Spanakopita triangles are flaky phyllo pastry with spinach and cheese filling. Make this recipe for a delicious, classic Greek appetizer!
The holiday season is here, and let’s face it; it’s convenient to buy pre-made frozen appetizers like Costco spanakopita for holiday parties. But why pay $10 or more for frozen ones when you can make an authentic spanakopita recipe instead?
These mini Greek spinach pies taste so much better than warmed up frozen food. Plus, they’re simple to make, and you can customize the filling so you know exactly what’s in them!
Cuisine: Mediterranean / Greek
In Greece, the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are a time of religious reverence, but there’s also plenty of fun involved.
Whether it’s a timeless tradition like an evening of card playing or a family reunion, delicious Greek foods are always involved.
Greek appetizers and smaller dishes like soutzoukakia are common, as well as traditional Greek desserts like baklava rolls, lokum, and melomakarona honey cookies.
This Greek mezze appetizer is a hand-held version of the authentic spanakopita recipe. If you're not familiar, spanakopita is a delicious, savory Greek pie, baked in a phyllo crust.
Spanakopitakia, spanakotiropita, Greek spinach pie, phyllo pie
mezze / appetizer
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Video: How to make spanakopita appetizers
Spanakopitakia is the “official” name for the appetizer version of an authentic spanakopita recipe.
They don't take very long to make, and as long as you prep your ingredients ahead of time, you should be good to go.
Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post to see the process of making the spinach triangles.
Spinach and feta filling
I just have one tip to offer here. Preheat your skillet before adding any ingredients to it, even cooking oil.
It’s a common mistake to try to saute or sear food in a cold pan. Likewise, if you add food to cooking oil that isn’t hot, the oil soaks into the food and makes it greasy.
Be sure to let the filling cool for several minutes before you add it to the filo dough. Otherwise, the dough will soften, which causes the pastry to dry out and become brittle.
Tips for working with phyllo dough
- Thaw filo in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
- Give yourself plenty of work space. The phyllo sheets are 12 x 18 inches in size, and you'll want plenty of room around them as well.
- Don't use flour! Adding flour dries out the dough.
- Keep your hands dry. If your hands are wet, they can stick to the phyllo dough, and you'll have trouble folding the spanakopita triangles.
- Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel. Phyllo dough dries out very quickly, so keep a barely damp kitchen towel over the sheets you aren't working with. Don't dampen it with too much water or the dough will become soggy and difficult to work with.
Filling and folding spanakopita triangles
When your filling is ready, fill and fold one triangle at a time, keeping the other sheets under a damp towel. This helps to prevent the dough from drying out.
- Brush the top of one sheet lightly with melted butter. Place another sheet on top of the buttered one, and brush it with butter.
- Cut strips. Using a sharp knife, slice through both sheets and cut 4 even-sized strips. Place a tablespoon of the filling at the end of one strip and cover the others with your damp towel.
- Add filling and fold phyllo triangles. Fold one corner over the filling to form a triangle shape, then continue to fold the dough onto itself until you reach the end of the strip.
Repeat the steps with the remaining filling and dough strips.
Recipe notes and tips
Making the appetizers ahead of time
Unfortunately, spanakopita doesn't freeze well after being baked. However, you can make the spinach and feta filling a few days ahead of time.
Just keep the prepared filling in a tightly covered container in the fridge. To prevent the spinach from becoming watery, I don't suggest making the filling more than 3 days ahead of time.
Storing and reheating instructions
Store any leftovers in a covered container at room temperature for one day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheat the spanakopita triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, in a preheated 350°F. oven. It takes about 15 minutes for them to warm through.
Spanakopita triangle variations
Spanakopitakia is the “official” name for the appetizer version of an authentic spanakopita recipe. The fillings can vary, but the most popular is a vegetarian mixture of spinach and feta cheese.
The recipe is really versatile though; customize the fillings for your spanakopita triangles however you'd like!
For example, shredded chicken spanakopita is delicious, and if you make it in pie form, it's a complete meal!
- Making spanakopita with ricotta mixed in with the feta gives the filling a creamier consistency.
- Substituting puff pastry for filo is a simple option for people who don’t want to work with phyllo dough.
- Substituting fresh spinach for frozen is a popular option too. It does require an extra step, but it’s not difficult.
Because it wilts down, you’ll need a pound of fresh spinach. Add it to the pan with the onions during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Allow the spinach to wilt completely so that all of the excess moisture cooks off, and then let it sit for several minutes to cool down. Otherwise, the heat from the filling can scramble the egg, and also cause the feta cheese to melt.
- Garnishing the tops- For a bit of crunch, feel free to add some finely crushed nuts or sesame seeds onto the tops of the spanakopita triangles before baking.
Spanakopita Triangles + Video
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 oz feta cheese crumbles
- ½ cup Greek yogurt plain
- 1 egg large
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 10 oz frozen spinach thawed and drained
- ½ cup parsley chopped fine
- 1 cup walnuts chopped fine (optional)
- 1 package Phyllo pastry thawed per package instructions
- 1 cup butter melted
- In a skillet over medium heat add the oil. Saute the onions until golden and add the garlic, salt and red pepper flakes, cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl mix together the feta, Greek yogurt, egg, dill, spinach, parsley and walnuts until smooth.
- Fold in the onion and garlic mixture. Set aside and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the phyllo sheets on a clean working surface and cover with light kitchen towel. Working with 1 sheet of dough at a time, brush top lightly with melted butter, place another sheet on top and brush again with butter.
- Using a sharp knife cut the sheets into 4 strips. At each end place a tablespoon of the filling. Fold one corner over filling to form a triangle and continue to fold onto itself until end of dough strip. Repeat with other strips and filling.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper and arrange triangles on top. Brush each with a little of the remaining melted butter and bake for 25 minutes.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.