Serbian Beef Burek (Burek sa Mesom)

Serbian Beef Burek (Burek sa Mesom)

The Spruce / Yana Karin

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 63 mins
Chill Time: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 33 mins
Servings: 8 to 12 servings
Yield: 12 squares
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
355 Calories
19g Fat
23g Carbs
21g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 355
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 650mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 59mg 5%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 341mg 7%
*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.)

This Serbian recipe for meat burek or burek sa mesom is made with flaky phyllo dough (sometimes called filo dough) and ground beef (or a combination of beef, pork, and lamb) and formed in a 9 x 13-inch pan. It also can be shaped into a cylinder and then coaxed into a horseshoe shape or baked in a large round pan.

Bureks, or savory pies, exist throughout the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. They can be formed into horseshoe shapes, coils, cylinders, or round pies and are eaten as appetizers or as a main course. Some people consider them the quintessential hangover food, especially with a cold glass of kefir.

Burek makes a great luncheon course, entrée, or appetizer and freezes well cooked or uncooked. Thaw in the fridge before baking or reheating in the oven.


Click Play to See This Serbian Meat Burek (Burek Sa Mesom) Come Together

"This burek recipe was easy and a tasty dish. My 1-pound package of phyllo had about 20 sheets and made a nice top and bottom crust. Destemming and chopping the parsley took a bit of time, but the ground beef filling turned out delicious." —Diana Rattray

Serbian Beef Burek Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (or a combination of beef, pork, and/or lamb)

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 1 (1-pound) package phyllo dough, thawed

  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil (vegetable, sunflower, or pumpkin seed)

  • 3 large eggs, beaten

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or Bulgarian yogurt)

  • 3/4 cup soda water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Serbian Beef Burek (Burek sa Mesom) ingredients

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  2. In a large skillet, sauté the onion and ground chuck over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent.

    sauté the onion and ground chuck over medium heat

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  3. Drain in a colander.

    Drain the meat in a colander

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  4. Return the meat-onion mixture to skillet and add the parsley, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute, mixing thoroughly. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

    Return the meat-onion mixture to skillet and add the parsley, salt, and pepper

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  5. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Separate the phyllo dough into 2 piles (approximately 10 to 14 sheets each) and keep covered so they don't dry out. Half will go on the bottom of the pie and half will go on the top.

    Separate the phyllo dough into 2 piles

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  6. Place 2 sheets in the prepared pan and brush lightly with oil, folding in any overhanging edges. Add 2 more sheets and brush with oil. Continue until you've used one pile of phyllo.

    Place 2 sheets in the prepared pan and brush lightly with oil, folding in any overhanging edges

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  7. Spread the cooled ground chuck mixture evenly over the phyllo, pushing up to the edges. Begin covering the meat with the remaining phyllo, again using 2 sheets at a time and brushing with oil. Continue until all of the phyllo is used.

    Spread the cooled ground chuck mixture evenly over the phyllo

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  8. Brush the entire top lightly with oil. Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut burek all the way to the bottom into 12 squares.

    brush the top of the dough with oil and cut into 12 squares

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  9. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs with the yogurt and soda water. Pour over the burek. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

     mix the eggs with the yogurt and soda water, and pour over the dough

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

  10. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.

    Serbian Beef Burek (Burek sa Mesom) in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Yana Karin

Recipe Variations

  • Add 1/2 to 1 cup of finely cubed potato to the beef mixture.
  • Sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic with the beef and onions.
  • For a lighter dish, replace the cooking oil with an oil spray.

How To Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover burek for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze, wrap the leftover burek in plastic wrap and then in foil. Place the wrapped burek in a zip-close freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Reheat refrigerated or frozen burek (unthawed) in a preheated 350 F oven for about 10 to 20 minutes, or until it reaches at least 165 F in the center.

What Is the Best Way To Defrost Phyllo Dough?

Remove the phyllo from the box, but leave it in the sealed plastic packaging. Phyllo dough may be thawed in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. See the package for specific instructions.

How Do You Prevent Phyllo From Drying Out?

Phyllo sheets dry out very quickly, so make sure you keep them covered as you work on the layers. Ideally, cover the phyllo with a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper and a damp kitchen towel. Remove what you need and promptly re-cover. Don't lay the damp towel directly on the phyllo, as they can stick together if moistened.

What If You Tear Some Phyllo Sheets?

Torn phyllo sheets are fine to use. Patch them together before topping with a full sheet or two. You won't notice the tears.