Easy Croatian Burek Recipe

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.

You can’t miss trying burek when in the Balkans – and you’ll fall in love. So, here is an easy-to-make Croatian burek recipe.

Croatia Travel Blog_Croatian Recipes_Easiest Croatian Burek

I have made burek numerous times along with many of these other Croatian recipes. Although, I had never made burek from scratch as I was scared to try to make the phyllo dough.

I had always wondered how to make burek like a real Croatian while I was living in Australia. Burek is made here in Croatia and many other Balkan countries, plus many other parts of the world in its various forms, such as Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.

Burek, also known as bourék, byurek, pita, bourekas, and cheese pie, can be formed into horseshoe shapes, coils, cylinders, or round pies, variously eaten as appetizers or as a main course. No matter what you call it (or dispute where it comes from), Croatian Burek is WAY better than any Australian pie I have ever had.

Burek, for those who do not know, is filo (phyllo) pastry filled with cheese, meat, potato, spinach, apple…. in fact, almost anything.

Burek is the food you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just as a snack. It’s not exactly very healthy, but on the upside, if you eat a big slice of burek, it is sure to fill you. That way, you can skip your next meal. I personally never skip meals, as someone once told me that’s bad for you (that’s my story, and I am sticking to it), so I always find room for the next meal. But that’s a good tip for those of you who can’t skip meals.

How to Make Croatian Burek Recipe Idea

Please do not judge me, knowing I always purchased the store-bought phyllo pastry when I made burek.

I know, I know, it’s terrible – but it is oh-so-easy. While my cheese burek turns out great thanks to some great tips that Mr. Chasing the Donkey’s Baba (Grandmother) shared with me, it’s not anything like the REAL thing I buy here in Croatia.

The thought of making the filo pastry from scratch always seemed so impossible. Many Croats kept telling me just how ‘teško’ (hard) it is to make – so, needless to say, I avoided even trying it. But then, I stumbled upon an easy peasy way to make the filo pastry.

How to Make Croatian Burek Dough Recipe - Croatian Recipe

Okay, it’s not as easy as unwrapping the store-bought pastry, but he makes it look and sound so much better than that. As with all of the Croatian recipes I share, there are a gazillion ways to make the same thing, but this one, to me, is a standout!


And look, if the only difficulty you face is learning the technique of stretching and rolling the dough (or you are short on time), buy the phyllo dough – no one will know.

Macedonian traditional food in Macedonia_Burek

Easy Croatian Burek Recipe

You can't miss trying burek when in the Balkans - and you'll fall in love. So, here is an easy to make Croatian burek recipe.


Burek Dough:

  • 500g all-purpose flour (3.5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 300-350mls lukewarm water (1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups)
  • Vegetable oil

Burek Cheese Filling:

  • 150 g cottage cheese (2/3 cup)
  • 100 g crumbled feta cheese (2/3 cup)
  • 1 large beaten egg

Meat And Potato Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium, diced onion
  • 300 g lean beef mince (10 oz)
  • 1 potato, boiled cut into small cubes
  • 2 grated garlic cloves
  • Half teaspoon chopped rosemary, fresh is best
  • Half tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Half tablespoon salt


How To Make Burek Dough:

  1. Take a large bowl and combine the flour and the salt
  2. Add the water bit by bit, mixing until the mixture forms a dough
  3. Knead the dough for around five minutes, until it turns quite stretchy
  4. Split the dough mixture into batches of four and press down to flatten
  5. You need to find a bowl or a pan which is large enough to hold the dough when it is piled up on top of each other
  6. Add a little bit of vegetable oil to the pan or bowl and put the first flattened piece of dough inside
  7. Add a bit more oil (not too much), and add another piece of dough – repeat until you’ve done the same with all four pieces
  8. Add more vegetable oil on top of the last piece and place to one side to rest
  9. Preheat your oven to around 200°C (390°F)
  10. Add a little vegetable oil over your work surface (a table is best) – just a little!
  11. Remove one piece of dough from the bowl and remove the excess oil
  12. Flatten the piece of dough until it reaches a thickness of no more than around half a centimeter
  13. Handle the dough and stretch it outwards, over and over, so that you pull it to around 1 meter in diameter – you might end up with a few holes but don’t worry about it too much. By the end, you should be able to see through the dough
  14. Take one side of the dough disc and fold it over, towards the center
  15. Repeat this process until you have a shape that resembles a pentagon
  16. Repeat with the second piece of dough
  17. Add your filling (see below for the filling instructions) to the dough piece
  18. Add the first piece of stretched dough into the middle of the second one, and cut away the thick edge of the second piece – you can throw this away, you won’t need it
  19. Fold over the edges of the dough, so that you get a pentagon shape once more, and put it into a baking pan or tray
  20. Put the pan in the oven and bake for around half an hour, until it is a golden color
  21. Remove from the oven and let it cool down
  22. Cut into 12 pieces
  23. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough
  24. Bake until the pastry turns golden, and serve while warm!

For The Cheese Filling:

  1. Take a mixing bowl and add in both kinds of cheese, combining together
  2. Add the egg and combine once more

For The Meat & Potato Filling:

  1. Take a large pan and heat up the oil over a medium heat
  2. Add the onion and cook until soft
  3. Now, add the mince and cook for around 2 minutes, stirring regularly
  4. Now, add the potato, the rosemary, the garlic, and the paprika, and stir to combine
  5. Add the salt and continue to cook, ensuring the beef mince is cooked through
  6. Once cooked, drain the beef with a sieve to get rid of any excess oil and press down to dry it out
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Comments (141)

      1. So am I! – I’ll try and stick to the recipe, honestly, but you know what I’m like ;-)

  1. HA! Have to hide this from my husband unless I want to wind up making burek on a daily basis. xD, just kidding, maybe he decides he wants to give it a go

      1. He hasn’t had the chance yet to try and make it, but I did make burek once before, not completely from scratch (like you I used the store bought philo dough). He enjoyed it and wishes I would make it more often. Sadly kids don’t enjoy burek at all (blasphemy!) but oddly enough they liked my soparnik experiment

  2. looks delicious but probably easier to eat than to make!! ;) that pastry does not look easy to stretch and needs experience hands

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