Kljukuša is a must-try traditional Balkan dish from the 18th century, a divine combination of tender grated potatoes and flour with perfectly crispy chicken drumsticks. This hearty and rustic treat is an unforgettable heritage of Bosnian culinary history.

A true queen of Bosnian pies, this baked wonder is a simple yet unbeatable delicacy that will win your heart instantly. Made with the most humble and inexpensive ingredients, kljukuša leaves even the Italian pizza in the dust.

Imagine your kitchen filled with the irresistible aroma of seasoned chicken and crusty baked potatoes. Stay and join us today to try the beloved kljukuša recipe; we guarantee you will leave with a taste of the real Balkan spirit you won’t forget!

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Kljukuša, batakuša and kvrguša

Like the Serbian phyllo cabbage pie, kljukuša is another gem in the Balkan kitchen. For more Slavic culinary delights, delve into our recipes for ričet, sataraš, and authentic beef goulash.

Interestingly, you can find many similar versions of kljukuša-like pies in Bosnia under at least three names:

Kljukuša is a traditional Bosnian dish known for its down-to-earth simplicity and heartwarming flavor. Its roots stretch back to the rural kitchens of the countryside, where practical cooking with simple, homegrown ingredients was a rule. For many generations, it was a way to turn basic, pantry-ready ingredients into something extraordinary.

It’s essentially a rustic potato pie made by mixing grated potatoes with flour, eggs, and either milk or water before baking it until the crust is golden and irresistibly crispy.

Batakusa is another variant of the famous Bosnian pies. It is made with flour, eggs, milk, onions, and sour cream, but it also includes juicy baked chicken drumsticks. Baking powder is usually mixed into the batter. The name derives from “batak,” meaning drumstick in Bosnian. The drumsticks are seasoned and placed on the flour mixture, allowing the juices to infuse the pie batter as everything bakes together.

Kvrguša is very similar to batakuša, but it’s distinct due to the inclusion of drumsticks and other large chicken cuts embedded directly into the batter. The name “kvrguša” comes from “kvrga,” which means lump or bump, referring to how the chicken pieces protrude from the batter during baking. The batter itself typically includes flour, eggs, milk, and spices. It’s a communal dish often served during family gatherings.

Because all of them are delicious, this recipe is a delicious mixture of all three, made with potatoes, flour, eggs, milk, sour cream and crispy drumsticks.

kljukusa served on a plate with salads and an onion

A warm hug of budget-friendly simplicity

Kljukuša will win your heart with its perfect blend of crispy, golden crust and tender, savory interior. You simply can’t resist the nostalgic and excellent flavor it delivers in every single bite.

These are just a few reasons why you’ll going to fall in love with this pie:

  • With simple ingredients that are kind to your wallet, this dish is a unique, flavorful hug that only a few can compare. And besides that, it looks beautiful!
  • The irresistible crunch of baked potatoes topped with seasoned chicken legs will add some rustic Bosnian charm to every bite. Kljukuša truly warms your soul with every forkful.
  • It’s a one-pan wonder. This all-in-one meal delivers the smell of the Balkan kitchen with minimal fuss, keeping cleanup quick and easy.
  • And it’s customizable, too. Whether you spice up the chicken, make it with only vegetarian ingredients or mix extra vegetables and herbs into the batter, kljukuša can be as versatile as you want while preserving a delicious taste. Let me remind you that kljukuša with potatoes only tastes just as great as all other variations!
Image showing baked potato kljukuša with chickeng legs in a pie pan

Simple ingredients for the ultimate kljukuša

POTATOES – You can use any available potatoes, but yellow potatoes with high starch content are often preferred because they have a smoother texture that makes them easier to grate. This allows them to develop a fluffy interior, and when baked, you get that perfectly crisp and golden-brown crust.

CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS – These are the classic choice because of the flower-like look of your kljukuša when baked. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use other cuts like chicken thighs. Bone-in, skin-on cuts are generally preferred because they stay tender and moist while baking. Just make sure your meat pieces are of similar size to prevent burning.

EGGS – Adding two medium-sized eggs to the batter to ensure that all the ingredients bind together seamlessly. Without eggs, the ingredients will not come together properly, and your baked goods will not turn out as expected.

FLOUR – All-purpose flour is typically used in kljukuša to bind ingredients together consistently. However, alternative flours, such as cornmeal, gluten-free or wholemeal flour, may also be used.

MILK – Adding a cup of milk will make the batter a bit creamier.

SOUR CREAM – Believe it or not, it perfectly accompanies crispy baked potatoes. You can either bake it for a few minutes at the end or top your kljukuša with fresh sour cream.

ONIONS – No matter if you use yellow or red onions, these will make your yummy kljukuša tastier and add a decent sweet note to the pie. Additionally, onions contribute moisture, helping keep the kljukuša moist and preventing it from drying.

GARLIC – We added a few garlic cloves to the batter and mixed some dried garlic into the sour cream mixture at the end of baking. Yummy!

OIL – While regular sunflower oil is perfectly fine, some people also use butter, lard or olive oil.

DRIED CHIVES (optional) – When dried, chives retain much of their oniony aroma and taste, albeit in a more concentrated form. And it pairs perfectly with baked potatoes!


Gathering ingredients for kljukuša: potatoes, chicken drumsticks, flour, milk, sour cream, onions, eggs, garlic, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and dried chives

Homemade kljukuša recipe


STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 392 °F/200 °C. A free printable Fahrenheit to Celsius temperature conversion chart is available here.

STEP 2: Place the drumsticks in a bowl, mix them with a tablespoon of oil, and season them with salt and black pepper. Add a small onion chopped into pieces. You can add other spices if you like.

Marinate the meat in advance and leave it covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours (overnight works best) to let the flavors fully infuse.

How to season chicken drumsticks, using garlic, onions, salt and black pepper

STEP 3: After that, place the meat in a well-greased round pie pan. This will ensure a crispy bottom layer. Depending on the pan size, you can use 6-8 chicken drumsticks.

How to place chicken drumsticks in a pie pan for kljukuša with potatoes

STEP 4: Bake at 392 °F/200 °C for about 20 minutes. They don’t need to be fully baked; they will again travel into the oven with potato batter.

If you’re using a convection oven with a ventilator, make sure that you turn them around after 12 minutes to get some nice golden color on the other side as well.


STEP 5: In the meantime, prepare the potato batter. First, mix together chopped onions, garlic cloves, chives, salt and black pepper.

preparing seasoning for shredded potatoes with onions, salt, black pepper and dried chives

STEP 6: Peal the potatoes and grate them using a potato grater. If you don’t have one, chop them into tiny pieces and mix them with the seasoning.

how to prepare the potato batter, mixing together the seasoning, flour and eggs mixture and shredded potatoes

STEP 7: In a separate bowl, first mix the eggs.

STEP 8: Add milk, flour and a pinch of salt. Combine all ingredients thoroughly so there are no lumps of flour left.

STEP 9: Add the flour mixture to the grated potatoes and wait for your drumsticks to come out of the oven.

how to prepare the potato batter, mixing together the seasoning, flour and eggs mixture and shredded potatoes

STEP 10: Once the drumsticks have been baked, remove them from the oven and let them settle for a minute. Use a glove or kitchen towel when holding the hot pan.


STEP 11: Fill the pan with the potato batter and evenly distribute it around the drumsticks. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 45 minutes at 392 °F/200 °C.

Image showing how to add the potato batter to the pan together with half baked chicken drumsticks

STEP 12: About five minutes before the kljukuša is fully baked, top it with sour cream, to which you added a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of dried garlic.

Image showing kljukuša when baked enough, before adding sour cream

Hint: If you prefer the taste of fresh sour cream, do not bake it but serve some alongside baked kljukuša.

How to add sour cream mixed with garlic right before the final five minutes of baking kljukuša

STEP 12: Bake for another 54 minutes to allow the kljukuša to absorb the garlic-inspired cream. Guess what? This pie tastes delicious when served hot or when the leftovers are eaten cold. Enjoy!

Image showing kljukuša fully baked together with sour cream.

Tips for a perfect kljukuša

  • A good chicken marinade is essential. Let your chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes or preferably longer. Drumsticks require a longer marinade time than boneless parts.
  • Adjust ingredients to the size of the pan. If you’re using a smaller baking pan, reduce the quantity of ingredients or bake it a few minutes longer. We don’t recommend making a thicker pie; the drumsticks should remain almost fully visible. Also, the potato batter might not bake enough on the inside. You can use a square baking tray if you don’t have a round one.
  • Use drumsticks of similar size. This will ensure all the pieces get evenly baked.
  • Add cheese to the sour cream. To make your kljukuša even more delicious, mix your preferred cheese (like mozzarella, cheddar, or feta) with sour cream and spread it over the top of the kljukuša before baking. Bake until the cheese is melted and browned.
  • Add vegetables to the batter. Or, for a vegetarian version, skip the chicken drumsticks and add diced zucchini, carrots, red bell peppers, chopped spinach or mushrooms to the potato mixture.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley. This will add some freshness to your delicious pie.
  • And, of course, serve your kljukuša with a salad and yogurt or soured milk.
Kljukuša served on the table with two salads, potato and an onion in the background

Adjustments and variations

Replace the chicken with some other meat. For instance, ground turkey offers a leaner option with a slightly milder taste. Sausage can also be used, delivering a spiced, savory note that contrasts nicely with the tender, crispy batter.

Make a kljukuša with zucchini. Dice the zucchini into small cubes and mix it directly into the batter. The mild and slightly sweet flavor pairs great with the potatoes. With zucchini, you’ll get a lighter, more tender kljukuša with a soft interior and a crispy crust.

When making kljukuša with mushrooms, slice or chop them and sauté them briefly to reduce their moisture before folding them into the potato batter. Add cooking cream. This has a hearty, earthy flavor with lots of umami!

To replace the chicken in kljukuša with spinach, finely chop or wilt it and mix it directly into the potato batter. This is a mild, earthy and delicate dish that reminds me of spinach burek—of course, with that vibrant green color. You might want to add some extra cheese to this pie; oh, and don’t forget to serve it with yogurt or soured milk!

kljukuša with chicken drumsticks in a pie pan

How to store the leftovers

I’ve rarely seen leftovers of kljukuša; this hashbrown-inspired pie is so hard to resist that it’s almost always eaten the same day.

However, if there’s anything left, you can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days, ensuring you have placed them in an airtight container or wrapped them in aluminum foil. Do not leave it on the countertop at room temperature for too long to avoid bacteria growth.

To freeze leftover kljukuša, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap before placing it in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. Frozen kljukuša can retain its quality for up to four months.

Thaw it at room temperature. To reheat the leftover kljukuša, place it on a baking sheet and bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 392 °F/200 °C until heated.

Another approach is to reheat kljukuša in a skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil or butter to the skillet and warm the kljukuša for 3-5 minutes until ready.

two pieces of baked kljukuša served on a plate with fresh salad

Kjukuša FAQs

What side dishes pair well with kljukuša?

Kljukuša will pair great with fresh salads or roasted vegetables. If kljukuša is made with only potatoes, it can be served with almost any meat dish, especially with traditional beef goulash.

What types of sauces or dips go well with kljukuša?

Yogurt, sour cream, soured milk or garlic yogurt are refreshing accompaniments to kljukuša.

What distinguishes kljukuša from other potato-based dishes?

Kljukuša is unique for its simplicity, cheap pantry-ready ingredients and quick preparation. A combination of crispy edges with a soft, flavorful interior is unbeatable.

Is kljukuša gluten-free, and can it be adapted for those with gluten intolerancy?

Kljukuša contains flour, but it can be made gluten-free by substituting regular flour with gluten-free alternatives or replacing it with more eggs mixed with sour cream.

How can we prevent kljukuša from becoming too soggy?

To prevent kljukuša from getting too soggy, grate the potatoes, salt them, wait for a few minutes and then remove the excess water before mixing them with other ingredients.

How does kljukuša differ from a potato pancake or rosti?

Unlike potato pancakes or rosti, kljukuša looks more like a pie. It is baked rather than fried, resulting in a larger, crisp-edged dish with a tender center. Most often, chicken or vegetables are added to it.

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An easy recipe for the ultimate kljukuša with potatoes and chicken drumsticks
Servings 6
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 20 inch pie or pizza pan (or a square 12.5 x 9.5 x 1 inch cookie baking sheet)


  • 0.88 lbs potatoes (400 g)
  • 6-8 pieces chicken drumsticks
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 onions
  • 10 tbsp all-purpose flour (75 g)
  • 1 cup milk (2.36 dl)
  • 2/4 cup sour cream (180 g)
  • 2 tbsp oil (30 ml)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dried chives (optional)
  • salt
  • black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 392 °F/200 °C.
  • Place the drumsticks in a bowl and thorougly mix them wih a tbsp of oil, salt, black pepper and chopped onion. The meat will taste best if you leave it to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the drumsticks to a well-greased pan. Bake at 392 °F/200 °C for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the batter. Peel and grate the potatoes and mix them with the seasoning that consists of chopped onions, garlic, salt, black pepper and dried chives.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk two eggs, flour and milk. Mix it all together with the potato batter.
  • After 20 minutes (when the drumsticks are starting to get a nice brown color), remove them from the oven, Add the batter to the pan and gently, evenly distribute it around the drumsticks.
  • Bake at 392 °F/200 °C for another 45 minutes.
  • Right before the end of baking, top your kljukuša with sour cream mixed with a pinch of salt and powdered garlic. Bake for the last 5 minutes.
  • When baked, let kljukuša settle for a few minutes and serve while still hot and fresh. It pairs perfectly with a salad and/or yogurt. Enjoy 🙂



  • Ensure a flavorful chicken marinade by allowing it to soak for at least 30 minutes, or for optimal taste, marinate longer.
  • Note that drumsticks require more marinating time compared to boneless parts.
  • Adjust ingredient quantities to fit your baking pan size; reduce ingredients or extend baking time for smaller pans. Avoid making the pie too thick, ensuring drumsticks are visible and potato batter bakes evenly.
  • Use uniform-sized drumsticks to ensure they will get baked evenly. 
  • Mix your preferred cheese with sour cream (like mozzarella, cheddar, or feta) and spread it on top of kljukuša to make it taste even better. Bake until the cheese melts and gets that nice golden color. 
  • For a vegetarian kljukuša, omit drumsticks and incorporate diced zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, spinach, or mushrooms into the potato mixture. Kljukuša tastes great as a main or side dish when made only with potatoes.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley to add a burst of freshness.
  • Serve kljukuša alongside yogurt or soured milk or combine it with a fresh salad. 
Author: Food nutters
Calories: 509kcal
Cost: $4.9
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Balkan, Slavic
Keyword: chicken, potato


Serving: 369g | Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.41g | Protein: 36.01g | Fat: 26.32g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.43g | Trans Fat: 0.09g | Cholesterol: 360mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 850mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 4.5g | Vitamin A: 436IU | Vitamin C: 17.7mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 3.28mg

If you liked our kljukuša recipe, please rate it in the comments below.

The recipe was featured at Fiesta Friday and Esme Salon.

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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe sounds amazing!

    1. Thank you, I hope you’ll like it 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    WOW, Cannot wait to make this. I have been looking for more recipes calling for chicken legs, thank you.

    1. Enjoy! And let us know how your kljukuša turned out!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard of this, but it sounds amazing!

    1. Thanks Susan!

  4. 5 stars
    What a beautiful and delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Bernadette for visiting, if you’ll make it let me know how it turned out. Hugs 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Amazing, so different but oh my hat, so delicious looking. Will have to check this out soonest.
    I visited you via Is This Mutton. My entries are Scrumptious Teatime Dutch Pancakes and Keto Lavash Bread Cheeseburger with Beef Patty
    Please join us at SSPS: M-S https://esmesalon.com/tag/seniorsalonpitstop/

    1. Thank you Esme, do try it out, there are many versions of kljukusa but I definitely like this one the most. Thank you for visiting 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Congratulations, I will feature your post at SSPS 310. See you next week: https://esmesalon.com/tag/seniorsalonpitstop/

    1. Woooow Esme, thank you, you’ve just brighten my day!

    1. Thanks Angie! I hope you’ll try it out, for me this is absolutely the best version of kljukusa.

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