From the 16th century to the 19th, on the 15th day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the Ottoman sultan would gift his most elite soldiers baklava. Trays of the sweet, sticky, layered pastry were marched through the streets in what became known as the “Baklava Procession.” It was a sign of generosity from the sultan—an important gesture, designed to keep his army happy.

The days of the Ottoman Empire and its formidable army are far behind us. But there’s no doubt that baklava is still keeping people happy. The dessert—which has roots across the Middle East—is popular all over the world, loved for its sweet, nutty flavors and crisp, flaky texture.

Here’s more about baklava, including how to store it, how to freeze it, and of course, how to make it.

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What is baklava? And is it vegan?

Baklava is a sweet dessert made from thin layers of filo pastry, chopped nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, or almonds), sweet syrup or honey, and spices like cinnamon and cardamom. After layering the pastry and nut mixture, the baklava is usually cut into diamond or square shapes before baking.

Traditionally, baklava is often made with honey and butter, so it’s not always vegan. But that said, it is easy to make the recipe without animal products, by using agave or maple syrup and a vegan butter alternative.

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RELATED: 13 Vegan Dessert Recipes You Can Make in Less than One Hour

What is the best way to store baklava?

Storing baklava properly is key to preserving flavors and that all-important flaky texture. But how to store it depends on whether the baklava has been baked or not. If the batch is fully prepared—meaning it has been baked, glazed, and cooled to room temperature—one of the best ways to store is in an airtight container, which is kept in a cool, dry place. But if it has not been fully baked yet, another option is to store it in the fridge for a few days—just make sure to cover it in foil or wrap to prevent it from drying out. Alternatively, you can freeze it.

How well does baklava freeze?

Baklava will freeze well (making it a great dessert option to prepare in advance!). In fact, it can actually maintain its flavors and textures for a good few months in the freezer. Just make sure to cool it down properly, before wrapping it tightly to keep any moisture out. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it out overnight in the fridge (not at room temperature) to prevent it from becoming too soggy.

How to make baklava: 5 vegan recipes to try

While it’s possible to buy vegan baklava, there’s arguably nothing more rewarding than whipping up a delicious dessert from scratch. If you’re in the mood to bake, check out some of our favorite vegan baklava recipes below.

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1 Almond-Pecan Vegan Baklava

Made with coconut cream and agave syrup, this crispy baklava from Dreena’s Kind Kitchen cookbook features a delicious cinnamon-spiced almond-pecan mixture. This helps to give the sweet treat an arguably perfect balance of crunchy, sweet, and sticky.
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VegNews.vegandatebaklava.lazycatkitchenLazy Cat Kitchen

2 Vegan Date Baklava

Sweet dates are a delicious (and nutritious) addition to baklava, as this recipe from Lazy Cat Kitchen proves. They are a super tasty compliment to the walnuts, almonds, pistachios, orange zest, and ground cinnamon that also help to make up this dessert.
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3 Vegan Baklava Cookies

Another great way to enjoy baklava is in cookie form. This recipe from Vegan Richa will walk you through how to use almond flour, lemon zest, maple syrup, dates, and nuts to make delicious baklava cookies, which are ideal for dessert, snacking, or even breakfast.
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4 Vegan Maple Pumpkin Pecan Baklava

Embrace the cozy, nostalgic flavors of fall all year long by making Nikki Vegan’s baklava with maple syrup, pumpkin puree, pecans, and plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. Finished with an orange maple glaze, this baklava tastes as good as it looks (which is pretty good!).
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VegNews.baklavacheesecake.gretchensveganbakeryGretchens Vegan Bakery

5 Vegan Maple Walnut Baklava Cheesecake

Why not combine two delicious sweets in one by making a baklava cheesecake? This recipe from Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery calls for tofu, maple extract, candied orange, and more delicious plant-based ingredients to make a truly show-stopping dessert.
Get the recipe

For more on vegan desserts, read:

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