Kozinjak Recipe

Discover the Best Kozinjak Recipe – An International Sweet Pastry Tradition. Create Irresistible Kozinjak at Home with Our Step-by-Step Guide!



  • Cuisine: International
  • Category: Dessert, Sweet Pastry
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Yield: 12
  • Calories: 150 calories

Kozinjak, also spelled "kozunak" in some regions, is a traditional sweet bread or pastry that hails from the Balkan countries of Southeastern Europe. This delicacy holds a special place in the hearts of Balkan people, and it's often associated with festive occasions, particularly Easter.

Kozinjak is a rich and indulgent pastry made from a sweet, enriched dough that's typically flavored with ingredients like sugar, eggs, butter, and sometimes vanilla or lemon zest for extra aroma. What makes kozinjak unique is its distinct braided or knotted shape, which is not only visually appealing but also adds to its character.

During Easter, it's customary to prepare kozinjak as a symbol of the holiday's renewal and abundance. Families and communities come together to bake and share these delightful pastries. The addition of nuts and powdered sugar on top provides a sweet and slightly nutty crunch that perfectly complements the soft, fluffy interior.

The preparation of kozinjak is a labor of love, as it involves a time-consuming process of kneading and rising the dough. The end result is a delightful treat that embodies the spirit of celebration in the Balkans, representing not just a delicious pastry but also a connection to tradition and togetherness. Whether enjoyed during Easter or any special occasion, kozinjak is a sweet reminder of Balkan culinary heritage.


Indulge in Balkan Delights: Learn to Craft the Perfect Kozinjak, a Sweet Pastry Bursting with Tradition and Flavor. Dive In!


  • 500g all-purpose flour
  • 200ml lukewarm milk
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted
  • A pinch of salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g finely chopped walnuts
  • 100g powdered sugar for dusting
  • A bit of vegetable oil for greasing

Method Instructions

  1. Start by dissolving the yeast in lukewarm milk and add a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture, beaten eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix everything together until a sticky dough forms. Knead it on a floured surface for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  7. Punch down the dough and divide it into small, equally sized pieces.
  8. Roll each piece into a rope, about 20-25cm long, and shape it into a knot or ring. Place them on a greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  10. While the kozinjaks are still warm, dust them with powdered sugar and sprinkle the finely chopped walnuts over the top.
  11. Let them cool before serving. Enjoy your homemade kozinjaks!

Recipe Video


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Recipe Tags: Kozinjak, Kozinjak Recipe, Recipe


Kozinjak is typically served as a delightful dessert or sweet pastry. Here's how to serve it:

  • Sliced Portions: Once your kozinjak has cooled to room temperature, you can slice it into individual portions. The size of each slice can vary based on your preference and the occasion.
  • Garnish: Before serving, you can garnish the sliced portions with an extra dusting of powdered sugar and finely chopped nuts. This not only adds to the visual appeal but also enhances the flavor and texture.
  • Accompaniments: Kozinjak is often enjoyed with a cup of hot coffee or tea. The combination of the sweet, soft pastry with a warm beverage is a delightful pairing.
  • Special Occasions: On festive occasions like Easter in the Balkans, kozinjak is often shared among family and friends as a symbol of abundance and togetherness. It's customary to offer it as a gesture of hospitality and celebration.
  • Storage: If you have leftover kozinjak, store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh. It can be enjoyed for several days, and the flavors might even develop further over time.


  1. Fresh Ingredients: Always use fresh ingredients, especially for the yeast, as this is crucial for the dough to rise properly.
  2. Kneading: Take your time when kneading the dough. Kneading for at least 10-15 minutes is essential to develop the gluten and achieve a soft, elastic dough.
  3. Rising Time: Allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place. This is important to ensure the dough doubles in size. It usually takes about an hour.
  4. Customization: Feel free to customize your Kozinjak with different flavorings. You can add ingredients like vanilla extract, lemon zest, or even a touch of cinnamon for extra aroma.
  5. Portion Control: When shaping the dough into knots or braids, try to keep them relatively uniform in size. This ensures even baking.
  6. Baking Time: Keep a close eye on the Kozinjak while it's in the oven. It should be golden brown when done. Overbaking can result in a dry texture.
  7. Garnish: Don't skip the step of dusting with powdered sugar and adding finely chopped nuts. This not only adds flavor but also enhances the visual appeal.
  8. Storage: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container to maintain freshness. You can also freeze Kozinjak for longer-term storage.
  9. Easter Tradition: If you're making Kozinjak for Easter, consider making a larger batch to share with family and friends as a symbol of abundance and celebration.

Ingredient Substitutes

  1. Milk: You can substitute milk with a non-dairy milk like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk for a dairy-free version.
  2. Butter: To make a dairy-free Kozinjak, replace butter with a suitable plant-based alternative like vegan margarine or coconut oil.
  3. Eggs: If you need an egg substitute, you can use a flaxseed or chia seed "egg." Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with 2.5 tablespoons of water for each egg required. Let it sit for a few minutes to gel.
  4. Sugar: You can replace granulated sugar with a natural sweetener like maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar. Keep in mind that this might slightly alter the flavor.
  5. Flour: While all-purpose flour is traditional, you can experiment with different types of flour, like whole wheat or a gluten-free blend, to make the recipe suitable for your dietary needs.
  6. Yeast: If you don't have active dry yeast, you can use instant yeast. The substitution is typically one-to-one.
  7. Nuts: The type of nuts used can be varied based on your preference or allergies. You can replace walnuts with pecans, almonds, or omit them altogether if necessary.
  8. Flavorings: You can personalize the flavor of your Kozinjak by using different extracts like almond, orange, or even a touch of rum extract.


As you savor the sweet memories of making and sharing Kozinjak, embrace the rich traditions of the Balkans. A taste of history in every bite.

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