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29 Delicious Croatian Desserts, Cakes & Sweets You Should Try
If you are a sweet-toothed traveler, you’ll definitely want to indulge in the numerous mouthwatering Croatian desserts, pastries, cookies, and cakes.
Like pretty much all Balkan cuisines, Croatia’s is one that focuses on the entire spectrum of tastes. There are delicious hearty dishes, such as stews, grilled fish, and roasted veggies, but also a wide range of sweet foods.
Whether you’d like to explore Croatia’s cuisine in your own 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.
Kroštule (Sweet Pastry Knots)
An ancient recipe that dates back many centuries, kroštule is derived from the Latin “crustulum,” which was a mini-pancake that was given as a treat to Roman soldiers during the war.
Nowadays, it’s one of the most popular Croatian desserts for celebratory occasions. They’re popular around Christmas and Easter, but especially during the carnival season.
Numerous versions of kroštule exist throughout Croatia, but the basics are usually the same. These are wonderful oil-fried pastry knots served with a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top. It’s both a great sweet snack and dessert.
Čupavci (Chocolate Coconut Sponge Cakes)
You’ll find these little “furry” cakes all over 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, simply wrap them in foil and throw them in the freezer for later!
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. Especially apple and cherry strudel fillings are extremely popular in Croatia.
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. If you think that sounds weird to you, we can’t blame you. So did we. But we did order a slice and were pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was!
Mađarica (Layered Chocolate Slice)
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 pretty simple dessert, too, 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.
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 to make, but it’s actually pretty easy and straightforward.
Unlike traditional doughnuts, the princez krafne are baked on a baking sheet in the oven. They’re then sliced in half and filled with an amazing cream filling. A sprinkling of powdered sugar finishes off this beautiful Croatian dessert.
Bijela Pita (White Slice)
One of the many types of Croatian cakes, bijela pita, can be translated into English as “white slice” or “white pie.” Considered to be 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 Croatia countryside. Nowadays, however, bijela pita is a popular treat all over the country, particularly for celebrations like weddings and birthdays.
Trogirski Rafioli (Sweet Filled Cookies From Trogir)
You probably know ravioli as that pasta with the 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. A typical treat from Dalmatia, this rafioli is a crescent-shaped cookie with a sweet almond filling. They’re as fun to make as they’re tasty!
Krofne (Croatian Doughnuts)
One of those ultimate must-try foods from Croatia are the carnival krofne. These amazing 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.
Vanilin Kiflice (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
One of the greatest 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 also make for a great snack or treat all year round.
Pita Sa Jabukama (Apple Pie)
Americans may like to believe they invented 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.
Basically, every Croatian family who have a garden also have an apple tree or two. So, come fall, you’ll find Croatian apple pie in virtually every house.
It looks a bit different from the traditional apple pie you might be used to in Western Europe or America, though. 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!
Breskvice (Little Peach Cakes)
Arguably the most objectively beautiful of all Croatian desserts are little peach cakes, called breskvice. These are a delicious sweet treat. 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—quite literally—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.
Dalmatinski Kolac Od Smokvi (Dalmatian Fresh Fig Tart)
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!
Knedle Sa Šljivama (Plum Dumplings)
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.)
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 an amazing treat to snack on while wandering through a Croatian town in winter.
Orahnjača (Walnut Rolls)
Although it’s one of the most popular Croatian desserts now, the history of Croatia’s popular dessert rolls is quite hazy. No one really knows where they come from, and when they became “Croatian.” In fact, these tasty rolls are a common 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!
Makovnjača (Poppy Seed Rolls)
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.
A Croatian twist on the classic crème caramel custard dessert, Dubrovnik rožata, is a really 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, all many restaurant menus.
Palačinke (Croatian Pancakes)
Pretty much every country in the world has its own 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 in that they’re also 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 own taste!
Labinski Krafi (Croatian Sweet Ravioli)
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 fire. What a treat!
Medenjaci (Croatian Honey Cookies)
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 major role in the Croatian honey cookies recipe. Essential spices include cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, while honey is, of course, also quite important! If you like baking, you’ll definitely enjoy spending some time making a batch of these tasty treats.
Ledeni Vjetar (Icy Wind Cake)
Called icy wind cake in English, ledeni vjetar is as fancy a birthday cake as they come. This complex kind of cake consists of multiple layers and boasts various different 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 banana.
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.
Kremšnite (Custard Slice)
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 on top, 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.
Jam Kiflice (Jam-Filled Crescents)
Croatian jam-filled crescents are exactly what their name suggests. These crescent-shaped sweet treats are a flavorful combination of the sweetness of sugar and tartness of plum jam.
If like me, you’re a huge fan of jam, you’ll definitely enjoy biting into these amazing Croatian sweets. Making jam kiflice is a fun activity to do with the kids on a rainy afternoon!
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 mouthwatering mix of sweet (jam and sugar) and savory (lard-coated pastry and walnuts). A fantastic winter treat!
Hrapoćuša (Brač Island Cake)
If you’re looking for traditional local Croatian desserts, few are more authentic than hrapoćuša. In fact, it’s protected by the Croatian Ministry of Culture as an intangible cultural heritage! This type of cake is originally from the village of Bol on Brač Island, where it was invented by the local women in honor of the village’s typical stone—hrapoćuša.
That’s why both the dessert and the type of stone share the same name. Even their appearance is similar, with a coarse and unrefined finishing. Several different recipes to make this traditional cake exist, but there is a common theme.
Basically, this is a cake with two distinct layers. The bottom is a dense sponge made with flour, egg yolks, and some of the whites and nuts, while the top layer is sugar, walnuts, and most of the egg whites.
Kuglof (Bundt Cake)
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 lots of 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 basic baking ingredients, one bowl, and a Bundt pan – oh, and some apples if you want it extra yummy.
Sirnica (Easter Bread)
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 whole 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!
Paprenjaci (Black Pepper Cookies)
Kind of 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.
Making them is super-fun, and you can keep them for weeks in an airtight container. In fact, they even get better as they age! These spiced cookies are delicious, and a favorite winter treat made with nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ground cloves, and, of course, black pepper.
Good luck picking which Croatian dessert to try first!Share