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Ćevapi Recipe: Savoring the Soul of Bosnian Cuisine

Ćevapi Recipe


Few dishes can capture the spirit of a region like Ćevapi does for Bosnia and Herzegovina. These small, grilled minced meat sausages, usually made from a mix of beef and lamb, are more than just a culinary delight — they're a cultural emblem. Journey with us as we explore the origins, significance, and traditional recipe of this iconic Balkan dish.

The Origins and History of Ćevapi

The precise origins of Ćevapi are somewhat debated, but it's widely accepted that the dish arrived in the Balkans during the Ottoman period, influenced by the Turkish kebabs. Over time, every region added its twist, but it was in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in cities like Sarajevo and Mostar, that Ćevapi truly found its distinctive identity.

Food Culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The food culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a melting pot of influences, from Ottoman to Austro-Hungarian. Central to the Bosnian dining experience is the idea of community. Meals, often hearty and meat-centric, are enjoyed in a communal setting, with friends and family gathering around the table.

Ćevapi holds a special place in this culinary tapestry. Often, you'll find them being served with somun (a type of local bread) and raw onions, complemented by the smoky ambiance of open-air grills and the hum of conversation in bustling marketplaces or old town streets.

The Traditional Ćevapi Recipe

Experience a piece of Bosnia and Herzegovina in your kitchen with this traditional Ćevapi recipe.


  • 500g minced beef

  • 500g minced lamb (or veal)

  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • Somun or flatbreads, for serving

  • Raw onions, finely chopped, for serving


  1. Mix the Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the minced beef, lamb, garlic, pepper, salt, paprika, and baking soda. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are well combined.

  2. Shape the Ćevapi: Take a small amount of the meat mixture and roll it into a sausage shape, approximately the size of a finger. Repeat this process until all the mixture is used.

  3. Refrigerate: Place the shaped Ćevapi on a tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. This helps the flavors meld and the sausages retain their shape when grilled.

  4. Grill the Ćevapi: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the Ćevapi for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.

  5. Serve: Traditionally, Ćevapi are served with somun or flatbreads and topped with chopped raw onions. They also pair well with red pepper-based condiments like ajvar or kajmak.


Ćevapi is more than just food; it's an experience, a testament to Bosnia and Herzegovina's rich history and its spirit of community. Whether you're traveling through the vibrant streets of Sarajevo or recreating this dish at home, Ćevapi promises a taste that is both simple and profoundly meaningful.

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