Home Recipe Roundup 25 Traditional Albanian Foods (+ Easy Recipes)

25 Traditional Albanian Foods (+ Easy Recipes)

Try something different with these popular Albanian foods.

Nestled between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, Albania is a beautiful country abundant with culture.

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And that means Albanian foods share that same richness. Frankly, they’re delicious. 

Drawing inspiration from Greek, Italian, and Turkish neighbors, Albanian food combines Balkan and Mediterranean flavors.

This results in a varied, fresh, and fragrant cuisine. 

Tave Kosi: Baked Lamb and Rice with Yogurt

The meats are succulent and well-seasoned. The veggies are colorful and seasoned just enough to enhance their natural flavors.

And don’t even get me started on the desserts!

Whether the dishes hail from the mountains or the coasts, Albania doesn’t skimp on scrumptiousness.

Here are 25 amazing Albanian foods. Enjoy!  

1. Tavë Kosi (Lamb Baked with Rice)

The Midwest United States is famous for casseroles.

Well, tavë kosi is an Albanian casserole. And I think it’ll go over just as well at a potluck. Maybe even better. 

This dish is incredibly flavorful. It’s also pretty easy to make, so you can’t beat that.

There’s a reason that it’s Albania’s national dish, after all.  

Tavë Kosi features tender, garlicky lamb and flavorful rice, topped with a creamy yogurt sauce.

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It’s full of fragrant spices and alliums. Every forkful is a gift to your tastebuds. 

2. Byrek Me Spinaq (Albanian Spinach Feta Pie) 

If you enjoy Greek spanakopita, byrek me spinaq will be familiar to you.

It’s basically the Albanian version! And it’s just as delicious as its Greek cousin. 

Byrek itself has several different varieties, featuring different veggies, meats, yogurt, and sometimes just cheese.

But this spinach version is classic. It’s delicious and mostly nutritious. 

This pie is made with flaky, buttery phyllo pastry, so it’s incredibly crunchy.

It’s filled with a heavenly mixture of spinach, ricotta, onions, and feta.

3. Baked Mint Meatballs (Albanian Qofte)

These meatballs might be the perfect party food.

They’re easy to make, full of protein, and perfect for dipping. Oh, and they’re delectable. 

Each power-packed little ball is loaded with beef, onion, eggs, herbs, and seasonings.

Breadcrumbs and oil help them stick together and keep their cute little shape. 

My favorite way to enjoy qofte is to dip them in creamy, garlicky yogurt sauce. 

4. Albanian Jani Me Fasule (White Bean Soup)

When I think of comfort food, soup is the first thing that comes to mind.

This Albanian white bean soup fits the bill perfectly. 

It’s simple and a tad rustic, but it’s like giving your mouth a warm hug.

And its flavors are wonderful. It’s made with cannellini beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and seasonings.

It’s hearty, though surprisingly light, and healthy. 

It feeds the soul, too.  

5. Tarator (Albanian Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup)

Despite its English name, tarator isn’t really soup. Instead, it’s more like a soupy cucumber salad-sauce dip.

In terms of flavor and ingredients, it’s pretty close to tzatziki. 

To make it on this side of the pond, you’ll need some Greek yogurt.

Add garlic, cucumbers, dill, and olive oil. Plus a little bit of water and salt. 

It’s a simple dish that packs a lot of flavors. Serve it with pita, veggies, qofte, cheese, and/or bread. 

6. Stuffed Grape Leaves

If you’re a fan of cabbage rolls, stuffed grape leaves will be right up your alley.

You’ll find versions of this dish around the Balkan and Mediterranean regions. 

This Albanian version is stuffed with beef, rice, and fresh herbs.

Lemon juice adds lovely brightness that cuts through the rich meat. 

7. Peshk në Furrë (Oven-Baked Fish)

The Balkan region is technically a smaller part of the Mediterranean region.

And if there’s one thing Mediterranean cuisine is known for, it’s fish! 

This oven-baked white fish is stuffed with lemon and herbs.

The result is a super flavorful, beautifully moist fish dish. 

8. Albanian Hashure (Farro, Dried Figs, and Walnuts Dessert)

This traditional dish has roots that go back to the Biblical flood.

And it’ll flood your tastebuds with its delicious flavors! 

Hashure is a rich pudding made from the ancient grain farro.

It’s filled with spices and a little sugar. Figs add more flavor, sweetness, and some extra fiber. 

Walnuts add flavor, texture, and healthy fats. And every bite is utterly delectable. 

This technically is dessert, but it makes a delicious breakfast!

9. Qifqi (Albanian Rice Balls)

Qifqi is one of the few traditional Albanian vegetarian dishes.

They make delicious appetizers or snack food. They’re so simple, yet so tasty. 

They’re made with rice, mint, eggs, and seasonings. That’s it!

10. Trilece

Trilece is a delicious milk cake, much like Mexican tres leches.

That means it’s light, creamy, and totally mouthwatering. However, this version is a bit more special. 

It’s topped with whipped cream and delicious dark caramel.

This takes this dish from nice to downright naughty. It’s fabulous.

Trilece is great to make for holidays because you can make it ahead of time.

I think this cake is even better on day two or three!

11. Stuffed Peppers

Many cultures have some variation of a stuffed pepper.

Each version is filling and delicious in its own right. But this Albanian version might be the most hearty I’ve experienced. 

Typical stuffed peppers feature rice, meat, tomatoes, and herbs.

This recipe is no different in that regard. However, this one also has potatoes! 

Technically, they’re not part of the stuffing.

But they’re part of the finished dish. And they’re cooked alongside the peppers. 

So, the potatoes soak up all the delicious juices running out of the peppers. Can you say, flavor?

12. Albanian Shapkat (Spinach Corn Pie Casserole)

Shapkat is like the lovechild of cornbread and byrek me spinaq.

Really, it’s savory cornbread, filled with yummy veggies. There are a few traditional varieties of shapkat.  

But this spinach and feta version is divine. 

It’s soft and warm and full of delicious spinach. It’s a little salty and tangy from the feta, so it really is quite exciting. 

13. Pispili (Albanian Cornbread with Leeks)

What’s in a name? Cornbread by any other word would taste as delicious.

I may not be nearly as eloquent as Shakespeare but the sentiment remains the same. 

Pispili is another name for shapkat, or vice versa depending on the region of Albania.

It’s a dish with many names, but one thing in common. It’s insanely good. 

As I mentioned previously, this dish can be made with numerous types of veggies. This is the leek version. 

14. Petulla Me Vezë (Albanian Fried Dough)

Pancake meets flatbread in this delicious fried dish.

And whether you want them for dinner or dessert is totally up to you. 

For a sweet treat, serve them warm with fruit, nuts, Nutella, honey, syrup, or sugar.

And for a savory snack, serve them with cheese or a dip like tirokafteri. 

15. Imam Bayildi (Stuffed Eggplants)

Legend says that this dish is so good, it causes religious leaders to swoon.

And religious leaders tend to be rather serious creatures. That means these eggplants are powerful. 

And incredibly flavorful. I’m talking garlic, tomatoes, peppers, beef, onions, herbs, and potatoes-levels of flavor.

Everything is roasted to perfection.   

16. Pastashu (Eclair Pastry)

I love eclairs. The choux pastry is buttery, the filling is creamy, and the glaze is glorious.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who feels that way. Albanians do too!

This Albanian version is just as yummy as the French version.

This recipe makes a vanilla cream-filled choux, dipped in chocolate. It’s classic and wonderful.    

17. Baklava

Baklava is a wonderfully sweet Mediterranean dessert. It’s like dessert lasagna.

It’s layers of buttered phyllo dough, nuts, and sugar syrup to be exact.  

18. Tirokafteri (Spicy Feta Dip)

This simple dip packs a flavor punch! It’s tangy, it’s spicy, and it’s bright.

Tirokafteri features Greek yogurt, roasted chilis, feta, and a bit of lemon juice. 

This is great for dipping pita or petulla, meatballs, and veggies! 

19. Sour Cream Dip with Walnuts and Garlic

This dip is garlicky, tangy, creamy, and crunchy.

It’s the ideal dip for your dipping needs. It goes with everything! 

20. Byrek (Albanian Cheese Triangles)

You’ve seen various versions of byrek throughout this list.

Well, this is the purely snack-tastic version. It’s phyllo pastry, loaded with tangy feta cheese

The only problem with this dish is that they’re highly addicting. So, you need to make a bunch because you won’t stop at just one.  

21. Tavë Me Presh

Tavë me presh is a delicious baked meat dish reminiscent of a casserole.

It’s full of delicious flavors that the whole family will love. And it’s quick and easy for busy weeknight meals. 

Tavë me presh features ground beef, leeks, onions, and peppers cooked in beef stock. It’s rich, savory, and super delish! 

I think this would be delicious over rice, pasta, or maybe mashed potatoes.

Honestly, I could definitely eat this on its own, too. It’s low-carb, so it’s great for those eating Keto

22. Albanian Spinach Pie (Byrek Rolls)

This recipe takes spinach byrek and makes it portable!

Essentially, it’s like an eggroll version of the delicious spinach pie. 

While the second recipe on this list is great for dinner, hese are ideal appetizers.

23. Pomegranate Lemon Raki Cocktail

No country-based food list is complete without a delicious drink.

And this fruity, boozy cocktail is a perfect choice. It’s sweet, strong, and features local flavors. 

Raki is a popular alcohol in the Balkans. It’s made from fermented fruit, kind of like wine, but stronger.

Its alcohol content is like 50%, so a shot of this could knock ya out. 

Therefore, it makes a great cocktail! And this one is pretty darn delicious.

It features pomegranate juice, raki, and lemon-lime soda. 

24. Kadaif (A Sweet and Crispy Dessert)

Kadaif is similar to baklava, but I might like it even more.

You’ll have to decide for yourself, but either way, your mouth wins. 

Like baklava, kadaif is made with phyllo pastry and nuts.

Where baklava uses pistachios, this tasty treat is made with walnuts.

The phyllo is different as well because this kind is shredded. 

Which makes this dessert even more melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

And I can’t forget the citrus lemon syrup that soaks through every layer.

25. Flija (Layered Pancakes/ Crepes)

Flija takes some time to make, but every second is worth it for this carb-loaded treat.

But don’t take my word for it. Albania has a national flija-making day every year. 

The whole point is to get together with family and make this tasty dish. 

This takes so much time because you have to broil every individual layer.

And you have to create a pattern by alternating between two batters. This recipe makes a star pattern. 

It’s beautiful when it’s done. But more importantly, it’s tasty! Serve flija warm with honey and yogurt. 

25 Traditional Albanian Foods (+ Easy Recipes)

These popular Albanian foods can’t be topped! From meatballs to soups to stuffed peppers, these traditional recipes are just too good.

Ingredients

  • Tavë Kosi (Lamb Baked with Rice)

  • Byrek Me Spinaq (Albanian Spinach Feta Pie)

  • Baked Mint Meatballs (Albanian Qofte)

  • Albanian Jani Me Fasule (White Bean Soup)

  • Tarator (Albanian Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup)

  • Stuffed Grape Leaves

  • Peshk në Furrë (Oven-Baked Fish)

  • Albanian Hashure (Farro, Dried Figs, and Walnuts Dessert)

  • Qifqi (Albanian Rice Balls)

  • Trilece

  • Stuffed Peppers

  • Albanian Shapkat (Spinach Corn Pie Casserole)

  • Pispili (Albanian Cornbread with Leeks)

  • Petulla Me Vezë (Albanian Fried Dough)

  • Imam Bayildi (Stuffed Eggplants)

  • Pastashu (Eclair Pastry)

  • Baklava

  • Tirokafteri (Spicy Feta Dip)

  • Sour Cream Dip with Walnuts and Garlic

  • Byrek (Albanian Cheese Triangles)

  • Tavë Me Presh

  • Albanian Spinach Pie (Byrek Rolls)

  • Pomegranate Lemon Raki Cocktail

  • Kadaif (A Sweet and Crispy Dessert)

  • Flija (Layered Pancakes/ Crepes)

Directions

  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep an Albanian food in 30 minutes or less!
Albanian Foods

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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