Maltese Pastizzi Recipe and Step by Step Guide

lifestyle · Recipes · Uncategorized


Maltese Pastizzi are the Maltese version of an empanada, hot pocket, calzone, etc. You get the picture. Dough on the outside and a filling of your choice on the inside. The most popular fillings are ricotta cheese (called pastizzi tal-irkotta) , curried ground beef with peas, or curried peas (called pastizzi tal-piżelli).

Today I am going to show you how to make the Ricotta Pastizzi.

I really took advantage of my Uncle Willie’s skills while he visited. After making me the Easter Pie, he got to work on the maltese pastizzi dough.  As the dough rested, my parents flew in from Maryland. I grabbed them from the airport which was the first time I had seen them since they had spent a few months visiting family in Malta.

So now my house was full. My husband and children, my uncle and cousin, and my mom and dad. The record player was turned on, bottles of wine were popped, souvineers from Malta shared, and singing and cooking took over.

They say love should be the secret ingredient in every recipe. This video, well, I just love it! Here they are singing a silly Maltese folk song.


Okay! Are you in the spirit now?

Here is how to make maltese pastizzi tal-irkotta or ricotta pastizzi.

For the dough all you need is oil, salt, all purpose flour, and ice cold water.


After mixing your ingredients, your dough should look like this. You will know that you are done mixing when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and is elastic. Take it out of the bowl and rub it sparingly with Crisco. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes and then put it into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.




When the dough is ready to be worked. Lay it on a cold counter top. Because the dough has been rubbed with Crisco, you won’t need to flour your surface. Cut the dough in half and work one half first. You will want to stretch and roll your dough into a rectangle.

DSC_0208 DSC_0209 DSC_0210



A really long rectangle and very thin. To the point that it becomes see through.


Then rub down again with Crisco.



Now you roll the dough. This is what give the dough it’s flakiness. Now some people cheat and just use filo dough. It’s not the same, but it works in a pinch.

See how tightly he starts the roll.





Once it is rolled. Set aside and roll the second half of the dough you had set aside into a rectangle.

You will then set your rolled up dough on top of your new rectangle at it’s edge.


And then roll that together.



Lay it in a coil.


Now freeze it until almost hard. This makes it easier to cut and work with in a bit.

Now for the ricotta filling.

You will mix 30 ounces of ricotta with Parmesan cheese, a bit of shredded mozzarella, and a sprinkle of parsley, salt and pepper.



Now it’s time for assembly.

First cut a slice of your dough.


Now remember all that rolling you did. This is why. Look at all of the thin beautiful layers.


Take your slice of your dough and place it between two pieces of plastic wrap. You will want to see the interior layers facing up.


_ DSC_0302 DSC_0303 DSC_0304

Roll into a circle shape. Then lay across your hand, like so, and place a dollop of filling in the center.


Then you will fold one side over until it meets the edge of the other side.


Lay onto a cookie sheet and and seal.




At this point you have two options. Bake and eat now or freeze for later. If you choose to freeze, place cookie sheet in freezer until they are frozen thoroughly and then put in a freezer bag. You can bake them later.

If you want to bake now. Place the pastizzi in at 350 f for about 20 minutes or until brown.


Maltese Pastizzi Recipe






91 thoughts on “Maltese Pastizzi Recipe and Step by Step Guide

    1. This recipe did not turn out with the ratio of ingredients – is there a missing step of kneading dough for 10 minutes once mixing complete ? The dough breaks up and will not stretch

      1. know that you are done mixing when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and is elastic. Take it out of the bowl and rub it sparingly with Crisco. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes and then put it into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

  1. Wow! This a good one Tess and when I know you were born in USA! So nice of you to promote Maltese recipes! Maybe in the near future you will add Maltese Traditions too! Good luck dear! Xxxx

        1. Lard is used .
          My mum use to make the pastry dough then by coating the Rolled out thin pastry with Lard , working it onto the rolled out pastry , then fold , roll out the pastry flat and thin again , coat the pastry again with lard , fold it again . She did it a few times repeating the process . Then it was ready to to roll out flat , cut into shape and fill ricotta cheese and fold to seal the cheese .
          Her Pastry after the oven cooking , result was many folds of Golden crunchy pastry , just like I tasted in Rabat , Malta .

    1. This looks like a great recipe. I am going to try it on the weekend. Fingers crossed mine look as good as yours. Regards from Australia

  2. It’s times like this when you really miss your mom’s cooking. Both my parents were born in Malta. My mother was only 4’11” but she cooked like a giant chef. Pastizzi and other Maltese dishes were often made by my mother, and I don’t care who came over always enjoyed her dishes.

  3. I’ m a pure malteser, and have always lived in my beautiful Malta that unfortunately it’s loosing it’s carachter every day that passes. I like your post, what I am not sure about is the ricotta filling. The traditional receip doesn’t have nor parmessian and nighter mozzarella, just ricotta and a pinch of salt. Maybe you need to add some parmessian to try and imitate the wonderful taste of the Maltese ricotta that if I remember right they use sea water to make, leaving that bit of salty retro taste in your mouth. You should try the gbejniet filling which it has a more strong salty taste.

    1. Hello Rene. I feel the same way. Every time I return I see more of what I love changing.

      My mother makes the recipe like you mention. This is my uncles recipe. It’s such a small amount of mozzarella that you barely taste it. It acts more like a binding. In my opinion this tastes the closest to the pastizzi from cafe cordina in Valletta which is one of my favorites. My other favorite place is from Maxim’s in Humrun. Oh and there is another amazing spot in Rabat but I can not remember the name.

      You have used gbejniet in your pastizzi? I have never tried that. I bet that would make a wonderful qassatat! I will try it!

      1. CRYSTAL PALACE! In Rabat. Oh, such good memories. The whole of Europe is losing it’s identity… very sad. I thought Malta is beautiful.

      2. Hi Rene, I’m with you, we only ever had pastizzi with gbejniet filling, never ricotta (Australian born Maltese heritage here) I thought the recipes I see on the internet use ricotta because you can’t buy gbejniet in shops. But it is definitely not the same. I thought they add parmesan and mozzarella to try to emulate the flavour and texture of gbejniet but now I wonder if maybe some Maltese use ricotta too.

        1. Yeah traditionally is just ricotta and for the meat and pies they used corned beef.. goes back to the days when meat was very expensive. Buy in my opinion ground beef is better..
          In Malta they out everything in them now.. even Nutella lol

  4. thank you so much for posting recipe… my dad was from valletta hope some day to visit… pastizzis are no where near arizona …. i wish…. have to try this recipe…

      1. i do not know how to make the dough for maltese pastizzi so i have found an alternative which is a package of buttter flake pastry and i am very happy with the result i live in canada and this is found in all the grocery stores

      2. Tessa. I am making this recipe today for my 98 year Maltese Mom who will be visiting this weekend. I am planning on freezing them. Do I thaw them before baking or bake them frozen? Bake at what temp for how long?

  5. I can’t wait to try this recipe with the curried pea filling which I enjoyed much better when I was in Malta. Wondering how a gluten free dough would hold up as well..

  6. Hello Tessa,
    Do you give classes in Maltese cooking. If so when and where? I try to visit Malta every other year. I am very interested in taking classes. Looking forward to a response. Lejla

  7. Hi Tessa. I live in the U.S. My family is from Malta. I find many pastizzi recipes but none are easy to follow. Thank you for posting your Uncle’s pastizzi recipe and the step-by-step is very helpful as I always have trouble with the shaping of the pastizzi. thank you again. I will definitely try to make these. I hope mine come out as good as your Uncle’s look in the picture.

    1. This is so great to read! Thank you! I hope that you enjoy them. I need to see pictures to learn how to make things so I try to write that way when I share recipes.

  8. Hi Tessa! Thank you for posting this recipe which I made today. The recipe was easy to follow, but I have a few questions after tasting a test one! I haven’t made pastizzis in 2 years or more and only have made them twice in my life because they intimidate me. Anyhow, how long do you knead the dough for? And, I think I skimped on the Crisco because my test pastizzi was a little dry, and I’ve never had a dry one! And, I did have trouble shaping them on my mind. But practice makes perfect! I followed the ricotta mixture to a tee, and it’s awesome! So much flavor and texture.

    1. This made me so happy! Thank you for trying my recipe. I am so glad that you tried it! They have always intimidated me too until my uncle taught me. Yes, you must not have used enough Crisco.Crisco is key. As far as how long to knead the dough, it really can’t be explained with time. You have to eye it. It has to match the picture that I posted. You want it to be pulled away from the bowl. You want it to still be moist and stretchy but not sticky. I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to respond. I am just now seeing this message.

    1. Try Pavi Supermarket in Qormi or PAMA shopping village in Mosta or Park Towers in Saint Venera. If you can’t find it the equivalent would be xaham tal haxxix (lard from vegetables).

      1. You can buy Trex in Malta, which is same as Crisco. I bought one in Lasco in Zejtun, but I expect other supermarkets sell it as well.
        Good luck!!

  9. Tessa, Thank you for sharing your recipe. I married a Maltese man last May and he has been asking me to make Pastizzis for a while now. I found your recipe and your fabulous instructions. They are baking now and he came in the door and said, it smelled like baking Pastizzis. He said it smelled just like his mom used to make. They are looking good as they bake. Can’t wait to bite into one.

    1. Hello Everyone;
      I have never made Pastizzi but I sure have eaten a bunch. My father Funzu’s three sisters always had competition on who made the “Best”. I loved them all. They were all from Rabat. I have visited there many times. I currently live in Florida. The name of the amazing place in Rabat that sells the best “Pastizzi in all of Malta” is the Chrystal Palace. Just ask my old friend Sarheen the proprietor. Or Anyone in Rabat.


      Ricky Vassallo

        1. I agree the best are in Rabat! My husband’s family is from Valletta and his grandmother still lives there, but his grandfather passed away a couple of years ago. His aunts, uncles and cousins all live within 15 min driving distance from Valletta. We are trying to make these this weekend, but I need to find a recipe for the pea mixture as those are my husband’s favorite.

  10. This is great I’m keen to try the pastry. My mum said to put an egg in with the cheese, is that right? How’s much do you mix the cheese? Do you drain all the liquid from the cheese? Thanks

  11. I’m going to try your recipe I’ve been looking for a simple one. My grandmother used to make them for me many, many years ago. I remember her filling used eggs , cottage cheese and peas. Do you know tjhis filling?

  12. Hi Tessa.
    Found your site while looking for a recipe for pastizzis.
    The pictures look exactly as I remember. So this is going to be my next project.
    Hoping to go to Malta next year to show my Son his roots. I used to get mine from a bakery in Birkirkara. I have had a terrible craving for them. I make Timpani, but have never tried making pastizzis.
    I am English living in Spain where getting ricotta is not so easy.

  13. My dad made the best Pastizzi all my life, however, I did not pay too much attention, but I remember he added beaten eggs and chopped parsley into the ricotta mixture, no mozzarella or other cheese. I think the added egg made the filling fluffier. Are you familiar with this? I want to make Pastizzi, but my dad passed away, so unfortunately, I cannot ask him.

  14. We used to eat cheese pastizzi sold by vendors right on the waterfront in Sliema. They were always _sooo_ good! I never seemed to get enough.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I hope to capture a hint of the awesome flavor of the ones from my childhood, so long ago.

  15. Hey there Tessa – very nice lay-out for the recipe. Do you happen to have a recipe for pizzeli filling that you will share? Thank you.

    1. Do you mean the meat filling for pastizzi? I’m sorry the blog isn’t showing me which recipe you’re commenting on. If it’s the pastizzi recipe, that’s a great idea! I’ll write a post for the neat filling and also the curry peas! Thank you!

  16. I jjst finished making and rolling my dlugh and its in the freeze my questio. Is how thick do you slice your dough? Also your uncle doesn’t use egg in his filling is there any reason why he doesen’t. I am a true blood maltese but came to the USA at 9 months old my mom was a fantastic cook and I miss both my parents terribly . Do you have more maltese recipes to share like stuffed calamiri with a pica sauce the ones on y-tube are nothing like moms. Thank you for your great recipe.

    1. Hi! I’m not sure why he doesn’t use egg. I promise when you taste it you won’t miss it. I haven’t blogged in a long time but I promise to share more recipes soon.

  17. Hello!
    Fabulous recipe. I just spent the morning making them and they are terrific. I hope to make more and perfect them over time.

    Mark V.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you for writing! They are fun to make. My children get excited when they see them. Another generation to pass Maltese food to.

  18. My kids and I are making them as I speak! My families recipe is a little different. We also have a meat version with chop meat and peas. Fingers crossed they come out as amazing as my dads did. I used some of your recipe as a guide, thank you!

  19. Thank you so much Tessa. I am going to try to make them today. My mom is Maltese and we’ve been there a few times. I always loved eating the pastizzi while visiting and have fond memories of my travels there. I hope you are all well and safe during these trying times. Hoping this Pastizzi will bring my family some much needed joy.
    Jennifer P.

    1. Hi. Sorry, to just now be reading your comment. I hope your family is well too. We spent a lot of time baking bread and making homemade pasta. Which seems to be what everyone was doing.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! My mom was born in Malta, and my grandmother used to make the best pastizzi! My mom never wanted to make them because she said they were too hard and too much work. Luckily, we have a Maltese club in our area (well, an hour away) and we are able to order frozen pastizzi which we usually have for special occasions/holidays. However, I have always wanted to learn to make them. I found your recipe and gave it a try (my 9 year old daughter helped)! Your instructions were very easy to follow. I think it will take me some practice to get the dough just right and as flaky as my grandma’s… but they sure did taste good. Thanks again!

    1. I’m the same. My mom always said what a long process it takes to make them. Then my uncle simplified the recipe and this is it. It gives me the courage to try some other maltese favorites.

  21. Hi Tess. This is a great recipe! I just tried them and they came out rather tough on the outside and doughie on the inside. They also never really got brown. So mine were missing that light and flakiness that makes a pastizzi wonderful. Did i not use enough crisco maybe? How do you get the flakiness?

  22. Hi! I’m going to try this today, but want to put in the freezer over night to bake in the morning. Do they need to thaw or are there any variations in oven temp when you do this? Thanks!

  23. You’re mixing up two Maltese Folk Songs. The ghamillu karta bit is from lanca gejja u ohra sejra.

  24. Often make Pastizzi with puff and our own filling (Sorry), decided to try your pastry recipe today, give myself 80% mark. Love the flakiness, reminded me of Rabat where I first tasted them in the cafe by the car park where the bus drivers used to go. Will try to do better next time.

  25. Plan on making these for our Christmas Eve dinner. This is the most authentic pastizzi recipe I’ve come across. Exactly like my mother’s who got it from her dad who came to Canada from Malta. My grandmother would make mountains of pastizzi when we came to visit our grandparents in Toronto. A modern diet may find Crisco a bit heavy. Margarine keeps the pastry flakey, too. Here’s the recipe for meat filling. (As a kid, I always loved the cheese pastizzi more)
    ¾ lb. Lean minced meat ¼ lb. Minced pork
    3 large onions pinch of salt
    pinch of curry 1 small tin tomato paste

    Brown onions, add meat and then tomato paste. Use a little bit of water and mix well; add spices.

    1. My Nanna always peas and beer! I have to get around to sharing the recipe. Thank you for your comment. I hope it worked out for you. Thank you for sharing your family recipe!

  26. Thank you for this recipe. My family lived in Malta 1975-78 and we all have very strong memories of this dish. I spent most of my pocket money buying these at 13years of age! Have ordered ingredients and will try to make them this weekend. We loved our time in Malta, the country and the people just beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *