Homemade Phyllo Dough

Homemade Phyllo Dough

The Spruce

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Rest: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
117 Calories
1g Fat
24g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 35mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Phyllo (or filo, in Greek: φύλλο, pronounced FEE-low) is the dough used in a variety of Greek sweet pastries and savory dishes such as baklava and spanakopita. The tissue-thin layers make for flaky results but can also be challenging to work with. By being patient and following some simple steps, however, you can learn to easily handle this delicate dough.

Although phyllo dough is readily available frozen in most markets, freshly made phyllo dough is always preferable and it isn't difficult to make. Flour, hot water, raki, olive oil, and lemon are the five ingredients for this dough recipe. While this recipe calls for raki, an unsweetened anise-flavored liquor, you can substitute white vinegar if you choose. Note that one of the keys to a successful phyllo dough is to use the hottest tap water possible. 

Once the dough is complete, you will need to turn the dough into thin sheets—you can either use a pasta machine or roll it out with a rolling pin; the latter takes time and experience to master. The technique for making the dough differs depending on which method you use to roll it out. The dough is ideal for small fried and baked pies as well as pan-sized pie crusts.

"Great recipe to have on hand in case you want to try making phyllo dough at home. It's very straightforward and the ingredients are what you already have in your pantry. Whether using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, the dough rolls out easily if it's rested enough." —Tara Omidvar

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Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Phyllo dough recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until it holds together. If needed, add more water, a little at a time, until a dough forms.

    Phyllo dough on a floured surface
     The Spruce
  3. On a floured surface, knead by hand for 15 to 20 minutes until soft and malleable with a smooth feel.

    Knead dough by hand
     The Spruce
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before using.

    Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate
     The Spruce
  5. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 equal pieces.

    Divide the dough into 18 to 20 pieces
     The Spruce
  6. To make phyllo sheets, run the pieces of dough through the pasta machine. Starting with setting 1 (the thickest), and run each piece of dough through several times, increasing the setting number each time you put it through. For pastries, finish at setting 9; if you are making small fried pitas (pies), use setting number 6.

    Running pieces of dough through a pasta machine
     The Spruce
  7. To roll out by hand, sprinkle a work surface with flour and roll out each piece with a rolling pin to paper-thin thickness.

    Roll out phyllo dough by hand

    The Spruce


  • When using the rolling pin method, the sheets will be about the thickness of two sheets of copy paper. Over time, as you become familiar with the texture and rolling process, you should be able to make the dough even thinner; however, rolling out to the thickness of commercial phyllo dough—which is done with a machine—may never be achieved. It should be noted that even the thickness of copy paper will produce a fine and flaky crust.
  • Phyllo dough sheets should always be kept under a piece of plastic wrap, parchment, or waxed paper followed by a damp towel. The sheets easily dry out and crack and tear, and so should be exposed to air as little as possible. Do not simply use a damp towel, since the delicate sheets will become gummy and stick together.

How to Use

  • Phyllo or filo dough can be layered and used to make sweets like baklava, savory dishes like spanakopita, or arranged to make a bottom and/or top crust for a variety of pies, tarts, and quiches.
  • To make a crust (top or bottom) for a sweet or savory pie, add a sheet of phyllo to a greased pan. Brush with melted butter or oil and add another layer, rotating the sheets to make sure the coverage is even. Make as many layers as you like—at least six is recommended for a sturdy, flaky crust.
  • To make mini pies or triangles, brush a long sheet of phyllo with butter or oil. Add the filling at one end and fold over one corner making a triangle. Fold as you would a flag, making several layers over the filling.
  • Bake according to the recipe instructions, until the phyllo is golden brown and flaky.

How to Store

Fresh phyllo can be kept in the refrigerator for a day, floured between sheets and tightly wrapped with plastic wrap. Phyllo dough can also be frozen for 2 to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. 

Are Phyllo Dough and Puff Pastry the Same?

Phyllo dough is not the same as puff pastry. The ingredients are different, and the technique to make them is also different. Puff pastry is rich and airy, while phyllo gets crispy and flaky. When making layers of phyllo, fat is often brushed between each sheet, whereas puff pastry already has layers of butter present in the dough. They should not be substituted for one another.

How Do You Seal Phyllo Dough?

If making enclosed pastries, simply brush with butter or oil and place on the baking sheet seal-side down. This will keep the filling enclosed. If you'd like the seal to be a little tighter, brush a very small amount of egg wash just on the edge and press to seal.