This Greek cheese pie - tiropita recipe is so easy & delicious. With simple ingredients like phyllo sheets, Greek feta cheese & gruyère it is guaranteed to be a hit.
Tiropita is the most popular pie in Greece. Every bakery in each neighborhood makes and sells freshly baked cheese pies and every home has a cheese pie recipe in the recipe album.
There are various recipes for a good Greek cheese pie. You can make it with the classic thin phyllo pastry or a thicker pie crust, have only feta and white greek cheeses for the filling or béchamel sauce mixed with delicious grated Cretan gruyère and kasseri cheeses. The truth is you can't go wrong. Baked cheese in a pie wins every time in my book.
What pastry to use to make this tiropita
This tiropita recipe is pretty easy because it uses already made phyllo pastry and good quality cheese. There is no need to make dough or any complicated pastry.
I lightly butter the phyllo sheets separately, add them to the pan in two different ways, add the cheese mixture, cover with some more buttered phyllo sheets, pour a cup of milk all over, and bake.
Why pour a cup of milk all over this cheese pie? The milk makes the cheese pie fluffier, as we call it in Greece "αφράτη - afrati".
What kind of cheese is the best to use
The success of a good Greek cheese pie is obviously on the good quality of cheeses used.
I use my beloved feta cheese, and it always has to be Greek. No Bulgarian or French feta for me. No low fat, no-fat or fake feta, please. Try and find the best feta you can get. In Greece, there are variations of feta cheese; some are saltier than others. The best feta for a good cheese pie is one with not much salt. I like Vikos and Dodoni. Both are mild and can be found in supermarkets within the United States.
I also use Gruyère cheese. If I get lucky and go to Astoria, I get the Greek version of gruyère called Graviera. I love this sweet but slightly salty cheese and find it works really well in the cheese pie paired together with feta.
Another cheese I like to add is cream cheese. It adds creaminess to the filling, and its mild flavor blends well with all the other, more intense cheeses.
About the cheese
The secret to a great tiropita is the quality of the cheese used. It is not necessary to use Gruyère if it is not available. You can substitute with grated Parmesan, Gouda, Emmental cheese, etc. Whatever cheese you choose, make sure it is good quality and not a mass-market heavily processed cheese like some we find in supermarkets. Good quality doesn't mean expensive. Many manufactures make cheese with simple good quality ingredients that don't cost a fortune. All you have to do is read the labels and determine what you are using does not have extra unnecessary stuff.
- Greek feta cheese like Vikos and Dodoni. Always get a block of cheese in brine.
- Gruyère cheese. I love the sweet but slightly salty, nutty flavor.
- Cream cheese. It adds creaminess to the filling.
- Milk. The secret weapon right before baking.
- Phyllo sheets. The thickness can vary, get the thinner ones if you can.
- Butter. I always get salted butter, unless the recipe specifies otherwise.
- Fresh herbs: Thyme leaves or sage, oregano, all are good.
- Sesame seeds. For a little color and texture. You can use both blond or black or omit them altogether.
Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, mix well the cheeses, thyme leaves, eggs, salt, and pepper to taste. (Image 1)
Brush 2 sheets of phyllo with melted butter and spread them gently in the pan, one at a time. The phyllo I use is purposely larger than my baking pan, so the phyllo edges can hang outside the pan as I roll them in later. Take another 2 sheets and repeat the same process adding the phyllo so that the edges cover the rest of the pan. Make sure the phyllo edges are buttered as well. That way, they won't get dry by the time you roll them in.
Divide the phyllo pack in half and set one half aside, covered with a damp towel, so it does not get dry.
Brush one phyllo at a time with butter, crumple it and place in the pan. Repeat the process until all of the sheets of that half of the pack are done. (Image 2)
Spread the cheese mix evenly in the pan. Setting two phyllo sheets aside, cover cheese mix with the remaining half of the package in the same process as before. Brush with butter, crumple, and add to the pan. Sometimes I like to go the opposite direction than previous, totally optional. (Image 3)
Cover pie with the two buttered phyllo sheets. Gently bring all the phyllo edges into the pan, fold them, almost creating a "phyllo border." Score gently with a sharp knife. Pour the milk evenly all over the pie. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. (Image 4)
Wait 10 minutes for the milk to be fully absorbed. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 min or until cooked through, and the top is golden brown.
Tips & substitutions
- The eggs I use for this pie are regular/average size. If you have large or extra large eggs use 3 instead of 4 in the mixture. If the mixture feels too runny add a little more feta cheese.
- If fresh herbs like thyme are not available, use dried versions. Dried oregano, thyme, even Herbs de Provence will go well with this cheese pie.
- Don't add salt to the cheese mixture. Feta cheese and gruyere are already salty even if they are mild versions. Do a taste test if unsure and add salt sparingly.
- Some cooks add a cup of soda water to the pie before baking instead of milk. The result is nice crispy phyllo and fluffy texture.
Cheese pie Q+A
Please avoid using shelf-stable "cheese." Anything that can be stored at room temperature for months on end must have a concerning amount of additives, and it is not really cheese.
Yes, you can. Store it in a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 2 months. Let the cheese pie reach room temperature, then warm it up in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes or so.
More phyllo pastry recipes
- This traditional Greek pie with pastourma & kasseri is a perfect appetizer.
- This vegetarian colorful bell pepper pie is super easy and a true winner.
Cooked this? Rate this recipe! You can also leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!
Greek Cheese Pie - Tiropita
- 11" x 8" baking pan
- 0.6 lb Greek feta cheese I like Vikos and Dodoni.
- 12 oz gruyere cheese grated.
- 3.5 oz Philadelphia cheese About half of the classic package.
- 1 cup milk
- 4 eggs, medium-average size If you have large eggs please use 3.
- 1 box organic phyllo sheets
- 1.5 sticks butter melted
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 350* F.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Brush 2 sheets of phyllo with the melted butter and spread them gently in the pan, one at a time. The phyllo I use is purposely larger than my baking pan, so I can let the phyllo edges hang outside the pan as I will roll them over later. Take another 2 sheets and repeat the same process adding the phyllo so that the edges cover the rest of the pan. Make sure the phyllo edges are buttered as well. That way, they won't get dry by the time you roll them in.
- In a large bowl, mix well the crumbled feta, grated cheeses, Philadelphia, thyme, the eggs, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the phyllo pack in half and set one half aside, covered with a damp towel, so it does not get dry. Brush one phyllo at a time with butter, crumple it and place in the pan. Repeat the process until all of the sheets of that half of the pack are done.
- Spread the cheeses mix evenly in the pan. Setting two phyllo sheets aside cover with the remaining half of the package in the same process as before. Brush with butter, crumple, and add to the pan.
- Cover pie with the two buttered phyllo sheets. Gently bring all the phyllo edges into the pan, fold them, almost creating a "phyllo border."
- Score gently with a sharp knife.
- Pour the milk evenly all over the pie. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 min or until cooked through, and the top is golden brown.