Ćevapčići (Serbian Kebabs)

Ćevapčići.001If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know that I credit a lot of my culinary abilities to my Mom and the beautiful Polish women that make up her side of our family.  In this post, I want to pay tribute to a more recent influence – my Serbian in-laws.  As an Amerikanka, I was formally welcomed into this family 12 years ago, although I’ve known most of them for 19 years or more.  I’ve learned a few things in that time.  I’ll stick to the kitchen lessons here *wink*!

First, any and all gatherings revolve around food.  And lots of it.  If you unexpectedly stop by to say “Hi”, food will magically appear and you will be required to eat before you leave.

Second, you will never eat enough to satisfy your hostess.  The food is so delicious, you will stuff yourself to the point of developing a food baby.  But… “Are you sure you don’t want more, you didn’t eat very much?”

Third, three to four different meats should be served.  This way there is something to please everyone!

Fourth, leftovers are a must!  This always makes my day – who doesn’t want to come home from work knowing that the cooking is done for you!  I seriously count down the hours left in the work day when I know there is Manga (beef stew) waiting for me at home!!

So, this post is in honor of my Mother-in-law, Janet, and all the other awesome Serbians that I call family!

The first time I tried Ćevapčići was on a Mediterranean cruise that Alex and I took in 2008.  One of our ports was Dubrovnik, Croatia.  We wandered the streets and stopped to eat at a little hole in the wall.  Alex was so excited to see Ćevapčići on the menu.  He had last had them when he traveled to Yugoslavia with his family as a middle schooler.  We ordered them and I fell in love!  They were so tasty.  I promised to learn to make them as soon as we returned home.  Unfortunately, I never got around to it – until now!  It may have taken awhile, but these are just as good as I remember them.  They could not be simpler to throw together and are great grilled or baked in the oven if you do not have access to a grill.

Alex enjoying Ćevapčići on a little side street in Drobrovnic.

Alex enjoying Ćevapčići on a little side street in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

My Yugoslavian family and friends will agree that this photo reminds you of dinner at Baba's house!

My Yugoslavian family and friends will agree that this photo reminds you of dinner at Baba’s house!

Ćevapčići (Serbian Kebabs)


  • 1 pound of ground pastured pork
  • 1 pound of ground grass-fed lamb
  • 1 pound of ground grass-fed beef
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, finely diced

What to do:

If you are baking the Ćevapčići, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with foil.  If you are grilling them, pre-heat you grill on high or as you would for grilling burgers.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine all of the above ingredients and mix well with your hands.  Make sure the spices are evenly distributed and the meats are well mixed.

Now you need to shape the Ćevapčići.  Grab a few Tablespoons of the meat mixture and roll it in your hands to form a small sausage.  They should be a little under an inch thick and about 3 inches long.  You will be rolling them for awhile, so recruit a helper if you can!  Place the formed Ćevapčići on the baking sheets with an inch or two of space between them or place them on a platter if grilling.

Place the baking sheets in the oven for 10-14 minutes, or until the Ćevapčići are cooked through and lightly browned on the outside.  If grilling, it will only take a few minutes per side for them to be cooked through, so watch them carefully.

Serve with the veggie of your choosing (we like steamed broccoli doused in butter) or a big salad with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers topped with olive oil and vinegar.  If you are lucky enough to be able to track down some Ajvar (roasted red pepper relish), serve it along side the Ćevapčići and you will taste pure happiness!  Special thanks to my awesome mother-in-law for providing us with homemade Ajvar!

Sooo good!!!

Sooo good!!!


This recipe was shared at Raia’s Recipes (Savoring Saturdays) and Food Renegade (Fight Back Friday).

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  1. Yes, the Slavic hospitality! I’ll never forget the time I served wine wrongly to guests because if they said no I didn’t top up their glasses anyway! Cevapcici looks delish.

  2. Russians are the same way. 🙂 I still feel funny living in the States and actually *not* serving people things when they say they don’t want anything. It feels wrong. Haha. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe at Savoring Saturdays! I’ve pinned it so I can try it out later. 😉

  3. These look fantastic, and so easy! I love slavic hospitality, too. I am Russian born in Ukraine, lived in the US, and now live in the Netherlands, I still find the food culture here difficult to get used to. Dutch people don’t typically serve food at parties. It happens, but then it will be one dish or some deep fried snacks.The first time that my husband’s friends and family came to a party at our house and saw about four main courses, along with several appetizers and desserts, they were completely shocked. Now, they know not to eat if they are coming over to our home. I also don’t feel comfortable having guests over without feeding them, even unexpected visitors deserve something 🙂

    Oh, I did have to learn not to serve people when they say no though. My husband finds it very annoying. I just ask him a few times if he wants more, but I was told that’s annoying, too.

  4. This looks yummy and seems simple enough to make. I’m pinning to the Savoring Saturdays Pinterest board to try for later. Thanks for linking up!

  5. Looks great. My grandfather was from Split and grandmother from Nin but all cultural heritage lost by my generation. Now I’m 60 and since I love to cook, have been exploring my culture through cuisine. Have made cevapcici a few times and they are a big hit. Ajvar might follow, as well as crushed onions. Nice pages!

    I’ve got some cevapcici meat sitting in the fridge right now, and I’ll make it tomorrow. Might have some for breakfast with some eggs!

  6. Nancy Vallereux

    Smoked paprika?

    • I have found three types of paprika: regular, smoked, or sweet. I like the smoked paprika in this recipe, but you could use regular, old paprika if that is all you have. It’s still delicious! Enjoy!

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