Home » Recipes » Balkan Recipes » Pljeskavica (Serbian Burger)

Pljeskavica (Serbian Burger)

Here’s A Meaty Pljeskavica Recipe to Make a Traditional Balkan Burger!

If you’re looking for a hearty taste of the Balkans, pljeskavica may be for you. Made from a simple blend of ground meat and spices, pljeskavica is considered one of Serbia’s national dishes.

And while this dish is traditionally Serbian, these days – like many other foods in the Balkans – pljeskavica is made and enjoyed in other countries in the region such as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It’s typically eaten on a plate with other condiments and sides, or on a flatbread (known as Lepinja) with a hearty dose of ajvar, onion, and tomato.

fur flat meat patties on plate with red dipping sauce and onion slices beside.
Pljeskavica is a flavorful dish.

Interestingly enough, there are a number of variations of the recipe, depending on the region where it is made.

For example, spicy onions or other meats may be added. In one variation, the meat patty is stuffed with kačkavalj cheese!

Ingredients

raw meat and other ingredients in bowls resting on counter top with labels on them.
The ingredients needed to make Pljeskavica!

To make these Balkan burgers, here are the pljeskavica ingredients that you will need. There are not too many – just some meat, onion, and spices!

  • Mix of ground beef and pork – The main ingredient; use good quality meat if possible.
  • Onion – A yellow onion to add depth of flavor.
  • Garlic clove – Minced garlic to add flavor to the meat.
  • Paprika – To add flavor.
  • Salt – To enhance the flavors.
  • Black pepper – To add a mild heat and flavor.
  • Sparkling water – To make the meat tender and juicy.
  • Oil – To fry the pljeskavice.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Before you make this pljeskavica recipe, have a good read through these tips and substitutions so that you know just what to expect when you make it at home!

  • If you can’t find ground beef and pork mix at the store, just use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork and mix it with the other ingredients.
  • Pljeskavica is typically seasoned with salt, black pepper and paprika, but you could also add other spices depending on your taste.
  • Shape the meat into thin, evenly-sized patties. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.
  • Make sure the meat is cooked through and has an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t overcook the patties as this can dry out the meat.
  • Instead of pan-frying, you can also grill the meat patties.
Don't miss out!
Subscribe to Recipes from Europe!

Get updates on the latest posts and more from Recipes from Europe straight to your inbox. 

Invalid email address

How to Make Pljeskavica – Step by Step Instructions

In this section, we’ll visually show you how to make this Serbian burger. We’ve included all the recipe process photos so that you can see the process unfold as you cook at home.

If you’d like to see the recipe card for this recipe, you can find it at the bottom of this post!

ground meat in glass mixing bowl covered in garlic and spices but not mixed in.
Place the ingredients in a bowl.

In a mixing bowl, combine the mixed ground beef and pork, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, paprika, salt, black pepper and sparkling water.

ball of raw meat and spices in clear glass mixing bowl on grey counter.
Mix well.

Mix everything together using your clean hands.

ball of raw meat divided into four parts in glass bowl on grey counter.
Divide the meat mixture.

Divide the mixture into 4 balls.

round raw meat patty laying on large plate on counter.
Shape the patties.

Use your hands to shape the balls into patties. Pljeskavica patties are thinner than regular burgers. The size of your patties should be about 6 inches in diameter. 

round raw meat patty frying in oil in black cast iron pan.
Fry the meat patties.

Heat oil in a skillet and fry each patty for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

cooked meat patty in black cast iron pan with grey counter around.
The pljeskavici should be browned.

Make sure the meat is fully cooked and has an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t overcook the patties as this can dry out the meat.

hand holding serbian burger in flatbread with tomatoes and onion.
Enjoy this flavorful dish!

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

Storage Tips

If you have any leftover pljeskavice, store them in a sealed container or wrapped in foil in the fridge. Eat within 2 days.

To reheat the burgers, we recommend either a pan over medium heat with a bit of oil or the air fryer.

FAQ

Here are some answers to questions about pljeskavica!

What is pljeskavica?

Pljeskavica is a mixed meat (often beef and pork) patty that originated in Serbia. Eaten throughout the Balkans, this “hamburger” is typically enjoyed on a plate with sides or on a flatbread. Around the Balkan region, there are numerous recipe variations that are named after the area where they were originally created.

How do you make pljeskavica?

To make pljeskavica, combine the ground meat with the spices, onion, garlic and sparkling water in a bowl. Divide the meat and form it into thin patties. Fry the patties in a pan with oil or on the grill for a few minutes on each side, flipping once. When cooked, remove from heat and garnish to your liking!

Related Recipes

For more amazing Balkan recipes, check out these classics from around the region:

large plate of serbian burger patties with sliced tomatoes and onion.

Pljeskavica (Traditional Serbian Burger)

Pljeskavica is a flavorful minced meat burger/patty from the Balkans. Made with a blend of meat and some common spices, these meat patties are cooked to perfection and served with ajvar and flatbread!
4.91 from 11 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 Pljeskavice

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mixed ground beef and pork
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ounces sparkling water
  • oil, for frying

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients (mixed ground beef and pork, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, paprika, salt, black pepper, and sparkling water) except oil.
    1 pound mixed ground beef and pork, 1 small onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 2 ounces sparkling water
  • Mix everything together using your clean hands.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 balls. Using your hands, shape the balls into thin patties. Pljeskavica patties are thinner than regular burgers. The size of your patties should be about 6 inches in diameter.
  • Heat oil in a skillet and fry each patty for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
    oil
  • Serve with fresh Lepinja bread (or pita bread), sliced red or yellow onion, ajvar and fresh tomatoes.

Notes

  • If you can’t find ground beef and pork mix at the store, just use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork and mix it with the other ingredients.
  • Form the meat into thin, even patties. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.
  • Make sure the meat is fully cooked and reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t overcook the patties as this can dry out the meat.
  • Instead of pan-frying, you can also grill the meat patties.

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 661mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg

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
Don’t miss out!
Subscribe to Recipes from Europe!

Get updates on the latest posts and more from Recipes from Europe straight to your inbox. 

Invalid email address
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.

1 thought on “Pljeskavica (Serbian Burger)”

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating