This easy Armenian Cheese Borek (Boreg) recipe only has 4 ingredients, and 1 is optional. Making flaky, cheesy boreks is a breeze with store-bought puff pastry.
Borek is a staple in any Armenian household. I've never met an Armenian who hasn't enjoyed borek in some shape or form. Even Georgians have their own version of cheese in dough which is called khachapuri (it's shaped a bit differently too).
Basically, everyone in the Caucasus area has their version of a cheese turnover, sometimes stuffed with different fillings. A fried Russian version I personally love as well is Pirozhki. It also features various fillings. I'm a fan of the ground meat and mashed potato varieties more so than the cheese.
Every family has their own version of making these pastries. My grandmother used to make a homemade dough and fry them instead of baking. For baked borek, some people use phyllo dough, but puff pastry is a common and much easier alternative.
My mom has mastered the art of borek-making. I always look forward to family gatherings where she whips these up. Cheese borek is so easy to make! Truly a perfect last minute appetizer or snack, especially if you have a stash of puff pastry in your freezer.
- Puff Pastry: There are a couple brands of puff pastry I usually use: Pepperidge Farm and Trader Joe's. The Pepperidge Farm comes folded into thirds, and the Trader Joe's is rolled. I discuss the pros and cons of both brands in my Spinach and Artichoke Swirls recipe if you'd like to take a look. For this recipe I have written out instructions for both brands.
- Feta Cheese: In my personal opinion Greek feta is generally pretty dry and salty. I prefer using Bulgarian feta in this cheese borek recipe. It's slightly softer than the Greek version (better mouth feel), and has a somewhat briny and tart flavor profile. You can use whichever feta you prefer. The drier Greek-style will grate more easily, but you may get a bit more richness and flavor from the Bulgarian feta, which you should crumble instead of grate because it’s softer.
- Parsley: This is optional. It adds some color and flavor to the filling. If you choose to include it I recommend using flat-leaf parsley as opposed to curly, as it has more flavor.
How to make Cheese Borek
Defrost your frozen puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator. You will unfold or unroll the dough and then cut into squares.
With the Pepperidge Farm we usually yield 9 squares per sheet, based on the folds in the dough. For Trader Joe's you have a bit more flexibility. You can cut 12 per sheet, or even 16 smaller squares to make super mini boreks like the ones below.
The cheese borek filling is as easy as can be. Grate or crumble feta cheese, and if desired mix in some chopped parsley.
Fold the dough over the filling to create triangles or rectangles. Then use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges closed. Arrange the sealed cheese boreks on parchment-lined baking sheets, brush the tops with egg wash, and bake.
Ta da! That's it. These boreks are best the day they are baked. They will soften a bit and be less flaky in the following days. Store leftovers at room temperature.
It's kind of insane how easy this recipe is. You can try it with different fillings as well. We often make meat borek using the same method. Simply replace the feta cheese with an equivalent volume of gheyma, or cooked ground beef with spices.
Sometimes we have leftover gheyma from other recipes, and this is such a great way to use it up! We typically fold the meat boreks into rectangles to differentiate them from the triangular cheese ones.
- Khalkha (Savory Ring-Shaped Cookies)
- Armenian Macaroni and Cheese
- Spinach Fatayer (Lebanese Spinach Pies)
- Jamaican Beef Patties
- Ham and Cheese Empanadas
- Saucijzenbroodjes (Dutch Sausage Rolls)
- Yalanchi (Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves)
- Paklava (Armenian Baklava)
- Sari Burma (Burma Baklava/Rolled Baklava)
- Kadaif or Kadayif (Ricotta Cheese Kunafa)
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Easy Cheese Borek (Armenian Cheese Turnovers)
- 1 (17.3-to-18.3 ounce) package puff pastry (contains 2 sheets, folded into thirds or rolled–depending on brand)
- 1 ¾ to 2 cups grated or crumbled feta cheese (we recommend Bulgarian feta)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley optional
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
If using Pepperidge Farm brand puff pastry which is folded into thirds:
- Thaw the puff pastry and unfold it. Flour generously so it doesn't stick to your work surface. Cut it along the folds into three strips. Gently roll each piece lengthwise on a lightly floured surface until it is about 10 to 11 inches in length. Then cut each long rectangle into three squares. Each puff pastry sheet will yield 9 squares, 18 in total between both sheets. These boreks will be a bit larger.
If using another puff pastry brand which is rolled:
- Thaw the puff pastry and unroll it. Flour generously so it doesn't stick to your work surface. Cut into four strips width-wise and then three strips lengthwise. Each puff pastry sheet will yield 12 squares, 24 in total between both sheets. These boreks will be a bit smaller. You can make them even smaller but cutting these sheets into 16 squares each to yield 32 mini boreks.
- If using parsley, mix it into the feta cheese. Place a heaping tablespoon of feta cheese into the center of each square, packing it together (use a bit less for the smaller boreks). Fold the squares into either triangles or rectangles depending on your preference. Press the edges together with your fingers and then the tines of a fork to seal them well (they should seal easily, but if they do not, feel free to brush egg wash along the edge before pressing the dough together).
- Place the boreks on the parchment-lined baking sheets and brush the tops with the beaten egg. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom halfway through, until the tops are golden brown. Allow the boreks to cool slightly and serve either warm or at room temperature. The boreks are freshest served the day they are baked, but if necessary store leftovers in a sealed container at room temperature.
- If using a more firm Greek feta, grate the cheese on a box grater instead of crumbling it (Bulgarian feta is usually too soft to grate, it may simply fall apart).
- To make meat borek, replace the cheese with an equal amount of gheyma. If making both types at once, fold one into triangles and the other into rectangles to differentiate.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*