11 Must-try Serbian Desserts

Plum cake with plums in the background

If you’re big on sweets and the good old chocolate bar doesn’t satisfy your cravings — you need heavy artillery. As it turns out, Serbian desserts are exactly that! From delectable cakes to juicy pies, you’ll surely find something to sort out those munchies. 

Truth be told, not each treat on the list originated in Serbia. A few are a twist on desserts from elsewhere. Nonetheless, every one of them is an important and beloved part of Serbian cuisine.

So, get ready for a sugar rush and check out these must-try Serbian desserts.

1. Plazma Torta (Plazma cake)

No matter how izbirljv/izbirljiva (picky) you are, Serbian cakes won’t disappoint. Loaded with sugar, they certainly won’t help you reach your diet goals. Thankfully, Serbs typically eat cakes only on special occasions.

More precisely, most people only have this dessert for rođendan (birthday party), Božić (Christmas), svadba (wedding), and a few others.

Next time you’re in Serbia, definitely try Plazma torta. With a base made of ground Plazma biscuits (hence the name) and fluffy cream on top, this cake is simple and satisfying at the same time.

Plus, it costs very little to make it at home. So, if you’re up for a culinary challenge, watch Balkan Dad make Plazma cake, and then try doing it yourself.

Bonus phrase: Šlag na torti

Just like the English equivalent — the icing on the cake — this phrase describes something that makes a good thing even better. For example:

Odlično sam se provela za rođendan, a pokloni su bili šlag na torti.

(I had a great time on my birthday, and the presents were the icing on the cake.)

2. Sitni kolači (small cakes)

If you have a sweet tooth, or as Serbs would say — if you’re a sladokusac — you’ll love going to Serbian slava. Besides being a religious holiday, slava is also a holiday for your palate.

After all the gorgeous starters, main and side dishes, you’ll get a plateful of sitni kolači (small cakes).

Depending on a few factors, slava can be either posna or mrsna. As for the former, you’re not allowed to eat meat or any other animal products except for fish. On the flip side, if you go to mrsna slava, there are no restrictions.

So, at posna slava, most of the desserts from this list are a no-go. Thankfully, kolači are the exception.

And among them, bajadera takes the cake (pun intended). This nutty, chocolaty delight is all you need to get your sugar fix. So, if you’re ever invited to a slava, make sure to try bajadera.

Small cake with chocolate on top.
Bajadera ♥️

3. Baklava

Smothered in sugar syrup, this walnutty delight is balanced out by zesty lemon juice. Baklava is a real poslastica(treat), and even the most hardcore dessert-lover won’t be able to eat more than a couple of these without having a sugar overload.

Originally a part of Turkish cuisine, baklava is a favorite in all Balkan countries. Therefore, you’ll find it in every poslastičarnica (sweets shop). So, next time you’re low on energy, drop by one of these and get your daily dose of sugar high.

A big dish full of baklava.
Baklava 🙂

4. Jabučara (Apple pie)

Jabučara is a classic among Serbian desserts. Unlike the American apple pie, it consists of layer upon layer of thin crust. Between each of these is a filling made of apples, sugar, and cinnamon.

Best of all, you probably won’t need to buy jabučara. What we mean is — if you visit a Serbian friend, their baba (grandma) will likely have a plateful ready in case of unexpected guests.

When you finish eating it, don’t forget to compliment baba’s cooking skills. Simply say prste da poližeš (finger-licking good) and watch her swell with pride.

5. Palačinke (Crepes)

Nowadays, most fast food shops and restaurants in Serbia sell crepes with various fillings, like Nutella, bananas, cherries, and many others.

However, these are nowhere near the authentic homemade palačinke — typically filled with honey and ground walnuts or fruit jam. In case you’re out of these, just fill them with good-old sugar, and they’ll still taste amazing.

Finally, palačinke are quick and easy to make. As a result, they are a perfect dessert to whip up if you’re having friends over. Just make sure to make a mountain of them since they tend to disappear pretty fast.

Rolled crepes with chocolate on a white plate.
Palačinke 😋

6. Vanilice

These bite-sized cookies will fill your nostrils and soul with an intoxicating vanilla scent. They consist of two biscuits and a layer of jam sandwiched between them.

As simple as they are, vanilice are a great dessert no matter the occasion. Just be sure to chew them carefully. Namely, due to the texture, they can pose a choking hazard if you try to eat them too quickly

Vanilice 😊

7. Salčići

As the name suggests, salčići are made of salo — pig fat.

Even if this sounds gross to you, this Serbian dessert is actually amazing, and you certainly won’t feel like your mouth is full of lard. Instead, this fluffy treat filled with jam will melt with every bite, satisfying all your sugar needs without being tooth-achingly sweet.

So, unless you’re vegan (or can’t eat pork for other reasons), give it a go, and we promise you won’t regret it!

Serbian dessert called salčići on a plate
Irresistible salčići

8. Gomboce

Imagine being hit by an irresistible urge for something sweet. Sadly, all you have in your pantry are a bunch of potatoes and plums.

Sounds like a dessert crisis, but actually — you’re in luck! As it turns out, these are (almost) all you need to make a delicious and filling Serbian dessert. We’re talking about gomboce, also known as knedle sa šljivama (plum dumplings).

Namely, you’ll roll plums into a dough made of flour and potatoes. After boiling them, you’ll fry the dumplings and sprinkle them with sugar.

Even if this combo strikes you as odd, the perfect balance between sweet and tart will make you want to have gomboce for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — and, of course, dessert.

9. Princes krofna (Cream puff)

When you’re in need of something fluffy and creamy, try princes krofne. These soft pastries filled with luscious choux cream are a perfect comfort treat.

Each bite will make your day just a bit better, and you’ll feel like all your worries are melting away. So next time you need a quick pick-me-up, pop to a sweets shop and indulge yourself with a box (or two) of princes krofne.

Two cream puffs on a wood board.
Princes krofne — perfect comfort dessert

10. Šampita

Šampita is one of those tooth-achingly sweet desserts that will give you a sugar overload after only a few spoonfuls.

This simple treat consists of two layers of light pastry filled with a sugary egg-white cream. But despite the simplicity, you’ll be gasping for air by the time you finish it.

So, when tackling this dessert monster, prepare a few glasses of water, get your tastebuds ready, and enjoy the decadence with each bite.

11. Embargo kolač

The last on our list carries a bitter-sweet nostalgia for all Serbs old enough to remember the 90s. Namely, during wartime, most people could barely make ends meet. As a result, enjoying a dessert was pretty much impossible.

But, as it happens in tough times, people learned how to make something out of nothing. And that’s how embargo kolač became a thing.

This simple yet delicious Serbian dessert consists of only a few ingredients — flour, sugar, baking soda, and jam. With these, moms and grandmas managed to make a treat for their kids when even a simple chocolate bar was a luxury.

Pick Your Favourite Serbian Desserts

Expectedly, this is by no means a complete list of Serbian desserts. In fact, there are more treats in this country than the layers of clothes your typical grandma wears at the first signs of draft.

So, drop by a sweets shop and find your favorites. Who knows — you might even pick up a few Serbian phrases while you’re at it.

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