Gibanica is a delicious pastry dish filled with flaky pastry layers and lots of cheese and eggs. It’s served as a breakfast or an appetizer!
Gibanica is a traditional pastry dish from the Balkans area, usually made with cheese and eggs. This dish is traditionally served for breakfast with kefir or plain yogurt. It’s a staple meal in my family.
Here is the full list of all ingredients needed for this recipe. For precise measurements, please look at the recipe card.
- Phyllo Dough: I used Athens Phyllo Dough sheets for this recipe. Traditionally, you would make the dough sheets from scratch, but these Phyllo Dough sheets are the perfect substitution to speed up the process.
- Eggs: Eggs are the base of this recipe. They will give the flavor and help incorporate all ingredients.
- Flour: I used all-purpose flour. We need a little bit.
- Salt: Adding flavor.
- Pepper: Just a pinch of black pepper for added flavor.
- Sour cream: I used full-fat sour cream.
- Cottage cheese: I used low-fat cottage cheese. You can substitute it with ricotta cheese, but please note it will be less salty.
- Feta cheese: I used full-fat crumbled feta cheese. This gibanica recipe is very filling with this amount of feta cheese. I also tried to use half the amount of feta cheese, and it turned out great.
- Unsalted butter: We use melted butter to brush the phyllo sheets between adding the cheese and egg mixture. It will give that nice golden finish on the top once baked.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy preparation: Thawing phyllo sheets takes a little longer, but the rest is straightforward. Most of the preparation is making the cheese-egg filling and assembling the pie.
- Flavor: Flaky phyllo sheets and cheese filling combine to create a divine flavor. It can be more or less salty, depending on which cheese you use.
- Texture: Gibanica has flaky and crunchy phyllo layers with creamy and soft cheese layers in between.
- Customizable: You can customize the cheese filling based on your preferences. To read more, please look at the Substitutions and Variations section below.
Equipment and Tools Needed
- Cast iron skillet or a baking dish
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large bowl
- A spatula
Even though the preparation for gibanica is straightforward and it does not take long, thawing the pastry sheets takes longer. So, make sure you allow some time for that when you want to prepare this recipe.
Step 1: First, thaw two rolls of phyllo pastry sheets. Follow the instructions on the package (it takes about 3 hours). Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheits.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Then add the sour cream. Mix until combined. Add cottage cheese and feta cheese. Fold with a spatula until combined. Set aside.
Step 3: Unroll the phyllo sheets and cover them with a slightly damp kitchen towel to avoid drying out. Coat the baking pan (I used the iron cast 9”x13”) with a little bit of unsalted butter.
Step 4: Lay the five phyllo sheets in the baking pan and brush the top sheet with melted butter. Spread one-quarter of the cheese and egg mixture on the top sheet.
Step 5: Repeat this process four more times. Pour the remaining butter on the top sheet. Re-roll the unused phyllo sheets and leave them in the freezer for later use.
Step 6: Bake for one hour or until golden on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes. The cheese pie will puff up during baking but will settle once rested.
Step 7: Cut into 8 or 12 pieces and serve with kefir or plain yogurt. Enjoy!
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Cover the phyllo sheets: When you start to assemble the pie, cover the phyllo sheets with a clean damp kitchen towel to avoid drying them sheets.
- Spread the cheese mixture evenly: To ensure even baking, divide it evenly when adding them between phyllo sheet layers.
- Let the pie rest before cutting it into pieces: Gibanica will puff up when baking, so it needs to sit for 15-20 minutes before you cut it.
Substitutions and Variations
- Use different cheese: To replace cottage cheese, use ricotta cheese. You may need to adjust the salt since ricotta cheese is less salty.
- Adjust the cheese amount: Use less feta cheese. I tried both versions, and both taste great. If you use less cheese, the pie will be thinner.
- Add spinach leaves: If you are not following the traditional recipe, feel free to add spinach leaves. You can use frozen spinach leaves – make sure to drain excess water.
If we have company and eat the whole gibanica on the same day, I would leave it on the counter and cover it with a dry kitchen towel.
Otherwise, please keep it in the air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Phyllo Potato Pie
- Savory Sandwich Cake
- Tuna Egg Salad
- Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Turnovers
- Puff Pastry Garlic Flatbread – 2 Ways
- Crustless Ham and Cheese Quiche
- Homemade Crepes Recipe
- Avocado Toast with Balsamic Glaze
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Gibanica – Serbian Cheese Pie
- Cast iron skillet or baking dish
- measuring cups and spoons
- 25 sheets Phyllo Dough
- 6 eggs (beaten)
- ⅓ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 cup sour cream
- 8 oz low-fat cottage cheese
- 1 lb feta cheese
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
- Thaw two rolls of Phyllo pastry sheets. Follow the instructions on the package (it takes about 3 hours). Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheits.
- Whisk together eggs, flour, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Then add the sour cream. Mix until combined. Add cottage cheese and feta cheese. Fold with a spatula until combined. Set aside.
- Unroll the phyllo sheets and cover them with a slightly damp kitchen towel to avoid drying out.
- Coat the baking pan (I used the iron cast 9”x13”) with a little bit of unsalted butter.
- Lay the five phyllo sheets in the baking pan and brush the top sheet with melted butter.
- Spread one-quarter of the cheese and egg mixture on the top sheet.
- Repeat this process four more times. Pour the remaining butter on the top sheet. Re-roll the unused phyllo sheets and leave them in the freezer for later use.
- Bake for one hour or until golden on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes. The cheese pie will puff up during baking, but it will settle once rested. Cut into 8 or 12 pieces and serve with kefir or plain yogurt. Enjoy!
- You can substitute cottage cheese with ricotta cheese, but it will be less salty.
- You can cut back on the amount of the feta cheese. I tried it with half the amount listed in this recipe (half a pound), and it tasted great. It’s your preference to add more or less feta cheese.