How to Quickly Defrost Phyllo

by Joshua McCarron

Phyllo dough is a stack of delicate, layered pastry sheets used in both sweet and savory dishes. Phyllo is used in popular dishes such as baklava and spanakopita, producing a light, flaky crust. Most phyllo dough used in domestic kitchens is found in the frozen section at your local supermarket, and one of the tricky aspects of working with it is thawing it out properly first. Your microwave may offer some help if you need to thaw it out quickly, but giving your phyllo the time it needs to thaw in the refrigerator may give you a better finished product.

Remove the package of frozen phyllo dough from the box but leave it in the plastic. Set the plastic on a microwaveable dish or plate.

Place the plastic package of dough in the microwave and defrost for 30 to 45 seconds. Follow the microwave defrosting instructions on the package if it lists a specific time or power level for that brand of dough.

Remove the dough from the plastic packaging and gently attempt to separate the sheets of dough so you can get started on other elements of the recipe. Cover the layers of thawed dough with aluminum foil or a sheet of waxed paper covered by a damp dish towel to keep them moist when preparing other ingredients. Dried out phyllo dough cracks and can't be used.

For a more reliable yet lengthy method, set the frozen box of phyllo dough in the refrigerator and leave it for roughly six hours if you have more time. Thawing it out more slowly will usually yield better results.

Items you will need

  • Microwaveable dish


  • Set the frozen dough in the fridge before leaving for work to ensure it's ready when you need it.
  • If you have the choice at your supermarket, choose a thicker phyllo dough if you are inexperienced working with it. Thicker dough will prevent tearing and make it easier to work with.
  • Use scissors if you must cut a sheet of dough for a recipe.
  • Prepare all ingredients ahead of time when working with phyllo dough so it won't dry out.


  • The microwave has the potential to make the phyllo dough gummy and messy, so proceed with caution if you try to thaw it fast.

About the Author

Joshua McCarron has been writing both online and offline since 1995. He has been employed as a copywriter since 2005 and in that position has written numerous blogs, online articles, websites, sales letters and news releases. McCarron graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor's degree in English.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images