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Crab Spanakopita

5 from 1 vote

Flaky and buttery phyllo with a crab, spinach and cheese filling makes these the ultimate Crab Spanikopita! Easy and delish, you’ll wow everyone with these stunning appetizers!

Crab Spanakopita in a black serving dish with a second in the background.

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Super-thin flaky sheets of phyllo dough are so easy to work with and so much fun to fill. With this savory crab filling, these Crab Spanakopitas are just about the tastiest ever! Spinach, cheese, just the right amount of feta, and loads of sweet crab fill each tasty triangle.

Perfect for parties, events, or as a decadent starter to an elegant meal, these flaky and buttery spanakopitas start with frozen phyllo dough, which is available in most grocery stores. When I had my restaurant, we’d make dozens and dozens of spanakopitas for various events, and I’ve got some tips and tricks to help make the process of making these easy!

I also love that you can prep and freeze these tasty bites, baking them as needed whenever you’ve got company or want a delish snack. Details on how to ready them for freezing are below!

A top-down shot of Crab Spanakopita on a wooden board.

What you’ll love about Crab Spanakopita


  • They’re flaky, buttery, and filled with crabby goodness!
  • Make them ahead of time and freeze them before baking!
  • They’re SO GOSH DARN GOOD!!

Ingredients

  • Phyllo pastry – 1 box. Thaw it in the fridge overnight.
  • Butter – I use salted butter; melted.
  • Baby spinach – Fresh spinach; 4-6 ounces.
  • Shallots – Shallots are like mild sweet onions, and they’re perfect in this spanakopita recipe
  • Red bell pepper – Adds a touch of sweetness and color.
  • Ricotta cheese – Look for extra smooth ricotta to avoid a grainy texture.
  • Mozzarella cheese – Or another mild-flavored melting cheese.
  • Feta – Drained and crumbled.
  • Dill – Fresh dill; chopped.
  • Parsley – Fresh parsley; chopped.
  • Lemon – You’ll need a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Crab – See my notes below on the best crab for Crab Spanakopita.
  • Salt and pepper – To taste.
Labeled ingredients to make Crab Spanakopita.

You’ll Also Need

How To Make the Best Crab Spanakopita

  1. Saute the spinach in a large skillet until wilted, then set it aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze it gently to remove excess water, then chop it.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet and saute the diced shallots until almost soft, then add the bell pepper and continue cooking until the veggies are soft.
  3. Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, feta, squeezed and chopped spinach, and shallot-pepper mixture in a large bowl until well-mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Fold in the crab gently to not break up any big lumps.
  5. Preheat your oven to 375-F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Lay one sheet of phyllo pastry on a clean work surface and brush it with melted butter. It doesn’t have to be completely covered with butter.
  7. Top the buttered sheet of phyllo with another sheet, and brush it as well. Repeat with one more buttered layer, then a final sheet of phyllo with no butter. You should have 4 layers of phyllo, 3 of them buttered.
  8. Turn the sheets so that the longest side is facing you. Cut the sheets in half, creating 2 equal portions. Now cut those into thirds, creating 6 even-sized strips of phyllo.
  9. Place about 1.5-2 tablespoons of filling near one end of the phyllo strip, then fold the bottom left corner up over the filling toward the long right edge of the dough strip to create a triangle.
  10. Fold the bottom right corner of the phyllo straight up, creating another triangle. Now take the bottom right corner and fold it up and to the left, lining it up with the long left edge of the phyllo strip, creating another triangle.
  11. Continue folding it like a flag until it’s fully folded. Brush the top with butter and lay it seam-side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  12. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo and filling.
  13. Bake the phyllo triangles at 375-F for about 15 minutes or until they’re golden brown on top.
  14. Cool and serve!
Crab spanakopita on a wooden board.

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • Thawing the phyllo overnight is important. It needs to thaw slowly so that the layers don’t stick together.
  • Ignore the advice to cover phyllo with a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. This will cause it to get soggy, and your layers will stick. Instead, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
  • Don’t worry if the phyllo tears or rips. Just keep layering – it’ll be fine.
  • Your phyllo strips should be about 2-inches wide. You can make them smaller, but then use less filling.
  • Season the filling after you’ve added the cheese because cheese is salty.
  • Phyllo will burn on the bottom before the top, so keep an eye on the bottoms of those triangles when baking!
  • Crab can be pricy! Use what you can afford and lightly squeeze it to remove excess liquid if it is packed in liquid or really juicy.

Recommended

Serving Suggestions

I love finger foods, tasty snacks and appetizers like these low-carb Crab Spanakopitas, and will often just have a selection of them for dinner. I’ll pair them with other tasty picks like Bacon and Mushroom Tartlets, Prosciutto Puff Pastry Pinwheels, and Corn Fritters. Appetizers like these are perfect for parties and gatherings, too!

Storage

You can store any leftover Crab Spanakopita triangles in the fridge, but remember the crab is very perishable, so don’t keep them for more than a day or two. If you’re not going to eat them right away, freeze them before baking! Then, bake as instructed but add an extra minute or two to the cooking time.

Step By Step Process

Crab Spanakopita on a wooden board.
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Crab Spanakopita

Flaky, buttery, and filled with a succulent filling of crab, spinach, and cheese, Crab Spanakopita are amazingly delicious! Serve them as an appetizer or along with other party snacks and dazzle your guests!
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword crab, crab spanakopita, greek spanakopita, seafood, snacks
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 24 spanakopita
Calories 112kcal
Author Chef Jenn

Ingredients

  • 1 box phyllo pastry
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces baby spinach sauteed, squeezed dry, and chopped
  • 1 each shallot finely diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese extra smooth
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 ounces crab meat picked over to remove shells

Instructions

  • Saute the spinach in a large skillet until wilted, then set it aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze it gently to remove excess water, then chop it.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet and saute the diced shallots until almost soft, then add the bell pepper and continue cooking until the veggies are soft.
  • Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, feta, squeezed and chopped spinach, and shallot-pepper mixture in a large bowl until well-mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Fold in the crab gently to not break up any big lumps.
  • Preheat your oven to 375-F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Lay one sheet of phyllo pastry on a clean work surface and brush it with melted butter. It doesn't have to be completely covered with butter.
  • Top the buttered sheet of phyllo with another sheet, and brush it as well. Repeat with one more buttered layer, then a final sheet of phyllo with no butter. You should have 4 layers of phyllo, 3 of them buttered.
  • Turn the sheets so that the longest side is facing you. Cut the sheets in half, creating 2 equal portions. Now cut those into thirds, creating 6 even-sized strips of phyllo.
  • Place about 1.5-2 tablespoons of filling near one end of the phyllo strip, then fold the bottom left corner up over the filling toward the long right edge of the dough strip to create a triangle.
  • Fold the bottom right corner of the phyllo straight up, creating another triangle. Now take the bottom right corner and fold it up and to the left, lining it up with the long left edge of the phyllo strip, creating another triangle.
  • Continue folding it like a flag until it's fully folded. Brush the top with butter and lay it seam-side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo and filling.
  • Bake the phyllo triangles at 375-F for about 15 minutes or until they're golden brown on top.
  • Cool and serve!

Notes

Chef Jenn’s Tips

    • Thawing the phyllo overnight is important. It needs to thaw slowly so that the layers don’t stick together.
    • Ignore the advice to cover phyllo with a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. This will cause it to get soggy, and your layers will stick. Instead, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
    • Don’t worry if the phyllo tears or rips. Just keep layering – it’ll be fine.
    • Your phyllo strips should be about 2-inches wide. You can make them smaller, but then use less filling.
    • Season the filling after you’ve added the cheese because cheese is salty.
    • Phyllo will burn on the bottom before the top, so keep an eye on the bottoms of those triangles when baking!
    • Crab can be pricy! Use what you can afford and lightly squeeze it to remove excess liquid if it is packed in liquid or really juicy.

Nutrition

Serving: 3triangles | Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 696IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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By Chef Jenn