Skip to main content

How to Make Phyllo Dough from Scratch

Phyllo dough - delicate, like a thin sheet of silk

Phyllo dough - delicate, like a thin sheet of silk

Phyllo (or filo) dough—a paper-thin dough that you can use to make baklava and other flaky baked goods—is often purchased at the store, in a roll of sheets in your supermarket's refrigerated or frozen food sections. But did you know that making phyllo by hand isn't that difficult? Time-consuming, yes, which is why it's not surprising that most people buy the stuff. But making it is fun, and can give you an incredible sense of accomplishment. Paper-thin dough—YES, I made that!


The ingredients are very basic, and don't require any yeast or other sort of leavening. This recipe will make approx. 18-20 8"x8" sheets (you can scale up or down depending on your needs).

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup water (more if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable), plus a bit more for coating the dough balls
  • 3/4 teaspoon vinegar

Make the dough

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a standing mixer.
  2. Add the water, vinegar and oil in a cup.
  3. Start mixing the dry ingredients slowly in your standing mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. Slowly add the liquid ingredients from the cup into the standing mixer.
  5. Mix until liquids are well-incorporated. Add a bit more liquid, if necessary, until you have one big, cohesive ball of dough.
  6. Swap out the paddle attachment for the dough hook attachment.
  7. Knead slowly in your standing mixer for about 10 minutes. You should have a nice, smooth, springy ball of dough by the end.
  8. Stop the mixer, pull the dough off the hook, and knead by hand for another 2-3 minutes. Be sure to slam the dough on the counter several times.
  9. Form the dough into small, golf-ball sized balls, and coat with a thin layer of oil. The recipe above, if not changed, should yield about 18 balls.
  10. Cover oiled balls with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rest for at least 2 hours.

Roll the dough

For this step, you'll need either a dowel (about 3/4" diameter is great) or a rolling pin.

  1. Put a little bit (about a teaspoon) of flour on your work surface. Place the ball of dough on top of that, and then sprinkle some more flour on the ball.
  2. Flatten the ball with your palm into a small circle. Keep on adding flour to avoid stickiness.
  3. Use your dowel/pin to flatten it considerably more.
  4. Sprinkle the dough with more flour, and then, from one edge, spool the dough about 3/4 of the way onto the dowel/pin.
  5. Place your hands on the dough in the middle of the dowel/pin, and rapidly rock the dowel/pin back and forth, massaging out the dough with the palms of your hands as you move your hands away from each other. (See the video)
  6. Unroll the dough, twist it about 45 degrees, and repeat. Use flour generously to avoid allowing the dough to get sticky.
  7. Repeat this process until you have an exceedingly thin patty of dough. Place the dough on a flat surface and cover with plastic wrap or a damp (but not wet) towel.

How to roll phyllo dough

Scroll to Continue

Fascinating look at how phyllo dough is made


ZeldaGannon13 on January 15, 2013:

How long this dish take over all I would like to use this recipe for competition

Percy P. James (author) from San Francisco on November 21, 2011:

Ilona: Not necessarily! I've made phyllo using the instructions I've laid out above, and used the same, regular wheat flour I used to make the dough. The phyllo I made was so thin I could read a newspaper through it!

ILONA on September 11, 2011:

The only thing is that if you wan to have a really thin phyllo, you should use cornstarch while rolling instead of the mentioned flour.

Related Articles