63 Of The Best Balkan Desserts From Baklava To Tulumbe

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Here’s your ultimate guide to 63 of the Balkan desserts you should try. These will leave you craving more. From the crispy and fried to the meringue-laden and totally delectable sweet treats, we cover a diverse array of Balkan cakes and desserts.

Experience variations across the Balkans regions, from Greek donuts and Bosnian šampita to desserts topped with chocolate or decorated with whipped cream. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in these delights, including the ever-popular Turkish delight.

Balkan Travel Blog_Best Desserts In The Balkans

Do you have a sweet tooth that craves unique and delectable treats? Look no further! The Balkans region is home to some of the most scrumptious desserts in the world, ranging from honey-soaked baklava to syrupy tulumbe. Join us on a journey through this culinary wonderland as we explore the best sweets from the Balkans.

Get ready to indulge your taste buds with these mouthwatering delicacies and discover why they’re worth traveling for!

Introduction To Balkan Sweets

Best Balkan Desserts

Balkan desserts are some of the most delicious and unique in the world. From the rich and decadent baklava to the light and airy tulumbe, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One thing you should know is that a lot of the desserts across the Balkans are very similar.

The reason? Well, because the countries in this region share many common cultural and historical influences. For example, the Ottoman Empire occupied much of the Balkans for centuries, and this period of occupation had a significant impact on the cuisine of the region. Other shared influences include the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The similarity in food can be seen in dishes like baklava, which is popular in both Greece and Bulgaria. Another example is tarator, a chilled yogurt soup that is popular in Bulgaria and Serbia. And lastly, ćevapi, grilled minced meat sausages, are enjoyed in Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia.

So next time you’re enjoying a delicious meal from the Balkans, take a moment to appreciate all of the different influences that went into making it!

Popular Albania Desserts

Regarding sweets, the Balkans know how to do it right, and while each country has its own specialties, Albania is home to some of the best desserts in the region.

1. Qumështor

Qumështor is a type of yogurt that is popular in Albania (also Kosovo and Macedonia). It is made from cow’s milk and has a thick, creamy texture. Qumështor is traditionally served with honey or jam.

2. Kabuni

Kabuni is a traditional Albanian dessert that is made with semolina flour, sugar, and water. It is then fried in oil and served with a simple syrup. Kabuni is often eaten during special occasions such as weddings or holidays. This dessert is popular in Albania and other countries such as Greece, Turkey, and Italy.

3. Kadaif

This traditional Albanian dessert is made with shredded wheat, nuts, and syrup. It’s often served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Sweet Treats From Bosnia And Herzegovina

Oh my, Bosnia-Herzegovia really does have some truly tasty treats. So many, in fact, we put together this list for you:

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Serbia Specialities

20. Gomboce

Desserts in the Balkans
Knedle s sljivama

Gomboce (or knedle sa šljivama) is a plum-filled dumpling popular dessert in the Balkans, especially in Serbia and Croatia. A potato, egg, and flour dough is made using potatoes, peeled, then mashed before being mixed with other ingredients.

As the dough is prepared, plums are placed in the center of each square, which is then assembled into a dumpling. These dumplings are then boiled, then rolled in a mixture of breadcrumbs, sugar, and butter.

Croatian Delights

Croatian Cooking_Krostule 28

In Croatia, one of the most popular sweets is fritule, a type of fried pastry that is traditionally served with powdered sugar. Other popular Croatian desserts include strukli (a kind of cheese-filled dumpling) and rožata (a custard tart).

We have written a whole article on the best desserts in Croatia. Below is the list of all of our favorite sweet treats from Hrvatska.

21. Kroštule (Sweet Pastry Knots)

A delightful sweet treat from the delicious Balkan desserts collection, these are light, crispy pastry knots dusted with powdered sugar, perfect for a light dessert or snack.

22. Čupavci (Chocolate Coconut Sponge Cakes)

Soft, spongey cakes dipped in chocolate and then rolled in coconut flakes, offering a delightful combination of textures and flavors, a must-try in Balkan cuisine.

23. Croatian Strudel

A classic dessert, this strudel is made with thin pastry and filled with a variety of fillings, most commonly apples, cherries, or cheese, showcasing the versatility of Balkan cakes.

24. Stonska Torta (Ston Cake)

Unique to the town of Ston, this cake is made with pasta dough and filled with nuts and chocolate, offering a unique sweet and savory flavor profile, a testament to the inventive Balkan cuisine.

25. Mađarica (Layered Chocolate Slice)

A decadent dessert featuring layers of thin chocolate dough interspersed with chocolate cream, topped with a chocolate glaze, a great dessert choice for anyone visiting the Balkans.

26. Princez Krafne (Princes Doughnuts)

Elegant cream-filled choux pastry, often topped with powdered sugar or chocolate, resembling miniature princess crowns, these tasty desserts are a Balkan delight.

27. Bijela Pita (White Slice)

A creamy, light dessert consisting of layers of delicate pastry and a sweet cream filling, often topped with powdered sugar, known for being a delightful pastry that’s central to Croatian festive tables.

28. Trogirski Rafioli (Sweet Filled Cookies From Trogir)

Traditional cookies from Trogir, filled with a sweet almond or walnut paste, shaped like ravioli, a testament to the rich dessert culture in Balkan countries.

29. Krofne (Croatian Doughnuts)

Fluffy, yeast-leavened doughnuts, typically filled with jam or Nutella, and dusted with powdered sugar, a beloved part of Balkan cuisine.

30. Vanilin Kiflice (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

Delicate, crescent-shaped cookies made with a vanilla-infused dough and dusted with vanilla sugar, a holiday favorite in many Balkan countries.

31. Pita Sa Jabukama (Apple Pie)

A classic dessert, featuring spiced apple slices enveloped in a flaky pastry crust, often served with a scoop of ice cream, a great dessert that’s complete without a dash of lemon juice.

32. Breskvice (Little Peach Cakes)

These adorable, no-bake, peach-shaped cakes are colored and flavored to mimic peaches, filled with a sweet mixture including chopped walnuts and often served at celebrations, a testament to the creativity in Balkan desserts.

33. Dalmatinski Kolac Od Smokvi (Dalmatian Fresh Fig Tart)

A rich, flavorful tart made with fresh figs, often accompanied by nuts and honey, showcasing Dalmatia’s local ingredients, a delicious example of Balkan cakes.

34. Knedle Sa Šljivama (Plum Dumplings)

Hearty dumplings filled with juicy plums, rolled in sweet breadcrumbs, a comforting and traditional dessert, also known as knedle sa šljivama, showcasing the variety of fillings made of walnuts or other chopped nuts in Balkan cuisine.

35. Fritule (Fritters)

Small, deep-fried dough balls, flavored with citrus zest and raisins, a festive treat especially popular during the Christmas season, a tasty dessert found across the Balkans.

36. Orahnjača (Walnut Rolls)

A sweet, rolled pastry filled with a rich walnut mixture, a traditional dessert especially popular during the holidays, a staple in Balkan dessert traditions.

Bulgarian Favorites

Mekitsa - Bulgarian Desserts

Bulgaria is a land of culinary delights, and sweet treats are no exception. Some of the country’s most beloved desserts include:

50. Halva

This dense, sweet treat is made with ground sesame seeds, sugar, honey, and spices. It’s often flavored with chocolate or fruit, making it even more irresistible.

51. Rosewater Pudding

This unique dessert is made with rosewater-scented rice pudding and topped with a dollop of jam. It’s light and refreshing yet still satisfyingly sweet.

Greek Sweets

Street food in Athens - Loukoumades

Undoubtedly, Greece is home to some of the most delicious desserts in the world. From creamy, dreamy Greek yogurt to light and flaky phyllo dough pastries, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are a few of our favorite Greek desserts you’ll want to try on your next trip!

52. Loukoumades

A fantastic delicacy made with the well-known donut dough, these small balls of pastry are fried and served hot, sprinkled with loads of honey, sometimes cinnamon, or crushed almonds or nuts. Loukoumades can be served with whipped cream and even ice cream that melts when placed over the steaming hot sweet pastry.

Nothing is more delicious than a dish of just-fried loukoumades. They can be the perfect afternoon treat and a fantastic dessert right by the beach!

53. Galaktoboureko

Galaktoboureko – If you’re a fan of custard, you’ll love this traditional Greek dessert! It’s made by layering sheets of phyllo dough with a creamy custard filling, then topping it all off with a sweet syrup. Yum!

54. Kataifi

Another classic Greek pastry, kataifi, is made with shredded phyllo dough that’s been filled with nuts and soaked in syrup. It’s often served as part of a larger dessert platter, but we think it’s delicious enough to stand on its own!


Kosovo’s Desserts

If you are looking for something sweet to eat during your time in Kosovo, be sure to try these delicious desserts!

55. Tespishte

A cake-type dessert similar to Mediterranean Revani and covered with a lemon or vanilla-flavored sherbet.

56. Tiramisu

And last but not least, the ever-popular “tiramisu” – a creamy and dreamy Italian dessert made with Ladyfingers soaked in coffee, layered with mascarpone cream, and dusted with cocoa powder. 

Montenegro Must Haves

There are many Montenegrin sweet must-haves, but this is the one sweet that you cannot miss!

57. Palacinke

These thin pancakes can be filled with anything you like, but we think they’re best when they’re filled with chocolate and served with a scoop of ice cream on top. They’re guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Macedonia Mouthwatering Meals

Croatian Desserts - Bieja Pita

58. Pita

Pita is a popular dessert in Macedonia. It is a pie made with phyllo dough and filled with fruit or sweet cheese. Pita can be baked or fried, and it is often served with yogurt or ice cream.

Turkish Delicacies

Bulgarian Desserts - Baklava

Turkish cuisine has a long tradition of sweets and desserts, dating back to the Ottoman Empire. The Turks have a sweet tooth, and their desserts reflect this. Turkish sweets are often very rich, sweet, and syrupy.

59. Baklava

A classic favorite, baklava is a sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, nuts, and syrup.

60. Tulumbe

These deep fried pastries are light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They’re often dusted with powdered sugar and served with a dollop of whipped cream.

61. Künefe

Künefe is a traditional Turkish dessert made with shredded phyllo dough, sweet cheese, and syrup. It’s often served with a dollop of kaymak, a type of clotted cream. Künefe is thought to have originated in the city of Antakya (now in southern Turkey), and it’s still popular there today.

The dish is usually made in a special künefe pan with multiple small compartments for holding the phyllo dough and cheese. To make the künefe, the phyllo dough is first soaked in syrup, then layered with cheese and more syrup. The künefe is then baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Once it’s out of the oven, the künefe is immediately sprinkled with chopped pistachios and served warm. If you’re ever in Turkey, be sure to try this delicious dessert!

If you’re looking for something sweet on your next trip to the Balkans, be sure to try some of these delicious Turkish delicacies!

Romania’s Sweet Recipes

Croatian Cooking- Carnival Krafne Recipe Krofne Recipe 13

62. Covrigei

Covrigei are Romanian pretzels that can be filled with jam, chocolate, or cheese. They are popular street food snacks in Romania.

63. Gogosi

Gogosi is a type of fried dough similar to donuts. They are usually topped with powdered sugar and served with fruit jam or honey.

Romania also has many types of cakes and pastries, like Romanita (a cheese-filled cake), Negresa (a chocolate cake), and Prajitura cu nuca (a walnut cake).

Favorite Balkan Desserts

Baklava is a classic Balkan sweet that is made with layers of phyllo dough filled with nuts and honey. It is then baked until golden brown and served with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Tulumbe is another popular Balkan sweet that is made from fried dough and soaked in syrup. It is often served as a dessert or snack and can be found at most bakeries in the Balkans.

Whether you’re looking for something rich and indulgent or light and refreshing, there’s a Balkan sweet to suit your taste. So next time you’re in the mood for something sweet, be sure to try one of these delicious treats!

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