Spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra

Four simple ingredients and you get the most delicious meal. All you need is spaghetti, olive oil, mizithra cheese, a bit of salt and about 20 minutes to get a comforting Greek meal on the table.

Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

This is a weird recipe, but it’s one which is perfect to have available when you 1) haven’t done your groceries and so have nothing else to cook, 2) have about 15 minutes to throw dinner on the table, 3) have a houseful of hungry kids to feed, 4) are alone and just need something delicious to fill your belly so you can get on with your day or, 5) would rather be knitting.

Why this recipe is great

Quick and easy

When you don’t know what is for dinner, this meal is the answer. In as little as 15 – 20 minutes you have supper ready, with minimal cleanup.

Few ingredients

If you count the salt (and you probably shouldn’t) you need 4 ingredients to make this recipe. If you keep mizithra cheese in your fridge or freezer, and your Greek stocked pantry has olive oil and pasta, then this meal is ready whenever you are.

Key ingredients

Spaghetti – Although you can use any pasta shape, it is traditionally spaghetti or another long noodle that is used.

Olive oil – Always use Greek olive oil. It is so fragrant and flavourful. It really cannot be beat.

Mizithra – This is a hard Greek whey cheese made of sheep or goat milk, or a combination of both.

Salt – Always season your pasta water with salt – it makes a huge difference in the end result.

How to make it

A more detailed recipe can be found below, but here are the basic steps that you will need to follow to make this amazing meal:

Step 1
Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain them and then return them to the pot they cooked in. Remove a few pieces of spaghetti and dry thoroughly using a paper towel and set aside.

Step 2
Heat the olive oil in a small pot over medium high heat for about 2 – 3 minutes. Test that your oil is hot enough by dropping in one of your reserved and dry spaghetti. If it begins to sizzle, your oil is hot enough.


Step 3
Pour the hot oil carefully into the pot with the drained spaghetti. Toss to coat. Add the mizithra and toss to coat again. Serve with some additional mizithra cheese on the side.

Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

Recipe substitutions

Although I can’t really recommend that you do so, you technically CAN substitute the mizithra for either grated parmesan or romano cheese if you prefer.  You can even try a different type of pasta, like a penne or linguine.  You could even go so far as to use an Italian olive oil (gasp!).  If you do any of those things however, it won’t be this recipe, which is the way my parents made it.  But it will be your recipe…and it will probably be delicious.

Recipe video

Helpful hints

Where to find mizithra cheese

In other recipes I have suggested that if you cannot find mizithra you can substitute grated parmesan or romano cheese (or a combination of both).  Unfortunately, that really isn’t the case here.  Given that there are so few ingredients, keeping to the ones actually called for is pretty important.  The good news is that you can find mizithra in most Greek or Mediterranean grocery stores, and you can order it on-line.  Once grated, it will keep fresh in the freezer for a very long time. You can also freeze it whole of course.

Use Greek pasta and olive oil

The two other star ingredients are the pasta and olive oil.  Although not essential, I use Greek spaghetti.  As for the olive oil, use the best quality Greek olive oil you can find.  Try your best to order or purchase it directly from an olive oil producer or certified distributor.  You will have a better chance of getting pure olive oil and not one of the impostor, adulterated oils which have been uncovered in recent years.

Frequently asked questions

Is this a copycat recipe from the Spaghetti Factory?

The Old Spaghetti Factory is a restaurant chain that apparently serves a very similar dish such as this one. Every time I share this recipe, people comment that it is like the Spaghetti Factory. I can only imagine that the restaurant owner is either Greek, had Greek friends, or travelled to Greece and was inspired by this recipe that can be found in every Greek kitchen! And now, you can make it in your kitchen!

What is mizithra cheese?

Mizithra (pronounced Mee-zee-thra) is a Greek cheese that is made from the whey of either sheep or goat’s milk, or a combination of the two. There are in fact two types of mizithra, the soft kind which is very much like ricotta (and which you can make at home following this recipe for homemade mizithra), or the hard kind which can be grated and used in this recipe. The latter version is salt-dried, so it is a salty cheese (but not nearly as salty as halloumi).

The story behind this recipe

Growing up this was a favourite dish.  Actually, every spaghetti dish was welcomed with much enthusiasm.  Part of the reason was because in order to test the pasta for doneness, my mother wouldn’t throw it against the wall to see if it would stick (how barbaric). Instead, she would take a little plate, pluck 2 – 3 spaghettis from the boiling water and mix them with a generous sprinkling of mizithra.

Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

She would then get my siblings and me to taste them, and WE would be the ones to decide if the spaghetti was done or not.  As soon as we said they were cooked enough, the pot was turned off and the pasta drained.  She still does this, sometimes with our daughters, but sometimes with us, and each time she does we are transported back to our childhood.  Looking back now, this small act spoke volumes.  It represented such caring, such love, such a clear message that we mattered, and that our opinion was valuable. She was cooking primarily for us, her children.  That, or she didn’t want pasta water dripping down her walls.

How to serve

This meal, although delicious, does not contain any vegetables.  If you are concerned about ensuring that all major food groups are represented at each meal, you are a better parent than me.  So, I suggest that you set out a plate of olives (remember they are drupes, and drupes are fruit!), carrots or a simple salad like a Greek maroulosalata.

If you love pasta dishes we think you’d love our “Spanakopita mac n cheese”. Watch video below:

Here are more delicious pasta dishes for you to try:

Zucchini pasta sauce A copycat version of the pasta made famous my Meghan Markle. It is so good!

Pasta with tomato sauce (Μακαρόνια με σάλτσα ντομάτας) The pasta is cooked in the tomato sauce – so easy and delicious.

Spaghetti with meat sauce (Μακαρόνια με κιμά) A Greek classic! This meat sauce is not to be missed.

Slow cooked zucchini sauce for pasta.
Pasta with tomato sauce (Μακαρόνια με σάλτσα ντομάτας)
Greek-style spaghetti with meat sauce is a meal that is pure comfort food.

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Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

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Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

Spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra cheese

A simple Greek meal of spaghetti topped with olive oil and mizithra cheese!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 722kcal
Author: Mia Kouppa



  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp heaping mizithra cheese See notes


  • Add salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, add your spaghetti. We have been taught to break the spaghetti in half prior to cooking it, but of course you don’t have to. Reduce heat to a low boil and cook the pasta as directed on the packaging, but truly, it is ready when you (or your child) says that it is.
  • Drain your pasta and once fully drained, return it to the pot it boiled in.
  • Take a few strands of pasta and dry them completely by rolling them with a paper towel. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Heat the oil for approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Drop a strand of dried spaghetti into the oil. When the spaghetti starts to sizzle vigorously, your oil is hot enough.
  • Carefully pour the oil over the cooked spaghetti and mix well to coat all of the pasta. Add the mizithra and mix well. Serve with additional mizithra for people to add as they like.
  • Enjoy!



If you are unable to find Greek mizithra cheese, you may substitute either grated parmesan or romano cheese, or a combination of the two, if you prefer. 
You can even try a different type of pasta, like a penne or linguine.  


Calories: 722kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 649mg | Potassium: 283mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 21IU | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg

Thanks for sharing!


  1. Fotini Bokolas says:

    Hi girls, sounds delicious!!
    This is definitely one of my comfort foods!!

  2. I cannot seem to find Mzithra anywhere in London (UK). I’ve checked in a few Cypriot owned Green Grocers and they don’t even know what Mzithra is! If anyone knows or where I can order online, I would be so appreciative thanks !

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi Phyllis! Thanks for your comment. We really want you to find mizithra so we did a quick search to see where you might be able to order it from. It seems that there are a few ways to get mizithra, including through Amazon and a company called Ideal Cheese. We can’t vouch for the quality or company, but a quick review of customer feedback seems positive. The important thing would be to ensure that you are ordering hard mizithra; there is a cretan cheese called mizithra which is soft (not to be grated) and which resembles ricotta. It is delicious, but not what we would use in this recipe. Hope that helps!

      1. That’s great – thanks so much!

      2. miakouppa says:

        You’re welcome! Let us know how it goes 🙂

    2. Antigoni Christofides says:

      I believe it’s dried Anari

      1. miakouppa says:

        Good luck!! We do know that it is available online. A good substitute could be equal parts grated romano and grated parmesan cheese.

  3. I checked both Amazon and Ideal Cheese, but neither are available in the UK unfortunately (Amazon UK did not have Mzithra listed )

    1. miakouppa says:

      🙁 That’s disappointing! Give it a try with equal parts grated romano and parmesan in place of the mizithra. It won’t be the same…but it will still be delicious 😉

    2. Madeleine Harrison says:

      Good news. I order Greek food occasionally from Agora Greek Delicacies online which is in Glasgow. The service is good and there is a good choice of all foods wines, etc Online it does say they stock this cheese. There was a Greek shop in London called Despina which also did online but I havent looked since before covid. Good luck.

      1. miakouppa says:

        If you can get your hands on mizithra….the possibilities are endless 🙂 Happy you are able to do that Madeleine. Enjoy the recipe, and hope you find much more to love here with us 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

  4. My father made our Mizithra. He used milk, then mixed it with something (maybe lemon juice or vinegar) to separate it. He then put the separated thicker milk in a cheesecloth to drain the liquid. After the liquid was drained, it became a softball sized ball. He salted the outside of the “ball” to draw out even more liquid. It took a couple of days. It looked easy, but I cannot remember the complete recipe / process.
    Does anyone know how to make Mizithra?

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi Tina, that sounds amazing! And in fact, we think we remember our parents doing something similar when we were younger. We’re going to ask them, and if indeed they used to (and still remember how) to make mizithra, we will share their technique. Have a great day!

  5. George Kougias says:

    the directions are not correct. you serve the pasta you sprinkle the cheese (far more than 3 tbs for a pound) and pour the hot oil over the pasta and cheese. The idea is that the hot oil (which actually should be Fitini, since it can be heated more than oil) will melt and almost slightly burn the cheese. The almost burned cheese gives a characteristic taste to the pasta.

    1. miakouppa says:

      Thank you George for your comment. We would not say that the directions are incorrect, just different than how you prepare this dish (which also sounds lovely). As for the Nea Fytini, we also have a post using that product instead of olive oil. You can find it on our Recipe List. 🙂

  6. Gregory Homatas says:

    Not weird at all. My mom made it and I loved it. I finally found that the Spaghetti warehouse restaurant actually serves this dish and I ordered it and really loved it. Brought back some nice memories.

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi Gregory! So glad to bring back happy memories with this dish. We hear that there is a restaurant called Spaghetti Factory that serves it (or something similar); I guess they too realize how great it is, just like all of our parents did 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Helen & Billie

  7. awe have always made our greek spaghetti with slightly browned bubbling butter. Delicious!!

    1. miakouppa says:

      Delicious! Enjoy 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

  8. In our family we use browned butter instead of olive oil- also delicious!5 stars

    1. miakouppa says:

      For sure! Browned butter is so good! Our parents often put browned butter on rice! with mizithra…so delicious! xoxo Helen & Billie

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