Borek: Layered Cheese Pie

Borek: Layered Cheese Pie slice on a plate

The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Cool: 20 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
660 Calories
41g Fat
64g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 660
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 53%
Saturated Fat 18g 89%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 822mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 146mg 11%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 246mg 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.)

Turkish cuisine is famous for its endless varieties of delicious layered pies and pastries, called börek (buhr-ECK'). Börek is made with layers of yufka or phyllo. It comes in many shapes and sizes and is filled with everything from meat, cheese, spinach, and even spiced-up mashed potato.

Most Turkish folks eat börek several times a week. That's why you'll find börek in every home, pastry shop, and bakery. Families often pass recipes and börek-making skills down through generations, and everyone adds their own touch.

Yufka Sheets

In Turkey, many cooks still choose to make their own yufka sheets, especially those who live in rural areas. However, busy city cooks often choose to buy fresh yufka sheets from their local bakery or neighborhood yufka shop, where the yufkacı (yoof-KAH'-juh) rolls out perfect, thin yufka sheets for a living.

In large cities, you can also buy vacuum-packed, fresh yufka in most supermarkets. If you're not in Turkey, you can find packaged yufka in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean grocers. You can also buy it online from websites specializing in Turkish ingredients.

A Börek Shortcut

This recipe is a shortcut to making classic casserole-style börek. It's filled with Turkish white cheese, similar to feta, and uses ready yufka sheets.

We chose to blend all the liquid ingredients and drizzle them over the layers of yufka. This saves some time. Some cooks prefer to brush the melted butter and the milk mixture separately on each layer. Each cook has their own method, however. You can experiment and decide what works best for you.

"This borek recipe is very easy to follow. Despite the fact that there are very few ingredients in the filling, the borek turned out super tasty and flavorful. I used reduced-salt feta and I was very happy with the result. The crispy edges were my favorite part of this recipe!" —Tara Omidvar

Borek: Layered Cheese Pie Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 9 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces/125 grams) unsalted butter, or margarine, plus more for pan

  • 4 cups milk

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or white pepper

  • 18 ounces Turkish white cheese, reduced-salt feta, or goat cheese, crumbled

  • 4 large eggs

  • 4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

  • 6 large yufka sheets, or phyllo sheets

  • Sesame seeds, or nigella seeds, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Borek: Layered Cheese Pie ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  2. In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Next, stir in the milk, salt, and pepper. Microwave again on high until the milk is warm but not scalding, about 30 seconds. Preheat oven to 365 F / 185 C Butter the bottom and sides of a large, ovenproof 9 x 13-inch baking tray.

    Butter, milk, salt and pepper mixture in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  3. In a separate bowl, toss together the crumbled white cheese, eggs, and chopped parsley.

    Crumbled white cheese, eggs, and chopped parsley in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  4. Drizzle a spoonful or two of the milk mixture over the bottom of the prepared baking tray.

    Milk in a prepared baking pan

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  5. Next, take the first sheet of yufka and place it in an uneven, wrinkly fashion to cover the bottom of the tray. Spoon about 1/6 of the milk mixture all over the yufka. Let it run into the cracks and crevices and around the edges.

    Sheet of yufka with milk on top in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  6. Divide the cheese mixture roughly into 5 parts. Sprinkle 1/5 of the cheese mixture over the yufka.

    Cheese mixture on top of a sheet of yufka in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  7. Now, do the same with the next layer. Repeat until you have 5 layers finished. Cover the top of your pastry completely with the last piece of yufka. Drizzle the last portion of the milk mixture over the top, wetting all of it.

    Borek: Layered Cheese Pie in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  8. Sprinkle the top of your pastry with sesame seeds or nigella seeds. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is nicely browned and the center is firm, 35 to 45 minutes.

    Borek: Layered Cheese Pie sprinkled with sesame seeds in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

  9. When your pastry is cooked, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of cold water over the top, then wrap the whole thing in clean butcher's paper or a clean towel. This helps to soften the top layer. Let the pastry rest for about 20 minutes before cutting it into squares.

    Baked Borek: Layered Cheese Pie in a baking dish, covered with a towel

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic