Make These Spanakopita Pockets for Your Next Snack Dinner

Make These Spanakopita Pockets for Your Next Snack Dinner

One of my favourite types of dinner is snack-feast dinner. My boyfriend and I will make two or three piles of different small snacks. The lineup might include gyoza, baba ganoush and bread, or mini meatball and lettuce wraps. The point is to have small bites (and lots of ‘em) with great flavour, and medium to light prep work. That’s why we’re happy to announce a new member of our snack-feast family: air fryer spanakopita triangles.

If you enjoy classic spanakopita, or you’re a spinach fan, these flaky pockets are easily worth the medium effort. (I say “medium” because making them is a bit more involved than steaming frozen dumplings.) Spanakopita is a spinach pie, made with layers upon layers of phyllo dough encasing a thick, flavorful portion of cooked spinach, feta cheese, and herbs. The phyllo layers are brushed with butter or oil and bake up browned, crisp, delicate and flaky. It’s a delightful contrast to the herby, cheesy centre.

Spanakopita is often prepared as one large, casserole-esque pie. It’s impressive, but can take an hour to bake because of its size. The bottom can get soggy if the spinach mixture is too wet, leading to a browned top and undercooked inside, and the overall ratio of filling to crust can end up filling-heavy and stodgy. Taking this meal to the air fryer in mini-snack-triangle form eliminates these pitfalls. They only take about 10 minutes to bake, the filling to flaky crust ratio is balanced, and since there’s no pan blocking the bottom, the whipping winds of the air fryer can access all sides of the delicious spinach pocket, resulting in crispy perfection.

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

The only tricky part is the triangle folding pattern, which, frankly, you can throw out the window, and make squares instead. Try both, and use whichever geometric shape works best for you. For the spinach filling, you can use any recipe you’re partial to, but I prefer a cooked filling, to drive off the spinach water before you do any folding. (If you decide to use a filling that you don’t cook first, be sure to thaw and squeeze-drain your frozen spinach.)

Once cooked, set the filling aside in a bowl to cool and prepare the crust layer. Melt the butter in a measuring cup and stir in the olive oil. I like using both fats; the butter has excellent flavour and browning abilities, but the oil stretches it nicely for brushing.

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Lay out one sheet of thawed phyllo dough on your work surface. Brush a thin layer of fat along half the sheet lengthwise, not horizontally. You’ll be folding up a narrow strip eventually. Put a heaping spoonful of spinach filling on the bottom end, and fold the “nude” half of the dough over the buttered side, and over the spinach mound. Brush this new side of the pastry strip with another thin layer of fat. The goal is to create alternating fat and pastry layers. From here you can fold it over and over, to make a square shape, or come along for the triangle ride. Either way, it will be deliciously flaky.

To make the triangle, fold one corner of the spinach end over to the opposite corner into a triangle shape. Continue to fold and roll the spinach-filled portion in dough, alternating directions to keep the triangle shape. The triangle will keep shifting along four different directions until you reach the end. Once you get the hang of it, it’s rather speedy.

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Again, square pockets are always there for you and are equally fabulous, so don’t stress if the triangle eludes you. Lightly brush both sides of the pockets with the butter-oil mixture and lay them in a single layer on the rack of your air fryer. Bake them on the “air fry” setting at 180°C for about 10 minutes, but check on them after seven minutes to see how they’re coming along.

The following recipe uses a simple spanakopita filling and makes about 12 triangle pockets. These are best eaten fresh since phyllo dough is only crispy for a few hours before the layers start to lose their snap. If you insist on leftovers, store them, covered, in the fridge and revive the spanakopita pockets in the air fryer at the same settings for about three minutes.

Air Fryer Spanakopita Pockets


  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups frozen cut-leaf spinach
  • 2 stalks scallion, chopped
  • ¼ loosely packed dill sprigs, chopped
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta
  • 12 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

On a burner set to medium-low, heat the olive oil, onion, and garlic in a medium pot until they become translucent, but not brown. Add the salt and spinach. Stir and cover the pot with a lid for a few minutes to help break up any thick clumps of frozen spinach. Take the lid off and stir until the spinach is heated through and nearly all of the water on the bottom of the pot has evaporated. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the scallions, dill, and feta. Set aside.

Stir the butter and olive oil together in a measuring cup. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on the work surface. Using a pastry brush, apply a very thin layer of the butter-oil mixture to one half of the pastry, lengthwise. Scoop a spoonful of the spinach mixture onto the bottom end of the side with butter.

Fold the unbuttered side up and over the filling, and press into the buttered side. Brush another thin layer of fat along this side of the pastry. Fold the spinach-filled portion over to form a triangle or a square. Fold it again along the next edge to continue the shape until you reach the end of the pastry strip. Repeat this until you’ve used all of the filling and phyllo sheets.

Preheat the air fryer to 180°C on the “air fry” setting. Depending on how many pockets you get, you’ll likely have to bake these in two installments. I got 12 and they fit neatly in two batches of six. Lightly brush both sides of the spinach pockets with the remaining oil and butter mixture before setting them on the rack in your air fryer. Air fry for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply