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baklava on a tray
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5 from 6 votes

Middle Eastern Baklawa Recipe

Authentic Middle Eastern baklava that's to die for!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Assyrian, Greek, Middle Eastern
Servings: 1 9 x 13 tray
Calories: 327kcal



  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon rose water


  • 1 lb. fillo dough
  • 3 cups nuts (a mix of pistachios, walnuts, and almonds)
  • cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup butter (clarified will equal ¾ cup)


Prepare the Syrup

  • Mix water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and rose water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. (Optional Step: Add cardamom pods, whole cloves, and dehydrated orange slices to enhance the syrup flavor.)
  • Bring the syrup to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes. Set aside to cool while you assemble the Baklawa.

Baklawa Assembly

  • Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F
  • While the syrup is boiling, grind the nut mixture in a food processor, then mix in sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon. Set the nut mixture aside until needed.
  •  Next, clarify the butter by slowly melting and discarding the foamy and milky white substance from the butter. See this tutorial on how to clarify butter.
  • Brush the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish or pan with the clarified butter. Place one fillo sheet carefully into the buttered dish. Gently brush the sheet with butter.
  • Continue to butter and layer the sheets until you have used up approximately ¼ of the sheets.
  • Once you've layered approximately ¼ of the sheets, distribute ⅓ of the nut mixture over them. Carefully cover with more buttered sheets. Continue these steps until all the nuts and Fillo sheets are used up.
  • When you're done assembling the baklawa, use a sharp (non-serrated knife) to cut into squares. Or cut into rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half to form triangles. 
  • Place the tray in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or up to an hour, until golden in color. You may need to rotate the pan ½ way through to cook evenly.
  • When the Baklawa is done baking, remove the pan from the oven and pour the cooled syrup slowly over the hot Baklawa. Make sure to distribute the syrup evenly to cover all the baklava pieces. The Baklava will sizzle as the syrup is absorbed by the fillo sheets.
  • Allow the Baklawa to rest for a few hours, uncovered, until set, before serving.


  • Defrost phyllo dough in the fridge overnight, if frozen.
  • You can also defrost frozen phyllo dough on the counter for an hour or so, prior to using it but the preferred method is defrosting it in the fridge.
  • Some phyllo packages contain 2 rolls of phyllo dough, while others come with one big roll. The size of the phyllo dough varies as well. You might need to trim the dough to make it fit into the pan. With some brands, like Kontos, the sheets are twice the size of the pan. In that case, cut the large sheets into 2 9"x13" stacks.
  • Keep phyllo dough covered with kitchen towels while assembling the baklava. This keeps the phyllo dough from drying out.
  • Baklava can also be cut into diamonds, instead of squares. To do this, place the pan vertically in front of you. Slice lines diagonally in one direction, then again in the opposite direction.
  • To keep the phyllo sheets from curling up, mist the top of the baklava with water before baking.
  • Sometimes Fillo pastry comes in various thicknesses. Thickness #4 or #5 can be used for this recipe.
  • To keep the baklawa from getting soggy, store it on the counter, either uncovered or covered with a thin kitchen towel.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 61mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 17g