Homemade Cevapcici (Cevapi) - Delicious grilled minced meat sausages as you know them from the Balkans, home-seasoned and made. In terms of taste, they resemble the well-known sausages from vacation! You will be making this again and again!
Cevapcici, or Cevapi, is a meat dish you see in the Balkans. They are spicy sausages that you make from minced meat and then grill. Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, they all have their own variant. And you can eat them as take away.
They are eaten in flat bread (called pita bread) and are served with finely chopped onion, lettuce and sauce. It's a delicious meal, that's for sure!
Cevapcici, grilled spicy minced meat sausages, are not only delicious on holidays. You can now prepare them quickly at your own home!
You know this dish from the Balkans (southeast Europe), where every country has its own variant.
In Bosnia, the cevapi are short and a bit fatter. They are usually made from two types of ground beef.
If you order this in Serbia, you get a mixture of beef, lamb and/or pork.
In Croatia, you see that the Cevapcici are made from a mixture of beef and pork. This variant is thinner and longer compared to the Bosnian version
The recipe is very similar to other kebabs such as kofta and shish kebab. Dishes you see a lot in Turkey.
A rich history
This dish goes back to the time of the Ottoman Empire (1299 to 1922). Initially, robbers outside the city made long meatballs and roasted them over fire. That dish was called Leskovac Cevap.
And as always with great recipes, it spreads quickly and by the mid-nineteenth century it was a favorite dish in Belgrade (Serbia). At the time, it was eaten as a snack after a night out.
In the first half of the twentieth century it became a recipe that was eaten for breakfast. You could buy it locally and it was one of the first take-away meals. It has since spread throughout the Balkans and has even become the national dish of Serbia.
A full list of ingredients can be found at the end of this blog.
- Minced meat - You can use different types of minced meat in this recipe. Only ground beef, 50 % ground beef, and 50 % ground pork, or a combination of ground beef with ground lamb (50%: 50%).
- Paprika Powder - Use a combination of different spices for a deeper flavor. I use smoked paprika and sweet paprika powder.
- Baking soda - Add a little baking soda to crisp up the crust of the meat.
- Vegeta - A spice widely used in the Balkans, where everyone seems to have it in their pantry. It is available at stores like Amazon and can, in addition to this recipe, be used in soup, sauce, and stews. If you don't have it at home? Then you can replace it with vegetable stock powder.
- Garlic sauce - Serve the cevapcici with a flat bread, like pita bread, and sauce. In this recipe, I chose garlic sauce (because it's one of my favorite sauces), but sour cream or Greek yogurt (slimmer version) are also popular.
You can find a recipe that you can easily print at the bottom of this blog.
Step 1 - Flavor the meat
- Place the minced meat, chopped parsley, and squeezed or finely chopped garlic in a large bowl.
- Add the flour and vegeta.
- Then the sweet paprika powder,
- and the smoked paprika powder.
Step 2 - Add the remaining spices and knead
- Sprinkle with cayenne pepper,
- and with baking soda.
- Put the egg on top.
- And knead everything well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to cool so you can form the meat better and it won't fall apart when you grill it.
Step 3 - Form the cevapi and brush with oil
- Form small rolls with your hands. If you wet your hands before shaping, the minced meat will stick less.
- Brush the meat with oil. Because it is baked on the grill or BBQ, you oil the outside of the meat instead of the pan.
Step 4 - Grill the cevapcici
Heat the BBQ or grill (pan) until it is very hot. Place the minced meat on the baking plate and grill for 12 minutes (turning the meat in between). Finely chop the onion and fry the flat bread. Fill the bread with onions and cevapcici and serve with the garlic sauce. Enjoy your meal!
- Ground Beef - Instead of ground beef, you can also use half ground beef/ half ground pork, or half beef and half lamb (both ground).
- Vegeta - Replace with vegetable stock powder. If you don't have it at home either, leave it out.
- Garlic Sauce - Instead of this creamy sauce, you can also serve this with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Or serve with Ajvar (available in supermarkets or online).
- Baking soda - Don't have baking soda in your pantry? Then leave it out.
- Gluten-free - Use gluten-free flat bread or leave it out.
- Kid-Friendly - Instead of 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, add ½ teaspoon.. Omit the cayenne pepper.
- Also tasty - Serve with crispy fries.
My favorite kitchen utensils
Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you found it helpful to make this recipe. Here are some tools that I used to prepare this. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission.
But, that being said, these are the tools that I use and that I recommend to everyone (even my own family).
- This glass bowl is the first thing I reach for when mixing meats, making dough, and preparing puddings. You can use them with cold and hot dishes and they can withstand temperature changes. And because they are made of glass, you can keep them very hygienically clean.
- I bake the pita bread in my Airfryer for 3 minutes. I don't have to preheat the oven and they are ready in a short time!
- In summer I grill the meat on my BBQ. But when the weather becomes colder, my grill pan comes out of the cupboard. This grill pan has a non-stick coating and is PFAS free. And it bakes the meat super nice, with beautiful grill marks. Suitable for induction and gas.
- After shaping the cevapcici, before brushing them with oil, you can keep them in the fridge for up to one day. You can also freeze them. Place them in a freezer container (with baking paper between each roll so that they do not stick). You can keep them for up to 2 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator and grill them according to the directions.
- After grilling the cevapcici, you can keep them covered in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can also freeze them. Then place them in a freezer container (with baking paper between each roll so that they do not stick). You can keep them for up to 2 months. Thaw them in the fridge and heat them in a skillet or in the oven for 20 minutes at 320 °F (160 °C).
- Mix baking soda through the meat. This way you get a crispy layer when grilling.
- Chill the flavored meat in the refrigerator for at least two hours. This makes it easier to shape them and you can grill the sausages better.
🥘 Other delicious recipes
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Cevapi or Cevapcici (Grilled Serbian Sausage)
Pas met de knoppen het aantal personen aan.
- 1 pound ground beef or half and half minced pork / minced beef or 2½ pound of minced beef and ½ poundof minced lamb
- ½ oz parsley fresh flat, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic squeezed
- 1 egg size M
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder sweet
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder smoked
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ teaspoon vegeta
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 8 pita bread baked of any other flat bread
- 2 red onions finely chopped
- 1 cup garlic sauce sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Put the minced beef in a bowl. Add the parsley and garlic.1 pound ground beef, ½ oz parsley fresh, 4 cloves garlic
- Add the smoked paprika, sweet paprika, flour, baking soda, cayenne pepper, and Vegeta.1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon paprika powder, 1 teaspoon paprika powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¾ teaspoon vegeta
- Also, put the egg in the bowl.1 egg
- Mix the minced meat well with your hands.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Form small meat rolls with your hands. Place on a platter or plate.
- Brush the meat with oil.
- Heat the BBQ or grill pan until very hot.
- Place the cevapcici in the pan and grill for 12 minutes, while turning the meat a few times.
- Cut open the flat bread (pita bread) and fill with cevapcici and red onion.8 pita bread, 2 red onions
- Serve with garlic sauce.1 cup garlic sauce
- After shaping the cevapcici, but before brushing them with oil, you can keep them in the fridge for up to one day. You can also freeze them. Place them in a freezer container (with baking paper between each roll so that they do not stick). You can keep them for up to 2 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator and grill them according to the directions.
- After grilling the cevapcici, you can keep them covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them. Then place them in a freezer container (with baking paper between each roll so that they do not stick). You can keep them for up to 2 months. Thaw them in the fridge and heat them in a skillet or in the oven. Bake it for 20 minutes at 320 °F (160 °C).
The nutritional values are shown per person, assuming you eat this with four people.