Traditional Serbian Kajmak Recipe

Traditional Serbian Kajmak recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

  • Total: 5 hrs
  • Prep: 0 mins
  • Cook: 5 hrs
  • Yield: 2 cups (serves 10 - 12)

Kajmak is a Serbian / Croatian fresh, unripened or "new" cheese made from unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk.

It's usually served with bread as an appetizer (lepinja sa kajmakom), but also as a condiment melted on the Balkan version of a hamburger patty (pljeskavica sa kajmakom), as well as simmered with beef shank meat (ribic u kajmaku), or tucked in pita bread with cevapcici sausages.

If left to ferment, aged kajmak has a stronger taste and is yellow in color, and is required for a pastry (pita) called gibanica.


  • 2 quarts unpasteurized, unhomogenized (raw) cow milk (or sheep 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 in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

    Store in airtight container
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

Kitchen Note

Traditional kajmak was made by boiling raw cow or sheep milk and placing it into wide, shallow bowls known as karlice. As the milk cooled, the cream rose to the top and formed a thin layer on the surface, which was skimmed off and placed in salted layers in a small wooden tub called a cabrica. The boiling and skimming procedure was repeated many times until the tub was full.