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11 Best Bulgarian Desserts (Baklava, Tikvenik and more!)

Have you ever wished you knew more about the wonderful realm of Bulgarian desserts? I know I did! 

So I decided to learn more about them and find my favorite dessert among these beautiful Bulgarian recipes.

Bulgarian Desserts featured image | Girl Meets Food

Are you curious to know which one I liked the most? Read on to find out!

11 Traditional Bulgarian Desserts

From mekitsa to Garash cake, discover a new range of flavors with delicious Bulgarian sweets.

A plate with a pile of Bulgarian Mekitsa is in a cutting board. There are other Mekitsa pieces next to the plate | Girl Meets Food
Mekitsa (Bulgarian Fried Dough)
Check out this recipe

Whether for breakfast or as a sweet treat, mekitsi are beloved fried dough pastries from Bulgaria.

The traditional mekitsi recipe calls for only three ingredients: flour, yogurt or water, and a leavening agent. The dough is then deep-fried till it becomes crisp and golden brown.

These fluffy pastries can be served with a variety of toppings or sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Tikvenik (Pumpkin Banitsa)

Banitsa pastry on a kitchen towel | Girl Meets Food

Tikvenik is a Bulgarian pastry that blends filo dough layers with the earthy richness of pumpkin.

Grated pumpkin, crunchy walnuts, sugar, and spices are usually layered between filo pastry sheets to make this delicacy.

You can enjoy the irresistible taste, with the crunchy crust and soft, sweet pumpkin filling creating an ideal harmony of textures!

Shtrudel (Apple Banitsa)

A piece of Shtrudel (Apple Banitsa) on a piece of paper | Girl Meets Food

Although strudel is famous all over Europe, the Bulgarian version, commonly known as “Apple Banitsa,” adds a special twist to this traditional pastry.

Layers of delicate filo dough encase a delectable blend of sugar, cinnamon, crunchy walnuts and grated apples in the Bulgarian apple banitsa.

Since I love all types of savory and sweet pastries, banitsa sounds like an amazing recipe to try. It can be filled with various ingredients including cheese and spinach for a savory twist.

Garash Cake

A piece of Garash Cake on a white background | Girl Meets Food

A popular chocolate delicacy in Bulgaria, Garash Cake was created by an Austro-Hungarian confectioner named Kosta Garash.

Typically, layers of walnut meringue sponge and chocolate cream filling make up this decadent delicacy.

This Bulgarian chocolate cake is a rich dessert that is enjoyed on many occasions and is sure to satisfy the demands of chocolate lovers.

If you’re a cake lover, you can also tour through other European cuisines to explore new ideas. For example, I loved these amazing Romanian cake recipes!

Plus, you should definitely give these tasty Ukrainian cakes a shot and let me know what you think about the flavors that define my region.


A plate with Kadaif desserts and lemon slices | Girl Meets Food

Kadaif, cataif or kadayif, is a sweet pastry made of shredded phyllo dough. The dough wraps around a filling of chopped nuts, most commonly pistachios or walnuts.

After kadaif is baked, you pour a sweet syrup over it, making it moist and sticky.

As evidence of its adaptability and broad appeal, Kadaif is popular not just in Bulgaria but also in the Middle East and several regions of the Mediterranean.


Baklava pieces on a plate | Girl Meets Food

Baklava is a popular dessert in many Balkan and Middle Eastern culinary traditions, including Bulgarian.

It features layers of thin phyllo dough, and chopped nuts (commonly walnuts or pistachios), all sweetened with honey or syrup.

Baking the layers until they’re golden crisp makes for a rich, sweet pastry that’s satisfyingly crunchy.


Kifla desserts on a baking tray | Girl Meets Food

Traditional Bulgarian pastries, known as kifli, come in both sweet and savory varieties.

Crescent-shaped dessert kifla is typically filled with almonds, fruit preserves, or a sweetened poppy seed mixture.

After baking, it’s coated with powdered sugar, which adds a subtle sweetness and makes it flaky and soft.


Maslenki (Bulgarian Christmas jam-filled cookies) on a piece of paper that is on the table | Girl Meets Food

In Bulgaria, especially during celebrations, people love eating maslenki, little biscuits. Flour, sugar, eggs and butter (or lard) are common ingredients in these buttery cookies, which give them their signature crumbly texture.

Maslenki can be formed into a variety of shapes and adorned with powdered sugar or glaze. They’re also often filled with fruit jam.

I love it when the jam center is shaped like a heart or a star. It adds an extra touch of charm to these special treats.

Tahan Halva

A plate with Tahan Halva pieces with a golden fork | Girl Meets Food

Tahan Halva is a delightful treat enjoyed in Bulgaria and many other parts of the world. The basic ingredients are sugar, sesame butter or paste (tahini), and occasionally additional flavorings like cocoa or vanilla.

The end product has a distinct texture that is thick, sugary, and nutty. Sliced halva makes an amazing dessert or snack. 

Sunflower halva is also popular in Bulgaria, and I’m more familiar with that version.

I’ve never actually eaten tahini halva before, but I’m intrigued and ready to try it. Join me if you’re a fan of sweet, nutty treats!


A plate with Orehovki (Bulgarian cookies) on black background | Girl Meets Food

Bulgarian cookies, known as orehovki, are made with ground walnuts, sugar, and egg whites. The dough is shaped into little circles and then baked until the cookies turn a beautiful brown color.

I tried making these amazing cookies at home and I can tell you that they’re super easy to bake! I flavored them with some vanilla but you can also try cinnamon.


Kozunak on parchment paper | Girl Meets Food

Kozunak is a classic yeast-leavened Easter bread from Bulgaria and other parts of Eastern Europe.

This smooth, slightly sweet bread is made with flour, eggs, milk, butter, and sugar. Adding raisins, lemon zest, rum and vanilla enhances its taste and aroma.

Before baking, braided or twisted kozunak is often sprinkled with some almond flakes.

This type of aromatic bread is also popular in Romania (where it’s known as “Cozonac”) among other traditional Romanian desserts you can try!

Now it’s time to share which Bulgarian dessert won my heart. Drum roll, please! 

It’s none other than the Pumpkin Banitsa with Walnuts. It’s just something about the spice-kissed pumpkin filling that I couldn’t resist!

If you need more dessert ideas, I also recommend checking out these delightful treats from Ukraine and traditional desserts from Croatia.

Maslenki (Bulgarian Christmas jam-filled cookies) on a piece of paper that is on the table | Girl Meets Food

11 Best Bulgarian Desserts (Baklava, Tikvenik and more!)

From baklava to kadaif, explore the unique flavors of Bulgarian desserts. I promise you’ll find something for your cravings!


  • Mekitsa (Bulgarian Fried Dough)
  • Tikvenik (Pumpkin Banitsa)
  • Shtrudel (Apple Banitsa)
  • Garash Cake
  • Kadaif
  • Baklava
  • Kifla
  • Maslenki
  • Tahan Halva
  • Orehovki
  • Kozunak
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