The dish is made of cornmeal. Potatoes, white cheese or kaymak are sometimes added. Similar to the Abkhazian abısta, Adige mamıs, Italian polenta and Romanian mămăligă, it is prepared by boiling cornmeal to taste, and then mashing it while the pot is still on the fire. It was once regarded as a poor man's food, but now is widely eaten, including in restaurants.
In Bulgaria, it is traditionally served with heated lard or sunflower oil with small amounts of browned paprika or hot pepper. Often cracklings or sirene are added to extend the taste. In Montenegro, kačamak is made from old potatoes that are crushed and old cheese (not feta) until a thick mass is formed and made and then served.
In Central Serbia, it is prepared with finer grains of white cornmeal, served with white cheese and kajmak.