Traditional Greek Baklava Recipe with Honey and Walnuts

Crispy, nutty and extra syrupy! Greek Baklava is a delicious traditional dessert made of layers of crispy golden brown phyllo, filled with chopped walnuts and garnished with honey syrup. Just heaven! This is a very easy classic Greek Baklava recipe for you to recreate this sweet delight from scratch.

Baklava Origin – Is Baklava Greek?

A lot of speculations abounds about the origin and history of Baklava. Greeks and Turks still argue over its origin and is claimed by both countries. A lot of historians believe that it has its roots in ancient Greece, where they made the ‘gastrin’. Gastrin was a dessert very similar to the current baklava.

What is Greek Baklava made of?

The classic Greek baklava recipe consists of three main ingredients; filo dough, walnuts and honey syrup. Baklava is an extra syrupy dessert which Greeks call ‘Siropiasta’. Syrupy desserts (‘Siropiasta’) are very popular among Greek cuisine and with good reason! From extra syrupy cakes like portokalopita, karidopita or giaourtopita to Greek pastry desserts, like kataifi or galaktoboureko. One thing all these desserts have in common is of course the moist of scented syrup, which makes each one just irresistible!

What kind of nuts are in Baklava?

The nuts used mainly in the traditional Greek Baklava recipe are walnuts. The nuts used in the filling is the difference between the Turkish and Greek version, as the Turkish one uses pistachios. I must admit that my personal favourite is walnuts mixed with pistachios. In Central Greece baklava is made using only almonds, in Pelion with walnuts and northern Greece with pistachio. So feel free to experiment with whatever suits your taste.

What kind of butter to use?

The key for the most flavourful Baklava is to use a good quality fresh butter to butter the phyllo sheets. The authentic Greek Baklava recipe calls for ‘galaktos’ butter made from a mix of sheep’s and goat’s milk, but if you can’t handle its very strong flavour, then you can substitute with good quality fresh butter from cow’s milk.

How to make the perfect homemade Greek Baklava?

After a lot of experimenting, we have distilled the essence of this delightful dish to a few easy to follow steps for you to make the very best authentic baklava with little to no effort. So, this Greek baklava recipe can be summarised in three key stages: Preparing the nut-y filling, layering the filo sheets and preparing the scented syrup.

Greek Baklava recipe with Walnuts and Honey

Greek Baklava recipe with Walnuts and Honey

Greek Baklava recipe – Layering the phyllo sheets

When preparing phyllo based desserts a little trick to make the phyllo crispier and flakier is to sprinkle the melted butter over the phyllo sheets, rather than brushing them. I always prefer to use fresh filo (phyllo) sheets as it saves time defrosting them, but if you choose frozen phyllo, it is important to thaw it completely by putting it in the fridge from the previous day. Working with phyllo can be tricky as it’s brittle and can dry out very quickly. So once start preparing this Baklava recipe, make sure you have a cleared out working surface, large enough to spread the filo sheets and minimise the time that they are exposed to the dry air. (Check the handling tips)

Greek Baklava recipe – Preparing the Honey Syrup

To achieve the perfect texture for the syrup, you should never blend or stir the syrup, while it is boiling, or else it will become grainy. Just let the sugar dissolve in the hot water and boil for 2 minutes to make the syrup nice and thick. Make sure to add the honey after the syrup stops boiling. This will help maintain the aromas of honey intact. Also it is important to cut the baklava into pieces before baking. Always laddle really slowly the cold syrup over the hot Baklava, enabling each ladle to be absorbed, so that the syrup is absorbed evenly. Even though it will be really hard, you should wait to cool down completely before serving.

So go ahead, give this super easy Greek baklava recipe a try and let everyone think you are a master chef!

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Traditional Greek Baklava Recipe with Honey and Walnuts

Traditional Greek Baklava Recipe with Walnuts and Honey

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  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 40 min
  • Cook Time: 120 min
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 24 pieces 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

The best traditional Greek Baklava recipe! A classic Baklava dessert with layers of phyllo, walnuts and honey to amaze your guests with it’s authentic taste


Scale

Ingredients

For the baklava

  • 2530 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 500g (17 oz.) walnuts, chopped (or a mix of walnuts, pistachios and almonds)
  • 2 tsps cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsps grounded clove
  • 300g butter, melted (10 oz.)
  • some whole cloves for garnish (optional)

For the syrup

  • 600g sugar (20 oz.)
  • 400g water (14 oz.)
  • 80g honey or glucose (2.8 oz.)
  • zest of 1 lemon or orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick


Instructions

  1. To prepare this Greek baklava recipe, start by melting the butter in a saucepan over low heat, being careful not to burn it. Use a cooking brush to butter the bottom and sides of a baking pan. (For this baklava recipe you will need a large baking pan approx. 40*30cm). Begin by layering the sheets of phyllo on the bottom of the baking dish to form the base. Layer the sheets one at a time, making sure to sprinkle each one with melted butter. Use about 10-12 layers for the base.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the chopped nuts, the cinnamon and grounded clove. Sprinkle the nut mixture over the phyllo base and continue forming the top of the baklava. Top the nuts with the rest phyllo sheets (10 of them), sprinkling each one with melted butter and brush the top of the baklava with enough butter. You could also try adding some of the filling in between layers of filo.
  3. Place the baklava in the fridge for 15 minutes to make it easier to cut into pieces. Remove from the fridge and using a sharp knife cut all the way down into pieces. If you fancy the taste of clove, place one whole clove into the middle of each baklava piece and sprinkle the top with some cold water.
  4. Place the baklava in preheated oven at 150C on the lower rack (both top and bottom heating elements on) and bake for about 1 1/2- 2 hours, until all the phyllo layers are crisp and golden.
  5. Prepare the syrup. Into a small pot mix all the ingredients for the syrup (except honey) and bring to the boil. Boil for about 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Take it off the heat and stir in the honey. Let the syrup cool down. You can also put the syrup in the fridge. As soon as the baklava is ready, ladle slowly the cold syrup over the hot baklava, until it is fully absorbed.
  6. Let the baklava cool down completely and serve after the syrup has soaked throughput. Enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 398kcal
  • Sugar: 28.3g
  • Sodium: 106.6mg
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.9g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.1g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 4.8g
  • Cholesterol: 26.9mg

Keywords: Greek Baklava, Traditional Honey Baklava recipe, How to make Baklava, Baklava filling with Walnuts, Baklava origin

Recipe image gallery:

 
 

22 Comments

  1. Hi, I’m a little confused about the nuts used for this. It’s states walnuts and almonds in the ingredients, but the photo below shows walnuts and pistachios! Which is it please? Can you use other nuts?

    • Eli Katerina says:

      Hi Rachel, indeed you can use either walnut and almonds or walnut and pistachios, it’s is up to you! I have updated the recipe to reflect that.

  2. Katerina, bravo. A wonderful recipe and your comment re nuts shows the depth of your love for Hellenic culinary art.

    • Hello! Thank you for your compliment, I love greek food, its how I was brought up and hope through this website to share some of my experiences with everyone out there. Hope you enjoy many more recipes from here 🙂

  3. Hi

    Do you lay 15 filo sheets, then the nuts, followed by the remaining 15 filo sheets?

    Thanks

    Lucy

    • Hi Lucy

      That is correct. If you wish you can make a little extra nut mix (about 1/3 more) and layer 15 phyllo sheets on the bottom, half the mix, two sheets, the rest of the mix and the remaining phyllo on top. Its not the end of the world if you don’t use 15 sheets at the top and bottom layer, it all depends on how much phyllo vs filling you like. I like a crunchy baklava, hence a little more phyllo on top and bottom.

      Love

      Eli

  4. Hi there! My name is Georgette, I’ve been waiting for a authentic recipe from a relative, I’m not the type to harass people to retrieve recipes. So I Googled “Traditional recipe for Baklava”, and found yours. I am checking my ingredients’ to see what all I’ll need. I am super excited to create my first authentic Greek dessert Ever!

    However. I work for a Company(I cannot name) that sells this already made. I was taking phone orders this past Christmas, a customer and I talked about this recipe and she mentioned the Pistachio nuts. She said if you want it awesome try it with just the Pistachio nuts.

  5. all the steps to make a perfect baklava are correct except for the fact that it is better to make the syrup put it in the fridge to cool down and once the baklava is ready ,take it out from the stove and pour in the cold syrup on top.
    by the way if you want to taste a real Greek baklava,you should go to this Greek restaurant in Montreal,restaurant thalassa,5637 park avenue,they have the best homemade desserts and you get a free piece of baklava when you order anything from the menu.
    probably the best baklava I have ever had.

    • Mellon Walker Movies says:

      it doesn’t absorb all the way through with cold syrup and then the baklava ends up too dry. Considering the author is greek and other greek people have replied saying this is spot on I don’t think she needs tips from you lol

      • I made and chilled the syrup the second time I made this and I found this to be a great timesaving tip. My Baklava was far from dry and it was all polished off following our family dinner.
        Great recipe!

  6. Hey there. I am Greek & I made your baklava…… ..yummmmmyyyyyy. spot on…….just like mum used to make. My hubby & kids love it !!!!!

  7. Hi, really like to give this recipe a try as a christmas treat for my greek-food-loving mum :)…but i don’t know how much it makes?? & as the whole fam will be over need enough for all!
    Thanks

  8. ayse becker says:

    Hi just a question:After you finish laying down the leaves you put it in the icebox to make it firm so you can cut it,o.k….than you cut only few leaves…..not all the way down ????

  9. Hello, far in advance can you make this recipe?

  10. A really delicious after-dinner treat. Thank you very much indeed for all the detailed steps to ensure success every time. ALL of your recipes work and your instructions give me the confidence to try making special desserts and pastries which my family now ask for again and again. Thank you.

  11. Oh I didn’t realize it was half the phyllo and then nuts. I added small handfuls per layer. Lol. Either way it was amazing! Today is my second time making. I used 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla beans to the nuts also. This time I used pistachio, pecan and small amount of almond, fingers crossed it turns out right!

    • Actually, that is one more variable factor by local tradition. In my background, typically 40 phyllo sheets are used (about a pound) starting with 6 atthe bottom, flowed by finely spread 2oz of nut mixture and than repeated 9 times total with 3 sheets between nut mixture layers, ending with another 6 layers on top. I have friends who insist on thefilling after each sheet… It is all good.

  12. Thank you for the recepie. I am just confused a little bit regarding the syrup, because the recepie is controversial in this regard. In the introduction it says to make sure you always put hot syrup on hot baklava. Then, in the description of the recepie it says that you let the syrup cool down and then put it on the hot baklava. Which version is the right one? Does it make any difference anyway?

    • I would recommend cold syrup over hot baclava. It doesn’t make much of a difference but I’ve found the results to be crispier with a lukewarm / room temperature syrup! I’ve updated the recipe to make sure its consistent 🙂

  13. Just about to pull it out of the oven. Looks wonderful can’t wait to try it.

  14. Shoutout from Sydney, Australia! LOVE this recipe. My girlfriend and I are making your tsourekia for Greek Easter next week. Keep you posted.
    Well done. :}

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