Serbian food - Traditional Serbian dishes

Welcome to a place that will enchant all your senses and make you want to go on an eating expedition ASAP. We will try to evoke the most exquisite tastes of Serbian cuisine, which best represent Serbia's tradition and history. Our blog will guide you through the culinary enjoyment of Serbia's north, west, and south. Some of the regions we'll visit together are:

Platter of food and a bottle of drink on the table
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Serbia cuisine - Southern Serbia recipes 

When it comes to places with the most versatile cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is the southern part of Serbia. It is a place like no other that managed to perfectly blend authentic Serbian tastes with the influences of the Ottoman Empire that reigned on it for so long. In every restaurant, your meals will be complemented by a lively atmosphere and the southern merak. What is merak, you may ask? It is an indescribable state of bliss you'll feel once you're with the people you love, having a good time and tasting the best food. 

spska jela pršuta kajmak čvarci servirani kao meze
Source: Turizam Uzica (

Serbian dishes - Tastes of Nis 

Nis cuisine preserves the combination of traditional Serbian dishes and the heritage of the East in the best way. One of the staples of dishes prepared in Nis is burek. This traditional specialty is why you'll love breakfast and run to a nearby bakery every morning. The history of burek in this area began in 1498 when a baker from Constantinople first made it in a round casserole dish. Burek pastry is made with flour and rolled so thin it becomes see-through. That pastry is then filled with soft salty chees of ground beef. The long tradition of creating burek with various stuffings took this recipe to perfection. In addition to burek, you must also try the famous Nis twisted pies (sukane pite), which are wrapped and baked in round pans.

Burek sa sirom u Nišu isečen na četvrtinu
Burek cut with a special kind of knife 

Besides the savory pastries, Nis can boast tasty meat specialties, mostly barbecue. Turkish heritage can be tasted in famous cevapi, a type of kebab best served in a bread bun with condiments, onion, and red pepper flakes. Two of the most famous traditional Serbian recipes that originated in Nis are smoked ribs and baked liver. In addition to these autochthonous dishes, Nis is where you'll find traditional dishes such as tavce gravce and sarmica in a wine leaf. So, after a delicious burek breakfast, visit one of the restaurants in Nis with a rich repertoire of barbecue or cooked specialties and turn your day into real gastronomic enjoyment.

In the end, the famous sweets are typically influenced by the Orient. Your palate will enjoy delicious baklava with raisins, walnuts, or tubs, topped with sherbet and made in an authentic old-fashioned way. These delightful treats will regain lost energy after long walks and sightseeing.

Baklava sa orasima i groždjem

Traditional dishes of Vranje 

We are moving further south, to the border where Serbia meets Bulgaria and Macedonia. Vranje is the crossroads of different traditions, which formed its very distinctive cuisine, even though it bears similarities with the food of Nis. One of the most prominent delicacies is homemade pies - crispy, juicy doughs of beauty. The most famous of them all are:

  • Vegetable pies: Pies made with leaves, specifically meadow cabbage, spinach, nettles, leeks
  • Propec pie: A pie that contains one crust, a mixture of eggs and cheese, and which is shaped in a unique way
  • Salty and sweet banica: Twisted pie with a layer of crusts that has a savory version with meat or a sweet one with grated apples
  • Samsa: Last but not least, the most important symbol of traditional Serbian cuisine from Vranje. It is an empty pie, meaning you just get the crispy dough topped with sour milk and garlic sauce.
pita Samsa servirana sa melkom i kajmakom

Apart from pies of different types, Vranje is also rich in cooked dishes complemented by delicious salads. Some of the dishes we suggest you get your hands on are djuvec tarana with chicken and vinogradarska janija. Tarana is a traditionally prepared pasta made from baking flour and eggs, with milk and sour water. Traditionally, it is prepared during August so the grated dough can dry naturally. The famous tarana is usually mixed and associated with various dishes, from lean tomato sauce to meat. Janija is similar to goulash, a cooked dish with multiple types of meat. It combines the most delicious meat with greens that grow in the vineyards around Vranje.

Vrnanjanski specijaliteti servirani. Dominiraju punjne paprike, sir.

In addition to delicious savory meals, Vranje cuisine will delight you with delightful specialties, primarily created under the influence of the Orient. Local pastry shops will offer gemis or crvenke - cakes made with raspberries and sugar; tatlije or brdarice - desserts with sugar and ground walnuts. In addition, the women from Vranje skillfully make vanilice, gurabije and traditional cakes with steamed walnuts.

Traditional dishes of the Pirot region

Pirot written in lights outside a famous fortress in town
Author: Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

The easternmost place in Serbia, where the famous Stara Planina is located, can proudly present delicious food made on the mountain. The tastes of Stara Planina represent a perfect combination of herbs and the highest quality dairy products enriched with meat. The most important brands of the Pirot region are flat square sausage and Pirot cheese. This sausage is made of the highest quality meat, mixed with spices, and contains pieces of mutton, beef, and goat meat. The charm of the sausage is in the pleasant spiciness and ironing that happens during the drying period. 

Flat sausage from Pirot
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The second most essential brand of Pirot is cheese, which has been made in a certain way for over two centuries. It is made from sheep's milk, and its aroma comes from healthy cattle raised on pastures. In addition to these dishes, Pirot and its surroundings are birthplaces of vurda, skim milk, honey, fresh bread, bean pie, as well as the famous belmuz - a dish made from young cow's or sheep's cheese, to which corn flour is added, and everything is cooked together on a hot plate. The cheese is strained from the cloth and pressed, creating a compact mixture.

Cheese displayed on large shelves
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Traditional cuisine of Western Serbia

Western Serbia managed to preserve the typical Serbian features and characteristics in the best way and has suffered the least crossings and foreign influences. This can be seen in the cuisine of this area, both through taste and flavors and the preparation process. In the following, we have singled out the largest culinary centers of Western Serbia and their most famous specialties.

The most famous specialty from Cacak

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When we think of Cacak, we can almost smell the roasted pork prepared in every house in Cacak. The traditional way of roasting involves pigs or lambs on a spit for several hours over a beech wood fire. Roasters all over Cacak and its surroundings specialize in making traditional roasts that gets sold all over Serbia. In addition to the classic meat steaks, which are ordered and sold by the pound, you can also try dishes with lamb meat and intestines. The most famous dish is called sarmice. 

Svinjsko pečenje servirano u ovalu isečeno na sitne kockice.

Besides roasting, Cacak is also known for its excellent cooked cabbage, which also has an event celebrating it. Every year, a competition in cabbage cooking is held in the village of Mrcajevci. The most skilled home cooks and professional chefs gather every third weekend in September to prepare dishes with pickled cabbage. It is followed by a rich cultural program and food tastings. 

Traditional Serbian food of the Valjevo region

Plate of cvarci with spring onions and tomatoes
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A staple of food in Valjevo is cvarci -  a meat specialty with a unique way of preparation. Juicy and fatty meat gets cooked and reduced to airy, delicious shreds resembling tobacco. That's where the name comes from, duvan cvarci (duvan - tobacco). During the festival dedicated to greaves, culinary masters make the best examples of this specialty in giant cauldrons.

When visiting Valjevo, you must also try the famous gibanica guzvara. It is a type of pie made by soaking the crust with a mixture of eggs, milk, and cheese, crumpling it, and arranging it in a baking dish. This specialty is best enjoyed with soft homemade cheese made in nearby villages.

Plate of gibanica, cheese and yogurt
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Valjevo and its people love everything about food, as they can proudly brag about their dishes and roots. An excellent example of this is the number of gastronomic events that take place in Valjevo and its surroundings. Among them are:

  • Sremushijada: Mountain Povlen near Valjevo is rich in wild garlic called sremus. People gather for tasting, and a rich cultural program showcases the area's tourist potential.  
  • Raspberry, Mushroom, and Blackberry Days: These festivals are dedicated to all things berries - Gathering them, making and tasting jams, pies, juices, medicine, you name it. If you wish to bring a unique souvenir home from your travels through Serbia, a lovely jar of homemade slatko is the way to go. 
  • Festival dedicated to cvarci: Yes, Serbians like them that much. 

The best gastronomic specialties of Vojvodina

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Vojvodina is a place where most nations and cultures coexist every day. In the area of ​​Vojvodina, the influences of Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania heavily influenced the cuisine. The Germans brought their own dishes and ways of preparing and canning food. What should be emphasized is that Vojvodina's cuisine differs the most from other parts of Serbia because the Orient has not influenced it. Unique names of the dishes, which have been preserved and maintained in this area for many centuries, sometimes are the topics of friendly arguments among Serbs. Explore Novi Sad with our blog to taste the best dishes in Vojvodina's most visited city. We'll tell you more about the traditional dishes of Banat, one of the most gourmet places in Serbia. 

Savory dishes from Banat


This part of Vojvodina is divided between Serbia, Romania, and Hungary and is a place where many influences touch and intersect. Banat is where you'll be getting the largest food portions, and meat, mostly pork, is the dominant ingredient. Every dish is enriched with spices, and sometimes salty dishes are topped with fruit sauce, unlike in any other part of Serbia.

When it comes to traditional Banat specialties, all kinds of processed meat products stand out, including sausages, bacon, and ham. The people of Banat also make excellent soups, the most famous of which are ragout or white soup, as well as sour soups and fish stews. Regarding the main courses, goulash is served, as well as dishes called tokanj, perklet, and ajmokac, which are a combination of meat, onion, tomato, vegetables, and ground red pepper. Women from Banat are famous for their stuffed steaks or meat rolls, which can even reach a length up to a meter. Banat cuisine cannot be imagined without rinfles - cooked beef with potatoes, which is topped with sauces of various kinds.

Pot of pea soup and a spoon
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Regarding side dishes, in Zrenjanin and other Banat towns, cuspajz is prepared once a week - a side dish of cooked vegetables enriched with spices and seasoning. The most popular are peas, green beans, carrots, pumpkins, kohlrabi, and a famous pumpkin called ludaja. As we mentioned, sauces of various kinds, we must state that they are an indispensable part of every meal. They are usually made from garlic, dill, horseradish, pickles, cucumbers, and chopped cherries, which are poured over the meat to give dishes a unique aroma. 

Desserts from Banat 

Plate of gomboce
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The Banat plain is primarily known for pastries and sweets, and this is where you'll be served the best strudels in the world. Pastries can be salty or sweet; the most common fillings are cheese, walnuts, carob, cherries, pumpkins, and poppy seeds. These cakes are called melspajz in Banat, after the German word for flour. In addition to these desserts, homes in Banat smell of grenadirmars, tasci that is a dough filled with jam, smarne, gomboce, snenokle, and various pumpkin-filled pies. 

Krofne Vojvodina

As you can see, Serbia is a country that loves and celebrates food. These gourmet descriptions testify that Serbs are hedonists, traditionalists, and very hospitable people. There are still many specialties we didn't get to share with you, which means there's a lot for you to explore on your own. Gather your loved ones and complete your vacation in Serbia with perfect gastronomic pleasure. We suggest you start with our blog: Explore Serbia and prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience. Bon Appetit!