • Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for 4 hours. 


This recipe can be made in a 9 X 13-inch baking dish. I recommend a deep one, like a lasagna pan, as the phyllo dough sheets may be a bit larger than the pan itself, and you’ll need to either cut or bunch them up to make them fit.  Also, you may not use all of the phyllo dough by the time you reach the top of the pan.  As you can see in the pictures, I initially began assembling it on a jelly roll pan and then transferred the entire thing to a 9 X 13 inch pan. It turned out perfectly fine doing it this way, though the transfer process was a bit scary. To make it easiest on yourself, I highly suggest you start with either the jelly roll pan or a 9 X 13-inch and just stick with it.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

This post was originally published 8/23/11. It has been updated with pictures and in format on 2/24/23.

Baklava - layers of buttered phyllo dough, with chopped pistachios, almonds and walnuts all covered with a honey syrup. Delicious!

The post Baklava appeared first on 365 Days of Baking.

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