Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa Recipe | Bulgarian Cheese Pie Recipe

Banitsa is a beloved traditional dish in Bulgaria, cherished for its flaky layers and delicious fillings. Whether sweet or savory, this Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa is a staple at Bulgarian tables, especially during festive occasions. Let's dive into the recipe of Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa and learn how to make this delightful treat at home.

Here are some Romanian recipe for you:

  1. Ciorbă de Fasole cu Afumătură Recipe
  2. Traditional Salata de Vinete Recipe 

Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa - Recipica

1. Introduction to Banitsa

Banitsa is a pastry dish that holds a special place in Bulgarian cuisine. It's characterized by its thin layers of phyllo dough, which are filled with various ingredients such as cheese, eggs, spinach, or pumpkin.

2. History and Significance

Origins of Banitsa

Banitsa traces its origins back to ancient times when it was a symbol of prosperity and fertility. Over the centuries, it evolved into a staple dish in Bulgarian households, enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, or as part of a festive meal.

Cultural Importance

In Bulgarian culture, Banitsa is more than just a food item; it's a symbol of togetherness and tradition. It's often prepared during celebrations and social gatherings, where families and friends come together to enjoy its delicious flavors.

3. Ingredients for Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa

Phyllo Dough
  • 500g (about 4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 250ml (1 cup) lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100ml (7 tablespoons) vegetable oil or melted butter, plus extra for brushing
Filling Options
  • 400g (about 14 oz) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 250g (about 1 cup) plain yogurt
  • 200g (about 7 oz) spinach, chopped (optional)
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Pumpkin

Additional Ingredients

  • Oil or butter for greasing the pan
  • Poppy seeds or Sesame seeds  for garnish (optional)

4. Instruction of making Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa

Making the Phyllo Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, water, and salt to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough until smooth and elastic and then divide the dough into small balls. 
  • Roll the small balls out into thin sheets.

Preparing the Filling

  • Crumble the feta cheese into a bowl and mix it with beaten eggs and yogurt.
  • Add chopped spinach, leeks, or pumpkin to the mixture, depending on your preference.

Assembling the Banitsa

  • Brush each layer of phyllo dough with oil or butter.
  • Place a spoonful of the filling mixture onto the dough and spread it evenly.
  • Fold the dough into a tight roll or coil, ensuring the filling is enclosed.

Baking Process

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Place the assembled Banitsa in a greased baking dish.
  • Brush the top with oil or butter and sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds for added flavor.
  • Bake it for 30-40 minutes or until it becomes golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing and serving.

5. Variations of Banitsa

Sweet Banitsa

  • Substitute the savory filling with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and crushed nuts or dried fruits.

Savory Banitsa

  • Experiment with different combinations of cheese, herbs, and vegetables for a savory twist.

6. Serving and Presentation of Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa


  • Fresh herbs such as parsley or dill
  • Slices of tomatoes or cucumbers


  • Serve Banitsa with a dollop of yogurt or a side salad for a complete meal.

7. Health Benefits

Nutritional Value

  • Banitsa provides a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins from its filling ingredients.
  • However, it's essential to consume it in moderation due to its high calorie and fat content.

8. Cultural Significance of Banitsa

Festivals and Celebrations

  • Banitsa is often prepared during religious holidays such as Easter or Christmas.
  • It's also a popular dish at weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions.

9. Tips and Tricks for Perfect Banitsa

Handling Phyllo Dough

  • Keep the phyllo dough covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
  • Work quickly to assemble the Banitsa to avoid the dough becoming soggy.

10. Common Mistakes to Avoid


  • Be careful not to overfill the Banitsa, as it can cause the pastry to burst during baking.

Burning the Edges

  • Monitor the baking process closely to prevent the edges of the Banitsa from burning.

11. Storage and Reheating

Refrigeration Tips

  • Store leftover Banitsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Reheating Methods

  • Reheat Banitsa in the oven or toaster oven to maintain its crispiness.

12. Popular Occasions for Serving Banitsa


  • Easter
  • Christmas

Family Gatherings

  • Birthdays
  • Weddings

13. Banitsa Around the World

Similar Dishes in Other Cultures

  • Spanakopita (Greek)
  • Börek (Turkish)

14. Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices

Ingredient Sourcing

  • Choose locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible.
  • Consider making homemade phyllo dough to reduce packaging waste.

15. Conclusion

In conclusion, Traditional Bulgarian Banitsa is a delicious and versatile pastry that holds a special place in Bulgarian culture. Whether enjoyed as a savory breakfast or a sweet treat, its flaky layers and rich filling are sure to delight your taste buds.

Unique FAQs

1. Can I freeze Banitsa for later consumption?

Yes, you can freeze Banitsa after baking. Allow your Banista to cool completely,  When it is cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer.

2. Can I use store-bought phyllo dough instead of making it from scratch?

Of course, you can use store-bought phyllo dough for convenience. However, homemade phyllo dough yields the best results in terms of texture and flavor.

3. What are some creative filling ideas for Banitsa?

You can experiment with various fillings such as mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, or even smoked salmon for a unique twist on the classic recipe.

4. Is Banitsa suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, Banitsa can be easily customized to suit a vegetarian diet by using vegetable-based fillings and omitting any meat products.

5. Can I make mini Banitsa for appetizers or party snacks?

Absolutely! Mini Banitsa can be a delightful addition to any party spread or as a tasty appetizer. Simply adjust the size of the phyllo dough sheets and filling portions accordingly.

Recipe Card

Cuisine: Bulgarian, Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Cooking Time: 30 Minutes, Total Time:45 minutes, Serving: 1

Post a Comment