An Easy Bosnian Ćevapi Recipe To Make At Home

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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.

Ćevapi is an old-fashioned dish that originates from almost unknown parts and is known as Ćevapičići. It is believed that ćevapi were introduced to Bosnian cuisine through the Ottoman Empire, which was present in the Balkan area for almost 500 years.

Balkans Travel Blog_Balkans Food Recipes_Bosnian Cevapi Recipe

It is also said that the inspiration for ćevapi comes from oriental koftas, but the Bosnians have adjusted it to meet their preferences for flavor and texture. It’s all up for debate depending on where you live. In any case, these skinless sausages are delicious.

Ćevapi can be found in almost any part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it is an indigenous work of Bosnians.  Authentic Balkan food. Ćevapi has been part of the traditional diet in Bosnia-Herzegovina for several hundred years – and now you can make it at home with this super easy cevapi recipe. 

Ćevapi is made with two simple ingredients: spices and meat.

However, it is not all about Bosnian ćevapi -it is said that the most famous ćevapi are from Sarajevo, Travnik, and Banja Luka, and you can also find them all over Croatia and Serbia and other parts of Eastern Europe. The difference is in the way of baking and serving. Some contain more or less fat, some have a dressing, and all come in a different size.

The real Bosnian sausage is unthinkable without onion. You can like it or hate it, but cevapi are always served with raw onions without special seasonings. You may have come across some different ways of serving it, like ćevapi with cheese, veggies, or even mushrooms, but that way of serving it is not traditional. Actually, to most Bosnians is blasphemous!

To make good cevapi, you need to have quality meat (ask your butcher to mince it for you if you can not do it yourself) and use more than one kind of meat.

Authentic recipes call for a mixture of beef and lamb meat. If you choose only one type of meat, you can end up with cevapi that is too dry or doesn’t hold its shape. Therefore, the ideal mix is of the two types mentioned above of meat (or even add in pork!)

If you are grinding your own meat, make sure you grind it twice. The secret of good ćevapi is in its texture, and good texture is only achievable with finely ground meat.

Besides these basic ingredients, you need to add some energy and bring the flavor to life. The easiest way to do this is with spices. Luckily, Bosnian cuisine relies only on simple spices, like salt and pepper. And that is it, nothing more.

However, some like to add parsley or garlic, but these are optional additions. As you can see, quality meat and humble ingredients are all you need to enjoy this delicacy from the heart of the Balkans.

CEVAPi - Serbian Food from Serbia

Bosnian Ćevapi Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This is the best cevapi recipe because it has very few ingredients. This easy Bosnian cevapi recipe will be enjoyed by all!


Bosnian Cevapi

  • 600 g finely minced beef (1.3 pounds)
  • 300g finely minced lamb (or pork mince if you prefer) (10 oz)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

To Serve With

  • Turkish-style Flatbread
  • Chopped raw onions
  • Ajvar (see the notes for the recipe)


  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, lamb, and salt (plus other spices if you so desire)
  2. Knead the mixture with clean hands for 5 minutes
  3. Cover the meat with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight
  4. Uncover the meat and stir in minced garlic and black pepper
  5. Shape the mixture into small logs no longer or wider than an index finger  – it is best to do this with wet hands, so the meat does not stick to you. Keep wetting your hands after each few that you roll
  6. Preheat your grill. Ideally, you should use a charcoal grill
  7. Brush the grill with some olive oil
  8. Grill the minced fingers on a medium heat until evenly grilled and browned on all sides
  9. Serve warm with Turkish flatbread and freshly chopped onion (and ajvar if you have it!)


This is best served with ajvar.

The Best Cevapi Recipe: An Easy Bosnian Cevapi Recipe To Make At Home
An Easy Bosnian Cevapi Recipe To Make At Home

Places For The Best Ćevapi In Sarajevo

How to find great ćevapi is easy in Sarajevo.

Zeljo 1 and 2: “If you haven’t eaten at Zeljo, you’ve never been to Sarajevo,” say the guidebooks, and when you sit at one of the long tables, elbow to elbow with locals, eating this traditional food and drinking the beloved kefir-like yogurt drink, you will understand why. Named after the local professional soccer team, these cevapdzinicas, or ćevapi places, have a fan base nearly as devoted to ćevapi as they are to soccer.

Kundurdiluk 19, 011-387-33-447000

Hodzic 2: Located in Baščaršija Square (often called “pigeon square”), Hodzic 2 has the best people-watching of our picks. My children chased birds, and kerchiefed grandmothers would pat their heads while we waited for our ćevapi and watched a continuous army of backpackers, well-heeled locals, and tourists go by. The somun here is dipped in broth and grilled, resulting in a savory pocket to tuck your meat into.

Bravadiluk 4, 011-387-33-239855

Mrkva: Around the corner from Hodzic 2 is Mrkva, clean, with quiet upstairs seating and relaxing outdoor tables. With four outlets in Sarajevo, it has the most diverse menu of healthier options such as grilled chicken and salad.

Bravadiluk 13, 011-387-33- 532519

Kastel: Surrounded by low-slung Ottoman buildings, Kastel serves Banja Luka-style ćevapi, which are spicier and cooked like bricks of four together. Proponents say serving the meat this way preserves its juiciness, and the damp, steamed somun bread will sop up any remaining morsels.

Mali Curciluk 9, just off the Ferhadija, the main pedestrian-only thoroughfare in Baščaršija

Don’t miss this recipe for the best bread to serve with cevapi!


Comments (22)

  1. Excellent post.The information you provided is useful to all of us.Thank you for sharing.

  2. Really enjoyed the ćevapi on a few trips to the region, Dubrovnik, Neum, Medjugorje, Mostar, Sarajevo….
    I have the ingredients mixed. Looking forward to trying these tomorrow!

    1. Hi. Pork for ćevapi is used Serbian end Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s just the Muslims who don’t because of the Islam religion. So pork use depends on religion and nationality. ALL the best Cheers

      1. Svinjetina se ne stavlja u cevape zao sto se skupe cevapi kada se ispeku jer budu masni a svijetina kada j mljevena inace se skupi.Najbolja kombinacija je junetinaj,janjetina i teletina.Svinjetina mljevena nikada nije ukusna u mljevenom mesu.

    2. Agreed. Pork does not belong in Cevapi. NOT ONE restaurant in Bosnia used pork in their Cevapi, not even the serbian/croat ones.

      1. I’m 3/4 Serbian, my mother grew up in Yugoslavia. I’ve visited many times. My family and friends there and in Chicago always used pork. The cafes made it with pork. We use it in our sarma as well.

        1. Religion aside, what Emira said is true, pork doesn’t go in cevapi for a practical reason and if it’s in a cevabdzinica you’ve eaten at in Bosnia, I would avoid it like the plague as they’re doing this to save money or they just have no clue what they’re doing LOL

    3. I think that is why it says it is optional or if you prefer. Are all Bosnians compliant Muslims or even Muslim?

  3. As with most recipes, technique is as important as the ingredients. In this case there are a couple of things I’d like to point out to take this recipe to the next level. First, make sure the meat has plenty of fat, I usually use about 20%. If necessary, I will add a little beef suet (lamb fat will work, but is a little more strongly flavored). Second, you should sprinkle the meat with some baking soda prior to mixing, for this amount of meat I would recommend a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half. This raises the Ph level of the meat and helps it to retain moisture. and lastly, when mixing the meat add a few ounces of cold water or shaved ice to the mixture. This will improve the emulsification of the mixture, and help to give the cevapi that “springiness” that is essential to the best cevapi.

    1. Hi John
      Just read your Čavapi recipe to the next level/ Thank you so much for your input for the best čavapi.
      What is..or how much is a “few ounces”..It is not my cup off tea ounces, sorry….more like… kilo, dkg or mililitar..
      Thank you for replay.
      I was eating čavape in Sydney, Liverpool restaurant call Balkan…just perfect. Only čavape like that I eat in Sarajevo.
      Its reminde me so much of Sarajevo when I visit 4 years. ago.
      Who knows when we will be able to fly again.
      Thank you again and take care of your self.
      Stay safe.

  4. Bulgarian chevapi is the best . Furmented for 48 hrs before rolling . Has many more spices . As a pomak ( Bulgarian muslum) we have to modify and keep all pork out of the picture

  5. There’s no cevapi without the elasticity hence baking soda. Your recipe is sorely missing it.

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