Traditional Serbian Kajmak Recipe

Traditional Serbian Kajmak recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

Prep: 0 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
68 Calories
2g Fat
8g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 68
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 248mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 203mg 16%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 244mg 5%
*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.)

Kajmak is a Serbian/Croatian fresh, unripened or "new" cheese made from unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk. It is fluffy and light in texture—you might compare it to whipped cream cheese in that regard, but it doesn't taste like cream cheese. It tastes like a slightly stronger cheese, but it's also sweet at the same time. Some compare it to clotted cream.

It's usually served with bread as an appetizer (lepinja sa kajmakom), but it's also used as a condiment melted on the Balkan version of a hamburger patty (pljeskavica sa kajmakom), simmered with beef shank meat (ribić u kajmaku), or tucked in pita bread with ćevapčići sausages. It's delicious anywhere you want a strong tasting cheese with a bit of sweetness.

While this recipe produces a young kajmak that is to be consumed immediately, traditional Serbian kajmak can also be matured for several months in wooden vessels called čabrica, with salt being added to the layers of kajmak and maturation for several months. In this process, excess liquid drains from the maturing kajmak, producing an even richer final product.

This new, unaged or fresh cheese, with a shelf life of about two weeks, is not only common in Serbia as an appetizer or served with bread instead of butter, but it's also popular in other parts of the the Balkans, as well as the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey. It just goes by different names.

If left to ferment, aged kajmak is yellow and has a stronger taste; it's required for a pastry (pita) called gibanica.


  • 2 quarts unpasteurized, unhomogenized (raw) cow's milk, or sheep's milk

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Traditional Serbian Kajmak recipe
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a rolling boil.

    Bring milk to boil
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic 
  3. Turn off heat and let cool completely without stirring (4 to 5 hours).

    Turn off heat
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic 
  4. Skim off the cream that has accumulated on top and refrigerate.

    Skim off cream
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  5. Repeat the boiling and cooling process several times, skimming off the cream and adding it to a container in the refrigerator.

    Repeat boiling process
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  6. Add salt and mix well.

    Add salt
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  7. Store refrigerated in an airtight containe for up to two weeks.

    Store in airtight container
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic


  • It may be difficult to find raw milk, depending on where you live. But if you have small dairy farms within driving distance of your house, you might consider contacting them to see if they sell raw milk

How to Store Kajmak

  • Keep kajmak in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.