Baklava

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Learn how to make baklava, the layered phyllo pastry filled with chopped walnuts and soaked in a fragrant honey syrup.

Baklava is a buttery layered phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in a fragrant honey syrup. There are regional variations of this dessert all throughout the Middle East, each with different combinations of nuts, spices, and flavorings. This cinnamon-spiced walnut baklava comes from The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook by Beth A. Lee of the blog OMGyummy, and is originally from the kitchen of Sally Benveniste, a Sephardic Jew from Salonika, Greece. Not only is it perfectly delicious in every way, but it’s also relatively simple to make with just a few ingredients.

You can find phyllo dough in the freezer section of most large grocery stores, near the frozen pie crust and puff pastry. The paper-thin sheets of dough can be a little intimidating to work with for the first time, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy – promise!

What You’ll Need To Make Baklava

baklava ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Toast the Walnuts

Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake until fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool until just warm to the touch.
toasting the walnuts

Step 2: Make the Filling

In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in food processor

Process until the mixture looks like sand and small pebbles. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.

blended walnut mixture

Step 3: Make the Syrup

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon stick (if using), and orange rind (if using).

honey syrup in pot

Bring to a boil over medium heat (watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over), reduce the temperature to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool until you are ready to use it.

simmering honey syrup

Step 4: Assemble

Gently lay the phyllo on the work surface and, using a sharp knife, trim the sheets into 8 x 12-inch rectangles to fit the baking dish. (You can discard the portions you cut off.) Cover the phyllo with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.

trimming phyllo dough to make baklava

Brush melted butter on the bottom of the pan. Add the phyllo, 2 sheets at a time, drizzling with 2 to 3 teaspoons of butter after every 2 sheets.

layering phyllo with butter

When you get to the 14th sheet, add 1/3 of the filling (about 1-1/4 cups), spreading it evenly over the surface.

adding walnut filling to baklava

Add 6 more phyllo sheets, drizzling butter after every 2 and adding another third of the filling on top of the 6th. Repeat the 6 layers of phyllo and butter, and add the remaining third of the filling over top. Finish the layering as you started with 14 more layers of phyllo, buttering after every 2. Do not butter the top layer.

layered baklava before baking

Step 5: Cut the Baklava

Using a very sharp knife, cut the baklava all the way through the layers. You can keep it simple and make 24 squares, or cut each square into a diamond. If any butter remains, spoon it into the cut lines.
sliced baklava

Step 6: Bake the Baklava & Add the Syrup

Bake the baklava for 40 to 45 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and you should hear it bubbling. Let the baklava cool for 5 minutes; then use a spoon to drizzle the syrup into all of the cuts. Allow the baklava to cool completely before enjoying, a few hours or overnight.

drizzling honey syrup over baked baklava

How To Store Baklava

The baklava can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, the baklava can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

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Baklava

Learn how to make baklava, the layered phyllo pastry filled with chopped walnuts and soaked in a fragrant honey syrup.

Servings: 24
Prep Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 4 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • Big pinch salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 2 strips orange rind (optional)

For the Dough

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 to 2 (16-oz) packages store-bought phyllo dough, thawed (see note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make the filling: Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake until fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. (Leave the oven on to bake the baklava.) Let the walnuts cool until just warm to the touch. In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and process until the mixture looks like sand and small pebbles. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon stick (if using), and orange rind (if using). Bring to a boil over medium heat (watch carefully so it doesn't boil over), reduce the temperature to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool until you are ready to use it.
  4. Prep: Near a flat, clean work surface, place a 9x13-inch baking dish, a pastry brush, and the melted butter. Gently lay the phyllo on the work surface and, using a sharp knife, trim the sheets into 8x12-inch rectangles to fit the baking dish. (You can discard the portions you cut off.) Cover the phyllo with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.
  5. Assemble the baklava: Brush melted butter on the bottom of the pan. Add the phyllo, 2 sheets at a time, drizzling with 2 to 3 teaspoons of butter after every 2 sheets. When you get to the 14th sheet, add 1/3 of the filling (about 1-1/4 cups), spreading it evenly over the surface. Then add 6 more phyllo sheets, drizzling butter after every 2 and adding another third of the filling on top of the 6th. Repeat the 6 layers of phyllo and butter, and add the remaining third of the filling over top. Finish the layering as you started with 14 more layers of phyllo, buttering after every 2. Do not butter the top layer.
  6. Score: To cut the baklava, use a very sharp knife and cut all the way through the layers. You can keep it simple and make 24 squares, or cut each square into a diamond. If this is your first time making baklava, start with the squares to get used to cutting the phyllo. If any butter remains, spoon it into the cut lines.
  7. Bake: Bake the baklava for 40 to 45 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and you should hear it bubbling.
  8. Add the syrup: Let the baklava cool for 5 minutes; then use a spoon to drizzle the syrup into all of the cuts. Allow the baklava to cool completely before enjoying, a few hours or overnight.
  9. Make-Ahead Instructions: The baklava can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, the baklava can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
  10. Note: The number of sheets of phyllo dough in each package varies by brand (and even by box). You will need a total of 40 sheets of phyllo dough for this recipe. Frozen phyllo dough should be thawed in the refrigerator 12 to 24 hours before using.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (24 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 piece baklava
  • Calories: 199
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 99 mg
  • Cholesterol: 20 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I’ve been eating Baklava for all my married life as my husband is from Macedonia, where this dessert is very popular. He always said his mother makes the best Baklava – and she does make excellent Baklava. But then came this recipe… This is absolutely delicious and my husband and I both think it is the best Baklava we’ve ever had. Thank you for sharing:)

    • — Laura K. on November 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe on Monday with my daughters. It was a project but oh so worth it! Delicious and not overly sweet like some baklavas can be. Thank you!

    • — Lynne on September 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • I cant wait to try this recipe. Ive made baklava before but it is always tricky to prevent the lovely cooked pastry from getting soggy when I pour the syrup onto it. Should the pastry and syrup be warm or cool- or one warm and the other cool?

    • — Marita Corcoran on September 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Marita, The syrup ends up at room temperature by the time you assemble and bake the baklava – so room temp syrup goes over warm baklava. Be sure to only pour the syrup in the cuts rather than over the top of the baklava; this prevents it from getting soggy.

      • — Jenn on September 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • Looks amazing! Could I substitute pistachios for the walnuts, and if so would you recommend a 1 to 1 substitution?

    • — SB on September 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes. 🙂 You could also do a combination of pistachios and walnuts.

      • — Jenn on September 2, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thanks – can’t wait to try it!

        • — SB on September 2, 2021
        • Reply
  • Jenn, no need to line the pan with parchment paper?

    • — Carol Winkelman on September 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Nope, it comes out easily 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 2, 2021
      • Reply

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