Baklava, baklava, baklava! It’s such an amazingly perfect dessert, but it’s often time-consuming to make. I’m so nuts (pun intended!) about baklava that I made a simpler, rolled variation that you can make much quicker.
Hands down, this will be the easiest rolled baklava recipe you will come across. It’s flaky, chewy, nutty, and so yummy. Just to give you a fair warning, you might have trouble observing a diet with this one. The first time I made this recipe, I was hoping to share it with friends, but it was gone too quickly and too soon. More so, it combines all my favorite things about cooking — a helpful shortcut, a small ingredient list, and no skimping on the sugar.
Where Did Baklava Originate?
This scrumptious dessert is not only seeped in honey but also history. The earliest records of baklava recipes date back to early as the 8th century B.C. Today, many ethnic groups make baklava and have variations of the dessert. From the Greeks to the Turks, every chef has their style of baklava and that makes the eating all the greater. Variety is the spice of life, right?
What Baklava is Made of
If you have had baklava before, you know it is as decadent as it gets. To make it, you alternate layers of phyllo dough with chopped walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and butter or ghee. After you bake your baklava, you will drench it with melted honey and let it soak in all the sweetness for several hours.
Different Varieties of Baklava
There are so many different types of baklava out there. Some chefs use ground pistachio instead of walnuts, while others use almonds. Some people also like to bake their baklava like cakes. Others like a spicier nut mixture packed with ground cloves and cinnamon. For this recipe, you will use my rolling method to skip some of the manual labor. When I created this easier version, I didn’t realize how dangerous it was going to be to have baklava on the table so fast!
How to Make this Rolled Baklava Recipe
Preparing this rolled baklava recipe takes just 20 minutes of prep time – almost a quarter less total time than traditional baklava!
- Chop the Nuts: Use a food processor to chop the nuts into tiny pieces.
- Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the chopped nuts with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon. In a small bowl, melt the butter.
- Prepare the Sheets of Phyllo Dough: On a large cutting board, lay out the phyllo one sheet at a time, brushing each with melted butter.
- Assemble the Rolled Baklava: Sprinkle the nut mixture onto the buttered sheets and roll up the phyllo into a tight roll. Place the baklava log into a baking pan and repeat the rolling process until you run out of ingredients.
- Brush the Rolled Baklava: Brush the rolled baklava with melted butter.
- Bake the Rolled Baklava: Pop the baking dish in the oven at 375°F for 25 minutes.
- Soak the Rolled Baklava: In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and boil it on low for 10 minutes. Optionally, add a few cinnamon sticks in while the syrup comes together. Add in the honey and stir to combine. Pour the sweet mixture over the baking tray and let it soak at room temperature for 3 hours.
- Slice the Baklava: Slice the baklava into bite-sized pieces and decorate each piece with a clove if you wish.
Hot Tip: To make the syrup more citrusy, add a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or orange blossom water to the mix.
Tips for Making this Rolled Baklava Recipe
If you’re used to making traditional baklava, this rolled variation has some slight differences. These tips will help you nail the process.
- Use a food processor to chop the nuts. Use a food processor to chop your walnuts and save yourself a battle with a knife. You will need to pulse them about 10 times to get them to the correct coarseness.
- Be swift with the phyllo. Work with your phyllo dough as quickly as possible to prevent it from drying out. The longer it sits at room temperature, the more prone it is to be too difficult to work with and roll.
- Roll the phyllo as tightly as possible. Roll your rolls are tight as possible to ensure that you have even and smooth layers on the inside.
- Soak the baklava while it’s still hot. Pour the honey and sugar mixture on your baklava rolls while they are still hot. This will help them to soak up the mixture much better.
- Slice the baklava at an angle. Cut your baklava pieces at an angle with a sharp knife. I like to use a bread knife in a light, sawing motion to make sure all the pretty layers stay intact.
- Let the baklava rest at room temperature. You must let your baklava rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours uncovered. If you can, overnight works best.
How to Keep Baklava from Getting Soggy
Keep your baklava from getting soggy by covering it lightly with a paper towel. You can store it in the fridge or at room temperature once you have given it enough time to soak up the honey and sugar mixture. Whatever you do, don’t keep it sealed in a warm place – otherwise, the honey will melt and cause the delicate phyllo to become limp.
Freezing this Rolled Baklava Recipe
Freeze your baklava in an airtight container for up to 3 months. If you have to layer your pieces, make sure to place a piece of wax paper between them to prevent sticking. When you are ready to eat, allow the baklava to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
How do you make crunchy baklava?
The key to getting crunchy baklava is to allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours while it’s soaking in the sweet, honey mixture. This will allow the baklava to absorb all the sugary goodness, while also exposing it to enough air to stay crunchy and slightly crispy.
What’s the difference between the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern baklava?
Mediterranean baklava tends to have more layering, with many thin pieces of phyllo alternated with a sweet nut mixture. On the other hand, baklava in the Middle East tends to have a thicker pastry layer on the bottom that’s stuffed with a sweet nut mixture and topped with another thick layer of pastry.
How do you know when baklava is done?
You’ll know your baklava is done baking when the top of the phyllo is crispy and golden brown. When it comes to the soaking, it takes at least 3 hours for the syrup to penetrate through all the phyllo and nuts. That said, it’s best to let baklava rest overnight.
Why is your baklava hard?
Your baklava likely came out hard if you didn’t soak it while it was fresh out of the oven. The hot baklava makes the syrup melt, creating that perfectly tender texture you’re looking for.
How do you keep phyllo dough crispy for baklava?
The key to keeping the phyllo sheets crispy is working with them quickly once you take them out of the fridge. The longer it sits at room temperature, the more it dries out, loses its texture, and is impossible to crisp up in the oven.
Other Nutty Sweet Treats to Try
- Russian Walnut Cookies aka Oreshki – Sweet, dulce de leche filled cookies
- Honey Walnut Poppy Seed Cake – Moist honey & nut cake
- Jam and Nuts Rugelach – Polish-style rolled cookies
- European Peach Cookies – Peach-shaped dulce de leche cookies
- 18 sheets phyllo dough (9×14 in size)
- 150 gram melted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- In a food processor, chop the walnuts into tiny pieces.
- Place the chopped walnuts in a bowl with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon and toss to combine. In a separate bowl, melt the butter.
- Lay out one filo sheet at the time, brushing it with melted butter, until you have a total of three stacked buttered sheets.
- Spread 1/3 cup of the walnut mixture evenly onto the stack of buttered sheets. Roll the sheet up into a tight roll and set it on a baking dish. Repeat the process until you run out of ingredients.
- Brush the rolled baklava with melted butter. Bake it at 375°F for 25 minutes.
- In a small pot, combine the sugar and water and cook it on low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the honey and stir until it's melted. Pour the mixture over the rolled baklava and allow the baklava to rest for at least 3 hours.
- Slice the baklava rolls into your preferred size. Enjoy!
I made this recipe! We usually make baklava in a LARGE pan. This was nice for a quick small pan. Thanks!
Anna, thats great to hear. I love the quick smaller portion or we have too much temptation laying around. 🙂 Enjoy
Hello, for gluten free in your recipe the only think has to be gluten free is the phyllo dough right?
HI John, yes, if you swap out for gluten free phyllo dough, the recipe will be gluten free. This recipe is a hit every time we make it. Please report back, I want to hear what you think of it.
Is there a substitute for nuts? My grandson is allergic. It sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to try this easier recipe. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Martha, You can use chocolate chips, or simply not use the nuts and leave everything else as it is. I hope this helps. Wishing you the best of luck!
Been making Baklava for 35 years. I put a little orange extract in my basting sauce. Its a nice change. Lemon is very good too!
Hi Debra, thank you for sharing your process with me! I would love to give the orange extract a try sometime!
I’m getting ready to make your baklava tomorrow. Just wondering how big are the sheets of phyllo you used for this recipe? Mine are 14 x 18 I just want the nuts/phyllo ratio to be close 🙂 thanks!
One other question… could you use smaller sheets like 9x14… I often have this in the freezer and this would be a great way to use it up and make a sweet treat. Maybe just use more sheets to compensate for smaller size? Thanks again.
Hi Shari, the one that I use are the typical 9X14 size sheets. Hope you love the recipe. I would love to hear feedback. 🙂
I made the baklava … twice! It turned out delicious, I was so excited!! This will be my go to recipe … why torture myself making the one with layers! Thank you 🙂
Hi Shari, That makes me so happy to hear! I am thrilled that you found a recipe that you absolutely love! It's my mission to simplify cooking as much as possible! Thank you for your feedback. Enjoy!
have not made them yet but wondering if you are rolling them from the short edge or long edge? Thanks joyce
Hey Joyce, I roll from the short edge. See the picture in step 3 for reference. Enjoy!
I really love this recipe and am thinking about making it as a take away gift for an upcoming wedding. I'm a bit worried about the amount of syrup sitting at the bottom of the pan after the baklava has rested in it for 3 hours and even overnight. Seems like a bit much. Should all of it be absorbed?
How far in advance could I make it and keep it crisp? I cannot travel with it made already so it would have to be a few days before our event. What would be the best way to store it if I made it 2 nights before? I plan to put them in small sealed boxes. Wondering if that could be done 2 or 3 days ahead and stored in refrigerator? Thanks for an excellent recipe. I keep making it and trying different add ins to the syrup as others have suggested. Always good!
Hey JJ- these are great questions. You should be able to store it in the fridge no problem, make sure it's in an airtight container so it stays as fresh as possible. I've even read that you can store it at room temp in an airtight container, but haven't personally tested this. Since this is for a wedding favor, I recommend you make some in advance as a "test" and see which method you prefer so that you are satisfied with the results for the big day! Thank you for the kind feedback!
I've tried a few different recipes over the years and yours looks delicious! I'll be trying it this weekend. I love doing rolls instead of the large sheets cut into diamonds - makes it a lot easier! I make my syrup out of water, sugar, honey, rose water and lemon juice! Everyone wonders what the delicious "floral" taste is! lol
Hi Erica - That sounds BOMB! I bet rose water adds such a beautiful depth of flavor. Let us know how it turns out and happy baking! 🙂
Do you suggest precutting these a bit like regular sheet baklava in order to help with cutting through the film after baking? Also, what do you think about slicing the pieces before adding the syrup on top?
Hi Emily - Thanks for the note! Part of what makes these the "easiest" is that you don't have to fuss around with cutting the sheets or cutting the baklava into smaller pieces. That said, you can definitely cut them down if you'd like. Hope this helps!
I added spices we tasted while in Greece a few months ago. I wanted to try the rolled baklava. The crunch is delicious. Added lemon and cinnamon stick to the sugar water. Very good. Bit too much work for 8 dozen. But great for smaller batches.
Hi Debbie - That sounds BOMB! We will have to try this in our test kitchen. I bet the lemon juice adds such a nice, puckery flavor. Thanks for sharing!
I’m definitely going to try your baklava! I was at the store and noticed the phyllo sheets came in different sizes. What size are the sheets you used?
Hi Shari - Thanks for reaching out! I use different sizes each time, but try and go for the larger sheets since they are easier to roll and handle. Hope this helps and I'm so excited for you try it!
So simple and so much easier than making sheets. The most difficult part is getting to the store to buy the phyllo sheets! :O)). Thank You!
Hi there! Love to hear it. We feel the same way about this method being so much easier than making sheets. If only we could clone ourselves and send one of us to the store (HAHA!). Thanks for the love and so nice to hear from you!
Hi. Is filo sheet same as spring roll sheets?
Hey Mon, I dont think they are the same thing but I am not 100% sure. Maybe try to google for the difference. I never worked with spring roll sheets.
I do make Baklava, using a recipe from my Albanian born Mother. I use a ‘heavy’ syrup (sugar and water), and no honey. I assume this would work, what do you think? I am going to try your roll up method soon 😊
Hey Connie, yes, it sounds like it should work. Enjoy it
Dry on the inside. Next time I would drizzle some of the topping inside the rolls before rolling.
Thank you for the tip, sorry they didn't work out well for you.
A solid recipe and easily executed! These are actually called warbat in Arabic as I was informed by my friend and can be filled with custard, nuts or sweet cheese and eaten for breakfast.
I added orange zest from one orange, two slices of orange, cinnamon, cardamon and star anise (a dash of each and one star anise seed pod) to the syrup for a deeper flavor profile. I also baked it about 35mins to get a more golden color on top. It's good to pour the syrup on when the syrup is room temperature and the baklava fresh out of the oven.
Last note, I had about one cup of pistachios left from another recipe so I just tossed them in with the walnuts and blitzed them together. Delish!
Great recipe, very tasty!
Thank you for sharing all of that information and those tips! Interesting idea on adding the orange, sounds like it adds tons of flavor! Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Perfection! Just the right amount of sweetness. When I pull the baklava from the oven, I let it cool for an hour or two and then place the baklava itself on cooling wracks with parchment paper underneath so it doesn’t sit in the syrup and become soggy. Thanks for sharing!!
Hi Karen, thank you for all of the tips! I hope you love the baklava.
I had to double the filling to do the 6 rolls, but that’s ok
Hey Sandra, you can add more filling if that is your preference.
Submitted for your approval ... use 1 sheet of phyllo. Butter 2/3s of it (vertically). Fold the unbuttered third over the middle third, then the last third over that middle. Voila 3 layers. Much easier than trying to line up the three sheets. Then just a couple Tablespoons of the walnut filling - and then only 1 or 2 cuts on the finished roll (if any cuts at all).
(learned this 1-sheet-into-thirds trick with making spanakopita... makes an appetizer size perfect for parties)
Are you able to show a picture of this? Are they in triangles? Thank you!
Hi Emily - The sheets are not in triangles. They come in squares ad we just roll them up. Hope this helps!
Izzy, great tips. Thank you for sharing!
I made this yesterday and it's the best baklava I've ever made. I won't be using any other recipe again. I added the juice of a lemon to the syrup to give it a bit of a tang. Fantastic tasting and so quick and easy to make. Thank you xx
Hey Fiona, I am so glad to head this feedback. I love the idea of lemon juice, trying it next time for sure!
Hi Greek immigrant here... we ALWAYS add the juice of a lemon to the honey liquid. It not only flavors but keeps the sugar from crystallizing. Happy baklava!!!
Angela, this is such a great tip. Thank you!
My daughter and I made this today. I made it 2 1/2 hours before tasting it. It's insanely amazing. Once we got the hang of separating the sheets and then rolling, it went very well and was pretty easy. We will most definitely be making this again.
Hey Jean, I am so glad you love this recipe. I think the hardest part is the waiting time. Thank you for sharing your feedback! 🙂
This recipe is life changing. I love baklava but it's so time consuming I don't make it very often. Yay for a great shortcut.
Krissy, yes this one made our life so much easier 🙂 Glad you like the recipe!
Love baklava! I don't make it often, but when I do, it's gone in minutes! Love the taste!
Natalie, thank you! Glad you found the recipe useful!
You are right! This is the easiest Baklava recipe. Thanks for the step by step instructions.
Erin, thank you so much! so happy you love the recipe. I love a simple recipe when I bake so glad you found it easy as well!
I have never made baklava, but I do love it! It's sticky & flaky & delicious!
Kristyn, I am so glad. I love the sticky part too. We go for extras of the sticky dipping.
Excellent recipe!! I did however add a tiny bit less cinnamon in the baklava and a little more walnut the second time around but both ways are amazing. I've tried different baklava recipes over the years and this is by far my favorite!!! Easy and delicious! Thank you! 😊
Oh wow! What a sweet comment and love all that feedback. It gives great options for others.
I’m just curious if you can cut the rolls into smaller pieces to bake? I’m just thinking they would be easier to handle after the syrup is on them...
Hi, Greek who makes baklava from the "old country" recipe. We make rolls and cut them into bite size pieces (about 1 inch). Then you can eat lots!!!
1 inch, I love that!!! thanks for sharing.
One of the readers mentioned that she has tried making them smaller and baking later and it didn't go as well. They are pretty easy to manage this way. They hold their shape pretty well because syrup gets absorbed.
This was absolutely delicious! My husband couldn't even wait the 3 hours before he tried a piece. It's some of the best I've ever had. One question though, I think I over-buttered (is that even possible?!?) my filo dough as I had butter in the bottom of my pan when it came out of the oven and then I poured the honey/sugar mixture on top of it. Is that normal, or should I back down the butter next time. This is the first time I have worked with filo dough, so I wanted to be sure it had plenty. It soaked up most of the liquid as it dried on the counter, but the bottoms are still a little wet. Thanks so much!
I think they are supposed to be very buttery but you could drain some of the butter after baking next time. If I am treating myself, I love butter and the more the better lol... that was in my 20s hahahah
I am a butter lover too. I actually added more butter than your recipe called for (another stick), so I think that had something to do with it. I wasn't sure how much to put on each layer, so I just kept adding until I got a good layer. I think when I make it next time I will know better to pace the amount to end up with what your recipe calls for and it will be perfect. I have to say that NO ONE complained about the extra juicy bottom, but I think they would sustain better if I used the amount in the recipe. My husband loved these so much. In fact, he said they were the best he had ever eaten. We will definitely be making these again. I have 5 boxes of Filo dough still in my freezer (I sent my husband to buy Filo cups and he bought sheets instead!). Thanks so much again for the fabulous recipe. It is definitely a keeper!
Oh so cool. I need to stock up on Filo dough. This works great for a quick recipe. 🙂
this recipe looks amazing! How far in advance can you make them or better yet how long will they stay good for. Also do you keep them in the fridge or the countertop? thank you!!!
If you keep them in a fridge they will be good for a while, I would say even couple weeks. In a room temperature I think it will be good for a few days.
Hi, should we put the honey syrup right after it comes out of the oven? or do you wait till it is cooled down? Also if I want to make a day before I actually serve it, what is the best way to preserve it so it is still crunchy and good?
You can pour it with the sauce, right when it comes out of the oven. I left it in a room temperature, if it was just overnight. You don't need to cover it, this way it will have a bit of a crunch.