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Greek Baklava

Classic baklava recipe, the traditional Greek pastry made with ground nuts, layers of phyllo and drizzled with honey syrup.

Piece of baklava on serving knife above pan of baklava.

I've had baklava now and then over the years, sometimes good, sometimes not so much.  In other words, not a huge fan, just kind of neutral.  But if you've ever had really good baklava, it's a game changer.  And good baklava is a labor of love to make at home, but so worth it.  Especially with an authentic Greek family recipe.

Greek baklava cut in diamonds, baked in pan

Closeup of baked baklava in pan.

My co-worker friend is Greek Orthodox and an excellent cook.  She kindly shared a few of her family recipes with me.  Her pastitsio is fabulous and the first recipe I made of hers, find that recipe here.  I've now made her baklava and wow, so damn good!  It's just the best I've ever had.

Sheet pan of nuts to toast in oven .

Baklava is layers of ground nuts and phyllo dough drizzled with a spiced honey syrup after it's done baking.  This stuff is sweet but not too sweet, the syrup is perfectly flavored with lemon, honey and cinnamon.  Traditionally, walnuts are used but I used pecans.  You can also use almonds or pistachios, or even a combination of nuts.  You’re  the boss, apple sauce.

Honey-lemon simple syrup cooling in pan.

Phyllo dough can be found in the freezer section at the store.  This is the labor of love part.  It's paper thin and delicate and you work with one piece at a time, brushing with melted butter and then layering with more sheets of phyllo.  Just go with the flow and be patient.  You will be rewarded, trust me.

How to make baklava

Honey-lemon syrup ingredients.

  • Make the simple syrup.
  • Let it cool completely.

Two photo collage of making nut mixture.

Nut mixture in bowl with spoon.

  • Grind the nuts.
  • Toss with sugar, cinnamon and cloves.

Layering phyllo sheets with melted butter.

Two photo collage of layering baklava with nut mixture.

  • Brush each layer of phyllo with melted butter.
  • Spread with ⅓ of the nut mixture.
  • Repeat layering.

Close up of scored diamonds studded with whole cloves.

  • Score into diamonds (hopefully better than I did!)
  • Stud with whole cloves in the center of each diamond.

Greek Baklava, finished in pan.

After it's done baking, pour the cooled honey syrup all over the hot baklava, it'll make a sizzle sound and this is what gives it the crispy flakiness.  Then let it all cool and enjoy!  My kids love the baklava sundaes at the Greek festivals here in the summertime.  No judging here if you crumble a few over vanilla ice cream.  Thanks Flora for sharing this with me, spanakopita is up next ~ Kelly

Greek baklava on serving knife above pan.

If you’ve tried this Greek Baklava, please rate it below in the comments and let me know how it went ~ I love hearing from you! HUNGRY FOR MORE?  Subscribe to my Newsletter and come hang out with me on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for all the latest updates.

Greek baklava cut in diamonds, baked in pan

Greek Baklava

Classic baklava recipe, the traditional Greek pastry made with ground nuts, layers of phyllo and drizzled with honey syrup. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 36 servings
Calories: 342kcal


Simple Syrup

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 ounces honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  • pounds walnuts, toasted or pecans, almonds or pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound package of phyllo dough thawed
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, melted
  • Whole cloves


Simple Syrup:

  • Over low heat, bring sugar, water and cinnamon sticks to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved and liquid turns clear.
  • Boil for 15 minutes and as soon as you see bubbles, stir constantly.  The color will change to a cinnamon-brownish as it cooks.
  • Remove from heat and remove two cinnamon sticks.  Stir in honey and lemon juice and a few lemon slices, seeds removed.  Set pot aside to cool completely.


  • In food processor, coarsely grind nuts (about 10 pulses). Put in bowl and toss with sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves, set aside.


  • Butter bottom and sides of 9" by 13" pan.  Preheat oven to 375º
  • Unroll phyllo dough and if necessary, cut to fit pan.  Cover dough with damp towel while working to keep it from drying out.  Layer bottom with 6 sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet.  Spread ⅓ of nut mixture (about 2 cups) evenly over layered phyllo.  Top nut mixture with 3 more buttered layers of phyllo.
  • Repeat 2 more times with nuts and phyllo, for a total of 3 alternating layers.  Use 7-8 sheets of phyllo for the top layer.  Pre-cut into diamond-shape but don't cut all the way through to bottom layer, just a deep score.
  • Place one clove in center of each piece of baklava.  Lightly sprinkle pan of baklava with cold water.  Bake at 375º for 30 minutes and then turn down heat to 350º and bake another 30 minutes until evenly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let stand for two minutes.  Pour/spoon cooled syrup over hot baklava.  Let cool completely and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • I like to toast the the nuts first in the oven, then cool and coarsely grind.
  • Always pour cool syrup over hot baklava for the best results, it's the proper technique for that flaky crispiness!
  • I did not use all the simple syrup, most, but not all.
  • Remove whole cloves before serving/eating.
Here's a recap of the baklava layers:
6 layers buttered phyllo, ⅓ nut mixture
3 layers buttered phyllo, ⅓ nut mixture
3 layers buttered phyllo, ⅓ nut mixture
7-8 layers buttered phyllo, cut into diamonds


Calories: 342kcal Carbohydrates: 33g Protein: 4g Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 8g Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 27mg Sodium: 64mg Potassium: 102mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 24g Vitamin A: 320IU Vitamin C: 1mg Calcium: 28mg Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!
5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating

Mary Anne

Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

This is pretty much my Greek grandmother's recipe and technique, although I do like your syrup better. I make 2/3 of the syrup, though, because I don't like it too "wet".


Sunday 13th of February 2022

This was my first time making baklava! I like that it's not super sweet however I think I used too much syrup for my liking. I feel it's drowning in it & I still have a lot left over. Next time I'll know.


Tuesday 15th of February 2022

It does make a lot of syrup. Try using any leftover in coffee or to glaze cake just out of the oven for added moistness and sweetness.

Jane c. Johnson

Friday 11th of December 2020

excellent 5


Tuesday 30th of April 2019

The best tasting baklava in the world. It's a mouthful of wonderment!

Sharon H.

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

I make Baklava every year during the holidays. I can wait to try this version! Looks amazing! ?