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Hearty Borek Recipe (Rich and Buttery Savory Pie from Turkey and the Balkans)

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Bake a real stomach pleaser for you, friends, and family come breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime with our borek recipe, and succumb to the magic of this sumptuously soft, wonderfully cheesy, and gloriously buttery pie.

Borek Recipe

There’s a reason this mouthwatering pastry is so popular across Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Its rich, buttery, and melt-in-mouth pastry casing provides the perfect foundation on which you can add a huge array of different fillings.

A real favorite at breakfast for so many Turks, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy this renowned pastry at any time of the day, either as a slice on its own, or with a range of sides and salads.

What is Borek?

Originating from Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, borek is a savory pie made from pastry (commonly filo/phyllo) with a filling that varies from country to country. Cheese, egg, potato, and meat are just some of the many types of borek you can try.

Renowned in many countries for its weaving pastry exterior due to the twisting and crumpling of the pastry before baking, borek or burek, while a staple breakfast dish of Turkish cuisine, is widely popular in many other cuisines.

In the Balkans, you’ll find it in the likes of Bosnian cuisine, Serbian cuisine, North Macedonian cuisine, Croatian cuisine, and Montenegrin cuisine, among many others, while the dish can also be found in North Africa in the likes of Algerian cuisine, all the way over to the Levant and the Middle East, in the likes of Israeli cuisine.

Our recipe takes close influence from borek you’ll most likely find in the Balkans countries, so prepare yourself for plenty of flaky, cheesy, and buttery goodness!

Borek Ingredients

To make borek, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Borek recipe ingredients (displayed on a wooden board).
  • Phyllo / Filo – 12 sheets phyllo/filo dough (~8.8 oz or 250 grams)
  • Feta – 10.5 oz (300 grams) feta
  • Unsalted Butter – 7 tablespoons unsalted butter (100 grams), melted
  • Sour Cream – 7oz (200 grams) sour cream
  • Eggs – 3 eggs
  • Milk – 120 ml (1/2 cup) whole milk
  • Egg Yolk – 1 egg yolk
  • Nigella Seeds – 2 tsp, optional

Step-by-Step Instructions (with Photos)

Step 1 – Crumble the feta cheese.

Step 2 – Whisk three eggs in a separate bowl.

Step 3 – Add the whisked eggs and sour cream to the feta cheese and mix everything.

Step 4 – Reserve 2 tablespoons of milk for later. Add the rest of the milk to the sour cream-cheese-egg mixture and, once again, mix everything together.

Step 5 – Melt the butter in a small microwaveable bowl or in a pan on low heat on the stove.

Note: If choosing to microwave the butter, heat it up in 10-second increments so that the butter doesn’t splatter in the microwave. After every 10 seconds, pull the bowl out of the microwave and stir. Some microwaves may also have a melt-butter function, which should make things easier.

Step 6 – Using a pastry brush, butter a baking dish.

Step 7 – Put two filo sheets on the bottom and add melted butter with a pastry brush on each.

Step 8 – Now, we’ll take 4 filo sheets and bunch them up on the long side and add them to the baking dish, side by side, sprinkling melted butter on top of them with a pastry brush or spoon.

Step 9 – Add half the cheese-sour-cream-milk mixture.

Step 10 – Add 4 ruffled/bunched-up filo sheets on top, and add melted butter.

Step 11 – Pour the second half of the cheese-sour-cream-milk mixture.

Step 12 – Add 2 sheets on top and add melted butter with a pastry brush on each.

Step 13 – Mix the egg yolk with the reserved 2 tbsp of milk, and top the borek with this mixture.

Step 14 – (Optional) Sprinkle the nigella seeds.

Step 15 – Bake the borek in the preheated oven at 360°F or 180°C for 50-60 minutes until golden (as shown below).

Once it’s ready, leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut yourself a square slice and enjoy it warm. That melt-in-mouth pastry will have your eyes rolling into the back of your head, and paired with the cheese, egg, and sour cream filling truly is a marriage of textural perfection.

What to Serve with Borek

Hot or Cold – The beauty of borek is also in its versatility. You can take a grab-and-go slice to work and eat it either hot or cold, depending on your preference.

Greens/Salad – Because borek is moist, buttery, and filling, some light and crunchy greens, like kidney beens, or a side of green salad, make for a great combination.

Potatoes and Greens – Serve a warm slice of pie with boiled or roasted potatoes, and a side of greens or fresh salad for a complete meal.

Kefir/Greek Yogurt – If served hot, a glass of cold kefir, or some Greek/plain yogurt to dollop on top, make for a refreshing and complimentary pairing to the heat of the pie.

Kisir – This Turkish bulgar salad is fresh and acidic, and works so well with a hearty slice of borek.

From the lively bakeries in the alleys of Istanbul to the humble home kitchens of villages in the Albanian mountains, this incredible pastry dish to this day remains a favorite in so many cuisines. You simply have to try it!

Borek Recipe Card

Borek

4.67 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise

Ingredients

  • 12 sheets of phyllo / filo ~250 grams or 8.8 oz
  • 10.5 oz 10.5 oz of feta 300 grams
  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter 100 grams
  • 7 oz sour cream 200 grams
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 120 ml
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds optional

Instructions

  • Crumble the feta cheese.
  • Whisk three eggs in a separate bowl.
  • Add the whisked eggs and sour cream to the feta cheese and mix everything.
  • Reserve two tablespoons of milk for later and add all the rest of the milk to the eggs-sour cream-feta mixture, mixing everything together.
  • Melt the butter in a small microwaveable bowl or in a pan on low heat on the stove.
  • Using a pastry brush, butter a baking dish.
  • Put two filo sheets on the bottom and add melted butter with a pastry brush on each.
  • Now, we’ll take 4 filo sheets and bunch them up on the long side and add them to the baking dish, side by side, sprinkling melted butter on top of them with a pastry brush or spoon.
  • Add half the cheese-sour-cream-milk mixture.
  • Add 4 ruffled/bunched-up filo sheets on top, and add melted butter.
  • Pour the second half of the cheese-sour-cream-milk mixture.
  • Add 2 sheets on top and add melted butter with a pastry brush on each.
  • Mix an egg yolk with the reserved 2 tbsp of milk, and top the borek with this mixture.
  • (Optional) Sprinkle the nigella seeds on top.
  • Bake the borek in the preheated oven at 360°F or 180°C for 50-60 minutes until golden. Once it’s ready, leave it to rest for 5 minutes, cut yourself a slice and enjoy it warm.

Recipe Notes

  1. If choosing to microwave the butter, heat it up in 10-second increments so that the butter doesn’t splatter in the microwave. After every 10 seconds, pull the bowl out of the microwave and stir. Some microwaves may also have a melt-butter function, which should make things easier.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Hearty Borek Recipe (Rich and Buttery Savory Pie from Turkey and the Balkans)

Contributor: Efimia is a passionate home cook and retired teacher who has been feeding friends and family with homecooked Balkans and Eastern European favorites for the best party of forty years.

Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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