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Classic Baklava

Classic Baklava

  • Yield: About 36 1 1/2-inch pieces


  • For the Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  • For the Filling

  • 1 pound walnuts, or a combination of walnuts, pistachios, and almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 pound phyllo, thawed according to package instructions


  • Make the syrup: Combine sugar, honey, water, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cardamom in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until syrup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon zest and set syrup aside to cool.
  • Make the filling: Using a chef's knife, finely chop nuts. (Alternatively, place nuts in 2 heavy-duty resealable bags and pound them with a rolling pin until finely chopped.) In a medium mixing bowl, combine nuts, cinnamon, and salt and stir well to combine.
  • Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan.
  • Using a pastry brush, lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch or 15-by-10-inch baking dish with melted butter.
  • Open the package of thawed phyllo and lay sheets on a clean work surface. Measure the phyllo sheets; if they measure approximately the same size as the baking dish you are using, proceed from here. If they are larger than your baking dish, use a sharp knife to cut them approximately the same size as your baking dish. Discard any scraps. Cover sheets with plastic wrap and a lightly damp kitchen towel, as phyllo dries out very quickly if left uncovered.
  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Fold 1 sheet of phyllo in half and place in the bottom of buttered baking dish; lightly brush with melted butter. Repeat with 6 more sheets phyllo for a total of 7 layers. Spread about 1/3 cup nut mixture evenly over buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat with 7 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each layer as before, topping with another 1/3 cup nut mixture. Continue until you have used all of the nut mixture. Layer any remaining phyllo on top, buttering between each sheet, until all phyllo has been used.
  • Use a sharp knife to make 4 cuts lengthwise through the layered phyllo at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Then cut diagonally across the strips at 1 1/2-inch intervals to form diamond shapes. You should end up with approximately 36 diamond-shaped pieces.
  • Bake baklava until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove baklava from oven and set aside on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Using a ladle or small measuring cup, slowly drizzle cooled syrup over warm baklava. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Allow to stand several hours before serving.

Recipe Details