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Original recipe post from July 2018 updated with new pictures & details April 2020. 

 Childs hand grabbing Turkish cigar shapped fried pastries. Filled with cheese. Sigara borek

Who hasn't come across sigara boreği at some point whilst visiting Turkey right?

Serpme kahvatı, visiting neighbours or friends these cigarette shaped treats seem to come out of nowhere as if they 're always just there on hand fully prepared ready for hungry tums! They're not a speedy item to prepare but they are surprisingly easy to put together.

Choosing a filling, cut the triangles from the yufka sheets (if not buying the pre-cut variety) and then rolling. All tasks that are fun for all the family to get involved it: sitting down around the kitchen table or sofra bezi picnic blanket. Starting competitions to see who can role the thinnest or longest without tearing - who can roll them several identical sized ones. Think British bake off technical challenge meets Family cooking showdown Turkish edition.

Yufka cut into triangles for making sigara borek, with cheese and herb filling

Filling wise there's endless opportunities, white cheese or lor and herbs might be the classic go-to, but you can use kaşar melting cheese, also with spices if favour, chocolate or nut spreads. Green lentils, potato, even sandwich meats. Let your imagination run wild.

The best Turkish cheese-filled pastry rolls you can ever find are at Dursun Teyze's house. Oh, are they special!! Our aunt, who is in no way related to us - hello Turkish social dynamics class managed to make them crispy, light full of flavour and then when you think you've had your fill boom out comes another plate you just have to fight to not pick at!

In our family Baba is the king of rolling, you'd be hard-pressed to find any pastries that are not identical. He can do it with his eyes closed, spoon on ingredients, fold up the sides, roll, dip the tip into water to seal, repeat. Although you do have to make sure his çay glass is constantly refilled, his pasty rolling skills are building on honey and lemon flavoured çay and if it runs out so will your chance of seeing crispy cheese-filled rolls on the kahvaltı table!

Turkish borek shapped like cigars with Turkish tea, olives and Turkish breakfast dip

When you sit down to make the borek (and you have the çay brewed) you may as well go all-in.
Get everything prepared and at your side, (The filling/s, the cut yufkas, and a small bowl of water for sealing the end of the roll and the tea - I can't stress how important the tea is in making sigara böreği at home)
Then get rolling!

They freeze well before cooking and then you can just get them out the night before breaky or even do a quick defrost in the microwave if you have unexpected guests before frying as normal.

They do freeze cooked to though when defrosted simply heat them You can heat them easily, a quick brush with olive oil and into a hot oven and you're sorted.

Crispy fried Turkish cigar shaped borek with cheese and herbs and spicy sauce.When it comes to the yufka it's important to get the freshest and best you can get your hands on. It's sold in most supermarkets including A101/BİM/ŞOK but they tend to be very very dry and you may find you end up losing more to ripping than you have for making. The local yufka maker or 'Yufkacı' is always best. Usually made daily it's like phyllo silk. If you can't get to one a slightly damp towel over the sheets of yufka waiting to be used will prevent it from getting any drier. Or of course, you could tune into your inner home cook master and make the yufka yourself.

Turkish Cheese Filled Pastry Rolls

Crispy pastry treats filled with cheese and fresh herbs. Perfect for slow Sunday breakfasts, picnics or a super spreads. Served hot or cold the wonderfully treats a great for adults and kids alike.  



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Category: Mezes & Appetizers Breakfast Dishes
Cuisine Type Turkish


Sigara Boreği

3 Yufka sheets or
24 Ready cut triangles
250 Grams Lor / Kesik cheese (Salt free)
1 Handful Dill
1 Handful Parsley
1/4 Teaspoon Black pepepr
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Olive oil for frying

Turkish Cheese Filled Pastry Rolls Directions

  1. Mix together the cheese, herbs and seasonings in a bowl.
  2. Cutting the yufka sheets

  3. If using standard yufka, fold in half to create a semi-circle and press the crease to score.
  4. Fold once more to create a quarter-circle and again crease.
  5. Once the yufka is opened up it should have lines to guide the cutting which will result again in the semi-circle followed by a quarter circle.
  6. Take each quarter circle and cut again through the middle from top to bottom to create two triangle yufkas. This should result in 24 triangles.
  7. Making the sigara borek

  8. When ready to roll the pastries it helps to have a very small bowl of water next to you to dip the end in.
  9. To create the cigar-shaped borek lay a yufka triangle with the point away from you.
  10. Add 1-2 teaspoons of cheese filling along the flat side of the triangle but 2 or 2 centimetres away from the edge.
  11. Using both hands fold the two outer edges of the triable top in and then fold the top down over the filling.
  12. Roll away from you to create the shape and dip the endpoint of the yufka into a little water to seal.
  13. Repeat for each borek.
  14. Heat oil for shallow frying
  15. When the oil is hot and slightly rippling place a small number of boreks into the oil.
  16. The boreks take a couple of minutes to brown and then requşre turning to cook all over.
  17. Place onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and server immediate for hot or at room temperature.

Recipe notes

  • It's important to make sure the oil is hot (but not burning) before frying Turkish pastry rolls if the temperature is to low they will become very greasy. Too hot and they will burn very quickly.


  • For a traditional taste use Riveria style olive oil otherwise vegetable oil of your choice.


  • Sigara borek can be frozen? For best results freer pre to frying, the best method is to place separately on a small tray and free for a few hours then transfer to a freezer bag, this prevents them from sticking together, ideally separate when defrosting. 

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