I know what you are about to do. You are going to scroll on down to that recipe, see how long it is and immediately abort the mission and just buy some baklava at the store. STOP. DON’T DO IT.
When I tell you that homemade baklava is SO much better than anything you can buy, I’m not joking. And when you take a quick glance at those instructions, don’t be panicked. Because so many folks felt intimidated to make their own for the first time, included are some extremely detailed instructions and tips.
You’ll feel like I am on your shoulder reading them to you… in a non-creepy way, of course.
What's In This Article
BEST Baklava Recipe
Yes, I just called it the best, but no, I won’t claim it as “THE” best. And I’ll tell you why, because clearly I am not Greek.
But I did live in Greektown for a number of years (I realize this alone does not qualify me) and through that time I got to know the owners of all the Greek joints.
I tried their house baklava, talked to them at the bar about their families and family recipes. And in the end, I mashed up all of their tips, tricks and ingredients to one master recipe for baklava.
So to all my Greek baklava purists, those who have a family story to tell and also want to tell me how this is not an authentic baklava recipe, I welcome you to leave your comments below. I do really want to hear them!
With layers of flaky phyllo pastry, a sweet honey syrup and nut layers that are perfectly spiced, this honey baklava is the perfect sweet treat for special occasions and simple dinners alike.
So there are basically three main components to any baklava: the baklava itself which consists of layers of phyllo dough with filling in between, the honey sauce (almost like a simple syrup) that you pour over it, and then the crunchy walnut topping on top.
Here is what you will need:
- Phyllo dough – Those delectably flaky layers that you love so much about hot baklava? That’s thanks to the phyllo layers.
- Unsalted butter – I always prefer using unsalted butter when baking or cooking. This way I can control the amount of salt added. With the nuts in this recipe, we actually don’t need any salt at all.
- Walnuts and pecans – The pecan and walnut mixture gives the perfect texture and also a nutty flavor this classic baklava recipe. Having two different nuts just adds to the flavor.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg – My favorite thing (ok ONE of my favorite things) about good baklava is the warm flavors. The combination of cinnamon and nutmeg five the sugary spiced nut mixture the best flavor.
- Sugar – Although the sweet syrup is sweet from the honey, we do need a little sugar as well. White granulated sugar works best here.
- Lemon juice – Lemon juice adds a little acidity to our syrup.
- Vanilla – To complement the warm flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg, vanilla is used to bring everything together.
- Honey – The sweet honey syrup that soaks into the whole thing is what makes this such a delicious dessert.
How to Make Baklava
Take a deep breath and know this… and this is the most important part of making baklava: IT IS OKAY IF ONE OF YOUR PHYLLO DOUGH SHEETS TEARS. Do not panic.
You will first need to start by thawing the phyllo dough. Just follow the package instructions for this, and make sure you thaw both rolls (most packages have two rolls packaged separately.
Next, trim all of the dough to 9×13 to fit into your baking dish. For most boxes this simply means cutting it in half to two 10×13 sheets. It is okay if the sides curl up a little.
Cover sheets with with a damp towel to keep them from drying out. Next, make the topping…
Making the Honey Topping
Now onto the honey syrup. Combine the sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and water into a small saucepan. Bring that to a low simmer, allowing the sugar to dissolve without burning. Make sure to stir continuously.
After the sugar is fully dissolved, reduce to the lowest heat possible and allow to simmer for five more minutes without stirring at all. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
And then the filling…
First you need to pulse the walnuts and pecans in a food processor until they are finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, you can certainly do this by hand. But it is significantly easier in a food processor, as it only takes about 10-15 pulses.
Next, combine those chopped nuts with the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. And that’s it! This will make up that crunchy filling we all know and love.
And now put it all together…
Assembling the Baklava
Place 10 phyllo sheets into a greased baking pan one at a time, brushing each sheet with melted butter. This is the bottom layer. This is a little time consuming and don’t be worried if the sheets tear. After they are all assembled and cut, no one will know.
Top the first layer of 10 sheets with ¾ cup of the nut mixture (about 1/5). Then top with 5 more sheets of phyllo dough. Repeat this 4 more times ending with another 10 sheets of phyllo dough as the top layer. Make sure to baste with butter between each layer of phyllo dough.
This is the pattern:
- 10 phyllo sheets
- 3/4 cup nuts
- 5 phyllo sheets
- 3/4 cup nuts
- 5 phyllo sheets
- 3/4 cup nuts
- 5 phyllo sheets
- 3/4 cup nuts
- 5 phyllo sheets
- 3/4 cup nuts
- 10 buttered phyllo sheets
And finally you cut it…
How to Cut Baklava
The trick to perfect baklava is to cut it before you bake it rather than waiting until after. If you cut it after, the pastry will crumble and you’ll lose half of it to the process. Cut baklava into 1 ½ inch strips, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.
Once you’ve cut it, bake it for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown. If it looks to be browning too fast, cover the top loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.
Then remove the baked baklava and pour the honey topping over it while it’s still hot. It will seep into all the nooks and crannies. Then top with remaining chopped walnuts while still tacky.
You can brush the top with it too if it gets too thick to pour well. If the pastry is still hot, it will help it to sink down in.
Let baklava cool completely, uncovered and at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours, but maximum of 12 before serving.
After honey topping has set, top with a light sprinkle of fleur de sel, which is totally optional. I find salt brings out the rest of the flavors.
Storage and Freezing
Store your baklava covered at room temperature in an airtight container. If you are making ahead of time, top with a damp (NOT WET) tea towel to keep it moist. Baklava is best served within 1-2 days of baking.
However, you can freeze baklava for up to 3 months by tightly wrapping the dish in several layers of plastic wrap and placing into the freezer. To thaw, sit it at room temperature for several hours.
More pastries you will enjoy:
Honey Nut Baklava
- 16 oz phyllo dough , thawed
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
- ½ pounds walnuts , finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- ½ pounds pecans , finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup honey
- ¼ cup walnuts , chopped
- Sprinkle of fleur de sel
- Thaw phyllo dough by package instructions, you’ll need both rolls as most packages have two rolls separately packaged.
- Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Unfold the sheet to a 20×26 size and cut in half making 2 9(ish)x13 portions. You can trim one stack at a time (or less) then cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and water. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat while continually stirring. The trick is allowing the sugar to dissolves without burning. If it hasn’t dissolved, but it getting super thick, add 1 tablespoons water.
- After it dissolves, reduce to the lowest heat possible and allow to summer for 15 minutes without stirring at all.
- Remove from heat, set aside and let honey sauce cool. Keep at room temperature until ready to pour. It should thicken and be like syrup.
Assemble the Baklava:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Pulse walnuts and pecans in a food processor until finely chopped. Alternately, you can do this by hand, but in a food processor it only takes about 10-15 pulses.
- Combine chopped nuts with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Place 10 phyllo sheets into baking pan one at a time, brushing each sheet with melted butter. This is a little time consuming and don’t be worried if the sheets tear. After they are all assembled and cut, no one will know. Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel to prevent drying.
- Top the first layer with ¾ cup nut mixture (about 1/5). Top with 5 sheets phyllo dough. Repeat this 4 more times ending with another 10 sheets of phyllo dough on top, making sure to baste with butter between each layer of phyllo dough. The end result is:10 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 10 buttered phyllo sheets
- The trick to perfect baklava is to cut it before you bake it rather than waiting until after. If you cut it after, the pastry will crumble and you’ll lose half of it to the process. Cut baklava into 1 ½ inch strips, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.
- Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown. If it looks to be browning too fast, cover the top loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Remove from oven and pour honey topping over while still hot. It will seep into all the nooks and crannies. Then top with remaining chopped walnuts while still tacky.
- Let baklava cool completely, uncovered and at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours, but maximum of 12 before serving.
- After honey topping has set, top with a light sprinkle of fleur de sel, which is totally optional. I find salt brings out the rest of the flavors.
- Store covered at room temperature. If making ahead, top with a damp (NOT WET) tea towel to keep moist. Baklava is best served within 1-2 days of baking.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!
Thank you so much for this extremely detailed recipe. I love thé addition of pecans , the magical touch of spices and the way that this recipe has been written. It was a complete success and so light and flaky. One for my recipe notebook
So glad you loved it!
Homemade is always the best. I agree, stop yourself from buying at the store and make your own. This Baklava looks amazing!
Oh my husband is going to love these. I am going to make them for Valentine’s Day.
I’m always ready for a delicious dessert! Can’t wait to make it this weekend!
Thrilled I found this recipe as I’ve been wanting to try making baklava for a long time! Can’t wait to try it!
Thank you for an amazing recipe! I’ve always wanted to make homemade baklava, and now you’ve given me all the detailed photos and instructions to do it. YUM!
Baklava is one of my favorite dishes of any kind. I love the way the phyllo dough works with the other ingredients, especially in this recipe.
This was absolutely incredible! I had phyllo dough in the freezer; why didn’t I make this earlier? It was easy to make with your detailed instructions! Everyone was swooning over this baklava!
Great step by step instructions — loved how the baklava turned out and it was my first time making it!
This was a such a delicious and easy recipe! I went perfect with my dinner meal. So good!
Oh my goodness! This looks amazing. I love anything that uses phyllo sheets because it makes life so much easier.
Baklava is my absolute favourite sweet treat in the world and up until now, I haven’t attempted to make it myself. Inspired by your recipe, I braved it! I absolutely loved the use of pecans in this recipe – such great buttery texture, and the honey syrup – divine! Thanks for the recipe!
Homemade baklava is one of my most favourite things ever! This honey nut baklava sounds absolutely delicious.
Homemade is the best. This baklava looks just like the kind I had growing up. Deliciousness!
Thank you for the detailed recipe. It is one of my fav desserts. Would love to try this soon.
This looks like something I’ve got to try! Thanks for sharing.
This takes me back to being a little girl. My grandmother used to make this for me all the time. This taste just like her old recipe.