Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)

Golden crispy perfection.. Have a bite of this amazing Galaktoboureko and let its juices flow in your mouth! Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert made with layers of golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter, filled with the most creamy custard and bathed in scented syrup.. Simply amazing! This is a very easy to follow Galaktoboureko recipe for you to recreate this traditional sweet delight from scratch.

After a lot of experimenting, we have distilled the essence of this delightful traditional Greek dish to a few easy to follow steps for you to make the very best Galaktoboureko on  your first try!

All the secrets to make the perfect homemade Galaktoboureko the traditional Greek way!

This easy to follow Galaktoboureko recipe can be summarised in three key stages: Layering the phyllo sheets, Preparing the creamy custard filling,  and Preparing the scented syrup.

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

When preparing phyllo based desserts, like this Galaktoboureko recipe and baklava, a little trick to make the phyllo crispier and flakier is to sprinkle the melted butter over the phyllo sheets, rather than brushing them.

Tip: Working with phyllo can be tricky as its brittle and can dry out very quickly, so check the handling tips before start preparing this Galaktoboureko recipe.

Prepare the Galaktoboureko custard

For the custard, all traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipes use thin semolina, to achieve the characteristic grainy texture of the cream, which in this case is not consider a flaw. On the contrary, what is considered a flaw for a traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe is a very smooth, starchy and tight custard.

In most recipes, the eggs are added whole towards the end, but with this Galaktoboureko recipe the eggs are beaten into meringues and combined in the semolina based cream. This is the secret to a more fluffy and creamy custard and to avoid the egg-y smell, which can ruin the flavour of your Galaktoboureko.

Tip: Just be careful to add the semolina slowly to the warm milk to avoid it forming lumps!

Prepare the syrup

To achieve the perfect texture for the syrup of the Galaktoboureko, you should never blend or stir the syrup, while it is boiling. Just let the sugar dissolve in the hot water, remove from the stove and add some honey to make the syrup nice and thick.

For the perfect Galaktoboureko: crispy phyllo and right syrup-ing go together! To accomplish this make sure that the syrup is cold and your Galaktoboureko is really hot. Always laddle really slowly the cold syrup over the hot Galaktoboureko, enabling each ladle to be absorbed, so that the syrup is absorbed evenly. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the Galaktoboureko to cool down for a while before cutting into pieces.

So go ahead, give this traditional Galaktoboureko recipe a try and amaze your friends and family! Oh and you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Συνταγή για παραδοσιακό γαλακτομπούρεκο με σιμιγδάλι.

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Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (711 votes, average: 4.85 out of 5)
  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 16 pieces 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek


Golden, crispy and extra syrupy. A no fuss, three step Galaktoboureko recipe to make the best traditional Greek custard pie on your first try!



Base Ingredients

  • 450g phyllo pastry (14 ounces/ 910 sheets)
  • 210g butter (8 ounces)

For the Custard

  • 160g thin semolina (6 ounces)
  • 220g sugar (7.5 ounces)
  • 500g milk (18 ounces)
  • 4 eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
  • a knob of butter
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 500g single cream (18 ounces)

For the Syrup

  • 360g water (12 ounces)
  • 640g sugar (22 ounces)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a cinnamon stick (optional)


  1. To make this Galaktoboureko recipe, start by preparing the syrup. Into a small pan add the sugar, the water and lemon zest (and a cinammon stick) and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved; remove the pan from the stove, add the honey and stir. Leave the syrup aside to cool completely.
  2. To prepare the custard for the Galaktoboureko (steps 2-7), divide the eggs into yolks and whites. In most traditional Greek recipes, the eggs are added whole towards the end, but with this Galaktoboureko recipe the eggs are beaten into meringues and combined in the semolina based cream. This is the secret to a more fluffy and creamy custard and to avoid the egg-y smell, which can ruin the flavour of your Galaktoboureko.
  3. Place the egg whites and 50g sugar in a mixing bowl. Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachment/s are free of any water. Use an electric mixer or electric hand beaters to whisk the egg whites and sugar until the mixture is very thick and glossy, all the sugar has dissolved and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted (meringues). Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the yolks and 50g of sugar, until the mixture is thick and foamy. This should take about 5 minutes.
  5. With a spatula add 1/4 of the meringues into the egg yolks-sugar mixture and blend with light circular movement from the bottom up. Gradually add all the meringues into the mixture and fold.
  6. Pour into a saucepan the milk, the milk cream and the rest of the sugar, and bring to the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil slowly add the semolina and the vanilla extract; turn the heat down to medium heat and whisk constantly until it the mixture becomes creamy. Remove the pan from the stove, add a knob of butter and fold. Let it cool down until warm (50c / 120F), else your mix will curdle in the next step.
  7. Fold together the two mixtures, from step 5 and step 6 and set aside. Stir occasionally, to keep the custard from forming a skin on top, while you prepare the rest of the Galaktoboureko recipe.
  8. For this Galaktoboureko recipe, you need a large baking tray, approx. 20x30cm. Melt 230g of butter, and butter the bottom and sides of the tray. Remove the phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve; you will use 5 sheets of phyllo for the bottom of the Galaktoboureko.
  9. Begin by layering the sheets one by one on the bottom of the tray, making sure to sprinkle each one thoroughly with melted butter. Layer four sheets of phyllo so that they extend half in the pan and half out of the pan horizontally and vertically and one more in the middle.
  10. Tip in the custard, smoothing the surface with a spatula and fold the phyllo sheet flaps over the custard.
  11. Add 4 sheets on top, sprinkling each sheet with melted butter. With a knife trim some of the excessive phyllo and roll the rest on the edges. Brush the top with enough butter and scar the top of the Galaktoboureko with a sharp knife.
  12. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 60 to 75 minutes until the phyllo is crisp and golden.
  13. As soon as the Galaktoboureko is ready, ladle slowly the cold syrup over the pastry, enabling each ladle to be absorbed.
  14. Serve after the syrup is absorbed. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 573kcal
  • Sugar: 58.5g
  • Sodium: 178.4mg
  • Fat: 25.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 15.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 80.7g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Protein: 6.9g
  • Cholesterol: 112.6mg

Keywords: Galaktoboureko, How to make galaktoboureko, Greek custard pie

Recipe image gallery:


  1. Charlvante Charleston

    I used tapioca flour and mine came out with a great consistency. It’s extremely difficult to find semolina here in North Carolina.

  2. Francisco Jose Salvatierra Lopez

    Inai para polu Orea. Euxaristo. Absolutely marvellous.

  3. Absolutely outstandingly perfect dessert, very impressive! Thanks 🙂 …looking forward to trying some other amazing greek dishes 😛

  4. Made it last Sunday following the recipe as it is. Two days later only one piece left and I think that says everything! I only have to question the amount of syrup but after using it at the end, I had to take some out. However, following the steps, no eggy smell, lamps or runny custard, just a delicious home made sweet dish reminding me home. Thank you for the recipe, excellent!

  5. I am at a loss. Solids normally have a mass (kilograms, grams, ounces, etc.) and fluids have a volume (litres, millilitres, cups, teaspoons, etc).
    500 grams of milk and a similar description of water make no sense. Can you kindly clarify this Eli.

    • Both solids and liquids have both mass and volume 🙂 To convert from one to the other you would need to know the density of the substance [].

      For water, it’s easy: 1g = 1ml, and many liquids (including milk) can be safely approximated to that. So 500g = 500ml = about 2 cups. Now, the cup measure is actually less clear: US cups and Imperial cups are not the same…

  6. Janette Gregorian

    Eli, Please list the USA conversion of the ingredients. Others have also asked.. What is Single Cream? What would be the USA equivalent? As others have asked.. What is knob of butter? Thank you.

  7. Beware of the butter and milk you put in the galactoboureco. The secret is that the leaves are well buttered to be crisp. The best desserts you will find in “Arkadiani” which we export all over the world. Take care of every Greek recipe using genuine Greek products. Whoever wants traditional Greek food or drinks can visit our online store, which is addressed to wholesalers:

  8. Janette Gregorian

    Eli, Please list the USA conversion of the ingredients. Others have also asked.. What is Single Cream? What would be the USA equivalent? As others have asked.. What is knob of butter? Thank you.

  9. Best galaktoboureko recipe….EVER. It was gone in a matter of minutes and everyone asking for more. So easy to make and the cooking tips worked a treat. Eli thanks so much for sharing… this is definitely a household favourite in this aussie family.

  10. Made this for the first time a few days ago. Absolutely fantastic result! Everybody loved it. There is a lot of syrup, but after a day or two it seems ok! It’s nearly all gone now anyway! Great instructions but I nearly put too much sugar in the custard mixture as I was not subtracting the 50g in egg whites and 50g in egg whites from the 270g total for the custard.. phew. I also just approximated 1ml =1g for the milk and the single cream I used – seemed to work perfectly! Thanks so much for this recipe!

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