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Turkish Cigarette Böreks are a fast, delicious, and elegant-looking appetizer.  They are cigarette-shaped phyllo pastries stuffed with cheese (usually feta) and herbs (such as dill and parsley); they can also contain veggies and/or meat.  In this recipe, I lightened up the traditional version by baking the böreks instead of deep frying them.  Also, because it’s what I had in my fridge, I used a mixture of spinach and garlic instead of parsley in the cheese stuffing and I thought they were fantastic.  I made a Roasted Tomato Sauce to serve alongside for dipping, and the sweetness and slight spiciness of the sauce paired well with the salty feta in the stuffing.  Turkish Cigarette Börek (Sigara Böreği) with Roasted Tomato Sauce

(Yield:  12 pastries, about 4 appetizer-sized servings)

Cigarette Börek:

3 (13 by 13-inch) square sheets packaged phyllo dough*

1 TB canola oil

1 clove garlic, grated

2 c (lightly packed) baby spinach, coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp dried dill (or 3/4 tsp fresh dill)

Pinch black pepper

1/4 lb feta, crumbled

Cooking spray

Roasted Tomato Sauce:

2 small-medium tomatoes, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 TB olive oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

1 TB tomato paste

For the Roasted Tomato Sauce:  Preheat the oven to 450F.  In a small-medium oven-safe casserole dish, combine all ingredients except the tomato paste.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Remove from the oven, stir in the tomato paste, and cool slightly.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times until it reaches your desired consistency.  Set aside.

For the Börek Filling:  Taste a small piece of the feta; if it is too salty, soak it in cold water for 5 minutes, drain it, then taste again.  If it is still too salty, you can repeat this process until it reaches your desired level of saltiness; when you’re done soaking it, be sure to drain it and gently pat it dry before using.  In a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat, then add the oil and garlic and sauté until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute), stirring constantly.  Add the spinach and sauté until wilted (about 1 minute).  Turn off the heat and add the dill and a pinch of black pepper.  Let the spinach cool slightly, then mix in the feta.

To Assemble the Böreks:  Preheat oven to 375F.  Cut each sheet of phyllo dough into 4 equal squares.  Cover the phyllo with a piece of plastic wrap, and then lay a slightly damp towel on top of the plastic wrap.  To make each börek, take out one piece of phyllo.  Lightly spray one side of phyllo with cooking spray, then put it down on your cutting board (or countertop) with the side with cooking spray facing down.  Place 1 TB of the spinach/feta mixture on the phyllo slightly toward the lower half of the phyllo.  Wrap the bottom half up of the phyllo over the filling and gently continue until you are left with a little roll that looks like a cigarette.  Repeat until all the filling is gone (you should get 12 böreks).  Bake for 11-13 minutes, until crispy and golden.  Serve with Roasted Tomato Sauce.

*I couldn’t find round phyllo dough.  If round phyllo dough is available to you, you can cut it as you would a pie so that you end up with triangular-shaped pieces; place the stuffing at the wide end of each piece, then roll up and bake as normal.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. Ooooh I want some right now! Love the delicate look of the phyllo pastry.

  2. Mmm these sound right up my street! Love the idea of having the tasty dipping sauce with them :)

  3. Oh yes…I’m so going to be making these…especially for a great Saturday lunch snack. Hubby will be thrilled with these ingredients. I’m thrilled that you baked them! Now, all I have to do is learn to pronounce the recipe name ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  4. Faith they look and certainly sound difficult but based are your photos they’re absolutely not! I think spinach was the way to go.

  5. Those look so good! I love phyllo dough (who doesn’t!?) but I’ve never worked with it…it kinda intimidates me. I think I’ll need to push that fear aside for these, though! YUM!

  6. Faith,these Borek’s looks delicious! I took cooking lesson in Istanbul in June and we made Boreks! Ofcourse they had fresh filo wraps available..we are not that lucky here. Great recipe! :)

  7. Me + phyllo dough = disaster. I am going to have to trust you on this one Faith. But I must say that I could easily eat that tomato sauce with a spoon. It looks divine.

  8. Now, that’s my kind of cigar! ;)
    I almost always order these at Turkish restaurants. Who can resist the flaky pastry filled with salty, creamy cheese?

  9. Spinach and feta – one of my very favorite combinations! I love the roasted tomato sauce also – I would love to have this for lunch today!

  10. Wow! This is a recipe that I’ve never seen yet I’m eager to try it. I imagine they are just perfect with a warm bowl of soup or as an appetizer. Great work and thank you for sharing it with us all!

  11. Beautiful pastries, Faith! And the roasted tomato sauce looks like the perfect accompaniment. I can imagine pulling this recipe out when you want to have a dinner party where you want to impress someone – and impress them, you would!

    Have a great weekend!

  12. These must make for the perfect appetizers! The filling sounds strangely reminiscent of spanakopita, which I LOVE. And roasted tomato sauce has such a complex sweet savory flavor that it must pair so beautifully with the borek!

  13. phyllo AND cheese and in a nifty shape? win! love the sauce too!

  14. I’m just wondering why its been so long since I’ve had böreks, its been ages & I love them. Especially love the combo of roasted tomato sauce . Nice one Faith.

  15. Fantastic dish. Love that phyllo pastry. Great tomato sauce with the balsamic and the red pepper flakes, perfect balance.

  16. SO delicious!! I\’ve made Bosnian Burek which is similar in flavor but not shape. I\’d love to try these! :-) Thank you for your kind comment on my post at Lazaro\’s blog. I really appreciate it! :-)

  17. I love that you baked these turkey “cigarettes” they must taste amazing. The roasted tomato dipping sauce sounds like the perfect way to enjoy them! Have a wonderful weekend :)

  18. Yummy! These look so wonderfully crispy and golden; with the spinach and cheese filling and especially that tomato dip they must taste heavenly!

  19. You always have the most delicious and inspiring recipes over here! These look so fantastic with feta, spinach and dill! Yum!

  20. I am so excited over this recipe! I went to Turkey last year and loved this (not cigar shaped ones, but this is brilliant!) I love the idea of baking them also. Thanks! You’ve really inspired me!

  21. This looks beautiful. Your pictures are wonderful. You always have such beautiful presentation!

  22. I love cigara boregi, it is my favorite snack ever. Thanks for sharing :)

  23. Those böreks look fabulous, Faith. Sort of like cigarette-shaped spanokopita! It’d be fun to try all sorts of fillings too.

  24. Heavenly Housewife says:

    I love boreks! Haven’t had them in a while. Never made my own. Might have to change that soon, these look so yummy!
    Have a fantastic weekend!
    *kisses* HH

  25. Those are my favorite böreks! A lovely sauce as accompaniment.



  26. That looks like an amazing meal. Especially the cigarette borek…very unique and the pastry makes it look delightful.

  27. These are like our spanakopita only they are shaped like cigarettes. We make something similar with cheese. I am sure they taste great!

  28. Definitely looks good to me, frying it will be tastier but not so healthy so baking is a good choice. We do have similar wraps like these with vegetables as fillings. Great photos!

  29. Now this is my kind of cigarette–lol! Yuuuum.

  30. Your borek look excellent Faith! So light and crispy! And the filling sounds oh-so-delicious too dipped into the sauce.

  31. 5 Star Foodie says:

    These look so crispy and delicious! I must make these soon!

  32. Those look amazing! Perfect for when I have my book club meeting at my house! Thanks! Delicious!

  33. I love this idea.
    It’s a great finger food.

  34. Oh my, Faith, those look incredible. I love the feta, spinach, and dill combination. I’m making these this weekend!

  35. stumbling onto lot of phyllo dough recipes this week. this one is my fave so far. cheers!

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