This almond and walnut baklava with an orange honey glaze is full of crispy layers of phyllo dough!
Baklava has always been one of my favorite desserts! I've had amazing baklava in both Greece and Turkey, so I decided to learn how to make it myself! This almond and walnut baklava is pretty easy to make, it's just a tad time consuming and takes some planning. I promise it's worth it though!
The three essential elements to baklava are phyllo dough, nuts, and honey/simple syrup. Beyond those basic ingredients, there are a ton of variations especially between countries like Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. My recipe is a little mix of everything I love about those different varieties!
Phyllo Dough - Phyllo dough is probably the only thing I’ve never tried and never will try to make from scratch. So I use frozen phyllo for this recipe because it’s pretty easy to work with and reliable.
Clarified Butter - An important part of this recipe is making sure you’re using clarified butter (you might know it as ghee, which you can buy at the grocery store but it’s cheaper to just do it yourself). Why clarified butter? Because butter contains a surprising amount of water and milk solids that will weigh down our phyllo dough and add extra moisture. The milk solids also have a low smoke point and burn easily, and since the baklava has to bake for an hour, we don’t want to risk that burned butter taste. We want the phyllo to crisp up and be light and buttery, not soggy or burned.
Nuts - For this baklava I like using a mix of almonds and walnuts. However you can also use pistachios, pecans, or hazelnuts! You just need about 3 cups of nuts total!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Tips for Working with Phyllo Dough
The trick to working with phyllo is to keep the dough from drying out but also to keep it from getting wet and sticky. Finding that sweet spot can be a challenge but once you get the hang of it, you feel like a boss.
About 24 hours before you want to start cooking, take the phyllo from the freezer and stick it in the fridge to thaw. Remove the box from the fridge and set it on the counter for about an hour to bring it up to room temperature. Once you remove it from the packaging, you want to keep it covered with a damp dish towel so that it doesn’t dry out.
Leave the dough in the packaging until right before you’re ready to assemble the baklava, so you want to focus on all of the other elements first.
How to Clarify Butter
Tori Avey has a great article on How to Clarify Butter complete with pictures that you can check out so I’ll just briefly summarize the process.
- Put 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter in a small pot or sauce pan and turn on the burner as low as possible and whatever you do, don’t stir it. You want the butter to melt slowly and separate properly, so keeping the temperature low will keep it from burning during this process.
- Once the butter is fully melted, carefully scrape off the top white and foamy layer (you can throw it away or use it to put on popcorn, etc).
- Then slowly pour the golden butter fat into a bowl making sure to leave behind the additional milk solids that have settled at the bottom of the pan (you can strain it with a cheese cloth but that’s more work and for the purposes of this recipe it doesn’t matter if it’s perfect).
- And just like that, clarified butter! This might seem like it’s not worth the extra effort, but it really is a game changer for making nice, crisp baklava!
How to Make Almond and Walnut Baklava
Step One: Syrup
I like to make the syrup first because you want it to be fully cooled before you pour it on your finished baklava. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and orange extract. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and stir continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
Step Two: Filling
The filling is super easy! It’s just chopped nuts and spices. Pulse walnuts and almonds 10-12 times in a food processor until they are coarsely ground.
Then in a medium bowl, stir together the chopped nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.
Step Three: Assembly
Butter the bottom of a 9x13 pan and trim your phyllo dough to the appropriate size. Keep the dough covered with a damp dishcloth so it doesn’t dry out while you’re assembling the baklava!
If your using a standard pack of 40 sheets of phyllo, I like to do layers of 15,10,15.
- 15 sheets buttered phyllo
- ½ nut mixture
- 10 sheets buttered phyllo
- ½ nut mixture
- 15 sheets buttered phyllo
Place phyllo sheets into the pan one at a time and using a pastry brush, lightly brush with clarified butter.
Add the next sheet, brush with clarified butter, and continue for 15 sheets. Evenly spread about ½ of the nut mixture over the buttered phyllo. Add 10 buttered sheets of phyllo then the rest of the nut mixture. Then finish off with 15 buttered sheets of phyllo dough. Brush the very top with clarified butter.
Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the almond and walnut baklava into your desired size/shape. Use your knuckles to hold down the top layers of phyllo as they will try to move. Gently straighten the top layer as needed when you’re done cutting.
It's much easier to cut the baklava before baking. If you cut it after baking, the phyllo will just break.
Step Four: Baking
Bake at 325°F for 45-60 minutes or until the tops are a lovely golden brown color.
Remove from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklava (it should sizzle).
Step Five: Waiting.....and then more waiting
After you pour the syrup over the baklava, let the baklava cool completely, uncovered at room temperature. Wait at least 6 hours (but preferably overnight) to let the syrup fully saturate the layers. This is the hardest part but also very important! Just go to bed and then wake up to amazing crispy baklava for breakfast. I promise it’s worth the wait!
Store covered at room temperature for up to a week.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Almond and Walnut Baklava
- 1 package phyllo dough, thawed
- 1 ½ cups walnuts
- 1 ½ cups almonds
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup clarified butter or ghee, melted
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon orange extract, optional
- Thaw phyllo dough in the fridge overnight, then place on the counter 1 hour before you start assembling your baklava.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and orange extract. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and stir continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
- Pulse walnuts and almonds 10-12 times in a food processor until they are coarsely ground/finely chopped. Then in a medium bowl, stir together the chopped nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Butter the bottom of a 9x13 pan and trim your phyllo dough to the appropriate size.
- Place phyllo sheets into the pan one at a time and using a pastry brush, lightly brush with clarified butter. Add the next sheet, brush with clarified butter, and continue for 15 sheets. Evenly spread about ½ of the nut mixture over the buttered phyllo. Add 10 buttered sheets of phyllo then the rest of the nut mixture. Then finish off with 15 buttered sheets of phyllo dough. Brush the very top with clarified butter.
- Using a sharp knife, cute the baklava into your desired size/shape.
- Bake at 325°F for 1 hour or until the tops are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklava (it should sizzle). Let the baklava cool completely, uncovered at room temperature. For best results, let baklava sit at least 6 hours or overnight so that the syrup can fully saturate the layers.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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