Updated: Oct 23, 2022
Albanian Cuisine is classified as " Mediterranean food" that contains a lot of seafood, vegetables, meat, chicken and olive oil in its ingredients, Herbs are widely used as well, adding distinct and delicious flavor to the food.
Here is the most famous food in Albania you have to try while visiting Albania.
Appetizer & Starter
Byrek is such a popular food in many Balkan countries that each country has its own version of Byrek, it is often filled with savory ingredients, like spinach, cheese and eggs, onion and tomatoes, and meat, and also sweet ingredients like pumpkin. It is cooked in a large pan in the oven and then cut into squares, triangles, or rectangles for serving.
It is served as a snack, appetizer, or breakfast and is even eaten as a late-night snack and is frequently served with Dhalle (a yogurt-based beverage) or Greek yogurt. This dish is very typical among all Balkan countries and probably originated in the Ottoman Empire.
Pispili is usually a bread base topped with vegetables and baked, but sometimes the vegetables are layered in between the cornbread, or the two are mixed together. Feta cheese can be sprinkled on top, and pispili is best enjoyed with yogurt, which is usually served with it, or with Fërgesë, moistening the dish.
Tarator is a delicious appetizer in Albania and Macedonia, the recipe is made of cold water, Greek yogurt, shredded cucumber, dill, salt, and garlic.
This appetizer is a great dish that usually eats before a meat-based entrée, it is usually served during the summer due to it being chilled before serving.
It has the consistency of a soup, so it is normal for this dish to be served in a bowl.
This classic dish is best served with a side of feta cheese, grilled veggies, and fresh bread. Fruits, olives, nuts, and hummus with pita bread also go well with it.
It tastes very similar to the traditional Albanian drink dhallë, a traditional drink similar to yogurt but with a thin consistency and added salt
Salcë Kosi is similar to Tzatziki sauce (Greek cucumber yogurt sauce), it is a sour cream dip frequently blended with cucumber and garlic. It is best served with Albanian bread, a thicker variant of pita bread, and grilled meat dishes.
A traditional Albanian cookie made with cornflour, butter, sugar, and eggs, it is advised to use a copper bowl which will help in making the dough smooth and silky as it gets heated from kneading.
This dish was and is still made on Dita e Verës, an Albanian national holiday celebrated annually on the 14th of March.
Flija is a traditional dish, commonly known as it is a pie or a cake, flija can more accurately be described as a stack of layered pancakes.
It is famous in both Albania and Kosovo. The recipe consists of two different mixtures; one for the batter - usually consisting of flour, water, salt, and eggs, and the second mixture, used as a filling, prepared by blending together oil, butter, and yogurt or kaymak.
Baked Lamb And Rice With Yogurt
Tavë Kosi is a highly loved traditional dish, commonly served at lunchtime. It is usually made with lamb but can be made with chicken (Tav Kosi Me Mish Pule), the yogurt is mixed with wheat flour, rice, eggs, and butter and then baked together with the meat.
The lamb meat is mixed with the rice and topped with the creamy flavored yogurt sauce. It’s baked in the oven till golden brown and commonly served hot with a side dish of vegetable salad.
This dish is quite famous in Turkey, Greece, and North Macedonia. This delicious meal is called Elbasan Tava in these areas, named after Elbasan city in Albania.
* Tavë in English means “casserole,” and kos is Albanian-soured milk made from goat's or ewe's milk, however, the original is made of soured milk but nowadays it is made of yogurt and eggs.
Qofte is a traditional Albanian food, these meatballs can be grilled, baked, or fried, it is made with minced meat: beef, chicken, lamb, or pork, with feta cheese, onions, garlic, mint leaves, and breadcrumbs. Salt, pepper, oregano, and cinnamon are also used to season the mixture. Other ingredients may include herbs, spices, and vegetables.
You can enjoy it in both Albania and Kosovo, it can be served as a main course, snack, with a salad, dipped in yogurt, with bread, or as a side during dinner, and usually, meatballs are eaten with tomato soup.
Jani Me Fasule
White Bean Soup
Jani me fasule is a traditional Albanian soup it is made of white beans (cannellini beans), tomatoes, capsicum, and olive oil, all these ingredients are used to make the soup’s base.
Jani Me Fasule was one of the most popular recipes during the Albanian famine since it was filling and inexpensive to prepare. When the famine was over, white bean soup remained popular.
Dolma Japrak or stuffed vine leaves are popular in many Balkan countries, the Middle East, and Central Asia, sometimes dolma uses cabbage instead of vine leaves
The vine leaves are stuffed with various ingredients such as minced lamb, rice, onions, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and spices. The rolls are simmered until tender and commonly served with cold yogurt soup.
Peshk Në Zgarë
Peshk Në Zgarë is a seafood dish, the fish is simply cooked grilled or baked whole in the oven, with potatoes or tomatoes, onions, peppers, some herbs, and a generous dose of olive oil.
Peshk Dhe Perime Ne Tave
Fish And Vegetables
Peshk Dhe Perime Ne Tave is a baked fish dish paired with some veggies, then top everything with salt and olive oil.
This meal is frequently served with wine or Rakia (a traditional alcoholic drink in Albania).
Baked Vegetable Dish From Tirana
It is one of Albania's national dishes, Fërgesë Tirane is a baked vegetable and cheese delicacy from Tirana. It is made of bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, salty cottage cheese (or feta cheese), butter, flour, basil, and olive oil.
It can be served as breakfast, or as a side dish with crusty bread, however, adding meat can make it become an excellent main course.
If you want to add some protein to your meal, chop some liver and garlic and mix them with the green. This dish will now become Fërgesë Me Melçi, another national dish in Albania.
Shapkat, or corn pie casserole, is typically stuffed with spinach, feta cheese, and dill. The dish originates from the city of Gjirokastra. Although this casserole is traditionally stuffed with spinach, there are also variations that replace it with leeks, wild cabbage, and various local greens. Corn flour, green onions, olive oil, and milk are among the usual components in Shapkat. Shapkat is baked until the surface develops a golden brown color, and it's then served warm, ideally with a glass of yogurt on the side.
Speca Te Mbushura
Speca Te Mbushura, which literally means stuffed bell peppers, the bell peppers are usually filled with ground beef, onions, herbs, and tomato sauce. The stuffed peppers are baked and served hot.
This dish is served with yogurt, feta cheese, or dhallë. Adding chili peppers or black pepper is also common, as the spicy kick complements the dish’s mild taste. It is served in all regions of Albania.
Imam Bajalldi is an Albanian dish of Turkish origin. It is made of large stuffed eggplants cooked in the oven. Similarly, There are many variations of the recipe, therefore, the fillings may vary. Most versions include garlic, tomato puree, onions, and parsley. Imam Bajalldi is a perfect summer dish.
Gjel Deti me Përshesh
It is a traditional dish in Albania, made of Turkey, the Turkey is first boiled and then roasted and served with përshesh, which is prepared by baking pieces of bread with turkey broth, along with mint and other spices. In the end, the dish is served with melted butter poured on top of the dish.
This dish is usually prepared for holidays, especially Christmas or New Year’s Eve. The baked turkey and përshesh mixed together create an amazing unique taste.
Paçe is a traditional stew created with the head of a cow, sheep, or pig. The locals cook the meat with black pepper, onions, and vinegar until the meat falls off. Paçe is believed to have originated in Armenia. It also has many variants in other countries, like Greece, Turkey, North Macedonia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Iran, Iraq, and many more.
Qifqi is one of the most interesting vegetarian dishes in Albania, it is rice balls- look like risotto balls- fried in olive oil. They’re held together by eggs, seasoned, and then fried in olive oil which gives the dish a distinct and delicious flavor. Occasionally, cheese can be added.
Qumështor is a milk pie it derives its name from the main ingredient, milk, which is qumësht in Albanian. This classic baked custard is made with milk, eggs, butter, flour, and sugar. Before the start of Lent, it was traditionally consumed by the Orthodox people of southern Albania.
Various flavorings, such as vanilla, orange, and lemon, are used in certain varieties, but the original recipe remains the most popular.
Baklava is a crunchy layered sweet pastry consisting of filo dough, chopped nuts, and honey or syrup. Although there are now several baklava recipes, including that rolled baklava and baklava with pistachios, the Albanian recipe is more often made with walnuts.
You can find Baklava in many cuisines from Turkey to Azerbaijan, Iran, Morocco, Egypt, and Greece
Tambëloriz, or Sultjash, is a famous Albanian sweet eaten worldwide. It’s a rice pudding cooked with milk, rice, nuts, cinnamon, and sometimes raisins.
Ashure (Wheat Pudding)
It is one of Albanians’ favorite treats. Ashure is mainly prepared with cereals, dried fruits, and nuts, making it full of fiber, minerals, proteins, and vitamins.
Ashure is served during the Islamic calendar’s first month -Muharram month-.
Trileçe, or milk cake, or three-milk cake is a light Albanian dessert. Its name comes from Albanian and Italian languages: tri means three in Albanian and leçe means milk in Italian.
Trileçe is basically a cake made of three kinds of milk the classic version is made of goat milk, cow milk, and buffalo milk, while the modern version is made of evaporated milk, heavy cream, and condensed milk and topped with caramel.
Éclair might not be a traditional sweet in Albania, but it is so well-known and well-loved in Albania.
Pastashu, or Éclair, is a delightful dessert composed of choux pastry filled with cream, vanilla, coffee, or chocolate-flavored custard and topped with fondant frosting.
The éclair was known as “Pain à la Duchesse” or “Petite Duchesse” in France throughout the 19th century.
Kadaif is a sweet and crispy traditional food in Albania made of shredded phyllo dough. Kadaif can be made in a variety of ways using ingredients such as almonds, pistachios, coconut, and chopped walnuts sprinkled with vanilla sugar and baked to perfection.
It’s also popular in the Middle East and Turkish desserts where some kadaif recipes use cheese.
Shëndetlie is one of the most significant Albanian desserts, it used to be made exclusively for special occasions. Shëndetlie uses ground walnuts rather than whole walnuts, giving them a deep color. The cake is made with honey and it is left to soak overnight in a sugar water syrup, an ideal choice for the sweet-toothed. It is a bit of a cross between a biscuit and a cake. As it comes out of the oven, it resembles a biscuit; however, once soaked in syrup, the dough softens and the ultimate finish is cake-like.
Sheqerpare is delicate almond-based pastry cookies covered in rich lemon-flavored sugar syrup. Full of fiber, minerals, proteins, and vitamins, they are pretty healthy, too.
This is one of Albanians’ favorite and most delicious treats. It has been prepared in Albanian households for generations, and is still one of the most popular dishes, especially on special occasions.
Revani is a special recipe for most Albanian families. It is often prepared for major family occasions, as well as on weekends when everyone can get together.
This sponge cake is made with lemon zest and is sweetened with a simple syrup flavored with orange zest. The cake is not difficult to make and is a delightful addition to any sweet table. It goes well with tea and coffee.
Gurabie is a popular sweet in Albania, Gurabie is a buttery, crumbly cookie, made with just a few basic ingredients and a little lemon juice.
The cookie dough can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for up to two months.
Tullumba is a fried pastry that is traditionally eaten in the Balkans and some parts of the middle-east most notably Turkey. It's a fried dough soaked in syrup, the dough is the same as the choux dough.
Petulla is a traditional snack it is traditionally served in many different ways and is commonly eaten as a snack or during dinner. It is rather like a doughnut and pancakes, but with a heavier consistency though has the same crispy outside and soft inside.
Petulla consists of fried dough put into fist-sized pieces, you can eat it with additional cheese or make them sweet with honey, and in the northern region, you can eat it with yogurt and garlic. It is also served with various toppings, these toppings include chocolate, strawberry jam, shredded cheese, or ketchup.
Tea in Albania is one of the most common non-alcoholic drinks in Albania. People can drink hot tea with desserts and sweets and also with snacks. Locals drink tea any time.
Wild Lily Tea
This wild plant can be found on the edges of alpine meadows. It is harvested in early to mid-summer and then dried and used to prepare traditional teas, infusions, and decoctions. Regarded as the "herb of the liver" in traditional medicine, the plant’s bulbs are believed to help with various liver diseases and digestion problems.
Wild lily is locally known as bar tamthi.