Traditional Rolled Burek (Borek) Recipe

Traditional Rolled Burek (Borek) Recipe

The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 18 to 20 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
200 Calories
13g Fat
13g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18 to 20
Amount per serving
Calories 200
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 38mg 13%
Sodium 200mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 120mg 3%
*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.)

Burek, also spelled börek, is a filled pastry made with flaky phyllo dough. It is believed that burek originated from what is now ​Turkey in the old Ottoman Empire. Since its creation, burek has become a very popular dish in North Africa, the Balkans, and even Southern Slavic countries. Given its international footprint, burek has been adapted to different cuisines. It is available with a variety of fillings and flavors and may be prepared as individual pastries or in a large pan and cut after baking.

In the former Yugoslavia, burek is traditionally a meat-filled pastry and can be eaten any time of the day. In Slavic cuisines, burek is typically rolled into individual pinwheel-shaped pastries and can be found in bakeries and dedicated burek stores where it is often sold with yogurt. In this burek recipe, these baked meat rolls are shaped like snails and filled with a flavorful ground beef mixture. They can be served as an entrée or be made into smaller versions for appetizers.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 (16-ounce) box phyllo pastry sheets, 12 x 17 inches

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Traditional Rolled Burek (Borek) ingredients

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low to medium heat and add the oil.

    oil in a pan

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  3. Sauté the onion until soft and then add the ground beef, allspice, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste.

    onions, ground beef and seasoning in a pan

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  4. Cook until the meat is crumbly but not dry. Cool completely before you continue. While ground beef mixture is cooling, preheat oven to 375 F.

    ground beef cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  5. Once cooled, lay one sheet of phyllo dough on the counter. Keep the remaining sheets of phyllo dough covered with a damp kitchen towel, and work quickly to prevent it from drying out.

    phyllo dough

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  6. Brush sheet with some of the melted butter. Place a heaping 1/3 cup of meat mixture on the sheet along the long side, 2 inches from the edge.

    beef on top of phyllo dough

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  7. Fold the bottom over the meat mixture and roll into a snake shape. Cut the roll in half and coil each roll into a snail shape.

    phyllo dough roll coiled into a circle

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  8. Place rolled dough and ground beef pinwheel on a nonstick baking sheet and butt the end up against the edge of the pan to prevent uncoiling. Brush with additional butter. Continue until you've used all the ground beef.

    Traditional Rolled Burek (Borek) on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  9. Bake in a preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes or until just golden.

    baked Traditional Rolled Burek (Borek) on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

A hint for handling phyllo dough: Be sure the dough is at room temperature before you open the box. Place the sheets of dough on a large cookie sheet and cover them with plastic wrap and then a heavy towel. In this way, they will not dry out while you are working with them. Work fast for best results and do not have the butter too hot when brushing the dough.
Recipe Source: The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith (Wm Morrow)
Reprinted with permission.