Serbian Sarma is old Serbian dish popular for years and its main ingredients are usually sauerkraut, minced meat and rice. Sarma is popular meal across the Balkans and originated from the cuisines of the Ottoman Empire into the Middle East to Southeastern Europe. You can find many variations of sarma with cabbage, kale or chard leaves rolled around.

Serbian Sarma

This is an old traditional Serbian dish that is has been popular for ages and you can find different variaties across.
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Serbia
Keyword: Beef, chicken, Pork, rice
Servings: 8


  • 1 large head of sauerkraut
  • 1 kg mixed minced meat (700 g pork mince and 300 g beef mince)
  • A couple of dried pork ribs, smoked sausage
  • 200 ml Rice
  • 600 g onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Chicken
  • herb salt,

  • pepper
  • bay leaf
  • sweet and spicy paprika powder
  • Oil or lard


  • In a bowl mix the meat and leave aside.
  • Heat a pan with oil over medium heat and add the finely chopped onion.
  • Saute the onion then add chopped garlic and then add rice, and the mixed minced meat, .
  • Add the chicken season with salt, pepper, and herb.
  • Sprinkle some sweet paprika powder and a spicy paprika powder then stir for 15 minutes.
  • Prepare the cabbage leaf on a flat surface and place 2½ tbsp of meat mixture in the center of the leave and roll out the cabbage leaves.
  • In a deep pan place 2 cabbage leaves on the bottom then place the sarmas on top in layers.
  • Spread some pieces smoked sausage, and bay leaves and peppercorn between the layers.
  • You can use the same pan to heat up 2 tbsp oil with sweet paprika powder and then pour over the layers with sarmas.
  • Cover with water and place on top 2 leaves of cabbage and let it simmer for about 2½ hours on medium low heat.

Inspiration and adaptation:,,

Explore other recipes from the traditional Serbian cuisine.

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