Traditional Serbian Dishes

Apr 17, 2023 ByClaire Miles

Serbian cuisine is diverse, flavorful, and steeped in tradition. It is a fusion of Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Balkan influences and is characterized by its hearty, meat-based dishes and rich, earthy flavors. Traditional Serbian dishes are often prepared with simple, locally-sourced ingredients and accompanied by homemade bread, cheese, and pickled vegetables.

One of the most iconic Serbian dishes is cevapi, which are small, grilled sausages made from minced beef or lamb, served with onions and a side of bread. Cevapi is a popular street food in Serbia and can be found in most outdoor markets and festivals. They are typically served with ajvar, a relish made from roasted red peppers and eggplant, which gives them a slightly sweet, smoky flavor.

Another famous Serbian dish is sarma, a cabbage roll filled with ground meat and rice seasoned with paprika and other spices. Sarma is a labor-intensive dish typically prepared for special occasions, such as weddings or holidays. It is often served with mashed potatoes and a dollop of sour cream. Serbian pljeskavica is a large, flat meat patty made from ground beef, pork, and lamb, seasoned with garlic, onion, and various spices. It is usually served with kajmak, clotted cream, and onions on a round bread called lepinja. Pljeskavica is a popular fast food in Serbia and is often sold at outdoor grills and food stands.

Beef stew in bowl

Getty Images/Moment/Alex Tihonov

Serbian goulash, also known as paprikash, is a thick, hearty stew made with chunks of beef, paprika, onions, and other spices. It is typically served with homemade noodles or dumplings and pickled vegetables. Goulash is a popular winter dish perfect for warming up on a cold day. In addition to these dishes, Serbian cuisine also features a variety of stews, soups, and roasted meats, such as roasted lamb or piglet. Some other traditional Serbian dishes include musaka, a layered casserole made with potatoes, eggplant, and ground meat, and pasulj, a bean stew made with smoked meats and served with a side of cornbread. Traditional Serbian dishes are hearty, flavorful, and deeply rooted in the country’s culture and history. They are often prepared with simple, locally-sourced ingredients and are perfect for sharing with family and friends.