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Patatnik Recipe (A Wholesome Potato Pie from the Mountains of Bulgaria)

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Bring the flavors of a warm, comforting dish synonymous with the Rhodope Mountains to your humble adobe with our delicious patatnik recipe, and enjoy this filling Bulgarian favorite for lunch or as a side dish.

A patatnik slice on a white dinner plate.

Patatnik Recipe

The cuisines of the Balkans, and in particular Bulgarian cuisine, are the epitome of honest, humble cooking that both comforts and nourishes, no matter what time of day it is.

Patatnik beautifully captures the essence of Bulgarian cooking, utilizing simple ingredients to create wholesome, comforting dishes that can be enjoyed in many different ways and stored to be consumed beyond the days they were made.

Lovers of potatoes, in particular, will definitely be able to find more than ample space in their hearts and stomach for a sizeable slice of this piping hot pie that can be paired with so many different foods.

Patatnik topped with sour cream and parsley.

What is Patatnik?

Patatnik is a flavorsome potato pie, originating from Bulgaria, and associated with the Rhodope Mountains region.

Traditionally, the pie consisted of grated potato, onion, a Bulgarian mint called ‘gyosum’, and a little salt, cooked slowly over an open fire. In time, the recipe was adapted to include eggs, cheese, and other ingredients.

Potato-based pies and pancakes are common throughout the Balkans and Eastern European cuisines, as well as in many other countries all over the world. However, patatnik is solely Bulgarian and has been prepared and eaten in the country for generations.

Ingredients

To make patatnik, you’ll first need to assemble the following ingredients:

Patatnik ingredients.
  • Potatoes – 7 medium potatoes (about 700 grams or 1.5lb)
  • Onion – 1 medium white onion
  • Bulgarian White Cheese or Feta Cheese – 200 grams (7oz)
  • Eggs – 4 medium eggs
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Fresh Parsley – 1 bunch
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • Sunflower Oil – 1 tbsp

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Grate the potatoes and add them to a bowl. Mix in the salt and leave aside for 5-7 minutes so that the salt removes the moisture from the potatoes.

Making patatnik (grated potatoes in a bowl).

Step 2 – With your hands or a cheesecloth, squeeze as much liquid as possible from the potatoes. Throw away the liquid and add the drained potatoes to a clean bowl.

Step 3 – Grate the onion and add it to the bowl with the drained grated potatoes.

Step 4 – Beat 3 of the 4 eggs with a fork, whisk, or hand mixer, and add them to the bowl with the potatoes and onions. Save one of the eggs for later.

Step 5 – Add the minced garlic, black pepper, crumbled Bulgarian white cheese or feta cheese (shown below), and chopped parsley to the bowl. Mix it well.

Making patatnik (feta/white cheese, crumbled).
Making patatnik (mixing the eggs and herbs).

Step 6 – Grease a baking dish with the oil, and add the potato mixture to the baking dish. You can use any baking dish you like as long as the mixture is about 2-3 cm thick in height. Hence, it shouldn’t be much bigger than about 1-inch thickness.

Making patatnik (patatnik in a white baking dish).

Step 7 – Preheat the oven to 390° F (200° C). Bake the patatnik for about 35 minutes.

Step 8 – Beat the remaining egg. Take the patatnik out of the oven, and with a pastry brush, spread the egg over the patatnik. Put the patatnik back in the oven and bake for about another 15-20 minutes until fully cooked and nicely browned on the outside.

Making patatnik (patatnik in white baking dish after being in the oven).

What to Serve with Patatnik

Your pie is now ready to serve! Savor the aroma, and cut yourself and your dinner guests a sizeable slice. Naturally, you can enjoy patatnik on its own for a quick and filling lunch or dinner.

Plain/Bulgarian Yogurt – Keep things traditional by serving it with a side of tangy Bulgarian yogurt.

Sour Cream – Can’t find Bulgarian yogurt? Try it with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley or mint.

As patatnik is a potato-based dish, it can act as an incredibly diverse side to enjoy with so many mains. You could try a slice with roasted vegetables, some lemon-drizzled salmon or other seafood, or some juicy cuts of red meat. The possibilities are endless.

Patatnik, topped with sour cream and parsley.

Texturally, this is a wonderful dish. The grated potato and crumbly cheese pack tightly to make a pie with a sturdy foundation, but as soon as you cut through the baked goodness with a knife or fork, the flakes and crumbs spring apart. Each mouthful is sumptuously soft, but with just a hint of crunch.

Patatnik, topped with sour cream and parsley.

Patatnik is comfort food at its purest. It has been a Bulgarian favorite through the ages, and for good reason.

Whether you pack it in a lunchbox with roasted vegetables for a hearty lunch at work or serve it hot from the oven as part of a glorious spread to wow your dinner guests, this filling, flavorful food has so much potential.

Patatnik Recipe Card

Patatnik

Patatnik
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Potatoes – 7 medium potatoes (about 700 grams or 1.5lb)
  • Onion – 1 medium white onion
  • Bulgarian White Cheese or Feta Cheese – 200 grams (7oz)
  • Eggs – 4 medium eggs
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Fresh Parsley – 1 bunch
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • Sunflower Oil – 1 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Grate the potatoes, and add them to a bowl. Mix in the salt and leave aside for 5-7 minutes so that the salt removes the moisture from the potatoes.
  2. With your hands or using a cheesecloth, squeeze as much liquid as possible from the potatoes. Throw away the liquid and add the drained potatoes to a clean bowl.
  3. Grate the onion and add it to the bowl with the drained grated potatoes.
  4. Beat 3 of the 4 eggs and add them to the bowl with potatoes and onion. Save one of the eggs for later.
  5. Add the minced garlic, black pepper, crumbled Bulgarian white cheese or feta cheese, and chopped parsley to the bowl. Mix it well.
  6. Grease a baking dish with the oil, and add the potato mixture to the baking dish. You can use any baking dish you like as long as the mixture is about 2-3 cm thick in height. Hence, it shouldn’t be much bigger than about 1-inch thickness.
  7. Preheat the oven to 390° F (200° C). Bake the patatnik for 35 minutes.
  8. Beat the remaining egg. Take the patatnik out of the oven, and with a pastry brush, spread the egg over the patatnik. Put the patatnik back in the oven and bake for about another 20 minutes until fully cooked and nicely browned on the outside.

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side view of a slice of patatnik with a dollop of sour cream and parsley

Contributor: Efimia is a teacher and passionate home cook from Eastern Europe, who has been feeding family and friends with her wonderful home cooking for over four decades and counting. Well-versed in Eastern European cuisine, she loves to come up with new fusions and combinations in the kitchen.

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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