Baklava Rolls are individual bites of rich, decadent, sticky sweet goodness. While this dessert may be modern in design, you better believe that it has all the traditional flavors reminiscent of your yiayia's kitchen. Sweet, crispy, and oh so decadent- your family will DEVOUR these homemade baklava rolls.
There’s really nothing better than biting into one of these addictive, decadent rolls of baklava. I honestly can’t get enough of them, and neither can my family!
I promise you’re going to love these indulgent Greek dessert and so will anyone you serve them to. But be careful, because one you bring them to a party you’re going to be asked to make them time and time again!
What Is Baklava?
Baklava is a sweet dessert pastry made with layers of phyllo (filo) pastry, chopped nuts (usually pistachios, walnuts or almonds), and syrup or honey.
It is a traditional dessert in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Balkan regions, and is popular in many countries, including Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Iran, and Armenia.
Baklava is a layered dessert made with layers of cruchy phyllo dough stacked between a rich, nutty filling. The filling is a mixture of nutes soaked in a sticky, sweet honey or syrup.
Typically baklava is cut into squares or diamond shapes, but for this recipe we’re making it easy by rolling it! Baklava rolls are much more fun to eat!
Making Baklava Rolls
First you'll need the right equipment! Here are some items I use often when baking that will make baking baklava much easier.
- Mixing bowls
- Microwave safe bowl
- Kitchen towel
- Pastry brush
- Sharp knife
- Baking sheet
- Measuring cups and spoons
Baklava syrup is traditionally a sweet simple syrup that is poured over baklava after it has been baked. The syrup is the MOST important part of the dessert as it adds moisture, flavor, and sweetness to the layers of phyllo pastry and nuts.
Baklava syrup is typically made with sugar, water, and a flavoring agent such as honey, lemon juice, or rose water however in my recipe, I added orange!
To make it, the sugar and water are boiled together until the sugar dissolves, and then the flavoring agent is added. The syrup is then simmered until it thickens slightly, and then it is poured over the hot baklava once it comes out of the oven.
The hot syrup is absorbed by the crispy flaky layers of phyllo pastry, making the baklava moist and sweet. The nuts in the pastry also absorb some of the syrup, which enhances their flavor.
The syrup also plays an important rool in helping to keep the pastry layers separate and crisp, preventing the baklava from becoming soggy.
The most common type of nuts used in baklava filling are walnuts, pistachios, and almonds. The spices used are traditionally cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and clove however feel free to use whatever spice mix you like best!
Chocolate and Hazelnut: Mix finely chopped hazelnuts with chocolate chips or cocoa powder for a rich and decadent filling.
Coconut and Almond: Combine shredded coconut and chopped almonds for a nutty and slightly tropical twist.
Pistachio and Cardamom: Add ground cardamom to finely chopped pistachios for a fragrant and exotic flavor.
Date and Walnut: Dates are naturally sweet and the perfect texture for baklava. Just puree your dates and mix them with chopped walnuts for a sweet and sticky filling that's perfect for a Middle Eastern-style baklava.
Remember, the key to a good baklava filling is to finely chop your nuts and mix them well with any additional ingredients for an evenly distributed and flavorful filling.
- Phyllo dough: I just use frozen phyllo dough from the grocery store because it’s the easiest and most convenient
- Butter: It’s always best to use unsalted butter in dessert recipes because then you can control the salt level
- Walnuts or pistachios: Walnuts are the traditional Greek baklava filling while pistachios are what’s traditionally used in Turkish baklava. Both will work in these rolls though
- Brown sugar: This is used in the filling and adds a nice depth of flavor over regular white sugar
- Spices: You’ll need almond extract, ground cinnamon, ground clove, and salt
- Honey: This is the base for the syrup that will be drizzled over the mini rolls
- Orange: I love to flavor my syrup with orange zest because it adds a nice note of brightness that cuts the richness of this traditional dessert
- Water: This is just to help thin out the syrup so you can easily pour it over the top of your baklava
📃 NOTE: You can print the FULL recipe with all ingredients & detailed instructions below!
What Size Phyllo Is Best To Use?
Phyllo dough comes in a few different sizes depending on the brand you use.
For mini baklava rolls, I suggest using phyllo pastry sheets that are about 9 x 14 inches in size. These sheets are typically sold in a rectangular shape and can be cut into strips to make the baklava rolls.
If you cannot find this exact size, that's okay! The size of the rolls does not make a difference in the overll taste.
How To Make Your Baklava Rolls
To make the rolls, you will need to brush each sheet of phyllo pastry with melted butter or oil and then layer them on top of each other. Once the layers are stacked, you can add the filling of finely chopped nuts and spices and roll up them into a log shape.
It is important to handle the phyllo pastry gently to prevent it from tearing or cracking. You can cover the pastry with a damp cloth while you work to prevent it from drying out.
Once the baklava rolls are assembled, you can cut them into individual portions and then bake them until they are golden brown and crispy.
Finally, you can pour the sweet syrup over the hot baklava rolls and let them cool before serving.
Aleka's Baklava Tips
- Let the phyllo dough defrost COMPLETELY.
- Keep the dough moist with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out while you’re assembling.
- Use a combination of chopped walnuts and pistachios for extra flavor.
- Don’t skimp on the butter, the dough needs it in order to not dry out.
- Cut the logs whatever size you’d like.
- Substitute the orange zest for lemon if you’d like.
- Pour the syrup over IMMEDIATELY after the mini rolls come out of the oven.
- For best results let your baklava cool completely before serving it.
How To Keep Baklava From Getting Soggy
Baklava can get soggy if it is not stored properly or if it is exposed to moisture. Here are some tips to keep your baklava from getting soggy:
- Cool the baklava completely before storing it: Allow the baklava to cool down to room temperature before covering or storing it.
- Store the baklava in a dry place: Keep the baklava in an airtight container in a dry place, away from any moisture.
- Avoid storing baklava in the refrigerator: The humidity in the fridge can make the baklava damp and soggy. Instead, store it at room temperature.
- Don't cover the baklava with a damp cloth: A damp cloth can add moisture to the baklava and make it soggy.
- Use a paper towel to absorb excess syrup: If you notice that the baklava is too wet, use a paper towel to gently blot away any excess syrup.
- Serve the baklava at room temperature: Baklava is best served at room temperature. If you need to reheat it, do so in the oven on low heat.
By following these tips, you can keep your baklava fresh and prevent it from becoming soggy.
I recommend covering your pan of roll tightly with aluminum foil and storing at room temperature. It will last for up to 5 days, and as long as the air is kept out it shouldn’t become soggy.
If you choose to keep it in the fridge, the phyllo will become harder and slightly chewy. However it will last a bit longer.
How To Freeze Baklava:
Wrap your rolls tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and then again in a double layer of aluminum foil. Place your tightly wrapped package into a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy, let them thaw at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.
To make crunchy baklava you want to allow adequate time for it to soak in the syrup. Don’t cover it while it’s soaking up that syrup because exposing the dough to air will help keep that crunchy goodness we’re after.
You’ll know it’s done baking when the phyllo dough is golden brown and crispy. It usually takes at least three hours for the syrup to be completely soaked up, so you can even make this the night before to allow it to absorb and cool overnight.
Check out these 27 Easy Phyllo Cup Recipes for ways to use up any leftover phyllo dough.
If You Liked This Recipe, Be Sure To Try One Of These!
Other dessert recipes you may like:
Baklava Rolls With Citrus Honey
- 8 oz. Frozen Phyllo Dough ((About 20 sheets))
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cups Walnuts or Pistachios (or both) ((finely chopped))
- 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ Tsp. Clove
- ½ Tsp. Salt
- Flour for surface
Orange Honey Syrup
- Zest 1 Medium Orange
- ¾ Cup Honey
- ¼ Cup Water
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Defrost your phyllo dough in the fridge. I recommend popping the dough in the fridge at least the night before or even days/weeks prior. Phyllo stays fresh in the fridge for up to 30 days.
- Prepare your nut mixture first by combining the chopped nuts, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.
- Melt your butter in a small bowl using the microwave. Add almond extract to the butter.
- Unroll defrosted dough and keep your dough moist with a damp towel as you assemble your rolls.
- Take one phyllo sheet and lay on a lightly floured surface.
- Brush it lightly with butter. Take the top and fold in half downwards.
- Brush again with butter and add about 3 tbsp. of nut mixture spreading evenly across the bottom of the folded phyllo sheet.
- Roll the sheet carefully making sure not to puncture dough. Lightly butter top of roll. Cut into mini logs. The size is up to you! Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Place logs on baking sheet, tighlty packed.
- Bake for 18-20 min. or until golden brown.
- While baking, add honey, water and citrus to small bowl and whisk together.
- Pour the citrus honey over the baklava while still hot. Let cool and serve sprinkled with more nuts for garnish.
- Freeze pre/post baking and then allow to defrost in fridge when ready to serve or bake!
- Serve sprinkle with nuts or sift powdered sugar/cinnamon on top.
- Place a skewer or toothpick in each for easy eating.
- Try serving with ice cream!