Characteristics of Serbian Cuisine

Published on 21:27, 04/12,2016

Serbian cuisine is characterized by very diverse, high-calorie and spicy food. Dishes include use of meat, pastries, vegetables and dairy products. Habitually, people have three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), with lunch being the largest and the most important one.

Beef ham, kajmak, ajvar, cicvara, slatko with wild rose and various specialties made from dried plums are considered as authentic Serbian meals.

Like other national cuisines are not homogeneous, so it is with our own.

Depending on the historical circumstances, climate and life conditions, serbian cuisine is different in some areas of the country: Vojvodina, Šumadija, Metohija, South and East Serbia.

Šumadija cuisine - the most authentic sort of Serbian cuisine - Meal starts with appetizer consisting of smoked meat products, kajmak, cheese. Before appetizer guest are served with slatko made of fruit as a sign of appreciation and warm welcome. Soup is mandatory part of menu and as main course sarma, various dishes of cabbage, đuveč, paprika filed with meat. Roasted meat is usually offered as specialty as well as rich assortment of grilled dishes served with mandatory salad - ajvar, urnebes, or serbian salad.

East Serbian cuisine is under the influence of Romanian and Bulgarian cuisine and dishes from milk, dairy products, whole grains, sheep and lamb meat.

South Serbian cuisine is under influence of different Middle East cooking styles. Nutrition of that area is mainly consisted of paprika, not as a seasoning or spice but as a food. Appetizers, soups, main courses and salads are made of paprika, such as: paprika in cheese cream, dried paprika filled with cheese, Serbian soup, đuveč, papazjanija, salad from roasted paprika and paprika pickle.

Metohija cuisine -  On the territory of Kosovo and Metohija in the Middle Ages there was Serbian Empire with powerful dynasties under the rule of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, Lazar and others. Very rich court life have been influencing development of the cuisine at that time which left a mark on nutrition habits of people on that territory. In later years there was a strong influence of Middle East cuisine without use of pork.

Vojvodina cuisine was developed under the influence of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy and that is reason why are Vojvodina and Hungary cuisine very similar today.


Published on 21:36, 04/12,2016

There is saying in Serbia: “I wasn’t eating if I didn’t use a spoon!” No lunch, everyday one or one for special occasion, can’t be imagined without soup. Many different kinds of soups are prepared, but usually You can order:  

Teleća srpska čorba - Veal ragout soup

Pileća srpska čorba - Chicken ragout soup

Jagnjeća čorba - Lamb ragout soup

Riblja čorba - Fisherman’s soup

Goveđa or Pileća supa - Consommé or Clear chicken soup

Soups with roux or eggs called Čorba are filled with pieces of meat and with lots of vegetables, usually heavily seasoned/spiced. They are cooked with potatoes, carrots or peas. Vinegar or cheese creme is usually added afterwards.

Soups are made of meat and vegetables and they are served clear usually with noodles or dumplings.

Cold and Warm Appetizer

Published on 21:38, 04/12,2016

Proja (Cornbread) is traditional Serbian cold appetizer. Today there are many different kinds of proja. Cheese or ham are added, but traditionally proja is bread made of corn flour. It is served with cheese or kajmak (creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream).


Meat specialties that are usually served with proja or pogača (similar to johnnycake)  alongside with cheese and kajmak are ham, sausage, pečenica and smoked bacon, all with boiled eggs, peppers and pickled cucumbers can be part of Serbian table. All that called in one name is traditional “srpska zakuska” or “meze”.

Čvarci - variant of pork rinds or pork “crisps” with a fat thermally extracted from the lard.

Pihtije - traditional winter appetizer generally made from low grade pork meat. It is cooked in water with spices and garlic. It looks like jelly.

Prebranac is special kind of bigger beans, mixed with garlic and spices (pepper, salt, paprika powder). Prebranac is served cold as part of appetizers.

Warm appetizers are also common at Serbian table. Pies with cheese, meat and various vegetables are well known, they are called ’’gibanica’’ - serbian pie made of crust, eggs, cheese and kajmak, and “zeljanica” - with added finely sliced spinach or greens.

Specialties of South Serbia is interesting - paprika filled with cheese. It is made in two ways - fresh and breaded. The most delicious are red paprika with plenty of cheese and kajmak baked in oven.

Zucchini, eggplant and cauliflower are generally made in breading process.

Different salads and vegetable cakes are served as appetizers also.

Main Dishes

Published on 21:59, 04/12,2016


Meals prepared on barbecue, which are very popular, are also traditional serbian meals and they are main part of menu of many restaurants in Serbia. They are often prepared in “fast food” manner. Alongside barbecue there are characteristic Serbian cuisine stews.

Serbian barbecue has become symbol of native cuisine. Especially ćevap (grilled minced meat, pork or beef, cylindrically shaped served with chopped onions).

Alongside ćevap there are pljeskavica (a ground beef/pork patty), ražnjić (skewered kabobs), steak, vešalica (grilled strips of pork loin).

Guests usually order mešano meso (mixed grill). That is barbecue dish that has many barbecue specialties in it.


Pečenje (roasted meat) is traditional way of preparing pork and lamb that is usually served for special occasions such as holidays and celebrations. Pečenje is part of the menu in restaurants and it is served per kilogram.

Stews are widely prepared in Serbian households. There are many different kinds of stews.

Meat is generally included in meals, which is cooked, breaded or roasted with that meal.

Dish that is considered to be another symbol of Serbian cuisine is Sarma - dish of cabbage leaves rolled around a filling usually based on minced meat. It is cooked in water pieces of smoked meat.


In addition to Sarma there is another dish made of cabbage - Podvarak (baked in oven) and Svadbarski kupus.

Bean is one of the favorites dishes in Serbian cuisine, it is made in various ways, dense or clear.  

Dishes made out of paprika are also included in Serbian cuisine: Paprikaš, Punjene paprike (stuffed paprika). In addition to paprika zucchini is also prepared stuffed, it is a same procedure. They are stuffed with steamed minced meat and rice. Serbian đuveč is prepared from tomatoes, paprika, potatoes, rice, chilli peppers, pork sliced in little cubes  and fried with onions, all of that is baked in oven.

Bread and salad is generally served with stews and barbecue.  Type of salad depends on current weather season.

Bread - it is usually served at the beginning of the meal and eaten with all dishes.


Published on 22:11, 04/12,2016

Salads are served with main dish in Serbia. In a history salads were served only as seasonal salads. In winter “turšija” (pickled vegetables) and in summer fresh vegetables were served. There is no such seasonal division any more, but tradition stayed to these days. Tomatoes, paprika, onions and chilli peppers are the most common ingredients of mixed salads.

Srpska salata (Serbian salad) is made of cucumbers, tomatoes, paprika and onions with oil and salt.

If shredded cheese is added to mixture then it is called Šopska salad.

Urnebes salad is highly recommended to  gourmands and all chilli lovers. It is made of chilli pepper powder mixed with cheese.

Fresh or roasted with garlic in oil green chilli peppers are generally served on table at the beginning of the meal in some restaurants.

Paprika is eaten fresh, but mostly roasted. Roasted paprika is salad made of roasted, spiky paprika with garlic, oil and vinegar.

Ajvar is roasted paprika and eggplant - they are roasted beforehand, grinded, mixed and cooked on oil. It is served with oil and with addition of garlic if you like it more that way.

In winter period of year sauerkraut is eaten the most. Cabbage head is cut and served with oil and dried paprika powder.

“Turšija” is mixture of pickled paprika, green tomato, cauliflower, carrot and pickles. This salad is usually served with roasted meat (pečenje).


In addition of mentioned salads, there is many others sorts of salads that are served in restaurants and households: as “fresh“ salads, fresh cabbage salad, beans, green beans, celery, potato, cooked beet salad.

Lettuce salad is prepared with oil, vinegar and salt.

Salt, vinegar and salt are usually in most of salads. Few vegetables are served as salads without these ingredients. Fresh vegetables are served salty at least. Serbs loves salty food, even a salad.

Winter stores

Published on 23:40, 04/12,2016

Winter stores(Zimnica) can be listed as one of Serbian traditions. Winter stores were made so seasoned fruits and vegetables can be used out of weather season in which they grow.


It is preserved in jars and barrels and stored in cellar or pantry. Nowadays you can buy winter stores in markets, but tradition on house made winter stores is still present. Winter stores means making pickled vegetables(cabbage, paprika, carrot, cauliflower...) and cooking of vegetables and fruits.

A lots of dishes are made of sauerkraut (podvarak, kiseli kupus, sarma), while other vegetables are served as salad(Turšija).

Paprika is most used vegetable, it can be cooked, roasted or pickled.

Cooked vegetables is also used as ingredient for salads. Paprika, eggplant and beet are cooked. Salad called Ajvar is made from paprika and eggplant.

Most used fruits for cooking are plums, apricots, peaches and cherries. Jam (džem, pekmez) and marmalade are made from cooked fruits. Difference is in their thickness.

Slatko is food similar to jam, difference is in fact that slatko has fruit pieces in it.

There is custom to serve slatko and water when guest are coming in the house.

Jam and marmalade are usually served with bread and butter, generally for breakfast. They are also served with pancakes and are used as ingredients for cookies.

In addition to cooking fruits can be left frozen and used later as ingredients for making cookies(cherries, raspberries) or it can be dried(plums, apples, pears, apricots).

Winter stores is very important ingredient in Serbian cuisine, without it there would not be many dishes that are well known in our kitchen.


Published on 23:45, 04/12,2016

Serbian cuisine is also well known for sweets that are indispensable part of meal.

Sweets are served at the end of the meal.

Traditional Serbian sweets are Apple and Cherry pie, cookies made of semolina, salčići, vanilin kiflice, koh and various cakes, rich in ingredients such as eggs, butter, chocolate and walnuts, that are perfect addition for Serbian cuisine.

Tumulbe and Baklava are heritage of Turkish cuisine.

Baklava is similar to pie. It is filled with walnuts and soaked in mixture of sugar and honey. Baklava has special place in Serbian cuisine, it is part of Christmas feast and then it is called “česnica”.

Tulumbe are soaked just in sugar and water mixture, they can be served with lemon.

Heritage of Austrian-Hungarian cuisine is štrudla that become Vojvodina brand. In addition to Štrudla there is Vanilica.

Štrudla - sweet that is made of dough, look like rolls. It is filled with poppy, walnuts, cherries or carob. The most famous is Štrudla with poppy and raisins. There is even fastival in a name of štrudla - “Štrudlijad


Pancake - sweet that is fried in oil. Pancakes are round, they can be slim or thick and they are made of mixture of flour, milk/water and eggs.

Pancake are filled with sweet stuffing, usually jam, sweet creams, honey etc.are used for stuffing. Pancakes are served in restaurants and made at households also.

Krofna (Donut) - sort of sweet fried in oil. It is made of dough with yeast and stuffed with cream or jam sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Knedle sa šljivama(Dumpling with plums) are also heritage of  Austrian-Hungarian cuisine, made of dough stuffed with plum, in a shape of ball sprinkled with breadcrumbs.

Griz i Sutlijaš(Semolina and rice pudding) - sweets, porridges, cooked in sweetened milk. Although Serbia is well know as land of fruits, fruit is rarely served as dessert. It is usually used as ingredient for cookies, cakes and pies.

Fruit is also served in cooked form and it is called Kompot(apples, pears, plums, figs, oranges with sugar).


Published on 23:51, 04/12,2016

Serbia is well know for alcoholic beverages: brandy, wine and beer. All across Serbia there are vineyards and orchards that are used for making brandy and wine.

Rakija(brandy) is made of fruits(plums, apples, grapes, apricots, quinces) and various herbs.

Rakija is called by fruit that is made of: Šljivovica, loza, jabukovača, dunja etc.

Rakija made with herbs is called “Travarica“ or “Stomaklija“.

Rakija is served before meal as aperitive, and it is very strong alcoholic beverage.

Wine has long tradition in Serbia, our wines are well known around the world. They are made out of red and white sorts of grapes. There are gastronomic tours “Putevi vina”(Wine roads), where tourists visiting vineyards areas, wine cellars, and taste wines.

Beer - it is almost everyday beverage. Serbian breweries are classified as the oldest breweries in Balkan Peninsula.

Non-alcoholic beverages - High-quality juices and mineral waters(carbonated and non-carbonated) are produced in Serbia  because of abundance in quality of fruits and sources of mineral waters. High-quality household made juices from cherries, apples, apricots and pears are made.

Although household made juices are delicious, they are made less and less. Juices made at industry facilities are bought.

Households fruit juices could be ordered in restaurants, but they are expensive. There is homemade beverage called boza, made of corn and yeast. Kvas also non-alcoholic beverage as replacement for beer.

Serbia is also known with sources of mineral waters. Many mineral waters are bottled in Serbia, there are Knjaz Miloš, Vrnjci, Heba, Prolom, Rosa.

Coffee is very popular beverage in Serbia. It is usually consumed twice a day. There are many sorts of coffee but most consumed are Turska(Black coffee), espresso, Nes coffee etc. If you have guests in your house coffee is usually offered. Coffee slowly but steady becomes ritual of sort between Serbian folks.

Yoghurt and Kefir are dairy liquid products. Usually they are consumed at breakfast and dinner.

Tea - although it is least favourite beverage it is also consumed. The most common drink in winter. Tea is made from herbs and fruits. Traditional Serbian tea is made with mint.

What tourist should know about Serbian national cuisine when visiting Serbia

Published on 23:53, 04/12,2016

Gastronomy has high influence at arrival of foreign visitors to Serbia.

Serbia is known for its national cuisine and visitors are delighted with it.

Serbian cuisine and eating habits are authentic, visitors should be familiar with them before they come to Serbia and taste food prepared here.

Meat is almost in every meal: pork, beef, chicken, veal.

There are three main meals in Serbia: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast - If you judge by breakfast, Serb are true Europeans - scrambled eggs, toast with butter and jam and coffee. Meat products are served for breakfast also. Liverwurst, hot dog, salami... Dairy products also: yoghurt, cheese, cream.

Although breakfast is the most important meal, Serb usually do not eat it.

Lunch - the most important meal and the most comprehensive meal for Serbs.

Soup is served first, homemade soup. “Soup from the bag” will be rarely served.

Main dish is served after that. There is large variety of meals. Meat in any shape and size: grilled, roasted, baked, fried… and cooked dishes.

Bread is served with with every meal, especially with lunch.

After lunch, usually, you will be offered with some kind of dessert: cookies, ice cream, puding.

Dinner - Dinner was comprehensive meal in the past, with meals similar to lunch. Nowadays dinner is more likely as breakfast, with warm pies and proja served as a difference.

Nothing without coffee, beer and rakija.

We should mention beverages without fail.

Coffee, beer and rakija will be served at your every step in Serbia.

Very strong national beverage rakija comes in many different natural aromas (there is not chemistry involved ).

Also, national beers are great way relax and enjoy, especially in hot summer days with high temperatures. Companies “Lav” and ”Jelen” offer wide variety of cheap beer that you can find in any store or a bar.

Places and events that you should visit when it comes to gastronomy

Published on 23:54, 04/12,2016

There is many national cuisine restaurants in Serbia where you can find excellent food.

Belgrade has wide variety of restaurants, also you can find them in Novi Sad, Subotica, Niš etc. In every city you are staying there will be at least one good place with national cuisine.

If you are in Belgrade you should visit Skadarlija at all cost - Oldtown bohemian area with quite a few excellent places to eat.

Restaurant "Dva Jelena"(Two deers) is rated as the best restaurant of national cuisine. It is located in Skadarlija, well known for its live music, antique ambiance and excellent food. Prices are fair and visitors are gladly coming back.

If you are staying in Vojvodina you should visit places called “Salaš”, they are offering authentic surroundings and excellent Vojvodina cuisine. In the past Salaš was temporary resting place for villagers that were cultivating lands. They were located in agricultural fields. Today they lost their primarily function and are changed in museum - restaurants. It is aimed to preserve those places, because they are vital for  Serbian culture and tradition.


In addition to restaurants there are  many bars, pubs, taverns, pastry shops and confectioneries that are quite authentic and offer national beverages and delicacies.

If you are visiting Serbia at a time of some gastronomical event, go and visit it without thinking twice.

There are lots of manifestations: Slaninijada, Kupusijada, Paprikijada, Štrudlijada, Vinarijada. That are events that exhibit particular product with sales, tastings, competitions  and good music.

“Putevi vina” are gastronomical tours, that you shouldn't miss at any cost. On these tours visitors are touring known wine areas of the country, wine cellars, tasting wines. Tourists have opportunity to see winemaking process.


 Development of rural tourism is closely related to gastronomy. Staying at villages, in authentic Serbian houses, in addition to enjoyment of nature and authentic Serbian ambient you will have opportunity to traditional Serbian dishes. Village households can offer the most authentic Serbian cuisine. You will be accommodated in such fashion that you will not be able to experience in any of restaurants.

Serbia, Belgrade as capital city and other cities as bearers of various historical influences are offering authentic experience and food of national cuisine to the visitors. Tourist that are visiting Serbia will never be hungry, that is for sure.