small cheese pies frying in olive oil in a skillet

If you have some phyllo dough on hand—for example, left over from making spanakopita--you can make miniature pies with all sorts of fillings, like my Cretan neighbor does for everyday snacks, parties, and holidays. For example, soft Greek cheeses and spanakopita fillings make wonderful little pies. This is how Arhontoula makes them, with her homemade dough.


For a Greek cheese filling -- or use spanakopita filling or another filling

  • 1 pound (½ kg) anthotiro (anthotyros) cheese
  • 1 pound (½ kg) mizithra cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated graviera cheese (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg white

And the rest

  • Phyllo dough (from the store, or using this recipe
  • Flour and cornstarch for rolling out dough
  • Olive oil for frying or for brushing on top, preferably extra virgin


  1. Blend the ingredients for the filling.
  2. Roll out the phyllo dough on a surface covered with flour and sprinkled with cornstarch until the dough is about 1/8 of an inch thick (about 3 millimeters).
  3. Cut it into 4.5 to 5 inch (about 12-centimeter) circles, or as desired, for example using a coffee filter cone or a large yogurt container lid.
  4. Put a rounded tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle of dough.
  5. Fold the dough in half over the filling to make half circles, then use your thumbs or a fork to seal the edges to each other.
  6. The pies may be fried or baked.
2 circles of dough with cheese filling in the middle, and two half circle raw cheese pies that have had the dough folded over and sealed

To bake them

Brush olive oil on top, sprinkle sesame seeds over that, and arrange the pies on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, with a bit of space between them. Bake at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) until golden brown.

To fry the pies

Cover the bottom of a frying pan with about ½ inch (a bit more than a centimeter) of olive oil, preferably extra virgin, since that is the healthiest. Heat up the oil on high heat. After the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium high. Start with one pie to see if the heat needs adjustment. Fry the pies until golden brown on the bottom, then turn them over to fry until the other side is also golden brown.

For advance preparation

The uncooked little pies can be frozen raw and fried or baked after thawing.

Thanks to my neighbor Arhontoula for sharing her recipe. Unfortunately, Arhontoula can’t say exactly how much dough you’ll need for this recipe, since she always estimates things and simply uses extra dough for extra pies, or freezes it to use later.

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