Ground beef and potato pie with phyllo sheets (šareni burek) is a savory pastry you'll love. It consists of a meat and potato filling, rolled in crispy yet soft phyllo dough, then baked. The result is nothing short of miraculous!
Pies (pite, sing. pita) are integral to Balkan cuisine.
Balkan pies are made by combining thin phyllo dough with different fillings, and then baking them together. You'll see them everywhere, from local bakeries to fine dining establishments.
The best kind are made with homemade dough. However, when done right, even the store-bought phyllo sheets make great pies. Today’s ground beef and potato pie is a good example.
[Digression. The word pita is interchangeable with burek in most places in the Balkans, except Bosnia and Herzegovina. For example, you can usually order a 'burek with cheese' or 'burek with spinach' in other places.
Meanwhile, in Bosnia burek is meat, or meat and potato, pie only. Other pies are named based on their filling. So instead of 'burek with cheese,' you’d have the 'cheesepie' in Bosnia.
Think about English 'chips' vs. American 'fries.' You simply use the word based on location, without fuss.
Although confusing at first, be respectful of this difference when in Bosnia, or speaking to a Bosnian. We take it to ❤️. ]
Today’s pie, also known as šareni burek, meaning colorful burek, is a local favorite. It truly combines the best flavors! We have earthy, soft potatoes, and hearty ground beef with seasonings, encased dough that's both flaky and soft.
You will love it!
- ONE HOUR start to finish!
- Can you name a dish that requires a totally MEDIOCRE effort for INCREDIBLE taste? (Well, now you can!)
- This is THE DISH your family, friends, and Balkan mother-in-law all crave!
Phyllo dough: You’ll need 14-18 sheets, (or about a pound). Get phyllo sheets. Avoid: cups, pie crust, and other shapes as they don't work for this recipe.
Ground beef: For best beef pie taste, get a mix of different fat percentage ground beef and mix. Sub with ground pork for a stronger taste.
Oil: Use granola, vegetable, sunflower, coconut. Butter also works. Avoid: olive oil.
Seasonings: Vegeta, beef stock powder or beef bouillon cube all work well. Sub with regular salt and pepper.
Our lightning-fast instructions are here to give you an idea of how to make this beef pie with potatoes in phyllo sheets. For more detailed information look at the recipe card below!
1. Take phyllo out of the fridge to thaw (not pictured). Combine and mix filling ingredients.
2. Oil a baking pan. Unwrap phyllo. Take one sheet. Brush with oil. Add filling on the short side. Roll. Transfer to pan. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and filling.
3. Place rolls in the pan tightly. Brush with oil on top.
4. Bake. Brush with milk and oil topping. Rest 15-20 minutes. Eat.
Serving: The pie tastes best about 20-30 minutes after baking. It’s warm, but not hot. Serve with plain yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk.
Assembly: Assemble the pie just before baking. IF YOU REALLY MUST assemble it a couple of hours ahead by topping the assembled pie with more oil (or butter), covering tightly in saran wrap, and keeping it in the fridge. Take out 20 minutes before baking so it can adjust to room temperature.
Storing: Store baked pie at room temperature for up to a few hours, or in the fridge for up to 2 days. Potatoes do not keep well in the fridge, so minimize this time. Warm-up using your preferred method.
Note: I’m against freezing this beef pie because the store-bought dough does not behave best when worked with too much. You’re using store dough to cut down on the preparation process anyway, so you really shouldn’t be thinking about freezing here.
Freezing: (IF YOU REALLY MUST, BUT TRY NOT TO!) Freeze only after assembly and before baking. Place pie rolls on a tray, top with a little more oil (or butter), wrap tightly in saran wrap, and then freeze. When ready to use take out of the freezer about 30 minutes before baking, heat up the oven, top with a little more oil (or butter), and bake. It can stay in the freezer for up to a month.
As meat, potatoes, and flour are ingredients you can find anywhere, almost every culture has their own version of a meat and potato pie.
The one we're doing today is from the Balkans, (Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular).
Yes. Burek is a type of pie made with phyllo dough and different toppings.
This is a quick version of mixed (šareni) burek with store-bought phyllo that doesn't skimp on taste at all.
Phyllo dough consists of thin phyllo sheets made from water, flour, and oil. It's crisper and thinner. Meanwhile, butter is one of the main pie crust ingredients. This dough is thicker and more succulent.
With a generous amount of oil, or butter, you can use phyllo for a pie crust. However, it's more complicated to use pie crust to make phyllo dough recipes.
- Extra phyllo. Always have an extra box of phyllo sheets on hand. Even the best brand will have bad batches, the kind that crumble up and dry out too fast.
- Baking pan size. Find a baking pan similar in size as one of the phyllo sides. This way you don’t have to do too much cutting and dough adjusting.
- Tomato salad. The best salad to eat with pita is tomato salad. Chop up tomatoes and add salt. Any tomatoes work, especially cherry tomatoes.
- Got time? Try making homemade dough for this pie.
- Want unusual? Zuchinni pie is all yours.
- Love cheese? Cheese pie was made for you!
- How about potatoes? Yup, we got the potato pie too!
- Meanwhile, spinach and cheese pie is our ❤️ language.
If you make ground beef potato pie with phyllo sheets and like it, please consider giving it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5-star) rating. This helps others find the recipe more easily!
Also, feel free to leave a comment (I read each one!), and don't forget to tag a photo #balkanlunchbox, or us @balkanlunchbox, on IG.
Prijatno and bon appetit!
Ground Beef and Potato Pie
- 1 Baking pan find one that fits phyllo sheets, or cut the sheets to fit the pan
- 1 onion medium, minced
- 1 pound potatoes peeled, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 bouillon cube or 1 tablespoon vegeta, salt or stock powder
- 1 box of phyllo about 14-18 sheets
- Oil sunflower, canola, vegetable, or coconut, non-stick if possible for ease
- ½ cup milk or water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Take phyllo out of the fridge, but keep it in the box. Let it adjust to the room temperature for about 30 minutes. In a large bowl add filling ingredients. Mix well with your hand until the filling is completely integrated. Set aside. Heat oven to 490°F (250°C).
- Generously oil the baking pan. Take phyllo out of the box and unwrap. Keep on a kitchen towel. Take one sheet, spread it on your working area, and generously spray (brush) with oil. Grab a handful or two of the filling and spread a line of it (the thickness of about two thumbs) on the shorter end of the phyllo sheet. Roll the filling and phyllo up like a cigar. Transfer to your baking pan.
- Repeat until you run out of the ingredients. Place the rolls tightly next to each other in a pan. Spray (or brush) with a dash of oil on top, and transfer to the oven. Lower heat to 450°F (230°C).
- Bake for 30 minutes, checking occasionally. If the pie starts to blush cover it with foil. A few minutes before the pie is done, melt the topping ingredients together. Spray the pie with the topping, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest 15-20 minutes before serving. (Optional) Cut the pie perpendicularly.
- The pie tastes best about 20-30 minutes after baking when it's warm, but not hot. Serve with plain yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk and a tomato salad. Keep outside for a few hours, or in the fridge for up to two days. Potatoes don't keep well in the fridge, so it's best if you consume the pie while it's fresh. Warm it up using your preferred method. For earlier assembly and freezing (which isn't recommended at all!) look at the notes.
Let’s Combine it into a meal!
Finally finally finally a pita recipe that a non-Bosnian can actually make!!! I made this yesterday and it turned out amazing on my first try! Once again, the photos were incredibly helpful to me as I followed the recipe. The only thing I changed was that I used melted butter instead of oil in between the phyllo sheets and because my oven tends to run pretty hot, I baked the pita at 425 F for 25 min and then reduced the temperature to 350F for the last 5 minutes because it was getting pretty brown. It was delicious, my Bosnian husband said it was very good, and even my picky kids ate it! I can't wait to try the spinach one. Thank you Aida!
You're welcome! I am so happy these are turning out good for you, but I have a sneaking suspicion you were already a great cook to start with! 🙂
With the spinach one, feel free to add some feta and reduce ricotta if you like feta cheese more.
And yes, always listen to your oven. Mine runs on a slow, cooler side.
Thanks Aida . I was very young when war started and then came to USA without my parents may they rest in peace . never had a chance to learn my mom's amazing cooking. now I faced my fears and started making all the food and your pictures look exactly the same as my mom's cooking. Thank you for sharing your talent with me .. Sedina
Sedina, thank you for giving me the privilege to bring a little taste of our cuisine to your home. I am very sorry about your parents. Good luck with your cooking endeavors, I'm sure you'll do great. Please stop by again and let me know how your pita turned out.
I really want to know what happened to whoever ordered burek with cheese, the link to radiosarajevo is dead!
Other than that, thank you 🙂 Here is hoping you post more pies.
Radiosarajevo must've removed the link. Here is the new one... http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/scena/mozaik/clanak/id/234958/u-sarajevu-narucila-burek-sa-sirom-i-evo-sto-je-dobila
Thanks for your comment, and if you have a particular pie you'd like to make, let me know and I'll put the recipe in the rotation.
Great name btw.
In the video there is what appears to be a cream sauce at serving. What is it?
Yogurt (Greek-like smooth, non-sweet)
You can also mince in some garlic
What is the best Phyllo to buy and use and from where?
Almira, most grocery stores carry them and keep them in their freezer aisles with other pastry doughs and pie crusts. Just make sure you're not buying dough that's pre-shaped. Generally they come in a batch of 15-20 sheets in one rectangular long box. If you live in the States look for "Athens" brand, they are pretty good.
Rhonda Kizer says
In the video, it says "seasoning mix" what is this as I
don't see it in the listed ingredients.
Healthier version of Vegeta. You can skip it and the bouillon cube if you don't eat it. Using salt and pepper will still yield excellent results.
Tomas Barbieri says
what is the white sauce that is poured over at the end?
European (Greek-like smooth, non-sweet) style yogurt with minced garlic.
Are you supposed to cook the potatoes first? Thanks so much for the recipe I was looking for a potato pie easy one and I did it without the meat and did not cook the potatoes hopefully it turns out alright it is in the oven now 🙂
No need to cook the potatoes Nina. Let us know how it turned out and how you liked it. 🙂
Aida Masic says
Hi! How much of the vegeta do you put? I don’t want to overdo it.
Start small (especially if you are using salt as well) like half a tsp and take it from there. You can even skip it. It adds flavor but it's by no means mandatory.
Lisa D says
I have a question... In the instructions it says "Take phyllo out of the box and unwrap. Take one sheet of phyllo, spread it on your working area and generously spray (or brush) with oil. Grab a handful or two of the filling and spread a line of it (the thickness of two thumbs) on one the longer end of stacked phyllo sheets."
It only says to use one phyllo sheet at the start and then implies there is more than one later. How many sheets of phyllo are used for one roll?
You are using one box of phyllo for the entire dish. One box of phyllo has about 16-18 sheets. Each one of those sheets will be stuffed. Does that make sense? Take a look at the video below. Let us know if it's still confusing.
I have bought all the ingredients to make this but wanted to know if any of it can be done in advance.
Not sure which part of the recipe you are referring to, so here are our tips.
You can prepare the pie in advance and leave it in the oven after baking.
If you are asking can you assemble it together and leave before baking we advise against it because this is store bought dough and it's already thawed.
If you do assemble the pie and decide keep it in the fridge before baking anyway, don't do leave it in for a long time. (Generally the only phyllo we put back in the fridge or freezer is the homemade kind.) Hope that answers your question.
I made this without the meat and it was delicious, almost like homemade krompirusa - thank you
Nice! Did you adjust the potato volume?
Thanks for the recipe. I made it without meat as well. Just onion, potatoes, vegeta, salt and pepper.
It's our pleasure! We love the krompirusa version as well.
Donna Kozic says
Thank you! Thank you! It was perfect! Just like the burek I eat when I visit Croatia. Didn’t change a thing except baked it at a slightly lower temperature. Used vegeta - can’t cook without it.
Glad we could bring a little taste of home to you. Yes, definitely adjust to your own oven.