Are you ready to indulge in a delectable Greek dessert that will have your taste buds dancing with delight? Look no further than Kataifi rolls! Delightful treats made with kataifi pastry, filled with a nutty mixture before being baked to golden perfection and finally drenched in aromatic syrup.

History of Kataifi

The history of Kataifi can be traced back to ancient Greece.Kataifi is a special pastry dough made from delicate shredded phyllo strands. This unique dough has been an integral part of Greek cuisine for centuries and is commonly used in a variety of traditional Greek desserts.

Kataifi versus Baklava

Are they the same?

Kataifi and Baklava are both delightful Greek desserts that share many similarities, yet they posses distinct characteristics that set them apart.

Baklava is traditionally made from layers of phyllo dough, which is thin and flaky, and it is known for its sweet, sticky filling composed of nuts, sugar and aromatic spices like cinnamon. The layers of phyllo dough are separated by butter, creating a crispy, layered texture.

On the other hand, Kataifi rolls are crafted from shredded pastry, resembling vermicelli noodles. This creates a unique, nest like appearance and a lighter, more delicate texture. Kataifi has the same nutty filling as Baklava.   The combination of the delicate shredded phyllo and the rich filling is truly irresistible.

What is Kataifi pastry?

Shredded pastry, also known as kataifi pastry, is a key ingredient in creating the delicious and unique kataifi rolls. It is basically shredded phyllo dough into thin strands.  This special pastry dough plays an essential role in giving the rolls their crispy and delicate outer layer.

When baked, this shredded pastry becomes wonderfully crispy, giving the Kataifi rolls a delightful crunch.

Preparation and Baking Instructions

Aromatic syrup

The trick to perfect crispy yet and syrupy Kataifi rolls, start by preparing the aromatic syrup. Set is aside to cool down and then drenched the hot, out-of-the-oven Kataifi rolls. Cold syrup will be quickly absorbed by the host Kataifi rolls.

Combe water, sugar, cinnamon stick, and a strip of lemon peel in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and then simmer for a few minutes until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set it aside.

Kataifi roll preparation

To make delicious kataifi rolls, gather all the necessary ingredients: kataifi pastry, melted butter, granulated sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon juice, and walnuts. Start by preheating the oven to a 180 degrees Celsius. Then, prepare a baking dish by coating it with melted butter.

Work with shredded phyllo/Kataifi rolls

Begin by unraveling the bundle of kataifi dough onto a clean work surface. Use a damp towel to keep the dough from drying out.If using frozen kataifi dough, it is essential to check for any mold patches before proceeding with the preparation. Thaw the Kataifi dough overnight in the refrigerator, and make sure to handle it gently to prevent breaking the strands.

It is essential to prepare the sweet nutty and aromatic filling ready prior to working with Kataifi dough.This will prevent the Kataifi dough from drying out.

Gently, unfold the Kataifi dough and separate the strands. Divide the dough into equal pieces.

Next, spoon the aromatic nutty mixture along the length of the dough and carefully roll it up, creating a compact cylinder.

Final touches

Arrange the rolls in the buttered baking tray and bake for a 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.Once baked, remove them from the oven and pour the cold syrup over them whilst hot. Set aside the Kataifi rolls and  allow them to soak up the sweet goodness. Serve warm or cold.

Serving suggestions

These delightful Kataifi rolls can be served warm or cold as a delightful dessert on their own or accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of fruit preserves/ fruit spoon dessert. Enjoy the distinct flavor and texture of this special pastry dough!

Giannotiko/Yiannotiko or Giannotikos  Baklavas

Giannotikos Baklavas is marriage of two decadent Greek desserts drenched in syrup. It originates in Epirus, Giannena or Ioannina, and comrpises layers of kataifi party with a nutty filling nested in crispy phyllo dough and drenched in aromatic syrup. Find this unique and delicious recipe here.

Other syrupy desserts

Kataifi rolls

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 20-25 Prep Time: Cooking Time:



  • 2 cups water
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 fresh lemon juice
  • lemon slices or lemon peels
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 vanilla drops
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 orange slices
  • 1 tbsp honey

Kataifi rolls

  • 600gr Kataifi pastry
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 250gr butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • vanilla drops


  1. To prepare these decadent Kataifi rolls, start by preparing the aromatic syrup. In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peels ( or slices) along with one cinnamon stick, star anise and vanilla drops. You can also add a few slices of orange if you like.
  2. Bring this to boil and let it boil for 5 minutes. After this, set it aside and gently stir in a tablespoon of honey.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C or 360F and butter a baking dish.
  4. To prepare the aromatic and nutty filling, in a bowl, combine chopped walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves and vanilla.
  5. Melt  unsalted butter and set it aside.
  6. Get the Kataifi dough out of the fridge and gently pull it apart. Divide the Kataifi into equal strips.
  7. Place 1 tablespoon of the nutty aromatic mixture at one end of each Kataifi strip and wrap it tightly into a roll.
  8. Place Kataifi rolls in a buttered baking dish with some gap in between so that they can bake evenly. Drench each Kataifi roll with melted butter.
  9. Bake the Kataifi rolls at 180C or 360F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Pour cold syrup over hot Kataifi rolls. Allow the Kataifi rolls to soak the syrup before serving.
  11. Serve warm or cold, with a scoop or ice cream or on their own.

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