Spanakopita is a traditional, and very popular, Greek pie made with fine phyllo pastry, spinach, and feta. It is an incredibly delicious light meal, or it can be made into individually wrapped triangles that serve as the perfect appetizer.
You might want to make some spanakopita ahead of time, but can you freeze it to extend its shelf life?
Can you freeze spanakopita? Yes, you can freeze spanakopita. Your best option is to make some ahead of time and freeze the spanakopita before baking, as this yields the best results with taste and flavor. However, you can freeze baked spanakopita, but expect the pastry to be a little less crispy, and the filling to lose some of its moisture.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about freezing spanakopita and make sure you are comfortable thawing it as well.
How To Freeze Spanakopita
Keep some spanakopita frozen at home so you have easy access to its cheesy spinach filling and the crispy and light phyllo pastry that ties it all together. Keep reading to learn how!
Freezing Spanakopita After Baking
You should only consider freezing spanakopita after baking it if there are leftovers. It is best to freeze it before baking, but sometimes you do not have the option.
If frozen once baked, the spanakopita can lose some of its flavor and texture, but it will still be fine to eat. When baked, the heat of the oven does remove some moisture, which could mean that the pie is slightly dried out during the freezing, thawing and reheating process.
The pie will essentially be cooked twice, and this could greatly alter the taste of the filling and the crispy texture of the light phyllo pastry.
To freeze baked spanakopita, you should place any leftovers into freezer-safe airtight containers. You can choose to freeze it all together as one big portion, or into smaller containers for single meals when you need lunch or are having dinner on your own.
Label the plastic container with the date of freezing so you are aware of when the spanakopita needs to be eaten by.
Freezing Spanakopita Before Baking
The best way to freeze spanakopita is to do so before baking. This way you can cook the pie directly from frozen without having to thaw it first.
You can prepare the pie with the pastry and filling in a large pie dish or baking pan, and cover this with plastic wrap, and then a layer of aluminum foil for extra protection. Make sure it is sealed tightly to not allow for extra moisture or air into the pie, to not cause freezer burn.
Freezing the pie before baking also means that the phyllo pastry will not be cooked first, which reduces the chance of the pastry becoming soggy or soft. Cooking the pastry raw from frozen means it can cook till golden brown and crispy, exactly how the pastry should be.
As it would not have been cooked before, no moisture would have been lost from the filling, so it will be delicious and moist when heated up.
You are also able to make mini-spanakopita pies to freeze before baking as well. Layout the phyllo pastry, spoon in some filling and fold up the pastry. Place these mini-pies onto a baking sheet and place this into the freezer. Allow them to flash freeze for 2 hours.
Once frozen, place the mini-pies into plastic freezer bags. Flash freezing these beforehand will stop the pies from sticking together when frozen, so you can remove one by one to thaw and cook, without having to defrost the whole batch.
Freezing Spanakopita Safely
Spanakopita should be placed into the freezer straight after you have prepared it if you are not going to bake it beforehand. This is another advantage of freezing it before baking, as it can be placed in the freezer straight away.
If you have baked the spanakopita, you should let the pie cool at room temperature for 30 mins, and then place it in the fridge to chill further. Once chilled through, you can wrap it and prepare it to be placed into the freezer.
You should never place the spanakopita, or any other food, into the freezer while it is still hot, as this could raise the internal temperature of the freezer and compromise other food stored there.
It is best to consume the frozen spanakopita within 3 months of being put into the freezer. It will keep indefinitely, and be safe to eat beyond 3 months, but the quality will start to decline, and with an ingredient as delicate as phyllo pastry, it will not be the spanakopita you have hoped for.
Once you have reheated baked spanakopita, you cannot place it back into the fridge or refreeze it.
As it has already been baked and reheated, it is not safe to reheat it a second time, or place it in the freezer again, which will not only increase the chance of bacteria growth and food poisoning but will greatly ruin the texture and flavor of the spanakopita, both the filling which will be dry, and the phyllo pastry, which will become soggy and mushy.
Reheating Frozen Spanakopita
How you reheat the frozen spanakopita will depend on whether or not it was cooked before freezing.
If the spanakopita was not cooked before baking, you can simply place this directly into a preheated oven and leave it to cook until it the pastry is light and crispy, and until the filling is hot. For small pies, you can lay them on a greased baking sheet and place them into a preheated oven until crisp and hot.
For spanakopita that was baked first, it is best to leave it to thaw in the fridge overnight. Leaving it to thaw in the fridge allows it to defrost slowly and gently, without allowing the ingredients to come to a warm temperature which could lead to bacteria growth.
Once the spanakopita has thawed in the refrigerator, you can place it into a preheated oven until it has warmed throughout.
Once you have reheated the spanakopita, you should eat it immediately and not place it back in the fridge. This is why it is a good idea to thaw is first. Once thawed, you can dish up smaller portions of the pie to heat up, without having to reheat the whole lot.
If left in the fridge, you can dish up smaller portions of the spanakopita for up to 3 days, until it is time to discard the leftovers.
You can also choose to reheat baked spanakopita in the microwave. This is obviously a quicker option than reheating it in the oven, but it does run the risk of the phyllo pastry becoming soggy, which is not so pleasant to eat.
The microwave might also sap whatever moisture is left in the filling, so while it might be the quickest option, it is not the best choice when it comes to helping keep the quality and taste of the pie.
How Long Does Spanakopita Last In The Fridge?
If you have left baked spanakopita to thaw in the fridge, and if you do not reheat it, the pie can remain in the fridge for 3 days. The same goes for uncooked spanakopita which has been thawed in the fridge, however keeping the raw pastry in the refrigerator might turn it soggy, and it will not crisp up well when baked.
If reheated, the leftover spanakopita should be thrown away and not be kept to be eaten at a later stage.
Can you freeze puff pastry?
Just like the phyllo pastry used to make spanakopita, puff pastry can be frozen as well. Many of us are familiar with frozen pies that have been baked, so yes, puff pastry can be frozen successfully, both when baked and raw.
Puff pastry is a lot more resilient than phyllo pastry, although freezing it once baked might see it lose some of its ‘puffiness’.
Traditionally, raw puff pastry is sold from frozen, and this does not have too much of an effect on how it turns out once baked. It is always best to make pastry from scratch, but it really is not one of the easiest things to make.
Can you freeze baklava?
Baklava, much like spanakopita, freezes really well. It can also be frozen before or after baking, with the baklava frozen before baking having a better quality when cooked after freezing.
Baklava which is baked and then frozen, and reheated again, might not be as moist as it should, and the pastry might not crisp up to that beautiful consistency that baklava is so famous for.
Keep some extra syrup around if your baklava needs a bit of a picks me up!