Serbian Hamburger (Pljeskavica) Recipe

Serbian "Pljeskavica" Hamburger

Barbara Rolek 

Ratings (22)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 Hamburgers (6 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
2244 Calories
127g Fat
13g Carbs
248g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A pljeskavica (pless-kah-VEE-tsah) is a Serbian hamburger popular in one form or another throughout the Balkans, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.  

The name for these meat patties (pljeskavice is plural) comes from ​pljesak, a word meaning "to clap the hands," the motion used to form these thin, large burgers.

They can be made with any combination of pork, lamb, and beef and can be grilled, broiled, baked or pan-fried, although grilling is traditional. The meat mixture is usually identical to that used for cevapcici, little sausages that are formed by hand instead of being stuffed into a casing.


  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork
  • 1/2 pound lean ground lamb
  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet or hot paprika
  • To Serve:
  • Whole green onions
  • Chopped raw onion
  • Tomato slices
  • Ajvar Lepinje or Pogacha bread

Steps to Make It

In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, ground pork, ground lamb, garlic, onions, salt and sweet or hot paprika until thoroughly combined. Do not overmix because this will toughen the meat.

Refrigerate meat mixture for several hours for the flavors to meld and for the mixture to firm.

Heat a grill, indoor grill, broiler or skillet. Using slightly dampened hands, divide meat mixture into 6 portions. Form into thin patties, 9 inches by 1/2 inch or about the size of a small dinner plate.

Cook pljeskavice about 7 minutes per side.

Serve with green onions or chopped raw onion, tomatoes, ajvar, lepinje or pogacha bread and Serbian potato salad or cole slaw on the side. Some Serbs place the patty on a large bun like an American hamburger.

Other Types of Eastern European Hamburgers

Polish Hamburgers (Mielone Kotlety) Recipe: These hamburgers can be made with any combination of pork, veal or beef, and can be served like Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and gravy or on rye bread with sliced dill pickles or sweet pickle relish, sliced tomatoes and lots of black pepper, and onions.

Russian Mini Hamburgers (Kotletki) Recipe: This recipe for Russian mini hamburgers or kotletki is a popular fast-food dish that is eaten for lunch and dinner.

Romanian Breaded Meat Patties (Parjoale Moldovenesti) RecipeRomanians typically make a large quantity of parjoale at one time because they are delicious the next day cold on rye bread with whole-grain mustard, and perfect for picnics or traveling.

Ukrainian Meat Patties (Sichenyky) Recipe: This hamburger mixture is very moist to keep it tender. The patties are browned in a skillet and finished in the oven.