Cevapcici Balkan Sausage

Cevapcici Balkan Sausage

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Refrigerate : 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
441 Calories
28g Fat
4g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 441
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 37%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 481mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 40g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 614mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The casing-less Balkan sausages known as or cevapi, cevaps, or cevapcici found their way into Eastern Europe via the Ottoman Empire, which in turn picked them up from Arabic traditions. Today, there are different versions of these fresh, unsmoked sausages throughout Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia.

Some cevapcici are made out of pork and lamb, others of pork, lamb, and beef—like our recipe—and yet others omit the pork entirely. But if anything is consistent in all preparations is the fact that the sausages are formed by hand and not stuffed into casings—and the meat mixture has generous amounts of garlic. Although the mixture is quickly made, it's key to let it cool off in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, or ideally overnight, so the flavors combine and the mixture is easier to form into sausages. An extra hour of chilling is needed after the sausages are formed.

Traditionally, cevapcici was skewered and grilled over an open fire. Nowadays, most cooks grill, broil, or pan-fry the sausages. They make a great dish when served over fries or potato wedges, but generally, cevapcici is served on lepinje bread.


  • 1 pound ground beef chuck

  • 1/2 pound ground pork

  • 1/2 pound ground lamb

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, or more to taste

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  • Finely sliced onions, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cevapcici Balkan Sausage ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, pork, lamb, garlic, chopped onions, and salt until thoroughly combined. Using disposable gloves to knead the mixture makes the process easier and also helps the ingredients combine thoroughly.

    In a large bowl, mix together the beef, pork, lamb, garlic, chopped onions, and salt

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. To taste for seasonings, make a small patty and fry. Taste and add more garlic, salt, or onions to the raw mixture according to your preferences. Refrigerate the meat mixture for at least one hour, but ideally overnight, ​before forming.

    small piece of cooked meat, fried to test the seasoning

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. To make the sausages, roll the meat mixture into a long, 3/4-inch cylinder. Cut links at 4-inch intervals. If you'd prefer, you can use a sausage extruder without a casing attached.

    meat shaped into sausages

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Place the sausages on a plastic wrap-lined plate, cover with more plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an extra hour to firm.

    Place the sausages on a plastic wrap-lined plate, covered with plastic

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Broil cevapcici on a charcoal grill or a heated oven broiler rack coated with cooking spray 4 to 6 inches from the flame for 4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the middle. The sausages can also be pan-fried in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over high heat for a total of 8 minutes, turning frequently to brown on all sides. Serve with chopped raw onion.

    Cevapcici Balkan Sausage cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

Pre-Make and Freeze

These sausages can be frozen after they are formed by arranging them on a parchment-lined sheet pan spaced well apart. When fully frozen, transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag. To use, remove as many or as few from the freezer bag as you'd like. They can be thawed and cooked or cooked when frozen to good effect.

Classic Cevapcici Presentation

These sandwiches are common street food in Eastern Europe, served on bread with sides of sliced onions, ajvar pepper sauce, and sour cream for a rich and delicious meal. But there are other traditional and tasty ways of eating cevapcici: