This is such a fantastic recipe and exemplifies everything that is amazing about Greek cooking. This Greek ham and cheese pie, called a zambonopita, is so easy to make and you will be surprised by how delicious it is! I love that it is made with very simple ingredients. Not only that, the cooking technique is as simple as it could be – all you need to do is mix or whisk ingredients together, and pour into a pan to bake.
Zambonopita is made with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Basics, like eggs, flour, yogurt, milk, feta and of course, ham. The recipe is really versatile and I will also walk you through some delicious ideas that you can use to really make an amazing Greek ham and cheese pie.
Why this recipe works
The reason that this recipe is such a hit is because it is so delicious, but also because it is so easy! When you don’t know what to make for dinner, or when you have unexpected company pop in, this Greek ham and cheese pie is always a great option. It is a cinch to make, does not require any special pieces of equipment, and while you are baking your pie you can make a salad or a vegetable to serve on the side.
It is really quite simple to make a zambonopita and it does not require any fancy ingredients.
Yogurt – You want to use plain (unflavoured) Greek yogurt in this recipe. I like to use 2% milk fat yogourt, but you can also use full fat yogurt and non-fat yogurt. Greek yogurt is preferable because of its thick consistency and creaminess.
Eggs – As with most recipes, I use large eggs here. The eggs help bind the ingredients together so that you end up with a pie that hold together well.
Flour – All-purpose or regular flour forms the basis of this pie.
Baking powder – Although the zambonopita will not puff up too much, it does get a bit of a rise thanks to the addition of the baking powder.
Milk – I usually use lactose-free, 2% milk fat milk in this recipe. You can use any milk you prefer however.
Greek feta – I never buy anything but Greek feta, which is made with sheep milk or a combination of sheep and goat milk. Be careful not to buy Greek-style feta, which is usually made with cow’s milk.
Ham – Sliced deli ham is what is used in this recipe. You can use any type of ham you prefer (picnic ham, smoked ham, maple ham and anything else you might find).
Nutmeg – Adds a lovely nutty and slightly sweet flavour to the pie.
Butter – Some butter is used to grease the bottom and sides of the baking pan, and butter is also used to dot the top of the pie before baking.
Cheese – If you prefer to use another cheese you can try Greek kefalotyri or graviera. You can even try making this recipe with grated cheddar or gruyere cheese.
Ham – Instead of pre-sliced deli ham you can always use pieces of an entire ham that you cut into cubes. This is a great recipe to make if you have leftover ham from making this maple glazed smoked ham.
How to make
Preparing a Greek ham and cheese pie is really easy. There is very little chopping or prepping of ingredients involved, and all you need are two bowls, and your baking pan. A whisk helps, but if you don’t have one you can certainly make due with a fork!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You will use a total of 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in this recipe – melt 1 tablespoon
Add your yogurt and eggs to a medium sized bowl and whisk until well combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to your yogurt / egg mixture and then also add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter. Stir well to combine.
Grease the bottom and sides of your baking pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Pour your batter into the pan, and smooth out the top as best as you can. Add some pepper and some cubed butter pieces.
Bake for approximately 35 minutes on the lower rack of your oven until the top is a nice golden brown.
Let cool for 3 – 5 minutes and then cut into pieces and remove from pan. If you will not be serving it immediately place the pieces on a wire rack so the bottom doesn’t get soggy.
Ham and cheese muffins – Instead of baking this recipe in a baking tray and cutting out square pieces, try baking the batter in muffin cups.
Add olives – It would be delicious to add some pitted and chopped Kalamata olives to the batter of this pita.
How to serve
A zambonopita is the perfect star to a light meal. I love to serve it with a vegetable on the side, like broccoli done the Greek way with olive oil and lemon, some rapini or even this delicious roasted cauliflower and potato.
Frequently asked questions
What is a zambonopita?
Zambon in Greek means ham. Greeks actually eat quite a bit of pork (it is always surprising to people when they learn that pork is actually more popular than lamb in Greece). There are many variations of zambonopita; some use filo dough and others, like this one, do not. I like to think of zambonopita as the Greek version, loosely, of a ham and cheese sandwich!
Can I use another cheese instead of feta?
Using feta is traditional, but of course you can use any cheese you like. I would opt for another Greek cheese if you can, like a kefalotyri or a graviera. Otherwise, cheddar, gruyere or even something like swiss cheese would work really well.
Greek cooking is known for pitas and pies. If you love the idea of this Greek ham and cheese pie, I think you will also love these recipes:
Alevropita (Αλευρόπιτα) A super simple and light pita made with a thin batter and feta.
Kourkoutopita with trahana An original Greek pita made with trahana.
Spanakopita (Σπανακόπιτα) One version of spanakopita that is just amazing.
Of course it will depend on how large your pieces are, but I tend to cut this into 15 small pieces and it serves 4 to 6 people easily.
Reheating and storing
While your Greek ham and cheese pie is cooling transfer the pieces to a wire rack. If you leave it in the baking pan the bottom will get soggy. Any leftover zambonopita should be stored in the refrigerator. You can reheat it on a non-stick pan or in the oven. The microwave could work too, and is much easier!
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Greek ham and cheese pie (Zambonopita)
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- 1 small bowl
- 1 8 x 10 inch baking pan
- 200 grams plain Greek yogurt 2% or other
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 160 grams Greek feta, crumbled
- 5 slices of deli ham, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melt 1 tbsp of the butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add your yogurt and eggs to a medium sized bowl and whisk until well combined.200 grams plain Greek yogurt, 2 large eggs
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to your yogurt / egg mixture and then also add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter. Stir well to combine.1 cup all purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup milk, 160 grams Greek feta, crumbled, 5 slices of deli ham, cut into small pieces, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp pepper
- Grease the bottom and sides of your baking pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Pour your batter into the pan, and smooth out the top as best as you can.2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Add some additional pepper on top if you'd like, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, cut up into small pieces on top of the mixture.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes on the lower rack of your oven until the top is a nice golden brown.
- Let cool for 3 - 5 minutes and then cut into pieces and remove from pan. If you will not be serving it immediately place the pieces on a wire rack so the bottom doesn't get soggy.