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Cevapi Recipe (Balkan Sausages)

Here’s A Simple Cevapi Recipe To Make These Balkan Sausages!

For a flavorful meat recipe, cevapi should be on your radar! These small sausages – made from a minced meat blend and shaped by hand – are packed with simple spices to create a delightful flavor combination.

Ćevapi – or ćevapčići in the diminutive form – originated in the Balkans as a result of Ottoman influence in the region. Cevapi are essentially the Balkan version of kebab.

These days, there are a number of subtle recipe variations. Many countries around the Balkan peninsula – Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, etc. – have their own take on cevapi and are passionate about their way of making them!

cooked cevapi sausages on plate with onion and tomatoes.
These ćevapi are served with onions, ajvar, and flatbread.

Side note from Eric and Lisa: Cevapi hold a soft spot in our hearts. When we traveled the Balkans, we had ćevapi with onions, flatbread, and kajmak in Bosnia & Herzegovina, served with fries, salad, and ajvar in Croatia, and formed larger and also served in a grilled flatbread in Montenegro.

No matter how you make them and what you serve them with, cevapi are a classic recipe that is worth making again and again!

Ingredients

ingredients to make cevapi on white counter with labels.
The ingredients needed to make this cevapi recipe!

To make this recipe for cevapi, here are the ingredients that you will need:

  • Ground beef and pork – You can use either a pound of already mixed ground beef and pork or 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork. You can also add some ground lamb if you like.
  • Onion – One small yellow onion, grated. To add flavor to the cevapi.
  • Garlic cloves – Two cloves of garlic, grated. To add more depth of flavor to the cevapi.
  • Paprika – To add a smoky and slightly sweet flavor as well as a reddish tint.
  • Chili flakes – For a little heat.
  • Salt – To season the meat mixture and bring out the flavors of the ingredients.
  • Pepper – To add a little bit of spice.
  • Baking soda – Helps to keep the meat tender.
  • Breadcrumbs – Acts as a binder for the meat mixture. Use unseasoned breadcrumbs.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Before you make these cevapi sausages, read through these recipe tips so that you know just what to keep in mind:

  • Use good quality meat for flavorful and juicy cevapi. We use a mix of ground beef and pork, but you could also add ground lamb.
  • Adjust the spices to suit your personal preferences.
  • Make sure the cevapi sausages have a uniform size so that they cook evenly.
  • Let the cevapi rest before cooking to allow the flavors to mingle.
  • If you prefer, you can also grill the cevapi instead of pan-frying them.
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How to Make Cevapi – Step by Step Instructions

In this section, you’ll see exactly how to make ćevapčići. We’ve included all the recipe process photos so that you can see what each step of the recipe should look like. This can be helpful for visual learners.

The detailed recipe card with the ingredients and instructions is, as always, located at the bottom of this post!

ingredients like spices and minced meat to make cevapi in clear glass bowl on counter.
Add the ingredients to a bowl.

In a mixing bowl, add the ground meat, grated onion and garlic, paprika, chili flakes, salt, black pepper, baking soda, and breadcrumbs.

minced meat blend in clear glass bowl on counter.
Mix well.

Using your clean hands, mix everything together.

raw cevapi sausages in a row on white plate on counter.
Shape the cevapi.

Shape the cevapi with your hands. They should be about 4 1/4 inches long and 3/4 inches thick.

Place them in a single layer on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

frying cevapi sausages in oil in black cast iron pan.
Fry the cevapi.

Heat a bit of cooking oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the cevapi. Make sure there is enough space between them.

Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to fry them in two batches.

cooked cevapi sausages in black cast iron pan with white counter around.
The cevapi should be cooked and browned.

Fry the cevapi for a few minutes on each side until fully cooked and browned.

Alternatively, you can also grill the cevapi if you prefer.

cevapi sausage held in hand being dipped into small bowl of red spread.
Enjoy these Balkan sausages!

Serve the cevapi with fresh Lepinja bread (or pita bread), sliced red or yellow onion, ajvar, and fresh tomatoes. Enjoy!

Storage Tips

Once you’ve made these tasty Balkan sausages, store any leftovers in a sealed container or wrapped in foil in the fridge. They will keep for up to 3 days like this.

If you want to keep them for longer, you can also freeze the cevapi. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate and freeze until firm.

Then transfer them to a freezer-safe container. They will keep for around 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge before reheating (unless you are using an air fryer, then you can reheat them from frozen).

To reheat cevapi, you could put them back in the frying pan with a bit of oil or use the air fryer (if you have one).

FAQ

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about cevapi!

What are cevapi?

Cevapi – or ćevapčići in the diminutive form – are grilled sausages made from a minced meat blend. Cevapi originated in the Balkans and recipes with slightly different ingredients are popular throughout the Balkan peninsula. A cevap is the singular form – but cevapi are never made or enjoyed as singles!

What is the difference between Kebapi vs Cevapi?

Kebapi is the North Macedonian name for cevapi. The recipe may differ slightly but, food-wise, cevapi and kebapi are very similar. Both are grilled minced-meat sausages made with a combination of ingredients and spices.

What kind of meat is in cevapi?

The kind of meat in cevapi can vary depending on the regional recipe and what’s available. A minced blend of beef with pork or lamb, or a combination of all three, are all possibilities. Veal might also be found in the meat blend.

How to make cevapi?

To make cevapi, grate the onion and garlic and combine the minced meat with the spices and other ingredients in a bowl. Shape small, finger-length sausages and let them rest in the fridge for a few hours. Then grill or pan-fry the sausages in oil for a few minutes per side until cooked.

What to serve with cevapcici?

Cevapi can be enjoyed in a number of ways. Pair cevapi with fresh Lepinja bread (or pita bread), sliced red or yellow onion, ajvar, and fresh tomatoes. In Sarajevo, cevapi are served in a fried flatbread with lots of chopped onions and kajmak (a creamy dairy product)!

Related Recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe for cevapi, here are some more Balkan recipes that you might want to try!

cevapi on plate with ajvar and slices tomatoes and onions.

Cevapi (Balkan Sausages)

Cevapi, traditional Balkan sausages, are a meaty and well-seasoned regional delight. Made from a pork-beef blend and a variety of spices, these sausages pair well with onions, ajvar, and more!
4.84 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 16 Cevapi

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • oil, for frying

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients (minced meat, grated onion and garlic, paprika, chili flakes, salt, pepper, baking soda, and breadcrumbs).
    1/2 pound ground beef, 1/2 pound ground pork, 1 small onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • Using your clean hands, mix everything together.
  • Form the cevapi with your hands. They should be about 4 1/4 inches long and 3/4 inches thick.
  • Place them in a single layer on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Heat a bit of cooking oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the cevapi – make sure there is enough space between them. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to fry them in two batches.
    oil
  • Fry the cevapi for a few minutes on each side until fully cooked and browned.
  • Serve with fresh Lepinja bread (or pita bread), sliced red or yellow onion, ajvar, and fresh tomatoes.

Notes

  • Use good quality meat for flavorful and juicy cevapi. We use a mix of ground beef and pork, but you could also add ground lamb.
  • You can adjust the spices to your personal taste.
  • Make sure the cevapi sausages have a uniform size so that they cook evenly.
  • If you prefer, you can grill the cevapi instead of pan-frying them. 

Nutrition

Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.5mg

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Balkan
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This recipe was contributed by
Stefani Stefovska
Born and raised in North Macedonia, Stefani started cooking from a very young age. Her family passed down their love for food and cooking together with many traditional Balkan and Greek recipes.

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