Feta cheese gets wrapped in phyllo dough, shallow fried in olive oil, and drizzled with thyme-infused hot honey. It's crispy, slightly soft, and the perfect sweet and salty bite. This 15-minute appetizer will become your new go-to dish.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Easy appetizer - this appetizer comes together in fifteen minutes, and it really doesn't get any easier than this! Store-bought phyllo dough wraps around a block of feta cheese, then it gets fried for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. The phyllo sheets come with a ton of pastry, so you can make quite a few of these fried feta appetizers.
Textures - ultra crunchy on the outside, super creamy on the edges of the feta, then the cheese holds a bit of a bite right in the center. And let's not forget it's slathered in that sticky hot honey!
Flavors - sweet, salty, spicy, herby! The honey gets infused with red pepper flakes and thyme for a super flavorful topping, which helps to cut through the salty richness of the cheese.
Otherwise, serve this on your charcuterie board, or chop it up onto a salad.
- Feta cheese. Use a block of feta cheese, preferably in the brine for the best flavor and moisture. See the next section on where to find this.
- Phyllo pastry. You'll find this in the frozen dessert section of the grocery store next to the puff pastry.
- Extra virgin olive oil. Because the phyllo will slightly absorb the oil, it's best not to skimp on quality olive oil.
- Red pepper flakes.
- Fresh thyme.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
What is the Best Type of Feta Cheese to Use?
Look for a feta cheese that comes in the brine (rather than a vacuum sealed pack). These will be less dry and crumbly, and produce a creamier texture once heated.
I quite enjoyed the Dodoni brand, but you can use whatever you can find in block form (even if it's not in the brine). If you have a specialty cheese counter in your grocery store, head that way.
You'll find sheep's milk or goat's milk feta. Either is totally fine and will be a personal taste preference decision.
- Leave the block of cheese whole if you'd like it very thick. This is how the feta is pictured, though, upon testing, I found I enjoyed it at the 1cm thickness best.
- Add sesame seeds (white, black, or both) to the top of the honey.
- Serve alongside tomatoes or tomato sauce.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a bit of lemon zest.
- Cut the block of feta into triangles, or even make fried feta cubes! Just be sure to get a good wrap on them.
How to Make This Recipe
One: Add the honey, red pepper flakes, and sprigs of thyme to a saucepan over medium heat until hot.
Two: Dry off the feta cheese to remove excess moisture.
Three: Place the block of feta onto the phyllo pastry.
Four: Use two pieces of phyllo to wrap up the feta from all four sides.
Five: Flip the feta seam side down, then wrap again with two more pieces of phyllo.
Six: Fry the feta seam side down in hot olive oil until golden brown.
Seven: Carefully flip the feta and fry on the other side until golden. Remove and set on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Eight: Add to a plate or serving platter, then drizzle with the hot honey.
- Be sure the feta is at room temperature before wrapping. This allows for the best melt factor. Cold cheese won't soften in the time it takes to fry.
- Test the oil temperature with a small flick of water. It should start to sizzle, but not splutter and send oil flying everywhere.
- Use a slotted spatula to flip the package and turn it away from you.
- Use a spoon to splash oil onto the sides of the pastry to help it brown.
- Add the fried feta to a paper towel and gently pat it before serving.
- The longer the honey steeps, the spicier it will become.
- Enjoy the phyllo fried feta right away while hot.
- Pop it into the microwave for 10-20 seconds to reheat it.
To bake or make air fryer feta, each sheet of phyllo will need to be brushed with olive oil, layered, then wrapped.
Bake the feta in a cast iron pan or on a sheet pan (unlined) at 375℉ for 15-20 minutes, flipping at half, until golden brown.
Is Saganaki Made from Feta?
Fried feta is a popular Greek meze (Mediterranean appetizer). While this phyllo-fried form is not considered saganaki, which is a form of pan-fried cheese, it's very close.
Saganaki is typically made from graviera or halloumi cheeses and can be seen being lit on fire after being dressed in brandy. You'll find this in most Greek-American establishments. In Greece, you'll likely find it topped with a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoyed with some bread.
This is because the oil wasn't hot enough before frying, so the phyllo absorbed the oil rather than getting crispy right away from the oil.
I find that the amount recommended is the perfect option. Wrapping in one sheet may get punctured and not hold in the cheese. Wrapping in more than 4 sheets may not get totally fried on the inner-most sheet.
The dough can be placed back into the freezer, then reused whenever you need it. Just be sure it is wrapped in plastic and added to a zip-top bag so no air gets in, or else it will dry out and crack.
Store the pan fried feta at room temperature for one day, then in the fridge for an additional day. Note that it is difficult to reheat the feta once cold, so it should be brought to room temperature again prior to reheating.
Reheat in a 375℉ oven for 10 minutes, or in the microwave in 15-second intervals until warmed through.
More Appetizer Recipes
Phyllo Fried Feta with Hot Honey
- frying pan
- Slotted spatula
- Paper towels
- 8 oz block feta cheese in brine is best, at room temperature
- 8 sheets phyllo pastry
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 4 fl oz
- ½ cup honey 4 fl oz
- 4 sprigs thyme
- ½ tablespoon dried chili flakes
- Add the honey, thyme, and chili flakes to a small saucepan over medium low to medium heat. Heat for 5 minutes, but don’t allow it to boil.½ cup honey, 4 sprigs thyme, ½ tablespoon dried chili flakes
- Set aside to cool. Remove the sprigs of thyme and discard before using.
- Drain the feta, then pat dry with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.8 oz block feta cheese
- If the block is more than 1" thick, slice it in half.
- Situate one block of feta onto 2 pieces of phyllo. Wrap up all four sides like a present. Keep the sides relatively taut, but be careful not to rip them.8 sheets phyllo pastry
- Turn the block over so it’s seam side down, then add it on top of next two pieces of phyllo and repeat the fold. Repeat with the additional slice.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat until very hot, then add olive oil and continue heating until it glistens.½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Carefully place in the feta seam side down (laying it down away from you) and fry until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes.
- Use a spatula to carefully turn over the feta and fry the other side until golden brown. Use a spoon to splash oil onto the sides of the pastry to help it brown.
- Continue flipping the pastry to get even browning, if needed.
- Remove the golden brown phyllo package and add it to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- Transfer the phyllo block to a plate or serving platter. Spoon the honey over top of the phyllo before serving. Serve hot.
-keep the block of feta whole if you want it to be thicker. This is how it's pictured, but I'd suggest a thinner slice for more balance of cheese to pastry.
-cut the cheese into triangles and wrap them in 2 pieces of phyllo (rather than 4).
-cut the cheese into cubes and wrap in 2 layers of smaller pieces of phyllo. Enjoy the fried feta as is, or serve with a squeeze of lemon, tomatoes or tomato sauce, sprinkle with white or black sesame seeds, or serve over a salad. Storage:
Store the pan fried feta at room temperature for one day, then in the fridge for an additional day. Note that it is difficult to reheat the feta once cold, so it should be brought to room temperature again prior to reheating. Reheat in a 375℉ oven for 10 minutes, or in the microwave in 15-second intervals until warmed through.