Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (2024)

Jill Mills

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This easy baklava recipe is a beloved Greek dessert you can make in your own kitchen! Delicate, flaky sheets of phyllo dough are layered with a crunchy walnut-and-cinnamon filling, and then soaked in a sweet honey syrup.

Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (2)

The Best Baklava Recipe

If you love store-bought baklava, get ready for a revelation – because as good as the store-bought kind is, it’s no match for homemade baklava.

If you’ve never tried making your own baklava before, you might feel a little bit intimidated. All of those delicate layers, the golden sticky syrup, and the crunchy nut topping are so unlike a typical cake or cookie bake, right? But don’t let that stop you! It’s actually easy to make homemade baklava using store-bought phyllo.

That’s right, the pastry for baklava comes ready-made! Even professional bakers rarely make phyllo dough in-house. So there’s no shame in our phyllo game! And once you have the dough, all you have to do is brush it lightly with melted butter, one sheet at a time, and layer it with an easy cinnamon-nut filling mixture. It’s really kind of fun! So grab your pastry brush, turn on some good music, and let’s make baklava!

Why You’ll Love this Baklava Recipe

  • Easy. Homemade baklava comes together in a snap with store-bought phyllo and a few other simple ingredients.
  • Impressive. Despite how easy it is to make, everyone is going to be so impressed that you made baklava from scratch!
  • Flavorful. This Greek baklava recipe is totally delicious with all the buttery layers of dough, nutty layers, and honey syrup.
  • Can be made ahead. This dessert can seriously be made ahead – as much as 1 week in advance. All of the honey keeps it fresh for a long time. You can even freeze it for up to 3 months.

Where Does Baklava Come From?

Believe it or not, this is a question that has caused many, many debates. You can find desserts similar to baklava going back all the way to ancient Greece. The Roman Empire, Hungary, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries also have versions of baklava that date back centuries.

There are some differences though. For example, Turkish Baklava tends to use pistachios, whereas Greek Baklava usually uses walnuts. This baklava recipe is Greek in origin.

Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (3)

Baklava Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make classic baklava. For ideas on how to customize this recipe, check out the “Variations” section. And to see the complete recipe card with amounts, nutrition facts, and full recipe instructions, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

  • Phyllo Dough: You’ll find this in the freezer section of your grocery store, usually alongside the frozen pie crust and puff pastry.
  • Honey: Use your favorite honey—any kind will do!
  • Water: To thin the syrup to the correct consistency.
  • Granulated Sugar: Along with the honey, the sugar adds sweetness, and it also boils down with the water to help create the candy-like syrup.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: For this recipe, it’s best to juice fresh lemons for the brightest lemon flavor.
  • Walnuts: You’ll want to chop or process the walnuts to a chunky consistency, that’s not too coarse or too fine.
  • Unsalted Butter: For brushing between the sheets of phyllo dough. That gives the baklava a flaky texture!

Are Phyllo Dough and Puff Pastry the Same?

Phyllo dough and puff pastry are definitely similar in some ways, but they are not the same! Puff pastry is flaky and buttery, but ultimately it’s also bready: think crescent roll dough. While I’m sure it would make a tasty dessert paired with cinnamon, nuts, and honey syrup (hmmm, note to self: must try that sometime), it won’t be baklava.

Phyllo, on the other hand, doesn’t have a bready texture at all! Each sheet is paper-thin, and when layered with melted butter, those paper-thin sheets of dough turn into crackly, delicate layers that have a perfectly satisfying crunch.

How to Make Baklava from Scratch

To make the baklava, it’s all about building the layers one by one, and then baking until done. From there, you’ll pour the syrup evenly over the whole thing, and let it rest so that the syrup is absorbed by the baklava. Easy!

  • Prep the Oven and Filling. Preheat your oven to 325ºF degrees. Then, combine the finely chopped walnuts and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Make the Syrup. Combine the sugar, water, honey, and lemon juice in a saucepan, and bring it to boil a over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Once that happens, reduce the heat to low, and let the syrup simmer (this time without stirring) for exactly four minutes. Now the syrup is done! Turn the heat off, and set the syrup aside to cool down while we “build” the baklava.
  • Prep the Baking Dish and Phyllo Pastry. Grease a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Open the phyllo pastry dough package. If it looks like your phyllo sheets are too large for your pan, you can cut the whole stack to fit, using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Cover the phyllo sheets with a damp tea towel or paper towel, so that they don’t dry out while you’re working with them.

Layering Baklava

  • Make the First Layer. Lay one sheet of the phyllo dough into the bottom of the buttered dish. Gently brush with a thin layer of melted butter. Repeat this with nine more sheets of phyllo, to make a stack of 10 sheets with melted butter in between. Evenly sprinkle about 3/4 cup of the chopped nut mixture over the top of the stack.
Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (4)
Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (5)
Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (6)
  • Make the Remaining Layers. Lay a stack of 5 sheets of phyllo dough over the walnut mixture, brushing each sheet with a small amount of butter as you go. Sprinkle another ¾ cup of the walnut mixture over the stack. Repeat the layers of 5 buttered phyllo sheets and 3/4 cup of topping, until walnut mixture is used up. Then top the whole thing with 10 last sheets of phyllo dough, brushing butter on each as you add them.
  • Cut and Bake. Brush the last layer with butter, and then slice the baklava into one-and-a-half inch strips across, then diagonally. You should have classic diamond-shaped baklava. Bake this uncovered for an hour and 25 minutes or so, until the pastry is golden-brown.
  • Add the Syrup, and Rest the Baklava. After the baklava has baked, take it out of the oven, and pour the syrup over it slowly and gently, trying to get an even pour over the entire dish. Most of the syrup will run down to the bottom, which is what it is supposed to do! But some of it will trickle into the top layers as well. You’ll end up with a lightly sweet and crispy top, with a sweeter and more dense bottom layer. Let the baklava cool completely (and ideally rest overnight) before serving.
Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (7)
Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (8)

Tips for Success

Everyone has their favorite tips and tricks for making the perfect batch of baklava! Here are some of my favorite helpful hints for making this dessert with ease.

  • Thaw Carefully: The phyllo pastry must be thawed before you use it—frozen phyllo will crack and break apart while you handle it! Usually, phyllo is thawed overnight in the refrigerator, but some cooks recommend keeping it frozen until you’re ready to use it, and then microwaving for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Keep Damp: You don’t want to wet the dough, because it’s so thin it will dissolve! At the same time, don’t let it dry out, because it’s so thin it will crumble. The best thing is to keep it humid, if that makes sense, by laying a damp (not wet!) towel or paper towel over the top of your phyllo pastry, moving it to grab a new sheet, and replacing it while you butter the sheet.
  • Be Patient! Making baklava isn’t difficult, but it does take some time. If you find yourself having to rush, it’s likely that you’ll end up with torn and crumbling sheets of pastry! So try to set aside at least an hour or so to assemble the dish, plus the hour and a half of baking time.
Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (9)

Baklava Recipe Flavor Variations

Since baklava is a traditional sweet in lots of different cultures (Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian, and Eastern European, just to name a few!) there are tons of different variations out there. Here are some easy variations you can try in your own kitchen!

  • Pistachio: Using crushed pistachios instead of crushed walnuts is an easy and authentic swap. Many classic baklava recipes call for using pistachios, with their distinctive green color and salty-sweet flavor. You can also use a combination of pistachios and walnuts.
  • Rosewater: Middle Eastern baklava is often scented with rosewater, which adds a beautiful floral taste and fragrance to this honeyed recipe. Just add 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) to the syrup as it simmers.
  • Chocolate: Drizzle your baked and cooled baklava with melted chocolate for a satisfying twist! Just microwave a cup of chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 5-10 seconds at a time, stirring each time. When the chocolate is melted, stir in a tablespoon of butter, and then drizzle over the baklava with a spoon. Allow to cool before serving.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about making baklava from scratch. Have another one to add? Please share in the comments!

Why is my baklava soggy?

Usually, this happens because too much butter was used between each layer of phyllo dough. Bake sure that you only apply a thin layer and that you use a pastry brush to apply it evenly.

Why is my baklava dry?

This can happen when the butter has not been applied evenly to every part of the phyllo. Here again, using a pastry brush is super helpful! Make sure you apply a thin coat to every part of the phyllo, including the edges.

How to Store Homemade Baklava

To store homemade baklava, cover it well with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. Baklava will keep its texture best if you store it at room temperature, rather than in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 1 week.

More Traditional European Desserts

  • Lebkuchen (German Spice Cookies)
  • Spritz Cookies
  • Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake
  • Christmas Linzer Cookies
  • Italian Ricotta Cookies

Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (11)

5 from 17 votes

Easy Baklava Recipe

Delicate, flaky sheets of phyllo dough are layered with a crunchy walnut-and-cinnamon filling, and then soaked in a sweet honey syrup scented with fresh lemon. This Easy Homemade Baklava Recipe is a beloved traditional dessert you can make in your own kitchen!

Servings: 24

Prep: 45 minutes mins

Cook: 1 hour hr 25 minutes mins

Cooling Time: 1 hour hr

Total: 3 hours hrs 10 minutes mins

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  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pure honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 16 ounce package phyllo dough thawed
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2-sticks melted
  • 4 cups walnuts finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  • Open the phyllo pastry dough package and cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out. If needed, trim the dough to fit your glass baking dish.

  • Grease a 13 x 9-inch or larger glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and set aside.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, honey, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and simmer without stirring for 4 minutes; set aside to cool.

  • Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

  • Combine the finely chopped walnuts and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

  • Lay 1 sheet of the phyllo dough into the bottom of the buttered dish. Brush with melted butter, then repeat with 9 more sheets of phyllo. Spread ¾ cup of the walnut mixture evenly over the phyllo layer.

  • Lay another 5 sheets of phyllo dough over top of the walnut mixture, brushing each with butter. Sprinkle on another ¾ cup of the walnut mixture.

  • Repeat until walnut mixture is used up, then top with 10 last sheets of phyllo dough, brushing butter on each as you add them.

  • Brush the top layer with butter, then slice the pastry into 1 1/2 inch strips and then slice diagonally in both directions to create diamonds.

  • Bake uncovered for 1 hour 25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

  • Immediately after removing from the oven, pour the cooled syrup over the pastry.

  • Let cool completely before serving. For best results, let the baklava sit covered overnight to soak up the syrup.

Last Step:

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Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

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Easy Homemade Baklava - the absolute Best Baklava Recipe - a Holiday Favorite. (2024)


Why does my baklava turn out soggy? ›

Don't over-butter the phyllo.

Please note that each sheet of phyllo does not need to be 100% brushed with butter! The sheets will naturally moisten one another as they are layered together, and the baklava will be too soggy if you completely brush every single sheet. (Plus, you'll likely run out of butter.)

What's the difference between baklava and Turkish baklava? ›

Difference in Taste and Texture

The baklava Greek region has a much softer texture due to the thick syrup. On the other hand, the Turkish baklava, with its thicker, heavier dough and filling entirely with pistachios, has a more substantial, chewy texture and a rich, nutty flavor.

What is the most popular baklava? ›

Pistachio baklava is the most popular and original type of baklava. One bite will have you hooked! Initially developed in Turkey and Syria, pistachio baklava is a rich and sweet pastry made of 40 thin layers of dough (phyllo) filled with ground pistachios.

Can I make baklava the night before? ›

Make your baklava one night in advance!

Baklava is even better the next day when it's had a chance to completely soak in the honey syrup. You can store it covered at room temperature for one night. Be sure it is completely cooled before you cover it (so important)

Why do you eat baklava upside down? ›

“Take the baklava with your hand and turn it over. Upside down,” he says. The fragrant ground nuts and syrup imbibe the bottom layers of phyllo while the pastry is baking and resting, and when you flip it over, the aromas hit your nose for a complete taste-scent symphony. “It starts with the nose,” Ugur says.

Which country has the most delicious baklava in the world? ›

The Best Baklava in the World
  • Turkey - In Turkey, there are multiple varieties of baklava to choose from, and you may wonder about missing out on the traditional and traditional types. ...
  • Syria - Syrian baklava is known for its light and flaky texture, as well as its sweetness.
Nov 4, 2023

Why is baklava so expensive? ›

Ingredients: High-quality baklava is made with premium ingredients, including nuts (typically pistachios or walnuts), butter, sugar, and phyllo dough. The cost of these ingredients can be significant, especially when using top-quality nuts. Labor-Intensive: Making baklava is a labor-intensive process that requires.

What is the difference between Greek and Turkish baklava recipe? ›

Turkish baklava may be made using rose water to flavour the syrup, whereas Greek baklava tends more to lemon juice, although it is sometimes flavoured with orange blossom water. While not always true, Turkish baklava ordinarily uses a light neutral oil, while Greek baklava is typically made with melted butter.

What is wet baklava? ›

I love traditional classic crunchy Turkish baklava coated with sugar syrup - but I'm telling you, the cold variety is next level! Coated with @cadburyaust chocolate shreads, cold baklava has a milk based syrup, which gives it its soft, 'wet' texture. It's the absolute perfect cold dessert for warmer days.

What is the most expensive baklava? ›

World's most expensive baklava: US$25,000 cake goes viral on Chinese social media.

Which city is famous for baklava? ›

The city of Gaziantep in south-central Turkey is famous for its baklava made from locally grown pistachios, often served with kaymak cream. The dessert was introduced to Gaziantep in 1871 by Çelebi Güllü, who had learned the recipe from a chef in Damascus.

Can I eat week old baklava? ›

Baklava has a remarkable shelf-life and can last for weeks and sometimes months depending on how you store the pastries. Its often difficult to identify old baklava cause chances are someone likes it this way. Choose a method of storage which gives you the desired taste and texture most preferred.

How long does homemade baklava last? ›

How Long Baklava Lasts. If sealed without any air, our baklava can have a shelf life of a year. Once opened and left unsealed, baklava is good for two weeks until it starts going bad. You'll want to be sure to check any leftovers before enjoying it.

How many days can you eat baklava? ›

While refrigeration is not recommended as it may affect the sherbet texture and taste, baklava can remain intact at room temperature for up to 7 days. It's essential to store it in a cool and dry environment. If refrigeration becomes necessary, it can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

How do you fix soggy crispy baklava? ›

Gently rest the pan on a tilt for 2 hours to drain the excess syrup. This will ensure that your baklava is crispy on top, and moist (not soggy) on the bottom.

How to make soggy baklava crispy? ›

Reheat before serving: If you find that your baklava has become slightly soft, you can reheat it in the oven for a few minutes before serving. This will help to restore some of its crispiness [3].

How do you keep baklava fresh and crispy? ›

Keep your baked baklava at room temperature if you like a crispy texture. Store your baklava in the refrigerator if you like a chewy texture.

Should baklava be soggy? ›

The liquid in butter results in soggy baklava pastry. Soggy baklava layers are a NO-NO. Clarified Butter contains only butterfat which results in a flakey crisp pastry.

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