Serbian Beef Burek (Burek sa Mesom)

Beef Burek

Romana Lilic / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 55 mins
Chill: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings

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.


  • 1 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (or a combination of beef, pork, and/or lamb)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 (1-pound) package phyllo dough (#7, thawed)
  • 5 tablespoons oil (vegetable, sunflower, or pumpkin seed)
  • 6 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek plain yogurt (or Bulgarian yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 cups soda water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  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.

  3. Drain in a colander.

  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.

  5. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Separate the phyllo dough into 2 piles (about 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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  10. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.