Burek came with The Ottomans to the Balkans. Local people tweaked it over the centuries. Here is a version from Niš, as given by Mamamaja on Coolinarika forums. I made it as a part of Kuvarijacije, event created by mamajac of Cooks and Bakes. To be honest, I freaked out when I saw this was the theme as I thought it was too difficult for me. But, now, after making it, I think even a small child could do it. I wonder, why is making phyllo-like doughs so mystified?


First, make a soft dough out of 500 g sifted flour, 1 tsp of salt and water. This is how original recipe goes. I poured 500 ml of water into a measuring cup and added it gradually to the dough. About 250-300 ml was enough.

Burek, preparation

Divide the dough into 5 equal balls. Flatten each ball into 15 cm diameter circle and soak in a mixture of equal parts of oil and melted pork fat. About 200 g pork fat will melt into about 200 ml. This, with the addition of 200 ml of oil will be enough.

Burek, preparation

Leave it like that for about half an hour. Take one piece of dough out of the fat, put directly onto a table and flatten with your hands as much as you can. Than, start pulling it gently just like when making a strudel. A note to those who made a strudel – this one works even easier!

Burek, preparation

The dough is very easy to work with. It stretches like a bubble gum :)

Burek, preparation

Next, spread some cottage cheese over the middle of the stretched dough. Lots of it. And before you spread the cheese over the dough, squash it with a fork.

Burek, preparation

Fold dough over the cheese to nicely wrap it up. But cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. Transfer gently to a large plate while you flatten another piece of dough that you take from the fat.

Burek, preparation

After you flatten the second piece of dough, and spread cheese over, place the previous packed dough over the cheese. Just make sure that the side that was touching a table now goes on top. Wrap again, and continue with the rest of the dough pieces.

Burek, preparation

Bake in a preheated oven on 200°C until golden on top.


And one more thing – don’t throw away the fat mixture. Put it in the fridge and use for cooking/frying later.

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  • Liz May 29, 2009 4:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My husband is Croatian and one of our favorite treats when we visit Zagreb is Burek. I’ve seen people stretching to dough before and I’ve always wondered what it actually is. Now I can try it myself! My husband will be so surprised!

  • Peter M May 29, 2009 6:12 pm

    Marija, bravo on your handmade phyllo…it’s an art form and one that demands patience and practice.

  • Y May 29, 2009 6:38 pm

    That dough looks amazing. I’m bookmarking it to try some time.

  • Julia @ Mélanger May 29, 2009 7:03 pm

    This looks and sounds delicious. And wow …. that dough is absolutely paper thin. You certainly produce beautiful pastries.

  • Gordana.M May 29, 2009 7:08 pm

    Fantasticna fotografija!!! A da ne govorim o vjestini razvlacenja kora… :)

  • Dragana May 29, 2009 8:43 pm

    Impressive! I’ve made burek but the dough has never been as easy to stretch as yours looks. I don’t know if I can get myself to use the porkfat though!

  • Vali May 29, 2009 10:08 pm


  • Ria May 29, 2009 10:24 pm

    Marija,it’s come out very well!Bookmarked!! :)

  • branka May 29, 2009 10:46 pm

    Jos jedan prekrasan burek,od jucer uzivam gledajuci kako su ga svi prekrasno napravili.Marija, ti i od najobicnije stvari napravis pravo remek djelo,Savrseno izgleda :))

  • Gaga May 29, 2009 11:08 pm

    i tvoj je burek super ispao. posebno mi se sviđa ona etno torbica, podseća me na detinjstvo i moje selo :)

  • Rosa’s Yummy Yums May 29, 2009 11:35 pm

    Very well done! Yummy! Now that i’ve made strudel pastry, I feel more confident with making that kind of speciality from scratch!Cheers,Rosa

  • Marigold May 30, 2009 12:30 am

    wow! jako lijepa prezentacija, vidi se da ti je odlično ispao…morat ću ga i ja napraviti :D..ona torba crvena na prvoj fotki mi se jako sviđa!! jako lijep motiv..:)

  • maslinka May 30, 2009 12:36 am

    predivne su ti slike, predivno si ga napravila :)

  • Sanela Mallory May 30, 2009 1:24 am

    Odlično ti je ispao:) Ovaj krug Kuvarijacija je s razlogom sve oduševio:)

  • nlo May 30, 2009 2:45 am

    Predivan ti je Marija:) Baš sam sretna jer nam je svima, baš svima uspio i svi smo prezadovoljni:))

  • Sweet Corner May 30, 2009 3:36 am

    zadivljena sam svim izvedbama ovo predobrog bureka, tvoj je fantastican!! fotke su predivne kao i cijeli postupak rada!

  • Chaitali May 30, 2009 9:08 am

    This looks amazing! I would love to make this at home but my family doesn’t eat meat. Can you suggest a vegetarian substitute for pork fat?

  • MASATERA May 30, 2009 9:34 am

    Prekrasno ti je ispao! Idući put ću i ja staviti malo više sira, vidim kako je kod tebe lijepo bogat :)

  • mamajac May 30, 2009 9:39 am

    Vau! Super ti je ispao!

  • banu gökşin May 30, 2009 10:02 am

    looks great

  • Snooky doodle May 30, 2009 1:42 pm

    wow this looks so good and the recipe is really interesting :)

  • Minja May 30, 2009 2:23 pm

    Savršen je!!!I ja sam ga spremala još pre neku godinu isto po Majinom receptu,samo je bio sa mesom :))

  • Anonymous May 30, 2009 3:47 pm

    Do you make five layers of cheese, making just burek out of all the dough?

  • Marija May 30, 2009 4:09 pm

    If I understood the question correctly, yes, you will have 5 layers of cheese in a burek.I hope this helps?

  • gastrodiva May 31, 2009 1:08 pm

    Nikako da naučim tako razvlačiti tijesto. A razlog je valjda da nikad nisam imala dobrog učitelja za tu vještinu. Slike i recepti su ti lipi, kao i uvijek.

  • Andrea June 2, 2009 2:35 am

    Kako kod svih vas razvlačenje kora izgleda jednostavno, a meni nikako ne uspjeva! :)Moram ovaj recept ubrzo isprobati jer vidim da ste svi imali odlične rezultate! :)

  • farida June 2, 2009 7:37 pm

    Marija, what a great job you've down with burek! The dough is paper thin, the filling looks delicious, and wow, the end result is mouthwatering. I have strong feelings for bureks of all sorts:)) so can't take my eyes off the screen.

  • lisa (dandysugar) June 3, 2009 12:15 pm

    So beautiful before and after baking! creating paper thin dough for me is still a bit of a challenge..your looks lovely. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

  • heidileon June 3, 2009 10:38 pm

    I totally agree with Peter, you've done a great job doing this recipe. Is a masters skill to dominate (even try to recreate) a phyllo dough. Congrats! btw,one question: do you think I can substitute the fat for vegetal shortening? Have you ever tried that?besos,h

  • zoe June 5, 2009 9:22 am

    This reminds me of burekas, its tasty treat from the middle east, but much thinner. This looks delicious!

  • zurin June 6, 2009 12:17 am

    Marija, The dough is exactly like the one I used for 'roti canai'! even the soaking in oil part….its fun to make isnt it bt rather messy tho….we use it to make flat fluffy and layerd pancakes to eat with curry ..sometime we fill it with minced meat curry too and fry ina shallow pan……must try ur filling one of these days tho looks sooo good!

  • Marija June 7, 2009 11:50 am

    Zoe, that's it! We just call them differently in Serbia :)

  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js June 27, 2009 10:51 am

    Homemade phyllo: I am in awe!

  • Ivan Jevtic August 5, 2009 4:38 pm

    Pa normalno bre da je burek u Nis i iz Nis najbolji. Ovo je Srbija !

  • Flyingroo August 19, 2009 3:50 pm

    What a wonderful dough! Most of the English translated recipes call for phyllo dough but not many know that there are 2 kinds of phyllo, one is the type that anyone can buy in grocery stores the other can be found only in Turkey, Greece and maybe some of the neighboring countries. I've been looking for a home made recipe for…well, forever. Thank you for posting this.

  • 97grad August 25, 2009 2:32 am

    I can't believe I finally found a recipe for authentic Burek, you have no idea how many years I've been looking for this recipe. I live in Sydney, Australia and have had these a couple of times at a Bakery that closed down years ago. I'm so excited that I have found this and will try it ASAP. Thank you so much for posting

  • Sara September 28, 2009 12:46 pm

    Wow–homemade phyllo dough? I am still terrified–but if I ever get up the nerve I'll be heading back to this post. It must be worth it. I had the greatest bureks (and cevapi, but that's another story) on my travels in Croatia and Bosnia…I've tried to make it at home with frozen phyllo dough and it wasn't close to right (though the filling was still tasty). This may be the only way.But, let me make a struedel first to build up my confidence!

  • Veli March 10, 2010 4:51 am

    Hvala from me and Thanks from my Latin American wife. We've lived in Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia, and all Serbian Bakers I use to know have closed their doors. My wife knows how good Burek can be because we visited Serbia a while ago.Marija, you are the first person that has explained how to make the pastry. Buying Phyllo or Filo Pastry is just not the same when used on Burek.I just made it now and it was easy to stretch just like you said. It tastes fantastic.

  • Marija March 10, 2010 7:01 am

    Thank you so much Veli!!!I am very happy you liked the recipe!

  • FlyingRoo April 23, 2010 11:01 am

    Marija, I finally got the time to make a burek using your recipe. Well, with just one change – I used rendered duck fat instead of pork. The result is divine! Thanks again for posting the recipe!

  • Momcilo May 25, 2010 3:02 pm

    It was so great. I just made it but I mixed cottage and feta cheese and it was awesome. I had to flip it in order to get a crispy crust on both sides. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  • Holly June 1, 2010 6:28 am

    This sounds great. I don't think it's correct, though, for people to call this something like phyllo. It has uses that are similar, but they're two different doughs entirely. Still, this would interchange nicely for many recipes calling for phyllo, as long as the added fat won't cause a problem.It is really amazing how easily stretched this dough is, after soaking in the fat for an hour or so. Incredible! Gotta try it just to find out what it's like to make it, regardless of what filling will go into it.The directions only speak of using cottage cheese – no seasonings at all are mentioned, yet the photo shows that there are flecks of SOMETHING in the cheese! So what was added? Does anyone know? I'd like to try this, but it seems just cottage cheese and the burek dough could be kind of bland.So how IS this burek seasoned?

  • Marija June 1, 2010 5:45 pm

    Hi Holly, that's only cheese in burek, and trust me, if you use good cheese, you won't need any more seasonings. But, in the most bakeries you can find cheese or mushroom or ground pork bureks. Recently, pizza burek became popular. It is good even without anything, because of the fat – it really gives it a good flavor.If you decide to make it, use any filling you love, just don't make it to liquid.

  • Ljupco July 23, 2010 12:49 pm

    Living in Saskatchewan there is no selection for restaurants specializing in Macedonian, Serbian or any of the other former Yugoslavian republics, and when you haven't visited the old country in over 6 years you have a tendency to crave some of the specialties. Burek being my favourite I decided to do an internet search and the only recipe with homemade dough sheets was yours. Up until now I've only tried my hand at making different types of pizza, having been told that making burek was a very difficult task, especially stretching out the dough. Having no experience at all except with pizza , I made my first burek following the recipe exactly. When I cut into it and saw how crispy the layers were on the outside yet thin and chewy on the inside, I couldn't wait to take my first bite. Eating the burek, I almost forgot that I wasn't in the pazar in Bitola. Thank you and mamamaja for a fantastic recipe. My dough stretching skills need a little practice so next, I think I will try it with minced meat(pork or beef) with onions (my favourite).

  • Anonymous August 10, 2010 8:22 am

    Marija, in our downtown London, Ontario market there is a place that make burek very similar to yours I believe. The baker stretches the dough right there in plain view. I am hooked on them. He uses a meat filling in some and also spinach with feta cheese in others; delicious. He also has apple and cinnamon ones. Maybe I will try making them some day with your recipe as I think it is probably the closest to these ones. Thank you so much for posting the recipe.

  • Vesna January 4, 2011 9:22 pm

    Thank you for this recipe and pictures. I made it this past weekend and it came out great. It was a running joke at my house that I could not make “burek”. Well, I proved him wrong :P Thanks!

  • Traian March 30, 2011 10:50 pm

    Marija, wow… I am eating homemade burek from a Croatian bakery and I wanted to bake one at home too. Thanks for the recipe and the time it took to write the post. I have a question, where do you get pork fat from? The closest I found was to buy some pork belly and separate fat from meat. Is there anything I could substitute pork fat with, maybe just soak the dough in pure oil? Thanks.

    • marija April 10, 2011 1:00 pm

      In Serbia, we buy pork fat (lard) at the supermarkets or butchers. I’ve heard some people trying to make burek with oil, but they said they didn’t like the outcome. Maybe you should try by separating the fat from pork belly.

  • daniela May 4, 2012 4:47 pm

    Pozdrav :)
    Prekrasan burek, moj je u pecnici i nadam se da ce ispasti upola toliko lijepo! Al moram priznat da sam se namucila s njim. Ne sa razvlacenjem kora, ove kore su se prekrasno razvlacile, bas ko zvaka! Nego sa micanjem smotuljaka sa odloge pa prebacivanjem jedne na drugu i onda napokon u tepsiju. Sve mi popucalo, nekako se nadam da na kraju to nece biti toliko bitno, al bas sam se nazivcirala sa tim! Jesam li predugo ostavila tijesto u ulju (45 min, dosla mi nenadno susjeda, hehe) pa je zato toliko osjetljivo? Jesi li ti imala s tim problema i kako si ti rijesila to prebacivanje?

    • Marija May 6, 2012 6:58 am

      Daniela, pucalo je i meni, ali se to na kraju uopšte ne vidi. Imala sam veliku radnu površinu pa sam se nekako snašla. Meni je lično najveći problem bio to što sam celu kuću zamastila. Ali vredelo je :)

  • Lela July 31, 2012 8:29 pm

    Can u use an other flour? I have problem with finding the right flour here in England please help me!!

    • Marija August 3, 2012 4:52 am

      I have no idea. I only worked with this one. Guess plain flour is ok.

  • Mirela July 31, 2012 8:31 pm

    Does any1 knows how to make maslenica? Kako se sprema maslenica?

    • Marija August 3, 2012 4:53 am

      I have heard of it, but never had the chance to taste it. Hope someone sees the comment and helps :)

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