Croatian cuisine

Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous and is known as a cuisine of the regions, since every region of Croatia has its own distinct culinary tradition. Its roots date back to ancient times. The differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those in mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by the earlier Slavic and the more recent contacts with Hungarian and Turkish cuisine, using lard for cooking, and spices such as black pepper, paprika, and garlic.[1][2] The coastal region bears the influences of Greek and Roman cuisine, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine, in particular Italian (especially Venetian). Coastal cuisines use olive oil, herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage, bay leaf, oregano, marjoram, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and lemon and orange rind. Peasant cooking traditions are based on imaginative variations of several basic ingredients (cereals, dairy products, meat, fish, vegetables, nuts) and cooking procedures (stewing, grilling, roasting, baking), while bourgeois cuisine involves more complicated procedures and use of selected herbs and spices. Charcuterie is part of the Croatian culinary tradition in all regions. Food and recipes from other former Yugoslav countries are also popular in Croatia.

Croatian cuisine can be divided into several distinct cuisines (Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, Gorski Kotar, Istria, Lika, Međimurje, Podravina, Slavonija, Zagorje) each of which has specific cooking traditions, characteristic of the area and not necessarily well known in other parts of Croatia. Most dishes, however, can be found all across the country, with local variants.

Meat and gameEdit

  • Specialities from the grill are called s roštilja, those roasted on the spit s ražnja
  • pečeno means roasted
  • prženo means fried
  • pod pekom means that the dish has been put into a stone oven under a metal cover. The cook puts hot coals on the cover so that the meal is cooked slowly in its own juices. Specialties cooked pod pekom include lamb, veal, and octopus.
  • na lešo means boiled in broth or water (lamb, beef, fish)
Meso z tiblice – pork from "tiblitsa" wooden barrel from Međimurje County, northern Croatia
Lamb (in front) and suckling pig being roasted on a roasting spit in Novalja, island of Pag

Croatian meat-based dishes include:


Lobster from Dalmatia

Croatian seafood dishes include:


Stewed vegetables with a small amount of meat or sausages (varivo or čušpajz) is perceived as a healthy, traditional meal. Sour cream (in Northern Croatia) or olive oil (on the coast) can be added to the plate just before serving. Stewed meat dishes are often prepared by men in open spaces, following hunting and shepherding traditions. In Dalmatian urban cuisine, spices such as cinnamon and clove, dried plums, dried figs, apples and other fruit are sometimes added to meat stews.

Goulash is very popular in most parts of Croatia


Pasta is one of the most popular food items in Croatian cuisine, especially in the region of Dalmatia. Manistra na pome (pasta with tomato sauce) is a staple. The other popular sauces include creamy mushroom sauce, minced meat sauce and many others. Fresh pasta (rezanci, krpice) is added to soups and stews, or prepared with cottage cheese, cabbage, even with walnuts or poppy seed. Potato dough is popular, not only for making njoki (gnocchi), but also for making plum or cheese dumplings which are boiled, and then quickly fried in breadcrumbs and butter.


Soup is an integral part of a meal in Croatia and no Sunday family meal or any special occasion will go without it. The most popular soups are broth-based, with added pasta or semolina dumplings. They are usually light in order to leave space for the main course and dessert to follow. However, cream or roux-based soups are also popular, and there are many local variations of traditional soups. In Dalmatia, fish soup with fish chunks, carrots and rice is commonly served.

Side dishesEdit

  • Sataraš (sliced and stewed summer vegetables)
  • Mlinci (typical northwest Croatian roasted flatbread, similar to Caucasian flatbreads)
  • Đuveč (baked summer vegetables, similar to ratatouille)


White truffles from Istria
Croatian-style stuffed peppers
Cheese škripavac

Sausages and hamEdit

Cheese (sir)Edit

Pogača bread

Savoury piesEdit


Savijača or Štrudla with apple
Orehnjača, a variety of nut roll
  • Bučnica (summer squash and cottage cheese pie, can be savory or sweet)
  • Štrukli (made with cottage cheese, sour cream and eggs, can be savory or sweet, boiled or baked)
  • Zlevanka, simple baked cornmeal pastry with various fillings (e.g. cheese, sour cream, cherries, plum jam, walnuts, nettle)
  • Varaždinski klipići

Sweets and dessertsEdit

Cakes (kolači)Edit



Croatia has two main wine regions: Continental (Kontinetalna) and Coastal (Primorska), which includes the islands. Each of the main regions is divided into sub-regions which are divided yet further into smaller vinogorje, (literally wine hills) and districts. Altogether, there are more than 300 geographically defined wine-producing areas in Croatia. In parts of Croatia, wine, either red or white, is sometimes consumed mixed in approximately two thirds wine and one third of mineral water.[citation needed]

Dessert winesEdit

White winesEdit

Red winesEdit

Beers (pivo)Edit

Velebitsko pivo, beer from Croatia

Apart from imported beers (Heineken, Tuborg, Gösser, Stella Artois, etc.), there are home-brewed and locally brewed beers in Croatia. A brewery based in Split produces Bavarian Kaltenberg beer by licence of the original brewery in Germany.

Liqueurs and spiritsEdit

A bottle of Maraschino liqueur.


Croatia is a country of coffee drinkers (on average 5kg per person annually), not only because it was formerly part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, but also because it bordered the former Ottoman Empire. Traditional coffee houses similar to those in Vienna are located throughout Croatia.

Mineral waterEdit

Regarding its water resources, Croatia has a leading position in Europe. Concerning water quality, Croatian water is greatly appreciated all over the world. Due to a lack of established industries there have also been no major incidents of water pollution.

  • Jamnica – Winner of the Paris AquaExpo for best mineral water of 2003 [2]
  • Lipički studenac
  • Jana – also belongs to Jamnica, best aromatized mineral water (Eauscar 2004)

Juices and syrupsEdit

Protected productsEdit

There are 40 Croatian agricultural and food products whose name is registered in the European Union as a protected designation of origin or a protected designation of geographical origin (European mark of authenticity by the European Commission).[3]

  • Baranjski kulen
  • Dalmatinska janjetina (Dalmatian lamb)[3]
  • Dalmatinska panceta
  • Dalmatinska pečenica
  • Dalmatinski pršut
  • Drniški pršut
  • Istarski pršut (Istrski pršut)
  • Lička janjetina (Likan lamb)
  • Krčki pršut
  • Malostonska kamenica
  • Međimursko meso ‘z tiblice
  • Meso istarskog goveda – boškarina (Meso istrskega goveda – boškarina; Meat of Istrian cattle – Boškarin)[13]
  • Paška janjetina (lamb from Pag)
  • Samoborska češnjovka (Samoborska češnofka; smoked saussage from Samobor)[13]
  • Slavonski kulen (Slavonski kulin; Slavonian kulen/kulin)
  • Zagorski puran (turkey meat from Hrvatsko zagorje)
Fruits and vegetables
  • Brački varenik
  • Neretvanska mandarina
  • Lički krumpir (Likan potato)
Olive oils
  • Lumblija (aromatic sweet bread)[14]
  • Poljički soparnik (Poljički zeljanik or Poljički uljenjak)
  • Rudarska greblica
  • Varaždinski klipič
  • Zagorski mlinci
  • Zagorski štrukli (Zagorski štruklji)
  • Paška sol (sea salt from island Pag)
  • Ogulinsko kiselo zelje/Ogulinski kiseli kupus
  • Varaždinsko zelje

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Origin". Absolute Croatia. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Croatian Cuisine Guide: Amazing Croatian Foods You Must Try". CroatiaWise. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Dalmatian lamb gets name protection in Europe becoming the 40th product from Croatia Croatia Week. Published March 8, 2023.
  4. ^ Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern – Croatia's Dalmatian Coast (youtube) (video). TravelChannelShows. 2015-10-07. Event occurs at 42:34. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.
  5. ^ Bizarre Foods - Croatia - Dalmatian Coast. Archived from the original on 2017-02-05.
  6. ^ "Croatia's Dalmatian Coast: Roasted Rodents & Stone Soup". Travel Channel.
  7. ^ "Maraska". Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  8. ^ "Badel 1862". 2012-02-14. Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  9. ^ "Cedevita | Home". Archived from the original on 2015-05-25. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  10. ^ Bjelovarski Kvargl
  11. ^ Bjelovarski kvargl/Bjelovar Kvargl
  12. ^ "Special "Goranski Medun" honey from Croatia gets EU protection status". Croatia Week. February 13, 2023.
  13. ^ a b "3 more Croatian food and agricultural products get origin protection". Croatia Week. November 23, 2022.
  14. ^ Lumblija

Further readingEdit

  • "Hrvatska za stolom – mirisi i okusi Hrvatske", Ivanka Biluš et al., Zagreb:Alfa, Koprivnica: Podravka, 1996, 192 p., illustrated in color, (Biblioteka Anima Croatarum, 2) ISBN 953-168-104-X
  • "Hrvatska vina" (Croatian wines), Fazinić Nevenko, Milat Vinko, illustrated, 159 p., 1994, ISBN 953-173-061-X
  • "Nova hrvatska kuhinja" (New Croatian cuisine), Davor Butković, Ana Ugarković, Profil international, Zagreb, 2005, 272 p., ISBN 953-12-0164-1
  • Callec, Christian (2003), written at The Netherlands, Wine: A Comprehensive Look at the World's Best Wine, New York: Random House (published 2002), ISBN 0-517-22165-9.