Serbian Hamburger (Pljeskavica)

Serbian "Pljeskavica" Hamburger

Barbara Rolek 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings

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 garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet or  hot paprika
  • Whole green onions
  • Chopped raw onion
  • Tomato slices
  • Ajvar Lepinje or Pogacha bread

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. Cook pljeskavice about 7 minutes per side.

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

  7. Enjoy!