Fine Desserts

How To Make Baklava

4.93 from 14 votes
Flakey phyllo dough, layers of sweet nuts, and all the flavor you love in a homemade Baklava recipe!
A serving dish with baklava.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Homemade baklava is a right of passage in plenty of homes around the world, and I’m so happy that I finally nailed my own version! If you’re familiar with baklava, you know that the textures of flaky, buttery, phyllo dough become irresistible when paired with sweet, rich layers of chopped nuts. (I love to use pistachios and almonds in mine!) 

This pastry becomes perfect, though, with the addition of sweetened syrup. Honey, citrus, warm spices—can’t you just imagine the wonderful smell?!

All those layers of phyllo dough can look intimidating, but assembling baklava is not difficult at all! It comes together quickly, and all those crispy layers are worth it! I always love a dessert you can make ahead, too, and baklava is ideal because as the flavors all sit together, it just ends up tasting even more delicious!

A gorgeous pan of baklava freshly baked.

What Is Baklava?

There’s some debate on where baklava actually originates from, and when a dessert is this delicious and engrained in your family history, that’s understandable! It’s popular in places in Mediterranean cuisine, which means you’ll find it in homes in Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Egypt, to name a few. The name may be from Arabic, Turkish, or Greek.

Baklava is a dessert made with nuts, spices, and pie dough, but every area has its different flavoring. Some are sweeter, while others let the spices, like cloves and cardamom, take center stage. The nuts used differ too, and sometimes either orange or rose water is used to give it a delicious flavor and scent. 

For this recipe, the nuts I use are pistachios and almonds, and I also make a syrup with orange and lemon peels. 

Simply put, the baklava you find in Greece won’t be the same as the baklava you find in Turkey or anywhere else! I took some inspiration from many different baklava recipes and traditions, and I’m really happy with the result! 

What You Need To Make Baklava

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 9×9-inch (23x23cm) square baking dish
  • Small saucepan
  • Food processor
  • Kitchen towel
  • Pastry brush

A pan of baklava with servings removed.

How To Make Baklava

Working with phyllo dough and creating all those amazing crispy layers is a lot easier than you would think! You really can’t pass up this delicious recipe!! Here is how you make baklava (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below.):

  1. First, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the honey, water, sugar, cinnamon stick, orange peels, and lemon peels and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat and set it aside. (You can make the syrup up to 2 days in advance!)
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves until the nuts are chopped. You want them to be small but not ground. 
  4. Now, set up your workstation! Unroll your phyllo dough and place it under a damp kitchen towel so it does not dry out. Next to it, have your bowl of melted butter and a pastry brush.
  5. Light brush your 9×9-inch (23x23cm) square baking dish with butter and lay a sheet of phyllo dough in the pan. Fold the edges to fit into the pan, then brush lightly, all over, with butter.
  6. Add another layer of phyllo dough, fold it to fit, and again brush it with butter. Repeat this process until you have used 8 sheets of phyllo dough. 
  7. Sprinkle 1/4 of the nut mixture onto the dough layers, then top the nuts with two phyllo dough sheets, brushing each sheet with butter after placing it in the pan. Repeat this process until there are 4 layers of nuts, with two layers of phyllo dough in between. 
  8. Top the nuts with the remaining phyllo dough, brushing each layer with butter, including the final layer.
  9. Using a very sharp knife, cut the baklava into around 20 squares or diamond shapes.
  10. Bake the baklava for about 1 hour or until the pastry is a deep golden brown.
  11. Remove the baklava from the oven. Immediately remove the cinnamon stick and the orange and lemon peels from the cold syrup and pour it evenly over the hot baklava. Let the baklava absorb the syrup for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Baklava

  • Make the syrup first, so it is cold before you pour it onto the hot baklava. The difference in temperature between the phyllo and syrup is what keeps the layers nice and crispy. I like to make my syrup the day before, or 2 days before!
  • As long as you keep the amounts the same, you can use different nuts in this recipe. Try walnuts! 
  • Try replacing 1 cup (5oz/142g) with an equal amount of finely chopped chocolate or dried fruit for a different twist.
  • 2 teaspoons of orange flower water can be added to the syrup if you have some on hand.
  • You can eat this baklava after 4 hours, and it will be delicious! But, if you wait a full 24 hours before serving, the syrup will be able to absorb through the layers evenly, and it will be even better! 

A close-up of a slice of my baklava recipe.

How Do You Store Baklava

You can store leftover baklava by loosely covering it and keeping it at temperature for up to 3 days. 

Make More International Recipes!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Homemade Baklava Recipe

4.93 from 14 votes
Flakey phyllo dough, layers of sweet nuts, and all the flavor you love in a homemade Baklava recipe — it's no wonder this dessert is beloved!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 pieces
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
soak for a minimum of 4 hrs
Flakey phyllo dough, layers of sweet nuts, and all the flavor you love in a homemade Baklava recipe — it's no wonder this dessert is beloved!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 pieces

Ingredients

For the Syrup:

  • 1 cup (10oz/283g) honey
  • 1 cup (8floz/225ml) water
  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 (2- inch) strips orange peel
  • 3 (2- inch) strips lemon peel

For the Baklava

  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) raw shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) raw almonds
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) granulated sugar
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pound (16oz/450g) phyllo dough
  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) butter (melted)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the honey, water, sugar, cinnamon stick, orange peel, and lemon peel and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside. (this syrup can be made up to 2 days in advance)
  • In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the pistachios, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves until the nuts are chopped small (but not ground). Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  • Set up a workstation with the phyllo dough unrolled and under a damp kitchen towel, the melted butter, and a pastry brush.
  • Lightly brush a 9x9-inch (23x23cm) square baking dish with butter and lay a sheet of phyllo dough in the pan. Fold over the edges to fit into the pan. Brush lightly all over with butter.
  • Add another layer of phyllo dough, fold to fit, and brush with butter. Repeat this process until you have used 8 sheets of phyllo dough. Keep the unused dough under the towel to prevent it from drying out.
  • Sprinkle ¼ of the nut mixture onto the dough layers, then top the nuts with two sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each sheet of dough with butter after placing it in the pan. Repeat this process until you have created 4 layers of nuts with two layers of phyllo dough in between.
  • Top the nuts with the remaining phyllo dough, brushing each layer with butter, including the final layer.
  • With a very sharp knife cut the baklava into about 20 squares or diamond shapes.
  • Bake for about 1 hour, or until the pastry is a deep golden brown.
  • Remove the baklava from the oven. Immediately remove the cinnamon stick and the orange and lemon peels from the cold syrup and pour evenly over the hot baklava. Let the syrup absorb for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
  • Enjoy Baklava as is! Store loosely covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Ali Ali
1 month ago

Hey Gemma.. Baklawa or baklava is very popular dessert in my country Syria.. Actually for the syrup you can just make a simple one with sugar and water(2:1 ratio) and a little bit of lemon juice and let it to thicken.. Thank you!!

Sheila Rebello
Sheila Rebello
1 month ago

Hi Gemma, do u have a recipe for phyllo dough/pastry as in Bombay, India we don’t get it in stores.

Salva akbarof
24 days ago

without a doubt the best baklava I have ever had, I made this yesterday and my whole family loved it thank you gemma for this awesome recipes:)

Salva
25 days ago

Hi Gemma are you suppose to mix the nuts with the syrup then start layering

Jacoba Magrietha Meyer
Jacoba Magrietha Meyer
26 days ago

All the recipes are so nice. The only problem is, some of the ingredients, like the HONEY, is so expensive. I cannot afford o buy it. Thank you

Leela Saraswat
Leela Saraswat
27 days ago

My mother used to make Baklava a lot but she only ever used walnuts. She would serve them in cupcake wrappers and once a friend said she wanted to eat the honey-soaked wrapper too! :)) What a delicious dessert!

Shivani Tripathi
28 days ago

Hi Gemma, what is allspice? Is it a mixture of spices and if so what are they??

Asniah Alonto
28 days ago

Thank you for sharing ❤️💋🌹

Mimoza
Mimoza
29 days ago

Do you know we’re is Albania 🇦🇱??bakllava is tradition my country we make by hands about 50 fillo test delicious 😋 before we dont have frozen fillo dough tu much work for women por country

Abigail
29 days ago

I’m definitely going to make this for my mum at some point because she loves baklava. When cutting it before you cook it, do you have to cut all the way through? Is there a specific reason why you have to do this?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!