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Original Bosnian Cevapcici.JPG
Bosnian Ćevapi served with ajvar and traditional flatbread called lepinja
Place of originBosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia
Region or stateBalkans
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsMeat (lamb, veal, pork or beef), salt

Ćevapi (Cyrillic: ћевапи, pronounced [tɕeʋǎːpi]) or ćevapčići (formal: diminutive; Cyrillic: ћевапчићи, pronounced [tɕeʋǎptʃitɕi]) is a grilled dish of minced meat found traditionally in the countries of southeast Europe (the Balkans). It is considered a national dish of Bosnia and Herzegovina,[1] and is also common in Serbia, Croatia,[2][3][4] Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Slovenia.

Ćevapi has its origins in the Balkans during the Ottoman period, and represents a regional speciality similar to the köfte kebab.

They are usually served in groups of five to ten pieces on a plate or in a flatbread (lepinje or somun), often with chopped onions, sour cream (pavlaka), kajmak, ajvar (relish), minced red pepper[disambiguation needed] and salt. Bosnian ćevapi are made from two types of minced beef meat, hand-mixed and formed with a funnel, while formed ćevapi are grilled. Serbian ćevapčići are made of beef, lamb or pork, or a mixture.

Name and etymology[edit]

The word ćevap is derived from the Turkish kebab. The word is sometimes used in conjunction with the common South Slavic diminutive ending -čići. Albanian: qebapa; Bulgarian: кебапчета, romanizedkebapcheta; Serbo-Croatian: ćevapi / ћевапи; Macedonian: ќебапчиња, romanizedkjebapčinja; Slovak: čevapčiči; Slovene: čevapčiči. The word ćevapi is plural; the singular form ćevap is rarely used, as a typical serving consists of several ćevapi.


Ćevapi in somun, with onion, from Sarajevo.

During the Ottoman administration, hajduks (rebels, outlaws) made the hajdučki ćevap ("hajduk ćevap"), which was easy to make, out of pieces of meat and smoked lard on a skewer roasted over fire.[5] The recipe of the Leskovački ćevap ("Leskovac ćevap"), a local specialty of Serbia, was based on traditional pljeskavica (meat patty[6]), formed as ćevap.

Leskovac has a long history of grill shops.[7] In Belgrade, ćevapčići first came from Leskovac in the 1860s, into the kafana "Rajić" at the Great Marketplace (today Studentski Trg), from where they quickly spread across the city, and subsequently, country.[8][9] The industry quickly multiplied, as ćevapčići was the drinking public's favourite.[9]

The ćevapčići were served at shops, known as ćevabdžija (pl. ćevabdžije).[10] According to a 1927–28 study in Belgrade, people either ate in the restaurant or outside ("on the kaldrma"), often take-away.[10] The shops served from early morning to 10 AM; often the dish was bought for breakfast.[10]

Before the 1930s, they spread to the rest of Yugoslavia, including east of Serbia and the Macedonia region.[8] By 1932, ćevapčići were regarded a local specialty in southern Serbia, Skopje and Peć.[11] In 1933, the first street food vendor appeared in Maribor, Slovenia, who came from Leskovac, and served grilled meat, including ćevapčići.[12] In 1940, ten pieces cost one Yugoslav dinar.[13] In the second half of the 20th century, ćevapčići and other Oriental dishes entered Croatian cuisine.[14] The Leskovac-styled grilled meat, including ćevapčići, have today become part of everyday-diet in Slovenia.[15] Today, ćevapčići are found outside former Yugoslavia in the diaspora communities.

Today, the grill shops are known as ćevabdžinica (pl. ćevabdžinice).

Leskovac organizes an annual grill festival, the Leskovac Grill Festival, as a showcase of ćevapi and other grilled meat.


A type of mixed-meat Serbian ćevapčići.

They are usually served of 5–10 pieces on a plate or in a flatbread (lepinje or somun), often with chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, cottage cheese, minced red pepper and salt. Bosnian-type ćevapi are made from two types of minced beef meat, hand mixed and formed with a funnel, while formed ćevapi are grilled. Serbian-type ćevapi (ćevapčići) are made of beef, lamb or pork, or a mixture.

In Austria, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia, čevapčiči is generally served as fast food, with mustard mixed with finely chopped raw onions and potatoes or French fries.


Ćevapčići are shown on the right in this example of Serbian cuisine.
  • Sarajevski ćevap, from Sarajevo, Bosnia, beef served in a traditional Bosnian flatbread called somun
  • Travnički ćevap, from Travnik, Bosnia, meat mix of beef, veal, mutton and lamb
  • Banjalučki ćevap, from Banja Luka, Bosnia, meat mix of beef and lamb.
  • Tuzlanski ćevap, from Tuzla, Bosnia, meat mix of beef, mutton and lamb. Usually, a simple beef broth is poured over the somun before eating, making the dish very juicy
  • Novopazarski ćevap, from Novi Pazar, Sandžak Serbia, beef and lamb or mutton or both
  • Leskovački ćevap, from Leskovac, Serbia, beef

There are variations in meat content and seasoning. The dish is kept simple, and traditionally served with flatbread with onions and/or kajmak and yogurt as appetizer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (2002). The New Encyclopædia Britannica. 1. Encyclopædia Britannica. ISBN 978-0-85229-787-2.
  3. ^ Ember, Melvin (2001). Countries and Their Cultures: Saint Kitts and Nevis to Zimbabwe. p. 68. ISBN 9780028649467.
  4. ^ "Cevapcici". SBS Australia. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  5. ^ Yugoslavia. D. McKay. 1962. ... Turkish occupation the outlaws produced hajduCki cevap (the haiduk was the maquis of the period) which was easy to make and tasty. It consists of pieces of meat, potatoes and smoked lard stuck on a skewer and roasted over a roaring fire.
  6. ^ Laurence Mitchell (2013). Serbia. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-84162-463-1. For the main course, the most popular meat dishes are pljeskavica (meat patties, usually a mixture of pork, beef and lamb, sprinkled with spices, then grilled and served with onion)
  7. ^ Sergije Dimitrijević (1983). Istorija Leskovca i okoline. Narodni muzej. Гастрономски специјалитет Лесковца били су 'ћевапчићи и чувене лесковачке кобасице печене на роштиљу.4 Лесковац је одувек имао чувене ћевабџије. У периоду који описујемо најпознатије лесковачке ћевабџије биле су ...
  8. ^ a b Darko Spasić, Branislav Nušić. "Прилог историјату ћевапчића" (in Serbian). Srpsko nasleđe.
  9. ^ a b Branislav Đ Nušić; Aleksandra Vraneš (1996). Beogradska čaršija. Ars Libri. pp. 22–30.
  10. ^ a b c Srpski etnografski zbornik. 42. Akademija. 1928. pp. 121–122.
  11. ^ Milivoja M. Savić (1932). Naša industrija, zanati, trgovina i poljoprivreda: njine osnovice, stanje, odnosi, važnost, putevi, prošlost i budućnost. Izd. Ministarstva trgovine i industrije. p. 244.
  12. ^ Jacobs, Marc; Scholliers, Peter (2003). Eating Out in Europe: Picnics, Gourmet Dining and Snacks Since the Late Eighteenth Century. p. 133. ISBN 9781859736586.
  13. ^ Etnografski muzej u Beogradu; Borivoje M. Drobnjaković (1940). Glasnik: Bulletin. Десет ћевапчића за данар, десет за динар! Скупи се гомила и гледа: Добри ћевапчићи, па и велики, а десет за ...
  14. ^ Ivo Goldstein (1999). Croatia: A History. McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP. ISBN 978-0-7735-2017-2. To all this must be added, especially in the second half of the twentieth century, the influence of typical oriental-Turkish dishes and ways of cooking (barbecue, cevapcici).
  15. ^ Dragana Radojičić. "SERBIAN DISHES ON THE SLOVENIAN TABLE". Traditiones. 39 (1). [Abstract] The research included immigration trends from Serbia to Slovenia from 1918 to the present, and how these are reflected in the acceptance of food-related products and dishes that originated in Serbia and have become part of Slovenians’ everyday diet.

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