Baklava is a delicious Mediterranean pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, chopped nuts, and honey or syrup. It’s a popular treat around the holidays or for special occasions.
But what if you have leftovers and want to save some for later? Can you freeze baklava? Let’s take a look at the details.
What Is Baklava?
For those not familiar, baklava is a rich, sweet pastry that originated in the Middle East and Mediterranean. The most common type is made with chopped nuts sandwiched between layers of thin phyllo dough.
The layers are then brushed with butter or oil and baked. A sweet syrup is poured over the baked baklava to add flavor and moisture.
Traditional recipes call for walnuts or pistachios, but other nuts like almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts can also be used. The syrup is usually made from honey, sugar, lemon, and spices like cinnamon or cloves. Baklava has a flaky, crispy texture on the outside and a moist, dense interior.
Benefits of Freezing Baklava
Freezing baklava offers several advantages:
- Longer shelf life: Baklava only stays fresh for 2–3 days at room temperature. Freezing extends the shelf life by months.
- Make ahead: You can prepare baklava in advance for events or holidays, then freeze and thaw as needed.
- Waste less: If you have a large pan of baklava, freezing it allows you to enjoy it a little at a time.
- Always available: Keep a stash of frozen baklava on hand for quick desserts or snacks.
- Preserve freshness: Freezing locks in moisture and flavor. Thawed baklava tastes freshly made.
- Easy entertaining: Pull frozen baklava straight from the freezer to serve guests.
How to Freeze Baklava
Freezing baklava is simple, but there are some tips for best results:
- Allow the baklava to cool completely after baking. Do not freeze baklava at room temperature.
- Cut the baklava into serving pieces before freezing. This prevents you from cracking or crumbling the delicate phyllo when cutting frozen baklava.
- Place baklava pieces in a single layer on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and freeze until hard, about 1–2 hours.
- Transfer frozen baklava pieces to zipper freezer bags or airtight containers. Squeeze out excess air.
- Label bags with contents and a freeze-by date. Frozen baklava keeps well for 2–3 months at 0°F.
- For longer storage, wrap pieces individually in plastic wrap or foil before bagging. This prevents pieces from sticking together.
- Syrup-soaked varieties may stick together more easily. Layer pieces between sheets of wax paper before freezing.
Thawing Frozen Baklava
When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen baklava, follow these thawing tips:
- Thaw baklava overnight in the refrigerator. This slowly defrosts the pastry for the best texture.
- Baklava can also be thawed at room temperature for 1–2 hours.
- Do not thaw baklava on the counter for more than 2 hours, or the pastry may become soggy.
- Microwave thawing is not recommended. It makes the phyllo dough chewy.
- Enjoy thawed baklava within 2–3 days for maximum freshness. Do not refreeze after thawing.
- If baklava pieces stick together after freezing, carefully pry them apart using a thin knife before serving.
Freezing Baklava: Dos and Don’ts
Here are some key dos and don’ts for successfully freezing baklava:
- Allow the baklava to cool fully before freezing.
- Use freezer bags, containers, and plastic wrap to prevent sticking.
- Label packages with the date and contents.
- Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
- Don’t freeze warm, freshly baked baklava.
- Don’t thaw at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Don’t refreeze after thawing.
- Don’t microwave frozen baklava to thaw.
Storing and Serving Thawed Baklava
Once thawed, follow these tips for enjoying baklava at its best:
- Keep the thawed baklava refrigerated until ready to serve. It will last 2–3 days refrigerated.
- Bring to room temperature for 1–2 hours before serving for optimal flavor and texture.
- Cut into pieces with a sharp, thin-bladed knife to avoid cracking the pastry.
- Optionally, drizzle each piece with a teaspoon of honey syrup before serving.
- Cover and refrigerate any leftover thawed baklava. Eat within 3 days.
- Baklava also freezes well again after thawing. Refreeze within 3 days.
Freezer-Friendly Baklava Variations
While traditional walnut baklava freezes well, other flavor combinations to try freezing include:
- Pistachio baklava
- Almond baklava
- Pecan baklava
- Mixed nut baklava
- Chocolate chip baklava
- Lemon baklava
- Rosewater baklava
- Baklava cheesecake
Any baklava made with phyllo dough and nuts can be frozen. Get creative with different fillings!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does baklava last in the freezer?
Properly stored baklava lasts 2–3 months in a 0°F freezer before quality begins to decline. Freeze in airtight packaging for maximum shelf life.
Can I freeze baklava with cream or cheese fillings?
Baklava with dairy fillings like cream cheese doesn’t freeze as well. The dairy may separate or curdle. It’s best to stick to recipes with just nuts.
Does baklava get soggy after freezing?
If thawed properly in the fridge, frozen baklava maintains its signature crisp, flaky texture. Thawing too quickly at room temperature can make it soggy.
Can I refreeze baklava after it’s been thawed?
For food safety, it’s best not to refreeze baklava once it has been fully thawed. Refreezing causes more ice crystals to develop, damaging the pastry’s texture.
Does freezing change the taste of baklava?
Freezing locks in flavor! Thawed baklava tastes the same as fresh when stored properly and defrosted overnight in the fridge.
The Verdict on Freezing Baklava
Freezing is an excellent way to save leftover baklava or have some ready to serve at any time. Follow the tips above for foolproof freezing results.
Label packages for easy identification and use within 2–3 months for best quality. Thaw frozen baklava overnight in the refrigerator before serving for a freshly made treat anytime.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.