Spanikopita Recipe


My grandma made spinach pies quite often, but no matter which recipe I try, none of them match my memory of the ones she made. Maybe it’s nostalgia or wishful thinking, but I’d love to have just one more of Grandma Swor’s dinners again.

This recipe came from America’s Test Kitchen, and it’s pretty close to what Grandma made. (Where did she get phyllo dough back then? I wonder if she made her own, or used a different crust recipe? I wish I knew.) You can watch a video of this at their website, free. My complaint about America’s Test Kitchen is that you have to sign up “Free,” meaning you have to leave a credit card number. You know what that means: unacceptable charges on your card, eventually. Somehow the video is free, though.

This one is fun to make, and tastes pretty darned good.



Ingredients you’ll need:

20 oz fresh spinach (which amounts to 2 bags of fresh spinach leaves, though I imagine frozen would work just as well.)

1/4 cup water (won’t need this if you’re using frozen spinach)

12 oz crumbled feta cheese (I thought this was too much; will only use 8 oz next time)

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Small onion, chopped

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons dill

A pinch of mint flakes

A little lemon zest

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

7 Tablespoons butter, melted (I used nearly an entire stick)

1/2 cup pecorino or grated parmesan cheese

16 sheets phyllo dough (1 roll of phyllo is 16 sheets. Freeze the second roll for your next recipe.)

2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional, but pretty)

Steam the spinach in 1/4 cup of water in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Drain well, using a spatula to press out excess water. Chop the spinach up. (You don’t need to remove stems.) Squeeze spinach in an old kitchen towel (“old” because it will stain) to remove all moisture.

In a large bowl, mix the spinach with the yogurt, feta cheese, onion, 2 eggs and the spices, stirring well.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. (If you use a 9×13 pan, you’ll have excessive moisture in the recipe, making a soggy crust. A cookie sheet and parchment allows moisture to drain off.) Butter the parchment and then begin stacking 10 phyllo sheets, buttering each sheet after you add it to the pile. Don’t worry if they break up (you can move them back in position) but phyllo tends to dry quickly, so work fast. When you have 10 sheets of buttered phyllo, spoon the spinach mixture on that, and distribute evenly, leaving about 1/4 inch of space around all 4 sides.

On top of the spinach mixture, butter the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo. Sprinkle pecorino or parmesan cheese evenly between the last 2 sheets. Pat the layers down gently with your hands.

With a paring knife, score gently through the first 3 layers, marking off about 24 squares, or less, depending on your preference. Sprinkle the top with the 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes,until golden brown. Allow spanikopita to rest about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I think Grandma would approve!

4 Responses to “Spanikopita Recipe”

  1. Loretta Didrikson says:

    Do you take your own pictures? It looks delicious! I too wondered if they had phyllo dough back then. :) I will have to try it I love all the ingredients for it.


  2. Patt says:

    Hi, Loretta,

    I try to take as many of my own photos as possible. I photographed the spanikopta when it first came out of the oven, but the product photos were from other sources. Nice to hear from you!


  3. sharon says:

    You know this is one of my favorite all time dishes!!! Have a recipe you sent me years ago tucked back. Haven’t made it for years. It bwecame much easier to make spinach quiche. Butmy heart still lays with spanikopita.

    You did a swell job with the pics to illustrate.

    And glad you are enjoying retirement. Most of my friends say the same thing–they wonder where they ever got the time to work?

    Love ya!!!

  4. Patt says:

    Hi, Sharon,

    This is probably a different recipe than the one I sent you earlier. I think it’s easier, too.
    Retirement is wonderful. I enjoy every single day of it, even with the flu!

Your Reply