Best Serbian Ajvar recipe: 4 Reasons For Trying This Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Pleasure

Authentic Serbian Ajvar Recipe - Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Discover the rich, smoky flavors of traditional Serbian Ajvar (pronounced Aiyvar) is a versatile roasted red pepper sauce that’s perfect for grilling season!

Ajvar, pronounced “eye-var,” is a beloved Balkan condiment that brings a burst of smoky sweetness to any dish. This recipe captures the essence of authentic Serbian cuisine, transforming simple ingredients into a complex, flavor-packed sauce that will transport your taste buds to the heart of the Balkans.

The Magic of Ajvar: A Balkan Treasure

Originating in Serbia, Ajvar spread throughout the Balkans after World War II. This delicious sauce is traditionally prepared in autumn, taking advantage of the bountiful pepper harvest. Ajvar isn’t just a condiment; it’s a celebration of seasonal abundance and culinary craftsmanship.

While recipes may vary slightly across the region, the core ingredients and preparation methods remain consistent. Ajvar is the perfect companion to grilled meats, particularly cevapi (Balkan sausages), but it’s also delightful as a spread or standalone dish.

The Secret to Spectacular Ajvar

The key to creating an outstanding Ajvar lies in two crucial steps: grilling and simmering. Grilling the peppers and eggplant over a live fire imparts a distinct smokiness that elevates the sauce. Simmering the mixture afterward intensifies the flavors, creating a harmonious balance of sweetness and tanginess.

4 Reasons To Try Serbian Ajvar Recipe

  • Authentic flavors: Experience the true taste of Serbian cuisine
  • Versatile: Use as a spread, dip, or sauce for grilled meats
  • Healthy: Packed with vegetables and beneficial nutrients
  • Make-ahead friendly: Stores well for future use

Authentic Serbian Ajvar (Roasted Red Pepper Sauce)


  • 2 pounds red bell peppers (about 5 medium peppers)
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 3/4 pound)
  • 5 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Fire up your grill! Light one chimney full of charcoal. Once the coals are covered with gray ash, arrange them on one side of the grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover, and preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grate. Grill the peppers on the hot side until they’re blackened all over, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let them steam for 20 minutes. Once cool, remove the charred skin, seeds, and cores.
  2. While the peppers cool, prepare the eggplant. Pierce its skin all over with a fork, then place it on the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until the skin darkens and wrinkles and the eggplant is uniformly soft when pressed. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then trim the top, split it lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh.
  3. Time to blend! In a food processor, combine the roasted peppers, eggplant pulp, and garlic. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add the oil, vinegar, and salt, then pulse until the peppers are finely chopped and everything is well incorporated.
  4. Now for the final touch! Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This step intensifies the flavors and creates that perfect Ajvar consistency. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and let it cool to room temperature. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


  • Type of fire: two-zone indirect
  • Grill heat: medium-high

Serving Suggestions

  • Spread on crusty bread for a quick appetizer
  • Serve alongside grilled meats, especially cevapi
  • Use as a dip for fresh vegetables
  • Stir into pasta for a quick, flavorful sauce
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
37 Calories
2g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 37
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 54mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 65mg 325%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 84mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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