Kalitsounia: A Traditional Cretan Sweet Pastries Recipe

 Cretan Kalitsounia, or καλιτσούνια, are a culinary delight waiting to be savored. These quick and easy treats are a hallmark of Crete's gastronomic heritage. In Chania, savor the savory kalitsounia, generously stuffed with the local treasure, mizithra cheese, or opt for the sweet variation, drizzled with honey.

Venture to Lasithi, where kalitsounia take on a sweeter note, featuring doughy shells filled with creamy mizithra cheese and dusted with aromatic cinnamon. While you can make kalitsounia with either phyllo dough or traditional dough, our recipe focuses on the flaky, crispy perfection of phyllo.

This traditional kalitsounia recipe, serving 4, is as quick as it is delightful – just 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. Dive into the flavors of Crete with this easy-to-follow recipe.


Kalitsounia - Ingredients

  • 120 g of phyllo dough
  • 200 g of soft mizithra cheese (or anthotyro)
  • 5-6 mint leaves, thinly chopped
  • 40 ml of Greek olive oil
  • Honey for serving

Kalitsounia - How to Make

  1. Start this traditional kalitsounia recipe by defrosting first the phyllo dough. 
  2. Lay 2-3 sheets on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  3. Take a bowl, and mix the mizithra with mint leaves. With the help of a fork, work the mixture so it does not get lumpy.
  4. Take one phyllo sheet and cut it longitudinally, into pieces of about 10-12 cm in height. It has to divide into 4 or 5 strips, depending on the brand of phyllo you are using.
  5. Gently brush a little olive oil on each strip. 
  6. Add a tablespoon of the mizithra mixture in the upper corner at the beginning of the strip. Start lifting the corners to form the triangle, following the steps in the scheme below.
  7. Keep repeating the steps until the triangle is shaped and the mizithra cheese mixture is well sealed inside. Each triangle needs about 6 folding steps.
  8. Once folded, lay the kalitsounia on a flat surface preferably lined with parchment paper, until ready to be fried. 
  9. Continue with the next kalitsounia until you finish the mizithra cheese filling. 
  10. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium to high heat. Add the kalitsounia one by one in the oil, with plenty of space around, and fry quickly on each side, until they get a nice golden color.
  11. Place the kalitsounia on a plate with some absorbent paper. 
  12. Top with honey and serve.
Important tip: do not stack the kalitsounia before frying. Kalitsounia is typically served as a snack or dessert and is often enjoyed with a cup of Greek coffee or tea. They are a delicious and traditional treat that can be found throughout Crete and are a great way to experience the unique flavors and culinary traditions of this beautiful island. If you enjoy Cretan food, you should try this marathopita recipe. Enjoy!