If you’re a fan of Greek food, you’ve likely heard of or tried spanakopita in some form before. But what exactly is it? Spanakopita is just spinach pie. But this simple, savory pastry dish has existed within Greek cuisine for centuries.

Spanakopita is a super versatile dish. You can make it with just about anything. And despite what some may think, it’s a great prep-ahead meal. Spanakopita is also a great warm appetizer before a larger meal or a delicious afternoon snack to tide you over before dinner. Here are some basic facts about this mouth-watering Greek favorite I’ve been a fan of since I was a kid.


Making Spanakopita

Spanakopita is loaded with some of my favorite things; spinach, sautéed onions, feta cheese, egg, and seasonings such as dill.  Delicate layers of phyllo dough encase this savory filling forming a one-of-a-kind flakey exterior. The pastry can be baked whole or formed into small triangles and served individually. Butter is the secret ingredient and what makes the phyllo crisp up and turn golden brown when baking giving this classic dish its signature look.

Other soft-white cheeses can be used in addition to or instead of the classic feta cheese. Some recipes call for a crust made out of flour and water instead of phyllo dough for a more pie-like exterior. When making the homemade version, you can serve it fresh from the oven or slightly cooled down, as is the typical Greek custom.


History and Tradition

Like many foods, the origins of spanakopita are difficult to trace, yet many believe it may have originated in Greece over 400 years ago. This savory vegetarian dish may be related to ispanakli, a similar Turkish dish. The most delicious and authentic spanakopita recipes in the world originate from the region of Epirus, in the Northwest region of Greece.


Today, spanakopita is one of the most popular snacks in Greece and is increasingly available all over the world. If making the homemade version is not your thing, I get it, but trust me, once you try it, you may never go back. This famous dish is often overlooked these days, but trust me, it’s worth a comeback. The simple ingredients blend perfectly together and may even get your kids eating spinach if they don’t already.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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