What is a Typical Croatian Breakfast?

Daniela Rogulj

croatian breakfast

June the 4th, 2024 – What people from all around the world eat when they wake up varies greatly, but what does a typical Croatian breakfast look like?

Having grown up in the US, I love breakfast. Not only is it the most important meal of the day, but it tastes good at any time of the day – and I’ve certainly had my fair share during lunch, dinner, and dessert. From pancakes, crispy bacon, home fries, and scrambled eggs at divey diners to eggs benedict brunch extravaganzas, breakfast is one meal America does right.

so, what’s a typical croatian breakfast like?

Experiencing the breakfasts of my homeland, however, turned out to be a harsh reality I discovered on my first trip to Croatia in 1996. 

Not yet six years old, I remember sitting in the kitchen of my grandparent’s home in Kosa, a small village 15 minutes from Metković. My mother, the oldest of seven siblings, was back in the kitchen where she was raised before moving to Split at 16.

“Mama, I’m hungry,” I said, familiar with mornings that included a variety of sugary cereals, chocolate milk, fresh-squeezed orange juice, or french toast. 

A chewy loaf of white bread was presented before me, along with butter, pašteta, and rosehip jam. At least I had options. 

Visiting Croatia as I grew older, and especially in my later teen years when indulging in Hvar town nightlife was a rite of passage among my paternal cousins; that soft loaf of bread, while nostalgic, wasn’t going to cut it. We’d often find ourselves looking for anywhere that had a sign outside with the word ‘omelet’ (even though only cheese or ham was ever an option) and would beg for a morning order of fries on the side if only to desperately mimic the hangover breakfasts back home. 

And if there was no omelet to be found? We’d hunt for the greasiest burek in town. 

But that was well over a decade ago. While some Croatian breakfast staples have been maintained, many citizens (and restaurants) have evolved their morning routine to cater to breakfasts reminiscent of our western friends. 

what about a traditional croatian breakfast?

“Turkish coffee and a cigarette.”

While it may be one of the most popular breakfasts among some Croatians, there are quite a few other traditional morning meals.

Like I mentioned above, Dalmatians are partial to cold cuts, cheese, pašteta, and bread. Some on the coast prefer to keep it light and will opt for anchovies instead. 

It’s not unusual to find slimy pancetta or lard spread on bread in continental Croatia, pork-fat inspired dishes in northern Croatia, while the Istria region is famous for its asparagus and truffle frittata

Your breakfast cold cuts may even be served with pickled onions or gherkins, a box of Napolitanke, Jadro, or holiday cookies defrosting from the freezer, but only one thing is certain – there is no breakfast in Croatia without coffee. Consider eating is a bonus. 


While we more or less covered some traditional breakfast items in Croatia, others may have never been intended for breakfast but are now enjoyed in the morning by both locals and tourists in Croatia.  

Burek (with cheese) is by far the most famous. This Croatian classic is usually made with phyllo dough and cheese, while other fillings such as meat, potato, and spinach can also be found. A staple at most bakeries across the country, this cheap to-go treat can also be enjoyed with yogurt to ensure a hearty breakfast meal. 

Unlike burek, bučnica is a strudel-like pastry containing pumpkin, cheese, butter, and eggs. Served with sour cream, bučnica is Croatian comfort food that even ticks off a few of the food groups! 

Croissants, strudels, and various other Croatian cookies and pastries have made their way into our mornings and are often found for a few euros at bakeries like Bobis, Dubravica, and the like. 


The holiday breakfast in Croatia that stands out the most is certainly Easter. Easter is a holiday with many breakfast traditions around the country, like cooked ham, boiled eggs, spring onions, radishes, and the sweet star of the show – sirnica (or pinca), a fluffy Croatian Easter bread topped with crushed sugar. 

Easter in Sinj –  Foto Žižić

Traditionally from Dalmatia, sirnica is a trademark of Croatian Easter tables today, so much so that bakeries around the country begin selling the bread months before the holiday – and some year-round! 


It’s no surprise that Croatia’s breakfast eaters have adapted to today’s trends. Many children will have yogurt and a banana before school; others may enjoy a bowl of Chocolino cereal, while eggs have become much more commonplace on today’s breakfast tables. Especially since so many have the luxury of fresh eggs from their farm or local farmer’s market. 

Restaurants around the country have matured as well, with many offering English breakfasts, eggs benedict, or poached eggs on avocado toast. 

Some restaurants have even introduced breakfast burritos, others opened restaurants dedicated solely to eggs (Eggspress in Zagreb, for example), and bagels have even made their way here in the last couple of years!

And let’s not forget about cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and acai bowls that can be found in Croatia’s bigger cities, catering especially to Californian and Aussie travelers here on holiday. 


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