This easy and classic Baklava recipe is loaded with layers of cinnamon, nuts, and butter and saturated in a simple honey syrup! Everyone will love this sweet and sticky dessert!
This Homemade Baklava Recipe is dreamy!
I am SOOOOO excited about today’s post! Because Baklava, people, BAK-LA-VA!!! Right, glad we’re all on the same page!
I can still remember the first time I had Baklava.
It was probably close to 20 years ago and I was maybe 10 or so. My mum and I were picking up dinner at this new pizza place one Friday night.
I remember looking at the counter and seeing this cake stand stacked with a strange treat that looked like a really sticky pastry, you know, the best kind.
When I asked my mom what it was, she said it was baklava, and then she bought me a piece!
This was a HUGE deal, guys! Growing up, there wasn’t a lot of extra money, so when my mom bought me this $3 treat I was ecstatic!
I was reading a book that took me on a tour of the streets of Istanbul where it mentions Baklava.
That’s when it occurred to me that I hadn’t had it in years. Years, people! And I love baklava, so I had to fix that issue, pronto! So into the kitchen, I went.
It’s funny how a book that takes place on the other side of the world can stir up such a dear memory from my childhood in central Maine. And at the same time give me the urge to jump on the next plane to Turkey.
That’s what I love about reading, you can go anywhere in the world without leaving your house.
What is Baklava?
My recipe for Baklava is a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup.
Where Did It Originate?
No one can say for sure, but it is believed to have been derived from a second-century dated recipe in the Ottoman Empire. The Greeks and Turks still argue over who made it first.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Baklava Recipe
What I love most about baklava is the crunchy yet gooey layers packed with flavor and I think that’s what you’ll love most about it too – it’s delicious! But aside from the obvious, this sticky dessert is actually way easier to make than you might think, although a bit time consuming because of all the layers. But it’s totally worth it!
Homemade Baklava Recipe ingredients
- Phyllo Dough
What Nuts Are Best For Baklava?
There are several different nuts you can use in baklava filling, the most common are pistachios and walnuts. Almonds are another great option, and my personal favorite are pecans.
Can I Use Puff Pastry Instead Of Phyllo For Baklava?
No. Even though they are both pastry doughs, they are very different. Baklava relies on the many thin layers of phyllo dough to achieve it’s signature look, texture, and flavor.
This was my first ever baklava. I brought it in to work and also gifted it some to family and friends. They raved about it. Couldn’t believe that it was homemade and not from a bakery, one co worker said it was best baklava he has ever had! I still need to master working with phyllo dough but hands down I will now be adding this to my Christmas and Easter baking every year. Thank you!!!
How to make Baklava
For a dessert that looks super complicated with all those flaky layers, it’s actually really easy to make right at home!
Step 1: You’ll begin with a 9×13-inch baking dish and melted butter. Butter pan using a pastry brush, then add two layers of phyllo dough and brush them all over with butter.
Repeat three more times for a total of eight layers of dough.
Step 2: Next, combine the chopped nuts and cinnamon and sprinkle a few tablespoons of the nut mixture over the top of the buttered dough.
Repeat your dough layers and nut filling layer several more times.
Step 3: Once you have completed the layers, use a very large and sharp knife to cut the baklava. Cut it lengthwise and then angled across to create diamond shapes before you bake the baklava. Bake until the top layers are golden brown.
Step 4: While baking, prepare your honey syrup. Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then add the honey and vanilla.
Pour the syrup over the hot baklava in the baking pan and allow it to cool completely.
Once cooled, the baklava is ready to enjoy!
Traditional Baklava Recipe Tips
- Keep your dough covered while working so it doesn’t dry out causing the baklava to become too chewy.
- Use a nut that you like (pistachios, walnuts, almonds, and pecans are all great options).
- Make sure your syrup is ready as soon as the baklava comes out of the oven so you can pour it over the top of the pan immediately!
- Store at room temperature for best results.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the layers of dough for even coverage.
Baklava Recipe Easy Storage
One of my favorite things about baklava is that it’s good for about 2 weeks after making. This makes it a fantastic holiday treat! Just make sure to store it in an airtight container at room temperature to preserve the texture. Storing in the fridge will cause the dough to lose flakiness.
Easy Baklava FAQs
No, they are not. Phyllo (or filo) dough is made with flour, water, vinegar, and a bit of oil. It is a very thin dough that’s usually used in layers and generally yields light, flaky, crispy end results.
Puff pastry is made with butter, flour, water, and salt. It is a thicker dough that has already gone through lamination (folding butter into dough over and over again) during the prep process to create layers of flour and fat that, once baked, the liquid in the dough evaporates and causes the pastry to puff and rise.
The biggest notable difference is that Greek Baklava uses walnuts, spices, and a honey based syrup (like what this recipe uses).
Turkish Baklava uses pistachios instead and omits the spices but sometimes includes citrus in the syrup.
There’s also Lebanese Baklava which uses a simple syrup flavored with with rose or orange water.
Really though, there are so many ways to make this delightful dish and just because a certain way might be more common in a region does not mean that’s the only way it’s made there.
Make sure you are applying coats of butter to every two sheets of dough. You can also use clarified butter or ghee for extra crispiness in the final dish.
Letting your dough dry out can also cause the baklava to become chewy, this is why I recommend keeping the dough covered while you work.
Make sure you don’t underbake the baklava, either!
It’s best eaten at room temperature.
Pistachio Baklava is definitely the most popular world-wide. And you can make this recipe with pistachios instead of pecans or walnuts if you want to!
More Recipes Made With Honey
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Traditional Baklava Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Add the nuts and cinnamon to a medium bowl and mix together, set aside.
- Unroll both tubes of phyllo dough on a clean surface, cover loosely with saran wrap and a damp dishcloth so the dough doesn’t try out.
- Melt the butter in the microwave on 30-second intervals. Use a pastry brush to brush butter onto the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Line the dough up with the length of the pan and feel free to cut off any excess at the end, usually, there’s an extra inch or so that can be removed.
- Add two sheets of phyllo dough to the buttered pan, and use the pastry brush to brush melted butter over the entire surface area of the dough, repeat until you have 8 layered sheets total.
- Evenly sprinkle the top of the buttered 8th sheet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture.
- Lay another two sheets on top and brush with butter and then add more nuts. Repeat the dough, butter, nuts layers every 2 sheets until you have just 8 sheets left, adding those two at a time and only brushing with butter.
- Using a really sharp knife, cut 4 rows down the length of the pan and then cut diagonally all the way down and across the pan for a traditional baklava prep. You may also cut into squares.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the baklava is golden and crisp on top.
- With 30 minutes left to bake, begin making the syrup by adding the water and sugar to a small pot and bringing to a boil over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Add the vanilla and honey and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour the sauce over the entire pan, let set and cool.
- Adapted from All My Recipes.
- I use Athens brand which has 36 sheets of Phyllo dough per box, other brands maybe have more or less, even if they are the same weight, due to the paper being thicker or thinner. If you have less sheets, start adding nuts with the 6th sheet and add 1/4 cup of nuts every 2 sheets.
- Baklava does freeze well.
- Chopped Pistachios can also be used.