How to Make Croatian Potica (Stuffed Sweet Bread)

woman kneading dough
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  • Total: 85 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Rising Time: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 3 loaves of Povitica

Povitica (poh-vee-TEET-sah), also known as Potica (poh-TEET-sah), is a yeast-raised dough rolled around a variety of fillings - sweet or savory - and then baked as a roll or in a cake pan or loaf pan.

Its name derives from the Slovenian word poviti, which means 'to wrap in.' Every family has its own favorite recipe, and while a walnut potica may be the most popular kind, we decided to try one with a pecan filling. And boy, were we impressed!

Many people refer to povitica / potica as nut roll, but this is an over-generalization because all manner of fillings are used.

Sweet potica can be served as dessert with coffee or dry white wine, and savory potica is delicious as a side to the main meal or as a snack with cold beer.


  • For the Filling:
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 heaping cup sugar
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) margarine
  • 1 1/2 pounds pecans (ground very fine, like sawdust)
  • 4 large room-temperature eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the Sweet Dough:
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large room-temperature eggs
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 7 1/2 to 8 cups all-purpose flour

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this sweet stuffed bread is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

To Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, combine sugar, evaporated milk, and margarine.

  3. Add pecans, then beaten eggs, and mix well. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

  4. Remove from heat and add pinch of salt, cocoa and cinnamon, and mix well. Let cool till just warm enough to spread.

To Make the Sweet Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine lukewarm milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, eggs and softened butter. Add the yeast mixture and stir.

  4. Add half of the flour and mix well until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make an easily handled dough.

  5. Knead dough on a lightly floured until smooth.

  6. Put dough in a greased bowl, cover and place in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  7. When doubled, punch down and let double again, about 1 hour.

  8. Divide dough into three parts. Roll each part until very thin in a rectangular shape.

  9. Spread filling on the dough.

  10. Roll and twist in a circular shape like a snail or cinnamon roll.

  11. Place in greased 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans. Cover, put in warm place and let rise, about 1 hour.

  12. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 45 minutes.

  13. Serve with a cup of coffee or dry white wine.


  • This dough requires three rises, so plan ahead when preparing this recipe.