Delicious Croatian Easter Cakes and Customs

Delicious Croatian Easter Cakes and Customs

Lent is a period of closer preparation for Easter. Since it is now the end of March, we are preparing ourselves to try various traditional Easter desserts and treat our family and friends in this Easter time. Look what recipes we prepared for you!

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Croatia is a real gem when it comes to food in general. Desserts are no exception. Here we will make you the list of the most traditional Easter cakes. Some of them are a part of the culture for so long that there is really no clear line between cakes made for Christmas and Easter. We made you the list of the most popular Easter desserts, in no particular order. Try to make at least one of these cakes for your family and friends in this sacred time.

Easter Bread with Easter Eggs

Easter Bread with Easter Eggs, source: Pixabay

1. Sirnica – Easter Bread

(pronounced: siirni'tza)

Delicious treat Sirnica or Easter Bread is a symbol of Easter in Croatia. It is also called Pinca. We cannot imagine a table on an Easter morning without this incredibly rich pastry - sweet Easter bread on it. In combination with colored Easter Eggs, it makes a perfect combination for your holiday. Since this is a cake that is the most spread one for Easter, I made detailed instructions on how to make it.

Ingredients for Sirnica - Easter Bread

Ingredients for Sirnica - Easter Bread

Dough ingredients:

  • 100 dag of white flour 
  • 23 dag of sugar 
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 7 dag of homemade yeast (see preparation below)
  • 15 dag of fat (or half of the melted butter and half of the pork fat)
  • 2 packs of vanilla sugar
  • 2 dl of warm milk
  • orange juice
  • a little rum
  • lemon zest
  • orange zest
  • a pinch of saltEaster bread in progress (behind is a fresh fermented yeast)

Easter Bread in progress (behind is a fresh fermented yeast)

Yeast ingredients:

- 7 dag of fresh yeast

- 1 spoon of sugar

- 1 spoon of flour

- 1,5 dl of milk

Leave it for half an hour, but keep an eye – it can rise quickly.

Adding homemade yeast to Sirnica doughAdding homemade yeast to Sirnica dough


Leave all ingredients at room temperature for some time. First, beat egg whites. First, add all wet ingredients; egg yolks, egg whites, milk, sugar, lemon zest, orange juice, orange zest, rum, salt, vanilla sugar. In the end, add fat (lard and margarine). It is better to use 2 types of fat. Add all that to white flour.  Put yeast in the end (see preparation above). Make a soft, airy, and „silky“ dough.

Fresh made Sirnica dough, that needs to riseFresh made Sirnica dough, that needs to rise

Leave the dough in a plastic dish for two or three hours to rise (it depends on the ingredients, room temperature, yeast quality). Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel.

Risen Sirnica dough after 2 - 3 hours

Risen Sirnica dough after 2 - 3 hours

Sirnica dough after been taken out of the plastic dish

Sirnica dough after been taken out of the plastic dish

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. You can weigh it, to be approximately 0.5 kg each.

Sirnica after been cut into four equal piecesSirnica dough after been cut into four equal pieces

Make 4 perfect balls of dough, the ingredients are enough for 4 bigger pieces. Leave the dough again for 30 minutes to one hour, to be ready for the oven. Meantime, cover the balls with a clean kitchen towel.

Four pieces of raw Sirnice Four raw pieces of Sirnice

Before baking, coat sirnica with egg yolks.

Sirnice coated with egg yolks

Sirnice coated with egg yolks

Cut the dough with kitchen scissors or a knife and put coarse sugar, to get a nice crust in the oven. That will make it tastier later.

Sirnica ready for the ovenSirnica ready for the oven

Note: preheat the oven to 160˚C for 10 minutes before you start to stuff the dough. Put the dough in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes to 160˚C.

Sirnice in the oven on 160 degreesSirnice in the oven at 160 degrees

Check the dough several times, it can easily burn. Lower the temperature if needed. It is better to bake it on a lower one for a longer period of time. After it is done, remove it from the oven and leave it for some time, until it cools. Your Sirnica is ready to be carried on Holy Saturday to church. Don’t forget salt and water.

 Perfect Sirnice just removed from the ovenPerfect Sirnice just removed from the oven

How to serve it:

This traditional dessert will be a great dessert on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. You can try it with a glass of milk or hot coffee or tea.Tasty homemade Easter Bread

Tasty homemade Easter Bread

2. Pletenica - Braided Bread

(pronounced: pleteni'tza)

Pletenica - Braided Bread or Sweet Braided Bread is a great choice for holidays. You can make it with your kids, it is not hard to shape it.

Dough ingredients:

The same as in Sirnica - Easter Bread. You can add raisins or dried fruit. The procedure is the same, just the shaping of the dough is different. The first dough needs to rise. After, form a braid shape and leave it for some time until the dough rises again. 

 Light and fluffy dough for Pletenica - Braided Bread

Light and fluffy dough for Pletenica - Braided Bread, source: 

Note: preheat the oven to 160˚C before you start to stuff the dough. Put the dough in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes to 160˚C. Check the dough. After the baking, remove it and wait until it gets cool. You can decorate the bread with Easter eggs.

Braided Bread with raisinsBraided Bread with raisins, source: 

3. Mandulat

(pronounced: man'dool'at)

Mandulat is among the classic sweets of Dalmatian cuisine. People make it by themselves or buy it in the supermarkets. You can find it anywhere in Dalmatia. It is considered to be an authentic Dalmatian treat. You can give it to someone you love for Christmas and Easter. It has always been a great gift for holidays and a sign of affection.

Perfectly cut pieces of Dalmatian Mandulat

Perfectly cut pieces of Dalmatian Mandulat


  • 2 wafers
  • 4 egg whites
  • 30 dag of powdered sugar
  • 2 vanilla sugars
  • 30 days honey
  • 30 dag of roasted almonds (and peeled preferably)
  • add lemon if you wantAlmonds, favourite ingredient of many Croatian desserts

Almonds, favourite ingredient of many Croatian desserts


First, make snow from egg whites. Stir constantly and gradually add sugar and vanilla sugars.

You need to melt the honey in steam and gradually add the egg whites, stirring constantly. Then cook the mixture for 45 minutes, but be careful, you need to stir it occasionally. Please do it in a dish with a thin bottom. 

Later, add the roasted almonds and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until the mixture begins to separate from the pan.


How to make tasty Mandulat:

Pour the still warm mixture onto the wafer sheet and align it. Cover it with another wafer. Press well with your hand until the wafers are completely attached to the filling. Leave it to stand for at least overnight or half a day. When the time comes cut it with a hot knife.Mandulat for sale

Mandulat for sale, source:  

4. Pandulat

(pronounced: pan'dool'at)

Pandulat is a traditional dessert of the Split region. It comes from Italy, so it is sometimes called Pandoletti. Since the two cultures have been intertwined for centuries, it makes sense that we took some recipes from the Italians.

Dough ingredients:

  • 35 dag of flour
  • ½ pack of baking powder
  • 10 dag of sugar
  • 10 dag of almonds
  • 5 dag of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • grated lemon zest
  • add raisins, dried friut, or rum according to wishes


Fry whole almonds in a pan without fat. Mix butter and sugar, add one egg at a time, flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and whole almonds. Knead the dough with your hands and form 4 thin loaves from it. Place loaves on a floured sheet of greaseproof paper. 


Bake it for 25-30 minutes at a moderate temperature (160 – 170˚C). They are baked when slightly browned. When the upper crust is hard it is a sign for you to remove it from the oven. Sprinkle them with powdered sugar and immediately cut them diagonally into slices. Leave it to cool. Like any dry cookie, pandulat is best kept in a box, no matter if it is plastic or tin. They are easy to prepare and perfect with good coffee or tea.

Note: Since their main ingredients are whole nuts, Pandulat slices are not for those with sensitive teeth :- )Homemade Pandulat

Homemade Pandulat

5. Rafioli - Ravioli

(pronounced: ra'ffiioli)

Trogirski Rafioli or Rafiole recipe is the best variation you will ever try in Croatia. It is an old recipe from our grandmas and one of the most authentic Croatian cakes. 

Dough ingredients:

  • 70 dag of flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 10 dag of lard
  • 10 dag butter
  • 10 dag of sugar
  • 2 vanilla sugars
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1.5 - 2 dl of milk
  • juice of half an orange

Stuffing ingredients:

  • 200 g blanched and ground almonds
  • 200 g of toasted and ground almonds
  • 5 tablespoons Maraschino
  • 6 egg whites beaten into solid snow
  • 2 vanilla sugars
  • 150 g of sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • juice of half an orange
  • peel of one lemon
  • peel of one orange

Dough preparation:

Make a dough from the dough ingredients and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Rafiole stuffing

Rafiole stuffing

Stuffing preparation:

Meanwhile, make the stuffing for the Rafioli. Add all the ingredients and leave beaten egg whites for the end. Finally, lightly with a spatula, stir in the beaten egg whites (never mix). Combine everything nicely.

Rafioli shaping:

Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2 mm and cut the circles with honor. Spoon the filling into the center of each circle. Fold and squeeze the ends lightly with your fingers, then press with a fork. If desired, spread with beaten eggs and sprinkle with sugar. You can also coat them with the following coating...


  • 200 ml of water
  • 1 vanilla sugar
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons Maraschino
  • 50 g of sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar

Bake at 160 °C until the Rafioli is golden brown. The cookies must be bright but baked.

Rafioli in the ovenRafioli in the oven

Rafioli is the best when left for 2 - 3 days, in fact, the longer they last the better. Serve them with coffee, tea, homemade prosecco, visnjevaca (cherry liqueur), or orahovac (walnut liqueur) with milk. Feel the dance of your taste buds!

Ready-made Trogirski Rafioli

Ready-made Trogirski Rafioli

6. Breskvice – Peach Cookies

(pronounced: bre'skvitze)

Breskvice is the most charming-looking cake and among the most colorful ones. Every plate looks more vivid with just several pieces of breskvice dessert.

 Dough ingredients:

  • 250 dag of fat ( lard, margarine, or butter)
  • 250 g of sugar
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 vanilla sugar
  • 600 g of flour
  • 1 baking powder
  • rum according to wishes
  • lemon zest

Dough preparation: 

Mix everything well and add the flour at the end. The dough should not be hard or too soft. Shape the dough into balls with a professional piping bag. Arrange the pieces on greaseproof paper on a baking sheet. Bake at 180 degrees for a maximum of 15 minutes. Breskvice is baked when they are rosy from below.

Raw Breskvice dough

Raw Breskvice dough

Cake filling:

  • remaining Breskvice mass
  • 4 bars of chocolate
  • 200 g of margarine
  • milk or rum according to wishes
  • add a little ground walnuts

Baked Breskvice halvesBaked Breskvice halves

Cake decoration:

Hollow out the middle of the baked dough. Fill one half with filling and press another half onto it. Roll each piece in vanilla, strawberry, and/or pear extract. Then roll the cookies in coarse sugar. With this dessert, you will decorate your Easter table and give it some color!

Colorful Breskvice dessertColorful Breskvice Dessert, source: 

7. Rožata

(pronounced: ro'zata)

Rožata is a traditional Dalmatian pudding. The Italians have creme caramel, the French creme brulee, the Spaniards have flan, and we have rožata. They all have in common that it is an egg cream in caramel juice.

Dubrovnik rozata prepared according to the original recipe with rose liqueur- Rozalin, was proposed for inclusion on the UNESCO list of protected intangible heritage. Prepare your bain-marie and make this recipe for 4 persons.


  • 0.5 l of milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 spoons of sugar 
  • 2 packs of vanilla sugar
  • lemon zest
  • rose petal liqueur (rozalin)
  • rum, vanilla aroma, orange peel (optional)

For caramel:

  •  150 g of sugar

 A tasty piece of Dalmatian RožataA tasty piece of Dalmatian Rožata


Turn on the oven to heat to 160 °C.

Sugar and vanilla sugar should be mixed with milk, boiled, and removed from the heat to cool. Mix the eggs gently, so that they do not foam. Mix them with the chilled milk, grate the lemon zest and add a few drops of rose liqueur.

In a bowl with a thicker bottom, melt half of the caramel sugar at a low temperature, being careful not to burn it. Add the rest of the sugar and slowly melt it. Carefully pour it on the sides of the pan in which the Rozata is baked and let it cool.

Pour eggs and milk into a bowl with caramel. Fill a deep baking sheet (water bath) with hot water to 2/3 of the height. Place smaller pan in a deeper one, and bake it for about 40 - 45 minutes at 150 °C.

Cool Rozata to room temperature and leave it in the fridge overnight. Before serving, cover the dish with a plate and turn it over carefully. The caramel should not leak out. Drizzle with a few more drops of liqueur and voilà.

 Rožata CakeRožata Cake

8. Arancini and Limoncini

(pronounced: a'raantziini / limon'tziini)

Arancini and Limoncini dessert is also one characteristic of the Dalmatian area. They are found in the stores and exclusive gift shops. You will easily make pieces of candied orange peel by following the instructions. This recipe is only applicable to non-sprayed oranges.

Ingredients for  sugar syrup:

  • 250 ml of water
  • 500 g of sugar
  • 1 lemon sugar

For sprinkling:

  • crystal sugar Arancini in the sugar juice

Arancini in the sugar juice


Cut the orange peel into oblong sticks about 5 mm wide. Put them to soak in water for about 2 - 3 days. Change the water at least 2 times a day. In this way, the bitterness is derived from the orange peel. On the third day, drain the crust. Put the drained crusts in water and cook until they become semi-soft. Add sugar, lemon sugar, and cook all together. Stir the liquid, until it evaporates. Remove the crusts and while still hot, spread them on the baking paper and sprinkle with crystal sugar. Roll the crusts well in that sugar. Dry the orange pieces stacked next to each other on a flat surface for 2 - 3 days.

Delicious homemade Arancini Delicious homemade Arancini

The orange peel is ideal for preparing many desserts, especially holiday ones, and the grated one will perfectly flavor the pancake batter. The procedure is the same with Limoncini.

Limoncini piecesLimoncini pieces

9. Ušećereni Bajami – Candied Almonds

(pronounced: uuschetsc'ereni baiami)

Sugared almonds are a great snack and a wonderful idea for an Easter gift. Almonds simply adore sugar coating which crackles beautifully under your teeth. Here is the recipe for this traditional Dalmatian table decoration.


  • 300 g almonds
  • 250 ml of water
  • 225 g of sugar
  • 1 pack of vanilla sugar
  • add cinnamon if you wish

 Candied Almonds

Candied Almonds


Put water, sugar, and vanilla sugar in a pot, some put cinnamon instead of vanilla. Cook over medium-high heat until done. When the water and sugar syrup boils and bubbles form, add the almonds. Cook until the liquid evaporates and a thick coating remains on the almonds. Stir constantly. 

The process is finished, when all you have left in the pot are almonds coated with sugar and the rest of the dry sugar at the bottom of the pot. Transfer the almonds to baking paper and leave them to cool for about 15 minutes.

Advice: Use a bigger pot, so the almonds have enough space. It will be easier to mix them.

Arancini and Candied Almonds on a plate

10. Uskrsna Jaja - Easter Eggs

(pronounced: ooskrsna yaya)

Easters Eggs are also called Pisanice in Croatia. It is an Easter tradition and the biggest kid's joy. An egg represents a new life. Eggs are usually hard-boiled, dyed, and sometimes decorated. Colors can be found in every supermarket. If you are more into the healthy style of living, you can dye your Easter eggs in a natural way.

Traditional Easter Eggs in the makingTraditional Easter Eggs in the making, source: 

Use red onion skins for brown eggs, spinach for green, cherry juice for red, beetroot to get pink to purple tone, blueberries, and purple cabbage for blue. Bright red can be achieved by half an hour of cooking in raspberry juice, rosehip, or red wine, with which the eggs should be left to cool in that liquid, preferably overnight. Carrots will serve for the orange, and you can add chili powder or ground red pepper for stronger intensity.

For the yellow color, cook the citrus peel like lemon or orange. You can add turmeric or saffron powder to the cooking water and cook the eggs in chamomile tea. Chamomile can also achieve yellow. 

One of the most surprising discoveries was the fact that wine also serves to get perfect shiny crystal Easter eggs. If you decide on this option, also leave them to cool overnight in the liquid. Vinegar is a color hardener, so feel free to use it. At the very end, coat the eggs with oil. It will give them a final touch and they will be shiny.

Crystal Easter Eggs made in wineCrystal Easter Eggs made in wine

I hope we inspired you to decorate your Easter table. In case you are still not sure what desserts to make, you can also check our blog Traditional Croatian Christmas Cakes

Make the most colorful Easter eggs and most delicious dessert. We recommend serving Easter eggs with consecrated salt. Serve them with cooked Easter ham, fresh lettuce, spring onions, and radishes. It will be the perfect Easter breakfast! Don't forget to buy a bouquet of tulips.

Spend your holiday with your loved ones but don't forget those who are less fortunate than you. At least donate some food, so everybody around you could have nice holidays.

Happy Easter, folks!

Perfect Easter basket

Perfect Easter basket, source: 

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