20 Most Popular Foods from Croatia

Picture sun-kissed coastlines adorned with olive groves and vineyards, where freshly caught grilled seafood lingers in the air alongside the irresistible scent of roasted lamb. 

The mouthwatering foods in Croatia are why I love to return to this delicious country.

20 Most Popular Foods from Croatia

Picture sun-kissed coastlines adorned with olive groves and vineyards, where freshly caught grilled seafood lingers in the air alongside the irresistible scent of roasted lamb. 

The mouthwatering foods in Croatia are why I love to return to this delicious country.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

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fried squid Croatia

The most popular foods from Croatia will take you on a delicious journey through history, culture, and nature’s bounties. 

From succulent peka dishes cooked under iron bell lids to the beloved štrukli, delicate layers of dough enveloping creamy cheeses, Croatian food is fantastic.

Meat is hugely popular in Croatian cuisine, especially in central and eastern regions, where pork and sausages reign supreme in traditional cuisine. 

In the Dalmatian region of Croatia, lamb is a favoured choice.

Head to Istria and Dalmatia; you’ll notice a strong Italian influence. A Mediterranean gem, olive oil takes centre stage in coastal cooking alongside tomatoes, zucchini, and Swiss chard. 

And in Istria, truffles steal the show—black or white, you won’t want to miss out on these savoury delicacies.

Staple Foods From Croatia

In Croatia, you’ll find a rich variety of staple foods that form the backbone of the country’s culinary landscape. Here are five that stand out:

  1. Pasta: From the iconic štrukli to the hearty fuži, pasta dishes are cherished throughout Croatia. Whether served with decadent sauces or simple olive oil and herbs, pasta is a comforting staple everyone enjoys.
  2. Seafood: With its extensive coastline along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia boasts an abundance of fresh seafood. Grilled fish, octopus salad, and black risotto are just a few of the delectable seafood dishes that grace Croatian tables.
  3. Meat: Meat lovers rejoice in Croatia, where grilled meats like čevapi (small grilled sausages) and pljeskavica (a type of burger patty) are popular street food options. Roasted lamb and pork are also traditional favourites, often prepared for festive occasions.
  4. Cheese: Croatian cheeses, such as Paški sir (Pag cheese) and Škripavac, showcase the country’s dairy heritage. Cheese platters accompanied by figs, nuts, and honey are a delightful way to experience the diversity of Croatian cheese.
  5. Bread: No Croatian meal is complete without bread, and the country offers a wide array of bread types, from crispy sourdough to soft, pillowy lepinja. Bread is the perfect accompaniment to soups, stews, and hearty meat dishes, adding texture and flavour to every bite.

Let’s go! 20 Most Popular Croatian Foods

1) Punjene Paprike (Stuffed Peppers)

Punjene Paprike stuffed peppers

In Croatian cuisine, stuffed peppers are known as “punjene paprike.” 

They are a classic dish enjoyed throughout Croatia and the wider Balkan region. 

Punjene paprike are made by hollowing out capsicums, or peppers and filling them with a tasty mixture typically consisting of minced meat (commonly a combination of beef and pork), rice, onions, herbs, and spices.

The stuffed peppers are then cooked in a tomato-based sauce until the peppers are tender, and the filling is cooked. 

Punjene paprike are often served hot as a main dish, accompanied by bread, potatoes, or a salad. 

2) Pljeskavica (Meat Patty)

Pljeskavica meat patty

Pljeskavica is a popular grilled meat patty in Croatian cuisine, made from minced beef or a mix of beef and pork. 

Seasoned with herbs and spices, it’s grilled and served with various toppings like onions, cheese, and ajvar. 

Pljeskavica is one of the most popular fast foods in Croatia and is readily available.

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3) Istrian pršut (prosciutto)

Istrian pršut prosciutto Croatia

Istrian pršut is a dry-cured ham originating from the Istrian peninsula in Croatia. It is similar to Italian prosciutto but has a unique flavour due to differences in the curing process and the local climate. 

Istrian pršut is made from high-quality pork leg that is salted and air-dried for an extended period, often several months to over a year. 

Istrian pršut is typically thinly sliced and served as a entree or part of a charcuterie board, paired with cheese, olives, and bread.

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4) Burek sa sirom (Pastry)

Burek sa sirom - foods from Croatia

Burek sa sirom is a traditional Balkan pastry consisting of thin layers of filo dough filled with cheese and eggs. 

The dough is typically made from flour, salt, water, and sometimes a bit of oil, stretched into thin sheets. These sheets are then layered in a tray, with each layer brushed with oil, oil, and mineral water before filling with the cheese and egg mixture. 

The pastry is baked until golden brown and served warm, often as a savoury snack or breakfast item.

This pastry is also listed in our summary of what to eat in North Macedonia and it’s popular in Turkish cuisine too.

5) Zagorski štrukli

Zagorski štrukli foods in Croatia

Zagorski štrukli is a traditional Croatian dish, particularly associated with the Zagorje region in the country’s north.

It consists of thin dough filled with a mixture of fresh cheese, eggs, sour cream, and sometimes butter.

The filled dough is then rolled up, sliced, and baked or boiled. Sometimes, it’s also topped with breadcrumbs, butter, or sour cream before serving.

It can be served as a savoury or sweet dish, depending on the ingredients used in the filling and toppings.

6) Ćevapi (Minced meat sausages)

Popular foods in Croatia and other Balkan countries

In Croatian cuisine, ćevapi (also spelled as “ćevapčići”) are small, grilled minced meat sausages, typically made from a mixture of beef and lamb or pork, seasoned with various herbs and spices. 

They’re often served with lepinja, a type of flatbread, and commonly accompanied by sliced onions, ajvar (a fantastic capsicum-based condiment), and kajmak (a creamy dairy product). 

While they have origins in the Balkans, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, they’re widely enjoyed throughout Croatia, often found in restaurants, bistros, and at outdoor gatherings.

7) Pašticada (Beef Stew)

Pašticada beef stew - foods in Croatia

Pašticada is a classic Croatian dish, a slow-cooked beef pot roast marinated in a rich sauce typically made with red wine, vinegar, garlic, onions, and spices. 

Typically served with gnocchi or homemade pasta, the sauce is usually thickened with a roux or bread crumbs. 

This dish is a staple dish when it comes to the foods in Croatia and is often enjoyed on special occasions or as a comforting family meal.

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8) Sarma (Cabbage rolls)

sarma cabbage rolls in Croatia

Sarma, or cabbage rolls, are a traditional Croatian dish. They are made by wrapping minced meat (often a mixture of pork and beef), rice, onions, and spices in pickled cabbage leaves. 

The filling is seasoned with herbs and seasonings such as thyme, dill, and paprika, giving sarmale a distinctive taste.

Once assembled, the cabbage rolls are simmered in a flavourful broth until tender. 

Sarma is a beloved comfort food in Croatia, especially during the winter months and for special occasions like holidays and family gatherings. 

It’s often served with a dollop of sour cream on top and accompanied by crusty bread or mashed potatoes.

There are variations of this dish in other countries, too. For example, it’s called holubtsi in Ukrainian cuisine and Sarma in Macedonian food.

The best cabbage rolls I’ve ever eaten were in Transnistria, the little-known disputed territory in Europe.

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9) Fuži (Pasta)

Istrian pasta Fuzi Croatia

Fuži are a type of traditional Istrian pasta, similar in shape to small, elongated shells or cavatelli. 

They are typically made from a simple dough of flour, water, and sometimes eggs, which is rolled out and cut into small pieces. 

The pieces are then individually hand-rolled to form the distinctive elongated shape.

Fuži are often served with sauces such as meat-based ragù, creamy sauces, or seafood sauces, and this is one of the most delicious foods in Croatia; don’t miss it!

10) Paški sir (Sheep’s milk cheese)

Paški sir cheese Croatia

Paški sir is a cheese originating from the Croatian island of Pag. 

It is a unique sheep’s milk cheese known for its distinctive flavour and is influenced by the island’s rugged terrain and the diet of the sheep that graze there.

Paški sir is typically aged for an extended period, often several months to over a year, which allows it to develop its characteristic taste and texture; it is sublime, believe me!

It has a crumbly texture with hints of saltiness and herbs and is one of the highly regarded foods in Croatia.

Paški sir is often enjoyed as a table cheese, grated over pasta dishes, or paired with local wines and olives.

11) Škripavac (Creamy cheese)

Škripavac creamy cheese food in Croatia

Croatians love cheese and have many excellent varieties commonly used in this delicious cuisine. 

Škripavac is a soft, creamy cheese with a slightly crumbly texture and a mild, slightly tangy flavour. 

Typically made from cow’s milk, Škripavac is enjoyed as a table cheese, spread on bread or crackers, or used as an ingredient in many dishes and foods in Croatia.

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12) Janjetina s ražnja (Lamb on a Spit)

Lamb on a Spit is popular in Croatian cuisine

Lamb on the spit, known as “Janjetina s ražnja” in Croatian, is a popular traditional dish enjoyed in Croatia, especially during festive occasions, family gatherings, and celebrations. 

It involves roasting a whole lamb on a rotating spit over an open flame or charcoal grill.

Lamb is typically seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs, which gives it a rich and delectable taste. As it rotates on the spit, the lamb cooks slowly, making the meat tender and juicy while developing a delicious smoky aroma.

Lamb on the spit is commonly served with side dishes such as roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, fresh salads, and bread.

13) Lepinja (flatbread)

Lepinja flatbread and cevapi foods from Croatia

Lepinja is a traditional type of flatbread that is popular in Croatian cuisine. It is typically soft, fluffy, and slightly chewy, with a golden-brown crust. 

This flatbread is often used as a base for various dishes, including ćevapi, pljeskavica, and other grilled meats. 

14) Brudet (Fish Stew)

Brudet is popular in Croatian cuisine

Brudet, also known as brodet, or brodeto is a rich fish stew commonly enjoyed in Croatia’s seaside regions such as Dalmatia, Kvarner, and Istria. 

This tasty dish boasts various versions, incorporating a mix of fish, squid, and shrimp in one pot. 

Traditionally, it’s served alongside polenta, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. 

Don’t miss this comforting food in Croatia; paired with a local glass of wine, it doesn’t get much better!

Travel to Eat? Read our 10 Best Countries for Food Lovers

15) Kulen (Sausage)

Kulen sausage Croatia
Kulen is traditional foods in Croatia, don’t miss it

Kulen is a traditional Croatian cured sausage known for its spicy flavour and vibrant and distinct red colour. 

It’s made from high-quality pork seasoned with garlic, paprika, salt, and other spices, then smoked and air-dried for several months. 

This sausage is often sliced thinly and served as an entree or part of a charcuterie board, and it’s a beloved specialty in Croatian cuisine.

16) Buzara (Seafood Dish)

 Buzara food in Croatia

Buzara is a traditional Croatian seafood dish featuring shellfish (such as shrimp, mussels, or clams) cooked in a scrumptious sauce made with garlic, white wine, olive oil, parsley, and sometimes tomatoes. 

The dish is served hot, with a big basket of crusty bread for mopping up the lovely broth.

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17) Crni rižot (Black risotto)

black ristotto

Black risotto, known as “Crni rižot” in Croatian, is a classic dish in Croatian cuisine, prevalent in coastal regions like Dalmatia and Istria. 

Prepared using squid or cuttlefish, which gives it its distinctive dark colour. 

The rice is cooked with a mixture of onions, garlic, olive oil, white wine, and squid ink, resulting in a rich and delectable dish. 

Black risotto tastes best when garnished with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

18) Soparnik (Savoury Pie)

Soparnik - comforting foods from Croatia

Soparnik is a traditional Croatian savoury pie from Dalmatia, notably Poljica. 

Its simple dough, filled with Swiss chard, onions, garlic, and parsley, reflects centuries of culinary heritage.

The simplest foods often taste the best, and this is one of the foods in Croatia you shouldn’t miss.

Need Car Hire in Croatia? We recommend Discover Cars for top deals!

19) Salata od hobotnice (Octopus Salad)

Salata od hobotnice (octopus salad) in Croatia

Salata od hobotnice, a traditional Croatian octopus salad, originates from Dalmatia but is widely popular throughout the country.

While numerous variations exist, the typical recipe features octopus, onions, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, parsley, potatoes, salt, vinegar, and tomatoes.

The octopus, cleaned and cooked, is then diced and combined with the other ingredients. Additional touches such as capers, olives, or lemon juice may enhance the salad, which is best served well chilled. 

The foods in Croatia don’t get fresher than this!


20) Čobanac (Meat Stew)

Čobanac beef stew Croatia

Originating from Slavonia and Baranja in eastern Croatia, Čobanac is a traditional meat stew. Prepared in a large copper pot over an open fire, it simmers for hours. 

This hearty dish combines various meats, onions, and a unique blend of sweet and hot paprika for its rich colour and flavour. 

Enjoy Čobanac with fresh homemade bread for an authentic experience.

There you go! 20 of Croatia’s most popular foods. Have you tried the cuisine in Croatia? What is your favourite dish? Let us know in the comments below.

Planning a trip to Croatia? Be sure to read about these 15 popular places to visit in Croatia.

If you’re interested in trying to cook some of these common foods in Croatia, check out these fantastic recipes from Travel Honestly for inspiration.

We recommend you download an eSIM for Croatia to stay connected!

Travel Tips for Europe

We have many travel guides and tips for Europe— an incredible continent!

Are you travelling on a budget? These ten cheapest European countries will help you plan an itinerary that lets you see as much as possible while there.

Furthermore, if you plan to travel long-term (or at least until the money runs out), these 21 cheapest countries to visit will help you make your hard-earned dollars stretch a bit further.

Delicious cuisine can be enjoyed across Europe, and our food map of Europe will inspire your culinary journey.

For food lovers, don’t miss our top 10 best countries for foodies, a couple of them are located in Europe.

Here are 8 things to know about travelling to Eastern Europe and it’s good to know these 7 misconceptions about Eastern Europe too.

These top 6 travel hacks to save money are great to read when planning your travels.

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Europe. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual European countries, or consider a regional eSIM for Europe (which covers 39 countries).

If your travels in Europe are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. View the best deals on group tours in Europe.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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