Baklava is a classic Greek dessert that’s so easy to make in your very own kitchen! A warm, sweet, and spiced walnut mixture is baked between flaky layers of phyllo dough and it’s all topped off with a drizzle of honey. Serve it after a big holiday dinner or enjoy a slice with your morning coffee… There’s no bad way to enjoy a dessert this good!
Baklava is one of those desserts that I always order when I see it listed on the menu! So far, I haven’t met a single serving of Baklava that I haven’t liked (and finished every last bite of). With that being said, it’s also true that not all Baklava servings are created equally. This classic recipe is frills-free and always delivers the BEST results, making it my most favorite!
What is Baklava
So, what exactly is Baklava? It’s like crunchy, tender, sweet (but not overly so) and spiced goodness. A walnut mixture that’s so good you’ll be dreaming about it is sandwiched between flaky phyllo dough and it’s all baked to perfection in just under half an hour. Honey is drizzled all across the top, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want a little extra honey on there… Because why not?
A common dessert in Turkish, Arab and Iranian cuisines, it dates back to the Byzantine Empire. A lot of people associate it with a Greek or Lebanese origin because it’s popular in restaurants.
Baklava is a pretty impressive dessert to serve. Consider using it as the centerpiece to your holiday dessert spread this year or present it as he best after-dinner treat at your next party with friends! If you have any leftovers, I highly recommend treating yourself to a slice in the morning with a cup of coffee. It’s one of my absolute favorite ways to start the day!
How to Make Baklava
- Make the honey topping. Dissolve the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat. Add the honey and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the mixture cool for about 10-15 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice.
- Make the walnut mixture. Place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse a few times until they’re chopped. Then, place the chopped walnuts in a mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Assemble the baklava. Brush the bottom of a baking dish with a little melted butter. Place one sheet of phyllo dough in the pan. Brush it with butter and repeat this process 4 times. Place half of the walnut mixture over the buttered phyllo dough. Top the mixture with a sheet of phyllo dough and butter, repeating the same process as earlier. Top evenly with the remaining walnut mixture. Finish with all of the remaining sheets of phyllo dough in the pan. Brush it with butter and repeat the process with the remaining sheets. Cut the pastry as desired.
- Bake the baklava. Bake the dessert at 350°F for about 35-45 minutes.
- Top it off. Remove the baked Baklava from the oven and cover it with the honey topping while it’s still hot.
- Enjoy! Let the Baklava cool for about 2-3 hours prior to serving. Garnish with nuts and honey, and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Baklava
- Unroll the thawed phyllo dough and be sure to cover it with damp paper towels to prevent it from drying out and cracking. Keep the plastic sheet the phyllo is rolled in to keep the phyllo covered, and then place your damp paper towels on top of the plastic sheet. This will ensure the damp paper towels don’t come into contact with the phyllo – if it does, that’s okay, but it might cause the sheets to stick together then tear when lifting to put into the casserole dish.
- It helps to brush the butter on the sides of the phyllo dough so it will stick to the baking dish, then brush just enough butter to cover the layer of phyllo. The sheets might move around when adding the butter. Once brushed and the phyllo sheet has something to hold on to, it won’t move as much when brushing.
- Want your Baklava to look like mine? The Baklava you see pictured was made by cutting lengthwise down the center, then it was cut again lengthwise on either side of the center cut. Then, the dish was turned landscape and cuts were made at a diagonal to make angled rectangles.
Keep your oven preheated for more of my favorite baked dessert recipes!
Get the Recipe: Baklava Recipe
- 1 package phyllo dough, thawed
- 16 oz walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup sugar, granulated
- 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- 1 cup butter, unsalted melted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup honey
- 1.5 TBSP Lemon juice
- 1 baking dish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Make the honey topping – Dissolve the sugar and water in a pot on the medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the honey and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10-15 minutes, then add the lemon juice.
- Next, place the walnuts in a food processor plus a few times until completely chopped. Place the chopped walnuts in a medium size mixing bowl.
- Add the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to the chopped walnuts which yields about 4 cups. Time to assemble the Baklava!!
- Unroll the thawed phyllo dough and be sure to cover it with damp paper towels to prevent it from drying out and cracking.
- Keep the plastic sheet the phyllo is rolled in to keep the phyllo covered, and then your damp paper towels on top of the plastic sheet. This will ensure the damp paper towels don’t come into contact with the phyllo- if it does that’s okay but it might cause the sheets to stick together then tear when lifting to put into the casserole dish.
- In a 9×13” baking dish brush the bottom with a small amount of melted butter.
- Place one sheet of phyllo in the pan, you may need to fold it in half on one side to have it fit. Brush it with butter and repeat the process 4 more times (for a total of 5 phyllo sheets, each brushed with butter). Note: It helps to brush butter on the sides of the phyllo so it will stick to the baking dish, then brush just enough butter to cover the layer of phyllo.
- The sheets might move around when adding the butter; once brushed and the phyllo sheet has something to hold on to, it won’t move as much when brushing.
- Place half the nut mixture evenly over the buttered phyllo. (about 2 cups of filling)
- Top with one sheet of phyllo in the pan, you may need to fold it in half to have it fit or you can trim it with kitchen shears. Brush it with butter and repeat the process 4 more times
- Top evenly with the remaining nut mixture.
- Finish with all the remaining sheets of phyllo in the pan, folding one side as necessary. Brush it with butter and repeat the process with the remaining sheets (about 8-10 depending on packaging)
- Cut the pastry as desired.