Turkish Borekitas

Twelve Turkish borekitas sprinkled with sesame seeds on a piece of parchment.

These small borekas, or borekitas, are made in the Sephardic-Greek style and are yet another recipe that I learned to make from my mother. There’s cheese both in the dough and the filling, making them a great source of calcium and an excellent snack for kids.–Orly Ziv

LC Dough Diva Note

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a diva of homemade pastry dough or not, some days you’re just not up to the task. But you can still have your borekitas—that is, your itty bitty borekas. Just purchase a package of frozen all-butter puff pastry (shhhhhhh!), roll it out ever so slightly on a lightly floured surface, and pretend nothing’s amiss. Don’t forget to toss the pastry package in the trash before guests invade the kitchen.

Ten Turkish borekitas sprinkled with sesame seeds in a glass baking dish

Turkish Borekitas

  • Quick Glance
  • (9)
  • 45 M
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen
5/5 - 9 reviews
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  • For the dough
  • For the filling
  • For the topping


For the dough

Mix together the dough ingredients in a bowl until crumbly. Gently shape the dough into a round, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the filling

Mix the cheeses, egg, and potato, if using, in a bowl until smooth.

For the assembly

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

Divide the dough into 4 portions. Working with 1 portion dough at a time, turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter or an upside-down glass that’s 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out circles from each portion. You should have 24 to 30 circles total.

Place 1 teaspoon filling in the center of each circle, fold in half to form a semicircle, and pinch the edges to seal. (You may have a little filling left over after making all the borekitas.) Transfer the filled pastries to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

For the topping

Brush the top of each borekita with the lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the borekitas from the oven, let cool to warm or room temperature, and succumb.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

All my tasters liked this little borekitas recipe very much. It makes a tasty snack and could even be served as an hors d’oeuvre with a glass of wine. The dough is very easy to put together, and although it starts out crumbly it turns smooth and easy to handle if you shape it into a mound prior to resting. I feel this dough is best mixed with your hands. I used a 3 1/2-inch round cutter and rolled the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch and had a yield of 30 borekitas. I used ricotta with feta for the filling, and I’m pretty sure the filling would work just fine without the potato. I had 2 to 3 tablespoons filling left over, as I didn’t want to overfill the rounds because I thought they might open up during baking.  (The next time I make these borekitas, I may use a very, very small potato or perhaps eliminate the potato altogether.) I pinched the edges to seal as the recipe instructed, but these would also look nice if they were pressed with a fork or braided like an empanada.  I thought the dough was a little salty, but no one else mentioned it. The recipe stated 1 teaspoon salt, and I always use fine salt for baking, but perhaps it was supposed to be kosher salt, which would have made the dough a bit less salty. In the future, I will either cut the fine salt to 1/2 teaspoon or use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. They took 25 minutes to turn golden brown. We tasted the borekitas after they cooled a bit and again after they cooled completely. They were delicious in both instances. The filling and dough took about 30 minutes to assemble, the dough rested for 60 minutes, and rolling and filling the borekitas took about 45 minutes. Then they took 25 minutes to bake and about 30 minutes to cool.

These borekitas are really very impressive for such little work. The filling came together very quickly and easily, and I used puff pastry instead of the pastry dough. I floured a marble slab and rolled the puff pastry sheet just a bit until it was about 10 inches square. Then I cut each sheet of puff pastry into fourths. I put about 1/3 cup filling on each piece of pastry, wet the edges, folded each piece into a triangle,  and then sealed it with my fingers. I baked them for 30 minutes. I really want to make these again using phyllo dough and making the triangle shapes as well as the rolled cigar shapes. I am also going to play around a bit with the filling. I think that more feta is needed for a bit more of that tang and salty component that feta brings to everything. I will definitely be experimenting with this recipe in the future.

I’m glad I decided to test this borekitas recipe. The finished borekitas were very tasty. They would make a nice snack, as well as a wonderful tapas or appetizer course. The dough was quick to mix by hand and easy to work with—not very sticky at all. I rolled each of the portions dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and used a 3 1/2-inch diameter glass tumbler to cut out the rounds. I got 6 rounds from each portion, and 1 teaspoon filling was just the right amount for each. (Whole milk ricotta was my “soft white cheese” for the filling. I tried it with and without the mashed potato. In my opinion the potato is not necessary.) I pressed the edges of the dough together with the tines of a fork to ensure a tight seal. The pastries browned nicely in the oven after 30 minutes, and the finished borekitas were good both warm and at room temperature. It turned out that the baked borekitas freeze well, too, allowing you to make them ahead and thaw them for a few hours on the kitchen counter.

Cheese! Cheese in the dough and cheese in the filling. I’m charmed that there’s even a note about the calcium in cheese—I’m in it for the flavor, but I’m happy to take the calcium along with the deliciousness. For the borekitas dough, I used full-fat cream cheese. My dough was soft and a little lumpy. I didn't try to get it to be perfectly smooth, as I didn't want to overwork it. That ended up being fine. Similarly, my filling mixture wasn't perfectly smooth, either, and that, too, was fine. After dividing the dough into 4 portions, I placed the remaining 3 portions back in the refrigerator since the dough was so soft. As the dough was very soft, I used a lot of flour for rolling, and for this I used plain all-purpose flour. My use of flour here was more than a light flouring. The dough was sticky as well as soft, and I could neither roll it very thin nor keep it from breaking completely, although it was easy to patch and re-roll. I used a glass cup with a 3 inch opening. Note that 1 teaspoon filling seemed just right for my 3-inch circle of dough. I used a fork to pinch the edges together because I like that look. I baked the borekitas for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway. The bottoms of the borekitas were nicely golden brown at that point, and I didn't want to let them get any browner. However, the tops never turned a golden brown. Because they were a little pale, I might use black sesame seeds next time, or a combination of black and white. The first sheet spread a little, so on subsequent batches, I placed the sheet of borekitas in the freezer briefly, which helped the borekitas to hold their shape. I tried one pretty much right out of the oven, and then served the rest warm. I also tried one of the few leftovers at room temperature and it was fine but not quite as wonderful as it was warm. I served this with the tabbouleh on the site, and it was a perfect combination.  The tabbouleh added color to the meal, as well as the brightness of lemon, and the freshness of the parsley and herbs. One addition that seems natural to try would be to add some spinach to the filling and/or some onions. Also, the first time I made these borekitas, I froze a tray of assembled but unbaked pastries instead of continuing to bake them. Tonight I baked them straight from the freezer. They actually looked better than the ones I made previously. The shape had more integrity, they did not spread at all, and they had a golden glow that the first batch did not. I'd originally baked them for 20 minutes, and from frozen I baked them for 30 minutes. I rotated the sheet tray at the midpoint like I did on the first batch. This adds a big plus to these already wonderful little cheese pastries—prepare today and bake later!


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  1. My mom made these for me when I visited her and I was obsessed with them! I am so glad I found the recipe online. I don’t have ricotta cheese or farmers cheese for the filling. Should I use cottage cheese or cream cheese?

      1. Thanks, David! I ended up using cream cheese for the filling and they came out superb!! I am making them again now with ricotta cheese.

  2. I made the recipe tonight with my kids. We cheated and used the premade frozen empanada dough from the supermarket (shhhh!). Seriously, we’ve been cheating with that dough for borekas for about a year. It makes life way easier. We add a little (ok, a ton – of parmesan cheese). I skipped the feta because we didn’t have any. They came out pretty much like my mom and grandma used to. :) Kids fight for these things at all family gatherings. Heck, that’s part of the family tradition. LOL. Thanks for the easy filling recipe and posting. Can’t wait to try it your way.

    PS: These things freeze really well. I leave them on the baking tray, uncooked and uncovered overnight. In the morning I transfer to a large Ziploc. They stay for a really long time and you can throw them in a toaster oven for 20 minutes and they’re ready to roll.

    1. Thanks for the great freezing tip, R Katz, and for your time saving store-bought dough tip. We are always looking for ways to make life simpler.

  3. I adore foods like this and this one is particularly fantastic what with cheese in both the dough and the filling. Another recipe bookmarked to do…

  4. I made little treats and they were yummy and fun! My daughter sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on hers! The girls at work requested more!!! Thanks!

  5. We’re enjoying the last of the cherries from the Guignolet recipe over frozen yogurt that was a previous weekend project! I do love this site, I was coveting David’s Paella over the weekend, I rarely make it because I’m the only one who can eat it. SOMEONE in my house has himself convinced he is allergic to shellfish.

    1. Ah. So you’ve got one of those in your household. We understand. And we’re thrilled to hear you, too, swooned to the Guignolet. Okay then, so we’ll look forward to hearing what you think of these after the weekend, please. (For what it’s worth, when I was in Greece years ago, I loved having these pastries alongside thickly sliced fresh tomatoes. So lovely…)

  6. Well, I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. This site is a terrible influence on me, but my husband is loving it!

    1. Terrible, Tammi? We’ve been called a lot of things in our day, but this may be the first time we’ve heard terrible. At any rate, your husband is clearly a very smart and very lucky man. We’d seriously love to hear what you think of the borekitas after you make them this weekend! Our testers raved…

      1. Finally got to make these and they were great! I think next time I’ll make them using puff pastry as I am possibly the messiest person in the world around flour and because I love anything wrapped in puff pastry! These are a perfect snack to have stashed in the freezer for when unexpected visitors show up.

        1. Terrific to hear, Tammi! We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know. And we couldn’t agree more—what a lovely thing to have on hand to toss in the oven when friends show up unannounced, perhaps with some olives and definitely with some wine!

  7. Okay, thank you for the recipe. And thanks for contacting me and asking my thoughts it after I make it!!! Seriously, I was being serious, and you didn’t think I was, so I am happy for you to take me seriously!! Sincerely, F. Joyce Barker. :)

    1. Frances, I can assure you: I was talking you seriously! If there are two things we take drop-dead seriously around here, they’re 1.) recipes and 2.) what our readers think about recipes.

      1. Just to echo David, Frances, we take nothing more seriously than our readers and our recipes. Well, I mean, we like to goof around with you all quite a lot. But we want to hear what you think so we can rest assured you’re having the same experience that we and our 100+ recipe testers are having in our kitchens.

  8. I think these sound so delicious and yummy so i will try to make them in a couple of weeks and then i will know for sure if they are as tasty as they look !!

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