Potato borek is a delicious Turkish pastry made of a cheesy potato filling wrapped in crispy thin yufka sheets. These savoury vegetarian pies are a great snack, tasty breakfast on the go, or a perfect appetizer for parties and gatherings. Definitely one of the most loved Turkish classics!
Borek is one of the oldest Turkish pastries dating back to the middle ages and is one of the most popular things to eat in Turkey. It is also very popular among the old Ottoman country cuisines like Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania. Every country or even region has its own version. Some recipes require frying like Turkish Rolls(Sigara Boregi) or Pacanga Boregi.
Why This Recipe Works?
- They are versatile, serve them for breakfast/brunch, lunch or dinner. They are perfect for parties, picnics or packed lunches.
- Easy to make with step-by-step pictures, video tutorial and instructions.
- You can make them a couple of days in advance and bake them on the day.
- They are freezer friendly. You can freeze them before or after baking.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Yufka - These round shape thin dough parcels are easy to find online or from Turkish or Middle Eastern food shops. You can use filo pastries instead which are similar but thinner than yufka, and they come in rectangular shapes. Filo (or phyllo) pastries are available in most supermarkets and online on , and you can buy them fresh or frozen.
- Potatoes - You can use any type of potato you have in hand.
- Butter - Use good quality butter. It makes the borek extra crispy and delicious!
- Cheese - I mix the kashar cheese with feta cheese for this recipe. You can substitute the kashar with mozzarella, cheddar, halloumi or Gruyere.
- Eggs - They add extra flavour and colour to pastries. They also bind the filling together while baking.
- Milk - I use semi-skimmed or full-fat milk. You can substitute it with yoghurt.
- Parsley - I use flat-leaf parsley for this borek. You can substitute it with dill, basil or fresh mint.
- Sesame or nigella seeds - They give extra crunch to borek or pastries. They are commonly used in sweet or savoury Turkish bakeries.
Making these delicious crispy pastries filled with cheesy potato filling is very simple and straightforward. However, to achieve the best results you need to follow a few simple steps:
Prepare the Potato Filling
Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and then add the potatoes. Put the pan on medium heat and bring it to a boil. Gently simmer the potatoes on low heat for 30 minutes or until soft in the middle. Cool the potatoes down under running cold water and then peel. Grate the potatoes and set them aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the milk along with the melted butter.
Add the mixture into the bowl with the grated potatoes, add chopped parsley, feta cheese, kasar cheese (or mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese), salt, freshly ground pepper, and chilli (if using) to the bowl and then give it a good stir. The consistency of the mixture is gonna be slightly runny, almost like a porridge.
Build The Borek
Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 C° and then lay a sheet of yufka on a work surface. Spoon ⅓ of the potato filling onto it and then spread the mixture evenly with the back of a spoon, taking care not to tear the yufka.
Place the second yufka sheet on top and then cover it with the other ⅓ of the filling. Trim the sides of the yufka into a rectangular and then place the trimmings on top of the filling. Repeat the same with the last yufka and the potato filling. Roll the yufka sheet carefully into a cylinder.
Cut the cylinder into two equal pieces. Wrap them with cling film and then place them into the freezer for about an hour or until semi-frozen. This step is important as it will be easier to handle the pastry. Cut the cylinders crosswise into two cm thick slices using a. Peel the cling film around the borek.
Bake the Boreks
Arrange the boreks on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray(s). Eggwash the slices with egg yolk or 1 tablespoon yoghurt mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds or nigella seeds. Cook them in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
This Turkish classic dish was very popular in Ottoman cuisine and it is believed that it was brought to the country by Central Asian Turks. The other version of the story is that borek was invented by Byzantine Greeks as a dish made with layered dough and cheese baked in the oven.
Yes, this savoury pie is perfect for freezing. You can either freeze it before or after baking.
If you want to freeze them uncooked, slice them and place them neatly in between two baking sheets before putting them in the freezer. When they are completely frozen, you can place them in a freezer bag or a container to save some space in your freezer. You can bake them straight out of the freezer without defrosting.
If you want to freeze them after baking, let them cool down and then put them in freezer bags or a container before putting them in the freezer. You can reheat them straight out of the freezer without defrosting. Place them on a tray, cover with tin foil and then reheat them for 10 to 15 minutes or until piping hot.
Yufka is a very thin, large unleavened flatbread in Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine baked on a convex metal griddle called saj. It is similar to tortillas but much thinner. These pastries are mainly used to make borek and they are available in Turkish or Middles Eastern shops.
For more delicious borek recipes why not try:
Top Tip From the Chef
When rolling the yufka sheets into a log, make it as tight as possible and be very gentle while rolling it. Using a cling film is very helpful for shaping it into a log. If you don't have cling film, use a clean kitchen towel or baking paper. Cut it in two, gently transfer on a tray and then let it freeze for about an hour (or until it is easy to handle) before slicing.
I hope you enjoy the process of making these delicious cheesy Potato Boreks as much as you enjoy eating them! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
For the Potato Filling
- 500 g potatoes
- 100 g butter (melted)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 100 g kasar cheese, mozzarella or cheddar cheese (grated)
- 100 g feta cheese (crumbled)
- ½ teaspoon chili (optional)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup parsley (chopped)
For the Borek
- 3 pieces yufka (very thin sheets of dough, also called filo) (125 grams each)
- 1 egg yolk or 1 tablespoon yoghurt mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil (for egg wash)
- sesame seeds or nigella seeds (to garnish)
Making the Potato Filling
- Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and add the potatoes in.
- Put the pan on medium heat, bring to a boil and gently simmer the potatoes on low heat for 30 minutes or until soft in the middle.
- Cool the potatoes down under running cold water and peel.
- Grate the potatoes and set them aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the milk along with the melted butter.
- Add the mixture into the bowl with the grated potatoes.
- Add chopped parsley, feta and kasar cheese, salt, freshly ground pepper and chilli (if using) to the bowl and give it a good stir.
Making the Borek
- Preheat the oven to 180 C°.
- Lay a sheet of yufka on a work surface and spoon ⅓ of the potato filling onto it. Spread the mixture evenly with the back of a spoon, taking care not to tear the yufka.
- Place the second yufka sheet on top and cover it with another ⅓ of the filling.
- Trim the sides of the yufka into a square and place the trimmings on top of the filling.
- Repeat the same with the last yufka and the potato filling.
- Roll the yufka sheet carefully into a neat cylinder.
- Cut the cylinder into two equal pieces.
- Wrap them with cling film and then place them into the freezer for about an hour or until semi-frozen.
- Wrap the cylinder with cling film and place it into the freezer for about an hour or until slightly frozen and easy to handle.
- Cut the cylinder crosswise into slices two fingers thick using a sharp knife, and arrange them on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray(s).
- Eggwash the slices and sprinkle on some sesame seeds or nigella seeds.
- Cook them in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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