It’s true that the traditional Croatian recipes of Croatia were heavily influenced by the Italians and the Austrians, but they are also unique in its own right.
If you find yourself dining in Croatia, you might be surprised to find that many of the dishes look familiar and taste even better! Here are some traditional Croatian recipes ideas to try while you’re there and at home, too.
Describing Traditional Croatian Food and Cooking
Croatia is a Mediterranean country, which has a long history of living with the sea. The traditional Croatian cuisine reflects this influence from the earliest times, with many dishes that are similar to those found in Italy and Greece.
Croatia is also known for its seafood dishes, including seafood pasta and crab meat in tomato sauce. In addition to Italian and Greek influences, traditional Croatian cuisine has been influenced by Spanish and Middle Eastern influences as well.
Traditional Croatian food is a combination of traditional and modern. It has a rich variety of dishes, which reflect the country’s history and culture. Traditional Croatian food is highly diverse, with influences from Near East, Central, and Southeast Europe. Some dishes are known for their strong flavors, such as rakija (fruit brandy).
5 Most Popular Croatian Dishes
1. Lamb Peka
This authentic Croatian recipe is for a large stew with meat, potatoes, onions, and carrots. It has a slightly sour taste due to the use of vinegar or sour pickles for seasoning. The dish is usually cooked for a long time over low heat so as not to burn the meat and vegetables.
2. Kajmak i Kruh
Kajmak i Kruh is a typical Croatian dessert made from eggs beaten with sugar and lemon juice that are then poured into a cake pan filled with dry crumbs and baked until golden brown on top. It can be eaten plain or with cream cheese frosting or whipped cream topping.
3. Pečene Punjene Paprike
One of the most traditional Croatian recipes is Pečene Punjene Paprike which means roasted peppers stuffed inside a cabbage leaf and then wrapped in bacon and served with cabbage salad and sour cream dressing.
Peppers from the Fruska Gora area are stuffed inside cabbage leaves, then wrapped in bacon and cooked on the grill until they are crispy on one side and soft on the other side. The peppers are then served with cabbage salad, sour cream dressing, and butter-fried potatoes or potato pancakes
4. Knedle s Sljivama
Knedle s Sljivama are small dumplings that are filled with meat or cheese and boiled. The name comes from the word “cevapi”, which means small bites of meat. They are commonly served with sour cream, but can also be served with other sauces such as tomato sauce or ketchup.
5. Grilled Fish on Risotto with Spinach
Grilled fish on risotto with spinach is a classic Dalmatian dish that you can find in any restaurant serving traditional dishes from the region of Dalmatia. It’s very easy to prepare, just add some olive oil to the rice before cooking it on your grill pan or barbecue grill. If you don’t have a grill pan or barbecue grill then use your oven.
5 Most Asked Questions About Traditional Croatian Food
Where Can I Find traditional Croatian food?
Croatia has a lot of local restaurants, and the most common dishes are the ones that have been around for a long time. You can find them in any city or village.
Is it safe to eat traditional Croatian food?
Most of the time, yes! But if you’re not sure about what you’re eating, then don’t risk it! If you want to know more about local food safety and regulations.
Where Should I Go for traditional Croatian cuisine cuisine?
You should head over to one of the many farm-to-table restaurants in Croatia, like The Plitvice Lakes National Park or Dubrovnik’s Old City Market where you can try some great traditional Croatian recipes straight from the region.
What are Some Typical Croatian Dishes?
Traditional Croatian cuisine is famous worldwide thanks to its many delicious dishes like paprika fish stew or sauerkraut soup (a typical dish made with cabbage). Other popular items include meat stews such as lamb.
Why are There so Many Different Kinds of Meat in Croatia?
This might seem like an odd question given that there are only three main types of meat in this country: pork, beef, and chicken. You may think that there would be only one type of meat here, but if you look closely at local traditional Croatian recipes, you’ll see that people often mix them up when they’re cooking in order to add variety and interest.
25 Traditional Croatian Recipes and Foods
Main Course Meals -10 Traditional Croatian Recipes
A traditional Croatian lamb recipe for a Croatian Peka is a dinner that the local’s living along the Dalmatian Coast cooks at home for their family in an outdoor fireplace.
It is an essential part of traditional Croatian cuisine. You can use Lamb, Octopus, Chicken, Veal or Fish with potatoes and vegetables, drizzled with olive oil and wine in a cast iron or earthenware pot, placed over a fire and covered with a dome-shaped lid – known in Croatia as ‘ispod čripnje’.
We have adapted this Croatian lamb Peka recipe, from traditional cooking under the bell with hot embers to being slow-cooked in the oven.
When I hear the word Brodet, my mouth starts to water for this traditional Croatian food. I absolutely love this classic Dalmatian dish, and you will too! Brodet is a seafood stew and an essential part of Croatian coastal food culture, just like all seafood – hello Octopus Salad and Shrimp Risotto.
With this traditional Croatian recipe for Brodet, it’s crucial you select the correct type of fish to get the best flavor out of the stew. The trick is to use a minimum of three kinds of fish and shellfish, and I also like to throw in a few crustaceans.
Roasting under the bell is a traditional Croatian food and its preparation process. The bell is originally called Peka. This way of preparing food goes way back into the past traditions of Balkan people. This is an authentic Croatian recipe from Northern Croatia.
It is connected to the notion of a fireplace as the heart of every traditional household, where families get together, where meals are prepared, where everything happens.
To be more precise about this traditional Croatian food, the flavor of squid ink is close to the flavor of fresh sea fish with some umami hints. To remember umami flavor, think of soy sauce or blue
This traditional Croatian recipe for risotto is sweet and nutty delicious, although it is emphatically shrimp-flavored, rather than tasting of cuttlefish
One of the reasons I love to travel is to experience the flavors and cooking styles of other cultures around the world.
I mean, when was the last time you had a traditional Croatian food in your hometown? Here is a traditional Croatian recipe for Skillet Chicken I love to prepare at home.
Croatian Skillet Chicken and Vegetables – with chicken, mushrooms, and peppers this is a fantastic sandwich stuffing, and great on its own as a low carb meal!
6. Jota Triestina (Beans and Sauerkraut Soup)
Jota Triestina (Beans and Sauerkraut Soup)
One of the things that make traditional Croatian cuisine so fascinating is its vast variety of flavors and cooking styles. Going from one region to another, in culinary terms (and not only) is something like going from one country to another—not surprising though.
This is a authentic Croatian recipe derived form a similar recipe in Italy.
The traditional Croatian food called Štrukli is dreamy, soft and pillow-y cheese dumplings that can be baked or (as we present them here) served in a Croatian dumpling soup.
In the north of Croatia lies the region of Zagorje which is where you are likely to find this traditional Croatian recipe being cooked. Known for its beautiful nature intertwined with green forests, vineyards, and fields; numerous old and small towns; as well as a lot of historical castles, museums, and churches you will fall in love.
We are a big fan of seafood, and some of our favorite traditional Croatian recipes for seafood that we have had while travelling has been simple seafood dishes along the Adriatic coast.
There are few things better than sitting back enjoying simply prepared, yet fresh and wonderful like this traditional Croatian food, while drinking a glass of wine and watching the sunset on a rooftop restaurant along the Adriatic Sea.
Istrian Yota is a traditional Croatian recipe for a stew eaten in Istria and other parts of northwestern Croatia. This traditional Croatian food is made from dried beans and smoked meats like pancetta and spare ribs. I
t is seasoned with a lot of garlic. The main ingredient of Istrian Yota is sauerkraut which hints at the Austrian and Hungarian origins of this dish
10. Campfire Lamb Peka
Last summer, I had the good fortune to travel with my partner to Croatia. We spent two weeks traversing the coastline of Croatia, where, in a cinderblock cabin surrounded by olive trees outside the Istrian town of Pula, Croatia, we got a lesson in how to make the Croatians most prized traditional Croatian food, Peka.
Peka is the name for both the bell-shaped, domed cooking vessel made of cast iron and the meal that is prepared in it. We allowed to bring this traditional Croatian food home with us but it has never been as good as the food in Croatia.
A hearty and traditional Croatian recipe. This is a peasant dish from the Dalmatian peoples of the Croatian coast. Blitva is a combination of potatoes, chard, garlic, and olive oil that is a perfect autumn and winter accompaniment to any meal but also a great unique side dish for your holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
The Dalmatian people of Croatia love this hearty traditional Croatian food. This side dish of garlicky and buttery potatoes and swiss chard (or Silverbeet). We call it Blitva, which simply translates to chard. Chard is a frequently consumed green on the coast.
This traditional Croatian recipe for Octopus Salad is loved by the Croatians on the Dalmatian Coast. Fresh seafood is abundant and this makes a perfect salad as a starter or light lunch. Serve it with a nice glass of white wine and some crusty bread. I have added this to my favorites and will make it often, thanks Croatia! Dobar Tek!
We came across this thick smoky bean soup (Grah i varivah) while traveling through Croatia. Grah translates literally to “bean” which is the principle ingredient.
This traditional Croatian recipe for Bean Soup (or Stew – Varivah) gets its rich flavor from smoked meat and paprika, along with a favorite spice blend used in Croatia called Vegeta.
This traditional Croatian food is made with dehydrated vegetables and spices. It is very similar to a granulated vegetable bouillon.
This traditional Croatian recipe for Istarska Maneštra: Minestrone with a Croatian Twist is taken from the Italian recipe. The Italian minestrone take on Croatian flavors and flair, including a big smoky hug from the glorious addition of pork ribs.
The traditional Italian minestrone is all about vegetables and beans; probably born in a kitchen that used whatever was on hand. Clearly this wasn’t enough for those meat-loving Croatians that live on the Istrian peninsula, so in went some Sunka. That would be ham to complete this traditional Croatian food.
Strukli (also called Zagorje strukli, because the dish originates from the Zagorje region of Croatia) is a traditional Croatian food. They are a Croatian brand and an example of how simplicity can be attractive. There are 2 types of Strukli: boiled and baked. I like them baked. I add a bit of grated cheese on top (although it’s not used in the traditional recipe).
The traditIonal Croatian recipe for Strukli are made of only a few ingredients. Ingredient that is most important is fresh cottage cheese: it has a fresh, slightly acidic taste and a refined taste of milk that is only really began to ferment.
16. Rolani Burek
Rolani Burek, Rolled Borek, Kol Boreği or Börek. Traditional Bosnian, Croatian, or Turkish dish? Whichever spelling or geographical origins you let it claim, this traditional Croatian recipe for a phyllo dough meat pastry is delicious and visually very cool.
The traditional Croatian food is made by wrapping seasoned ground beef in long rolls of phyllo dough and then wrapping it to form a spiral, this meat-snake thing makes an amazing cross-sectional cut.
Komiška pogača is a traditional Croatian recipe for a bread from the island of Vis that is filled with a herbed tomato sauce and anchovies. This dish boasts classic Mediterranean flavors!
The town of Vis is on the northeast side of the island and there, people prepare Viška pogača. On the other side of the island, where you find the town of Komiža, the people prepare Komiška pogača. Both are traditional Croatian food but they are different and you will want to try both
This traditional Croatian recipe for Pinca or Easter bread is a rich yeast dough, made with a lot of butter (sometimes lard) and eggs, flavored with citrus zest, candied and/or dried fruit, rum or rosewater.
It is shaped into a round loaf that is cut with kitchen scissors and brushed with egg wash before baking. In the past, Pinca was the pride of almost every household, each had their own family recipe. That traditional Croatian food is usually made on the Saturday and baked on Easter morning.
This traditional Croatian recipe for the bread is the embodiment of the philosophy “True beauty lies on the inside”. From the time you shape the roll, and try to ease it into the tin, it feels like a giant sausage, and I feared the filling would burst out at any minute.
Ugly, ugly looking thing it was. And when you take it out of the oven, it is so misshapen and bumpy to look at. Oh! but when you take that first slice – perfection! Really does surprise you!
Šunka u kruhu, or ham in bread in English is an inevitable traditional CroatiAn recipe the Croatian Easter table in many homes in continental Croatia. With traditional Easter dyed eggs, scallions, and horseradish sauce, it will surely find its place at the holiday table this year as well.
Essentially the traditional Croatian food, ham in bread is a delicacy that doesn’t require too much skill, so even though I was afraid it wouldn’t turn out ok since I’ve never made it before, after preparing and baking it I realized that it’s really simple.
5 Desserts – Traditional Croatian Cuisine
To explain further, Povitica (pronounced po-va-teet-za) is a traditional Croatian recipe for a festive strudel-like bread typically served at special occasions like birthdays and weddings. It is also known as Orehnjača in Croatia, Potica in Slovenia, Orechovnik in Slovakia and Štrudla in Serbia.
The traditional Croatian recipe for these Christmas cookies combine layers of cookie, jam, nuts, and meringue into a holiday sensation! They’re great all year round, btw! This is a recipe from times before Croatia existed brought forth from the former Yugoslavia.
Kremšnita comes from the word Cremeschnitte (Millefeuille in German). It is a cake with vanilla, cream and whipped cream, popular in several Central European countries.
There are many regional variations, although all the recipes contain puff pastry and vanilla custard. This is the traditional Croatian recipe for Kremsnia which is much the same as the ones below
In Slovenia, it is called Kremna rezina. In Slovakia, it is known as Kremes. In Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro it is called Krempita and of course in Germany, you will find it as Cremeschnitte.
When you find yourself in Croatia, the region of Slavonia is known for delicious Mađarica and other desserts, too! Don’t miss them. Here is a traditional Croatian recipe for Mađarica that you can make at home.
If you aren’t traveling anytime soon, have no fear. We’ve got a recipe you can whip up in your own kitchen. We love this chocolate slice and hope you do as well!
Homemade strudel is the food of the gods. It’s crunchy on the outside, but inside… there’s so much juicy filling between its flaky layers, it’s impossible to say ‘no’ or ‘enough’ to it.
I can’t get over how good this traditional Croatian recipe is. You don’t need to bother with fresh cherries; tinned, jarred or even frozen are perfect, particularly the Polish ones that are on sale in jars in supermarkets (and in a very good Polish shop in Bodmin). This is an excellent store-cupboard dish: tinned cherries, walnuts and frozen filo pastry.
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