31 Delicious Croatian Desserts, Cakes & Sweets

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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.

Hey there! If you’re as crazy about desserts as I am, you’re in for a real treat. I’ve been roaming around Croatia since the year 2000 and now call this beautiful country home.

My love affair with Croatian cooking took off when my Croatian Mother-in-law gave me my first Croatian cookbook for Christmas in 2001. I’ve been whipping up traditional Croatian desserts, from the crunchiest krostule to strudels with layers of puff pastry ever since.

And now, I’ve put together this fantastic guide to share with you all the delicious Croatian desserts that have stolen my heart.

Trust me, your sweet tooth is going to thank you. So, grab a cup of your favorite coffee and your icing sugar, and let’s jump into this mouthwatering journey through a whole range of Croatian cakes and baked goods.

Croatia Travel Blog_Desserts, Cakes & Sweets In Croatia

If you are a sweet-toothed traveler, you’ll want to indulge in the numerous mouthwatering Croatian desserts, traditional pastries, cookies, and cakes.
Like all Balkan cuisines, Croatia focuses on the entire spectrum of tastes. There are delicious hearty dishes, such as stews, grilled fish, roasted veggies, and a wide range of sweet foods.

If you want to delve deeper into the cuisine of Croatia, you can join these tours:

The most popular food tours in Croatia:

  • 🍲 Skip the tourist trap restaurants and savor an authentic taste of Croatian cuisine on this tasting tour through the streets of Old Town Dubrovnik
  • 🚶 Discover Split’s highlight landmarks and go on a tasting tour of the city’s in-demand restaurants and eateries on this tour
  • 🍫 Indulge in dark chocolate studded with local herbs and fruits with a chocolatier on this tour
  • 🥗 Learn about Croatian cuisine with a local food expert in this cooking class with the Dolac Market tour

Whether you’d like to explore Croatia’s cuisine in your kitchen at home or “on location” while traveling, we strongly encourage you to try some of the following Croatian desserts, cakes, and other sweet delights.

1. Kroštule (Sweet Pastry Knots)

Croatian Cooking_Krostule 27
An ancient recipe that dates back many centuries, kroštule is derived from the Latin “crustulum,” a mini-pancake given as a treat to Roman soldiers during the war.

Nowadays, it’s one of the most famous Croatian desserts for celebratory occasions. They’re popular around Christmas and Easter, especially during the carnival season.

Numerous versions of kroštule exist throughout Croatia, but the basics are usually the same. These are excellent oil-fried pastry knots served with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. It’s both a great sweet snack and a dessert.


2. Čupavci (Chocolate Coconut Sponge Cakes)

Croatian Cooking - How To Make Čupavci Recipe 9
You’ll find these little “furry” cakes throughout Croatia during the holidays. Explaining what they are is super simple: they are little cube-shaped sponge cakes dipped in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with coconut flakes.

These bite-sized treats are light yet delicious, a great little snack to have with a cup of coffee or tea or after dinner. And if you’ve made too many, wrap them in foil and throw them in the freezer for later!


3. Croatian Strudel

Making Croatian desserts
With dozens of different variations, strudels are extremely popular all over central and southeastern Europe. You’ll also find this fantastic dessert in every corner of Croatia.

Consisting of flaky dough and topped with sugar, Croatian strudels are often filled with fruit. Apple and cherry strudel fillings are especially popular in Croatia.

4. Stonska Torta (Ston Cake)

What sets Ston Cake apart from all other Croatian desserts and sweets is that it contains penne pasta. Yes, you read that right—penne pasta. So, this is probably not something you’d want to eat after a huge meal. It does make for a filling dessert after a light lunch or an afternoon snack, though.

This is a thick layered cake with a dense filling of pasta, vanilla, sugar, chocolate, eggs, ground almonds, and ground walnuts. We can’t blame you if you think that sounds weird. So did we. But we did order a slice and were pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was!


5. Mađarica (Layered Chocolate Slice)

Croatian Recipes | Madarica | Layered Chocolate Cake |Chasing the Donkey Cooking Blog
Few Croatian desserts are as famous as mađarica. This fantastic treat is quite possibly the queen of cakes in Croatia, a delicious chocolate-filled delight that will appeal to everyone.

It’s a simple dessert consisting of alternating layers of cake dough and chocolate filling. A topping of chocolate-butter glaze finishes off one of Croatia’s best desserts and sweets.


6. Princez Krafne (Princes Doughnuts)

Also known as cream puffs, Croatian princes doughnuts are a super-popular dessert (or sweet treat). These delicious-looking desserts are elegant, harmonious, creamy, and fancy all at once. It may look like a complicated dish, but it’s pretty easy.

Unlike traditional doughnuts, the princez krafne are baked on a baking sheet in the oven. They’re then sliced in half and filled with a fantastic cream filling. A sprinkling of powdered sugar finishes off this beautiful Croatian dessert.


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7. Bijela Pita (White Slice)

Croatian Desserts - Bieja Pita
One of the many types of Croatian cakes, bijela pita, can be translated into English as “white slice” or “white pie.” Considered a “sister dessert” to mađarica above, it’s a layered cake with a vanilla filling and powdered sugar topping.

Because it’s so easy and cheap to make, it was a traditional dessert in the Croatian countryside. Nowadays, however, bijela pita is a popular treat all over the country, particularly for celebrations like weddings and birthdays.


8. Trogirski Rafioli (Sweet Filled Cookies From Trogir)

Croatian Desserts - Rafioli
You probably know ravioli as that pasta with hearty cheese, mushroom, or spinach filling. But Croatia wouldn’t be Croatia if they didn’t have a sweet version, too!

This is one of the classic Croatian desserts, where a delicious treat is created with few ingredients. They’re as fun to make as they’re tasty! A typical treat from Dalmatia, this rafioli is a crescent-shaped cookie with a sweet almond filling.


9. Krofne (Croatian Doughnuts)

Croatian Cooking- Carnival Krafne Recipe Krofne Recipe 13
One of those ultimate must-try foods from Croatia are the carnival krofne. These fantastic treats are a type of Croatian doughnut without a hole in the middle.

They’re traditional winter treats, often served as dessert after Sunday lunch. Additionally, Croatian krofne are also a popular food during the last week before Lent, which is Croatian carnival festivities kick-off.

Also known as “krafne,” Croatian doughnuts are airy, light, and usually filled with things like jams, chocolate, or vanilla custard.


10. Vanilin Kiflice (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

How To Make Vanilin Kiflice Vanilla Crescent Cookies Recipe 6 (1)
One of the most fabulous Croatian Christmas treats, vanilla crescent cookies are a type of Croatian shortbread with generous doses of vanilla sugar and nuts. Although they are extremely popular during the winter holidays, kiflice makes for a great snack or treat all year round.


11. Pita Sa Jabukama (Apple Pie)

Best Croatian Desserts - Apple Pie
Americans may like to believe they invented the apple, but it’s an indisputable fact that, basically, every country has its own type of apple pie. In Croatia, this autumnal delight is known as pita sa jabukama.

Every Croatian family with a garden also has an apple tree or two. So, come fall, you’ll find Croatian apple pie in virtually every house.

The Croatian lazy apple pie is a type of layered cookie with apple (and often cinnamon) filling, baked in a large oven tray and cut up into squares. It’s called “lazy” because it’s super easy to make! It looks slightly different from the traditional apple pie you might be used to in Western Europe or America.

12. Breskvice (Little Peach Cakes)

Croatian Recipe: Breskvice Peach Shaped Cakes | Chasing the Donkey
The most objectively beautiful of all Croatian desserts are little peach cakes called breskvice. These are delicious, sweet treats. Not only do they taste like peaches or apricots, but they also look like them.

These amazing peach-shaped Croatian cakes have a filling of cocoa, dark rum, peach or apricot jam, walnuts, and milk. On top of that, there’s a sprinkling of coarse white sugar mixed with peach brandy and some food coloring. This unique Croatian dessert will surely impress your guests.


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

Dalmatian Fresh Fig Tart Recipe - Chasing the Donkey #Croatia
Summer is fig season in Croatia. Available in huge quantities and included in numerous products and Croatian dishes, figs are one of Croatia’s most popular fruits. So, unsurprisingly, there’s also a fig-based Croatian dessert.

Dalmatinski kolac od smokvi is a sweet-and-hearty tart with a filling of figs, honey, and cream. It’s a filling dessert, so you might only want a thin slice—but man, it’s so delicious!


14. Knedle Sa Šljivama (Plum Dumplings)

Croatian Plum Dumplings Recipe -knedle s sljivama Blog
Croatian Plum Dumplings Recipe -knedle s sljivama

Croatian plum dumplings—knedle sa šljivama in Croatian—are served as either a dessert or a vegetarian main dish. These hearty yet sweet treats are an ideal low-fat dessert alternative.

The dumpling dough is made with potatoes, eggs, flour, and oil, while the stuffing consists entirely of pitted plums. The dumplings are then boiled in water and sprinkled with sugar. (Instead of sugar, you can also use warm sour cream.)

15. Fritule (Fritters)

Starigrad Paklenica Velebit photo jeep safari fritule - Chasing the Donkey
Knowing how to make fritule is an almost mandatory requirement to be a “real” Croatian. It’s easily one of the most popular desserts in Croatia, a food that’s particularly popular in winter and at Christmas markets.

These are fried balls of doughy goodness, typically dusted with powdered sugar. They’re a fantastic treat to snack on while wandering through a Croatian town in winter.


16. Orahnjača (Walnut Rolls)

Orahnjača Recept - Walnut Roll Recipe
Although it’s one of the most popular Croatian desserts now, the history of Croatia’s famous dessert rolls is quite hazy. No one knows where they come from and when they became “Croatian.” These tasty rolls are a typical dessert in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

The orahnjača walnut rolls are one of the classic Croatian desserts during festivities like Christmas and Easter, Sunday family get-togethers, weddings, and other celebrations. It’s a dough-based rolled-up cake traditionally filled with walnuts. A delicious dessert for parties!


17. Makovnjača (Poppy Seed Roll)

Makovnjača is a variation of the typical rolls you’ll see everywhere in Croatia. This particular type has a filling of poppy seeds. Others may contain jam, hazelnuts, or walnuts, like orahnjača above. This dessert, too, is popular for celebrations and festivities but can also be found on restaurant menus all year round.


18. Dubrovnik Rožata

croatian cooking dubrovnik rozata
The yummy Rozata. Photo Credit Englishman in Dubrovnik

A Croatian twist on the classic crème caramel custard dessert, Dubrovnik rožata is a popular Croatian dessert in the summer months.

This light and sweet dish contains very few ingredients, but the creation process does require some cooking skills. If you can pull it off, it’s an extremely impressive dessert to serve your guests. When visiting Dubrovnik, you’ll be able to find this local classic on many restaurant menus.


19. Palačinke (Croatian Pancakes)

Rolled Palacike - Croatian Palacinke Recipe
Pretty much every country in the world has its version of pancakes. Whether they’re thick and sweet-topped American pancakes or savory French crêpes, they’re a food that’s loved and enjoyed all around the globe.

Croatia, too, has its very own type of pancakes. They’re known as palačinke and are eaten as street food or a sweet snack at home. Palačinke pancakes are similar to crêpes because they’re thin and can be filled with all kinds of fillings.

Whether you like sweet stuff like Nutella, fruits or jams, or savory food like ham and cheese, you’re 100% free to customize your Croatian pancakes according to your taste!


20. Labinski Krafi (Croatian Sweet Ravioli)

Two Labinski Krafi_Chef Jasna Pušec
Traditionally only served on special occasions like Christmas or weddings, the famous Labinski krafi are now much more common. This is essentially a type of sweet ravioli, which is typical of the Istria region in northwestern Croatia.

This phenomenal Croatian dessert is served in a sweet sauce, such as caramel, which is sometimes flambéed in brandy for some extra fanciness.
The pasta-like ravioli is stuffed with a mouthwatering filling—a mix of young and aged cheese, sugar, liquor-drenched raisins, lemon zest, and egg yolk.

You cook them in salted water over a low heat. What a treat!


21. Medenjaci (Croatian Honey Cookies)

Medenjaci Recipe - Croatia Travel Blog
Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Medenjaci are a special kind of honey-flavored cookie from Croatia, a common sight in bakeries and a popular treat around the winter holidays.

Spices play a significant role in the Croatian honey cookies recipe. Essential spices include cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, while honey is also quite important! If you like baking, you’ll enjoy spending some time making a batch of these tasty treats.


22. Ledeni Vjetar (Icy Wind Cake)

Called icy wind cake in English, ledeni vjetar is as fancy a birthday cake as it comes. This complicated kind of cake consists of multiple layers and boasts various colors.

Its layers of colorful fruits, whipped cream, buttercream, and meringue make it an exciting cooking challenge to try at home. Popular fruit fillings include kiwi, strawberries, and bananas.

Preparing every layer perfectly requires some culinary skills, which is exactly why you’ll no doubt impress everyone if you can manage to pull off this queen of Croatian desserts.

23. Kremšnite (Custard Slice)

Croatian Kremsnite Recipe
Also known as krempite, kremšnite is a delicious Croatian custard dessert. This sweet treat is enjoyed in many other European countries and regions, too, each of which probably has its own variety. Even in Croatia, regional recipe variations are plentiful. However, two things always remain the same—they’re the heart and soul of this dish.

Every typical Croatian custard slice includes a puff pastry base with custard inside. Some varieties have an extra layer of cream, while others have two layers of pastry… You can play around with the recipe as you please. The basics stay the same, though: puff pastry, custard, and pure tastiness.


24. Jam Kiflice (Jam-Filled Crescents)

Croatian Cooking - Mama's Kiflice
Croatian jam-filled crescents are precisely what their name suggests. These crescent-shaped sweet treats are a flavorful combination of sugar’s sweetness and plum jam’s tartness.

You’ll enjoy biting into these amazing Croatian sweets if you’re a massive fan of jam like me. Making jam kiflice is a fun activity to do with the kids on a rainy afternoon!


25. Salenjaci (Croatian Croissants With Character)

Originally from Slavonia, the eastern part of Croatia, salenjaci are also known as “Croatian croissants with character.” This sweet Croatia dessert is usually made in winter when fresh pork leaf lard is available. This is the highest grade of lard, which is ideal for baking because it has a minimal pork flavor.

Essentially, salenjaci are little pastry wraps filled with homemade jam and ground walnuts. The beautiful layered structure of these traditional Croatian croissants are achieved by folding the pastry several times when coated with the pork leaf lard.

Sprinkled with powdered sugar, they’re a tasty mix of sweet (jam and sugar) and savory (lard-coated pastry and walnuts). A fantastic winter treat!


26. Hrapoćuša (Brač Island Cake)

Croatian Recipe_ To Make Hrapaćuša 32
If you’re looking for traditional local Croatian desserts, few are more authentic than hrapoćuša. This type of cake is originally from the village of Bol on Brač Island, which was invented by the local women in honor of the village’s typical stone—hrapoćuša. The Croatian Ministry of Culture protects it as an intangible cultural heritage!

Several recipes to make this traditional cake exist, but there is a common theme. That’s why the dessert and the type of stone share the same name. Even their appearance is similar, with a coarse and unrefined finishing.

This is a cake with two distinct layers. The bottom is a dense sponge made with flour, egg yolks, and some whites and nuts, while the top layer is sugar, walnuts, and most of the egg whites.


27. Kuglof (Bundt Cake)

Croatian Kuglof With Apple
A type of cake that’s made all over the world, Bundt cakes distinguish themselves by their donut-like shape. They’re baked in a typical Bundt pan and come in wide varieties.

In Croatia, you’ll find them known as kuglof. It’s one of the easiest Croatian cakes you can make. All you need are essential baking ingredients, one bowl, a Bundt pan, and some apples if you want it extra yummy.


28. Sirnica (Easter Bread)

How To Make Sirnica Recipe
Although this is traditionally a sweet bread served as part of the main Easter meal in Croatia, sirnica can now be found all over the country throughout the year.

You’ll find it under different names depending on the region. In Zagorje, for example, it’s known as “jajara,” while Dalmatians call it “sirnica.” Elsewhere, it may be referred to simply as “pinca.”

It’s a delicious side dish, made sweet by adding (vanilla) sugar, raisins, and maybe even a few tablespoons of rum. Definitely a great holiday treat!


29. Paprenjaci (Black Pepper Cookies)

How To Make Paprenjaci Recipe 28
Similar to the popular gingerbread cookies, paprenjaci have black pepper as one of their main ingredients. These are some of the most traditional Croatian cookies found in souvenir shops all across the country.

These spiced cookies are delicious and a favorite winter treats made with nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ground cloves, and, of course, black pepper. They even get better as they age! Making them is super fun; you can keep them for weeks in an airtight container.


30. Međimurska Gibanica

Međimurska Gibanica is a traditional dessert from the Međimurje region in northern Croatia. It’s a type of layered pastry or cake that includes several layers of different fillings, typically including poppy seeds, sweet cottage cheese, walnuts, and apples. The dessert is quite rich and flavorful, with each layer providing a distinct taste and texture.

The name “gibanica” refers to a family of traditional Balkan dishes where various fillings are layered between sheets of dough. In Međimurska Gibanica, thin layers of pastry dough alternate with the fillings, resulting in a delicious, multi-layered dessert. After baking, it’s usually cut into squares or rectangles and served.

Međimurska Gibanica is a popular treat for special occasions and family gatherings in Croatia and is known for its delightful combination of sweet and rich flavors. It’s a wonderful example of the diverse and delicious cuisine found in the Balkan region.

31. Splitska torta

Alright, let’s talk about Splitska torta – a real gem in the world of Croatian desserts, straight from the vibrant city of Split. Imagine layers upon layers of thin, nutty dough, alternating with a smooth, sweet filling that’s usually a blend of eggs, sugar, and chocolate.

Think of it like the ultimate indulgence for anyone who loves an excellent nutty flavor in their desserts. Almonds or walnuts are the stars here, giving the cake this rich, deep taste that’s hard to forget.

Now, what sets Splitska torta apart is not just its taste but also its history and the special place it holds in Split’s culinary scene. It’s not your everyday cake; this one’s saved for the big days – think weddings, big family get-togethers, and major holidays.

If you’re ever in Split and get a chance to try it, don’t pass it up. It’s like getting a slice of local tradition served on a plate. And hey, if you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, why not try making it yourself? It’s a bit of a project, sure, but the result is totally worth it – a delicious piece of Split right in your home.

Wrap Up

And that’s a wrap-up on our sweet adventure through Croatia’s dessert scene and my family’s cooking tradition! I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I did, exploring everything from the fluffiest doughnuts to the richest walnut cakes.

It’s been incredible sharing these gems with you and your taste buds. These desserts are more than just treats; they’re a taste of Croatian culture and history.

So whether you’re baking in your kitchen or planning your next Croatian adventure, keep these delicious desserts in mind.
And hey, if you ever whip up your own versions, I’d love to hear about it! Happy baking, and even happier eating! 🍰🇭🇷👩‍🍳

Good luck picking which Croatian dessert to try first!


Comments (22)

  1. Great list- I’ve only had half-I have work to do! One That is not on your list that was my favorite when we visited my Aunt was Šnenokle

  2. Wow this brings back so many memories of my childhood summers with my Baka I am going to try one this weekend

  3. Thank you for these, how amazing! I will try the Madarica this weekend.
    I couldn’t find the link for the Istrian Labinski Krafi. I would love to try this as a surprise for my Istrian mother :)

  4. Hi, I would like to try to make your Kremsnita recipe, but unfortunately, the link to your recipe is not working.

  5. thank you for sharing…unfortunately, the link for Krempite isn’t working still…”Error 404..page not found”. This is my favorite dessert here.

  6. Even the images are great. Getting to know new cultures is a great feeling. I will try the recipes. Thanks for the compilation.

  7. I love it! Getting to know new cultures is a great feeling. I will try the recipes. Thanks for the compilation.

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