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Perfect Ćevapi Recipe

Authentic recipe for Balkan Ćevapi

Course Main Course
Cuisine Balkan
Keyword Balkan, Cevapi,
Prep Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Author Johan Johansen


  • 500 grams ground beef about 15% fat
  • 500 grams ground pork about 15% fat
  • 500 grams ground lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika about 15 grams
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika about 5 grams
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Put all the meat into a large bowl
  2. Finely grate the onion and garlic and add to the bowl
  3. Add all dried spices and the baking soda
  4. Using very clean hands, carefully and gently mix all ingredients till thoroughly combined, but avoid overmixing (see section below)
  5. Cover bowl and place in the fridge for at least 1-4 hours, but preferably overnight
  6. When ready to cook, remove the bowl from the fridge

  7. Grab one scoop of meat mixture at a time (about what you would use for a standard meatball). And, using your hands and a flat surface, shape it into a sausage slightly thicker than your index finger.
  8. Repeat the above step until all your Ćevapi are formed. Allow them to rest at room temperature while you fire up a charcoal grill or heat a grill pan to as hot as it will go.

  9. Grill Ćevapi for a minute or two on each surface or until they’re nicely browned and showing grill marks on the outside but are still juicy and tender in the center.

  10. Serve your grilled Ćevapi with pita, ajvar and chopped, raw onions.

Recipe Notes

The exact cooking time will depend on the temperature of your grill or pan and the diameter of your Ćevapi. I recommend grilling and timing one Ćevapi, then cutting in half and checking for doneness – that way you’ll have a general guideline to go by before putting a large batch on the grill.

If you're using a grill pan, by the way, make sure not to crowd the pan as it will decrease the temperature of the pan, inhibit browning and greatly increase the cooking time.