Serbian Ajvar Recipe We Use At Our Home

You can make your own ajvar, and it’s not complicated at all. Although nowadays you can find excellent store-bought ajvar, homemade is still the best. 

The basic ajvar recipe is the same, but as anyone who makes ajvar themselves knows very well, there are countless variations and little secrets to how ajvar is prepared. 

What sets apart an average ajvar from the best one are the highest quality natural ingredients, a good understanding of the preparation process, and extensive experience in achieving the right texture and flavor through long cooking at low temperatures. 

While I can accept variations of ajvar, it’s safe to say that the Serbian recipe for ajvar is truly something special, which is why it’s considered the best Serbian food.


  • 4 red bell peppers (Bull’s Horn pepper)
  • 2-3 medium-sized eggplants
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (adjust to your taste)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Roast the Peppers and Eggplants:
    • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
    • Place the red bell peppers and eggplants on a baking sheet.
    • Roast them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, turning them occasionally until the skins are charred and blistered.
  • Let Them Cool:
    • Remove the roasted peppers and eggplants from the oven and let them cool for a while.
  • Peel and Seed:
    • Once they are cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skins and remove the seeds from the peppers. Also, scoop out the flesh from the eggplants.
  • Blend Ingredients:
    • Place the roasted peppers, eggplants, garlic cloves, olive oil, and white wine vinegar into a food processor or blender.
    • Blend until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency. You can adjust the amount of olive oil and vinegar.
  • Season and Store:
    • Season your ajvar with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate. It’s best when allowed to sit for a day or two to let the flavors meld.
  • Serve:
    • Ajvar can be used as a dip, spread, or condiment. It pairs wonderfully with grilled meats, bread, or as a topping for various dishes.

Some tips: It’s best to grill the peppers, but an oven can do the job as well. There’s also the option of roasting them on a gas stove with aluminum foil, but that takes a long time. If you want it spicy, add chili peppers. 

Many of our neighbors use sugar, but we never add it to our ajvar at our house.

Also, some people don’t use eggplants; it depends on personal taste, and everyone has their preferences.

Serbian Ajvar Recipe Without Eggplant


  • 4 kg of quality and ripe sweet red bell peppers
  • 2 dl of sunflower oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • Salt to taste


  • Prepare the Bell Peppers:
    • Wash and dry the bell peppers.
    • Roast them on a grill over low heat until they turn black and completely soften, especially around the stems. For a spicy version, you can add hot chili peppers to your liking.
  • Peel the Peppers:
    • After roasting, place the peppers in a covered container and keep them in a warm place to allow them to steam, making it easier to peel off the skin. There are two common methods to peel them:
      • Submerge the roasted peppers in ice-cold water with ice cubes. This quickly removes the skin but may require longer draining.
      • Leave the roasted peppers in a covered container in a warm place as you arrange them during roasting. This steams them, making peeling easier.
    • Once peeled, remove the stems and seeds from the peppers.
  • Drain the Peppers:
    • Drain the peeled peppers thoroughly. It’s best to leave them wrapped in a cloth overnight, hanging to ensure all the liquid drains out.
  • Prepare the Ajvar:
    • Finely chop the drained and cleaned peppers.
    • Place them in a wide, shallow cooking pot that you’ve coated with oil.
    • Pour the remaining sunflower oil over the peppers and let them absorb the oil for about twenty minutes.
  • Cook the Ajvar:
    • Begin heating the mixture, and when it starts to boil, reduce the temperature just enough to allow the ajvar to simmer. Stir constantly to prevent it from burning.
    • Depending on the quantity, this step can take 3 hours or more. The ajvar is ready when all the liquid has evaporated, and the mixture becomes thick and uniform.
  • Add Vinegar and Salt:
    • Towards the end of cooking, add the white wine vinegar and salt to taste.
  • Sterilize and Seal the Jars:
    • Pour the finished ajvar into previously sterilized glass jars.
    • Place them in an oven preheated to 200°C and bake for about 10 minutes.
    • After baking, fill the jars with a layer of oil to prevent air from coming into contact with the ajvar.
    • Seal the jars with lids and place them upside down to cool slowly, preferably wrapped in a blanket, for the next 36 to 48 hours.
  • Storage:
    • Store the cooled jars in a dark and cool place, ideally in a pantry, where they can last for about six months. Once opened, keep them in the refrigerator.