Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa Recipe

Banitsa is the queen of the Bulgarian cuisine! It’s the traditional meal that everyone in the country knows and loves. It comes in many forms and flavours and you can see different variations in other Balkan countries. 

Banitsa is made with homemade or commercially made pastry sheets that are prepared from a baker’s hard dough including flour, eggs, and water. You can find pastry sheets in every Bulgarian shop, just ask for “kori za Banitsa”. The filling is made of white cheese (Bulgarian “sirene”), yogurt and eggs. And, generally, that’s it!

There are several varieties which include banitsa with spinach or with pumpkin (tikvenik), etc. But you have to know that the traditional banitsa is made with Bulgarian white cheese.

Banitsa also has a breakfast form – banichka. It is best served with boza or ayran. You can read more about typical Bulgarian breakfasts in my other post.

In a New Year’s Eve dinner Banitsa is a must on the festive table. On that day we make it with some lucky charms or fortunes (small sheets of paper with written wishes). We put coins and sometimes a piece of dogwood branch with a bud which symbolize wealth.

We put the fortunes in the pastry and then everyone in the house take a piece of the Banitsa and the lucky charm in it determines the upcoming year.  Part of the tradition is putting the dogwood pieces from the Banitsa in the burning fire. If they pop this means health and wealth.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of filo dough
  • 250 g Bulgarian cheese (or feta cheese)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of Bulgarian yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Mix the products for the filling in separate bowl — eggs, white cheese and yogurt. Add some butter and mix well.

Then take a large baking pan and put some oil on the bottom. Layer the pastry sheets individually one by one with small amounts of the filling between them. Roll each sheet and arrange the finished rolls in the baking pan so that they form a spiral.

Grease the pastry with egg yolk and bake in oven at 200 — 250 °C until golden. And voila!

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Have you ever tried banitsa? Did you like it?

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Written by

Travel blogger and tourism graduate from Bulgaria, working in the field of Digital Marketing and PR for travel brands.

Latest comments
  • Avatar

    This looks delicious! Would love to try it (eating it, that is–not making it!) someday! Yum 🙂

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    Wonderful blog! Interesting articles and nice photos, cool look. Congratulations, Maria!

  • Avatar

    It looks very nice, I want to try making myself. Can you replace Bulgarian yoghurt with a Greek one? Ans for the cheese, can you use ordinary curd cheese instead?

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