Easy Vegan Baklava Recipe (Dairy Free)

Vegan baklava is a delicious and authentic dessert made with layers of flaky phyllo dough, a sweet and nutty filling of chopped walnuts and cinnamon soaked in rich maple syrup. While traditional baklava recipes can be time-consuming, this easy vegan version takes just 15 minutes to prepare.

Piece of baklava resting on a knife.

Lebanese baklava is a classic dessert known for its delicate balance of crunchy and chewy textures, rich nutty flavor, and satisfying sweetness. Throughout the Mediterranean, there are many different variations of baklava.

Two of the most popular are the Greek and Lebanese styles. Greek baklava is typically made with honey and spices, while Lebanese baklava is made with sugar syrup and flower water. Greek baklava is also often made with a thicker layer of phyllo dough, while Lebanese baklava is often made with a thinner layer of phyllo dough. My recipe lies somewhere between the Greek and Lebanese versions.

Video

YouTube video

What is Baklava?

Baklava is a popular sweet pastry in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. It comprises layers of thin phyllo dough, chopped nuts (usually pistachios, walnuts, or almonds), and sweet syrup or honey.

The dough is brushed with butter or oil and layered with chopped nuts and spices. The layers are baked until golden brown and crispy, and a sweet syrup made of sugar, water, and lemon juice is poured over the top while it’s still hot. The syrup is absorbed by the layers of dough and nuts, making the pastry moist and sweet.

Baklava is often served as a dessert during special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and religious celebrations. It can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature and is often garnished with additional nuts.

Three trianges of baklava on a plate.

Equipment

Before you start making vegan baklava at home, here are a few must-have tools:

  • Sharp knife: Cutting through all the sheets of phyllo dough is a breeze with a sharp knife. Be sure to cut with the tip straight down instead of at an angle.
  • Food processor: A food processor is essential for chopping the nuts to a fine, but still crunchy, consistency.
  • Rectangular baking dish: A rectangular baking dish is the best way to get the classic diamond shape for your baklava. However, many bakers also use a round cake pan.

Ingredients

Here are the simple ingredients you need to make delicious vegan baklava at home:

  • Phyllo dough: Thin and flaky phyllo dough is essential for making baklava with the perfect texture.
  • Plant-based butter: A plant-based butter with a high melting point, such as vegan butter or coconut oil, will help to keep the layers of phyllo dough separate.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts are a classic choice for vegan baklava, but you can use any type of nut that you prefer.
  • Maple syrup: Maple syrup is the perfect vegan alternative to honey for sweetening baklava.
  • Sugar and cinnamon: Sugar sweetens the nuts, and cinnamon adds a warm and inviting flavor to the dessert.
Up close picture of baklava in a pan.

Variations

Chocolate Baklava – Chocolate Baklava is an Americanized version gaining popularity among tourists. It is the perfect fusion of flavors, but then again, I am an American of Lebanese descent who loves chocolate and baklava.

Different Nuts – The ingredients and processes have altered with the adoption of baklavas. As a result, each country offers its unique flavors. The most common nuts are walnuts and pistachios, but people worldwide also use other alternatives, including hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, cream, chocolate-flavored nuts, etc.    

Try My Other Middle Eastern Recipes

Piece of baklava resting on a knife.

Easy Vegan Baklava Recipe with Walnut Filling and Maple Syrup

Vegan baklava is a delicious and easy-to-make dessert that is perfect for any occasion. It is made with layers of flaky phyllo dough, a sweet and nutty filling of chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup,
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Arabic, Greek, Mediterranean
Servings: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Equipment

  • 1 rectangle baking dish (9x13x2)
  • 1 Food Processor
  • 1 Small saucepan
  • 1 very sharp knife

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 pound (455g) walnuts
  • ¼ cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoons (60g) ground cinnamon

Pasty

  • ½ cup (161g) maple syrup
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 cup (236g) water
  • 16 ounce Phyllo dough, thawed
  • 16 tablespoons (224g) plant-based butter, melted, 2 sticks

Instructions

Step One: Prep –

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  • In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, combine the water, sugar, and maple syrup. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Step Two: Filling –

  • In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Pulse 10-12 times until the walnuts are broken into small pieces.

Step Three: Assembly –

  • Brush the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish with melted plant-based butter.
  • Place 15 sheets of phyllo dough in the bottom of the baking dish, brushing each sheet with melted plant-based butter.
  • Spread 1/3 of the nut filling over the phyllo dough.
  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 twice more, until all of the phyllo dough and nut filling have been used.
  • Top with the remaining sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each sheet with melted plant-based butter.

Step Four: Shape, Butter, and Bake –

  • Using a sharp knife pointed straight down, cut 5 straight rows. Turn the dish 1/4 and cut 9 diagonal rows to create the diamond shape.
  • Pour the melted plant-based butter over the top of the baklava, evenly distributing it.
  • Let the butter sit for five minutes, giving it time to soak in. Move around as needed for even distribution.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the baklava is golden brown and crispy.

Step Five: Syrup –

  • Once the baklava is baked, immediately pour the cooled maple syrup mixture over the top. The baklava will sizzle. This is desired.
  • Cover and let cool to room temperature before serving. If you can wait and let it rest over night it will taste even better!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Tips:
  • For the best results, use a sharp knife to cut through the phyllo dough.
  • Be sure to brush each layer of phyllo dough with melted plant-based butter before adding the nut filling.
  • Bake the baklava until it is golden brown and crispy.
  • Pour the syrup over the baklava while it is still hot to ensure that it is absorbed.
Make-Ahead Instructions:
  1. After preparing the baklava, let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Cut it into individual pieces and place them in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Store on the counter for up to one week or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Make-Ahead Instructions:
  1. After preparing the baklava, let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Make additional cuts if needed, and place the individual pieces in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Store on the counter for up to one week or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Freezer Instructions:
  1. Wrap the baklava, either whole or in individual pieces, tightly in plastic wrap or foil.
  2. Place it in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag.
  3. Freeze for up to three months.
  4. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
Credit:  I learned about the time-saving butter hack from Feel Good Foodie. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Vegan Baklava Recipe with Walnut Filling and Maple Syrup
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
444
Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
32
g
49
%
Sodium
 
279
mg
12
%
Carbohydrates
 
36
g
12
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
16
g
18
%
Protein
 
7
g
14
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yeeeeees! I just made this today, and it is AMAZING. I thought baklava was just something I had to give up when I became vegan. So glad I was wrong and that I chose this recipe!

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