Balkan Cevapcici (aka, Cute Sausages)

I’ve been eating grilled, flavorful, luscious, case-less sausages called ćevapčići (say it like “ch-VOP-chee-chee”) all over the place since we departed Prague to explore Slovenia and Croatia. These tasty little nuggets are available from street vendors and at sit-down restaurants, and can be served with kaymak cheese, chopped salad, french fries, and ajvar (a roasted pepper condiment that currently tops my list of “recipes to figure out when I get home”).

Just in case you want to try your hand at making these sausages right this minute — and I kinda think you should! — I’ve adapted a recipe on the fly from I Want To Cook That. When we return home, I’ll be working up my own recipe and sharing our photos of eating adventures.


This photo is from I Want To Cook That. Be sure to visit; there are some great recipes there!

Cevapčići, a.k.a., Balkan Sausages

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 pound ground pork or veal

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon paprika (hot or mild)

  • 1 medium onion, grated

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Crumble ground meats into a large bowl and add the garlic, paprika, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well with your hands until combined but don’t overwork the meat or your ćevapčići will get tough.


Roll the meat into equal-sized logs — they should be the size of a chubby finger or an American breakfast sausage link. Pro tip: Wet your hands to prevent the meat from sticking to you while you roll.


Preheat a gas grill on high with the lid closed, about 10 minutes, then grill the sausages until well-browned all over. This should only take 3-5 minutes. (In a pinch, you could also cook these in a 400F oven on a foil-covered baking sheet.)


Serve with a chopped salad; my recipe for Turkish Chopped Salad is similar to the Šopska salad we’ve been eating here. The primary difference? Šopska salad is topped with crumbles of a mild feta that makes me cry, it’s so good.

Need to know more about ćevapčići? Wikipedia’s got you covered.

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  • Bob Theroux says:

    Ajvar can be made with or without eggplant. I love eggplant and use this recipe:
    2 large eggplants, about 3 pounds
    6 large red bell peppers
    Salt and black pepper
    1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    Juice of 1 lemon
    1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
    Heat oven to 475 degrees. Place washed eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet and roast until their skins blister and turn black, about 30 minutes.
    Place roasted vegetables in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for 10 minutes.
    Peel off and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds. In a large bowl, mash or chop vegetables, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your ajvar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic and lemon juice, and drizzle in oil, stirring constantly.
    Transfer to a glass dish. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

    Basic recipe taken from Olive’s Backyard Herb Blog.

  • Argus says:

    Nice to see you’re enjoying my local cuisine 🙂

    That recipe for ajvar is more or less good but its better if you grill the vegetables cause the smoke elevates it to another level.

    Also authentic čevapćići originate from Bosnia where it’s made with 100% beef.

    Enjoy the stay and make sure you try some spit roast lamb if you get the chance!

    • Skyy says:

      Hey Argus! For how long would you grill veggies? And I guess you don’t need to let them steam like Bob Theroux suggests when he roast them in the oven, right?

  • Hi Mel! I grew up across from a Czech neighbour who made cevapcici, incredible dumplings (made with bread, flour and milk!), and some kind of rolled dessert than involved ground nuts, chocolate, coconut and a lot of butter – like an Eastern European, pinwheel-shaped, butter-filled Larabar. YUM! That’s hearty fare but oh boy was it good! The cevapcici on the BBQ is delicious!

    Glad you’re having such a great time over there! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 xo

  • Rose says:

    Yum looks so good, will have to try this very soon! Making your cauliflower rice right now can’t wait to dig in.

    Enjoy your trip looks like an amazing experience !

  • Kathryn says:

    Made these for dinner last night and they were delish!!

    • Mel says:

      Right on! So glad you liked them! We had cevapcici last night, too, from a restaurant here in Ljubljana, and they were SUPER good.

  • Jacqui says:

    Just finished rolling the last one…. Can’t wait to grill and eat!

  • Selena says:

    I made these last night, and my 13 year old could’t wait for them to come off the grill. They are delicious! Next time I will have to make a double batch; the kids finished them off for breakfast this morning! Thanks Mel!!

  • BikramJen says:

    I made these along with the Turkish Chopped Salad. So good, my dinner was (almost) illegal! Thank you!

  • Oh I haven’t had cevapi since I was in Bosnia! Thanks for this recipe – it’s going to bring back so many good memories!!!

  • Unimaginative says:

    This is tonight’s supper, and is delicious. Between you, NomNomPaleo, and Health-Bent, all of my paleo food is being devoured by my non-paleo roommates. 🙂

    I’m glad to see you’re okay, I was getting a little worried when I saw the news about the flooding in Prague.

  • Oh my god oh my god oh my god one of my favorite blogs did a Serbian recipe. ‘Scuse me while I roll over and die happy.

    You have made this Serb’s day. Thank you. <3

  • JennF says:

    I made these for dinner last night and hubby and I both thought they were delish! If this is what you come up with on the fly, I can’t wait to see the recipe that you develop when you have more time. Yum!

  • Medina says:

    Hi Mel I just started reading trough your website and saw some post about these cevape I am from Bosnia myself but I lived most of my life in Des Moines Iowa my mom makes delicious cevape but one ingridient she adds that makes them even better is little bit of beer she explained to me that yiest in the beer makes the meet more tender and juicy she worked in one of these resturants back in the days before the war I also post my mothers ajvar recipe that has been passed down from many generations in our family she preserves hers and we have it year round it is also a condiment that we use to cook with to add flavor to stews, soups, and chilli
    I was also going to suggest punjene paprike which are filled peppers with rice and ground beef in tomatoe sauce, my healty version includes lot more meat and less rice
    this is a great recipe with full video also you do not need to use flour at all it just thickens the sauce but the egss will do that as well..
    hope you enjoy it!

    • Mel says:

      Hello, Bosnia! Thanks for commenting!

      Sadly, we paleo eaters can’t add beer, but I bet it does make them taste great! The stuffed peppers sound delicious! I might have to work on a version of that. 🙂