Ajvar – the red pepper sauce from the Balkans

Ajvar is a sauce or rather a puree made from peppers, garlic, and spices

It is produced and eaten throughout the Balkans and often each family produces their own.


It is traditionally made only from red peppers

And it is made from a very specific variety, the pointed pepper. (Between you and me, I didn’t find any pointed peppers, so I used the normal ones)

More recent recipes, on the other hand, also describe variants mixed with peppers and eggplants. I have tried both and like them both. With eggplant, the sauce becomes milder and creamier, but of course, it tastes less like peppers.

Ajvar is available mild or hot

Depending on what kind of peppers you use or if it contains chili.


The peppers are seeded, baked, and skinned and then pureed. Only salt and pepper are used as spices.

If the peppers are baked on the fire or on the grill, they taste particularly nice because a light smoke aroma is added.


The peeled peppers are then boiled down with garlic and spices and filled into glasses when they’re still hot.


If you prefer, you can also just freeze the Ajvar.


Ajvar tastes very good with Djuvec rice or with cevapcici

They are two other typical Balkan dishes

But also, as a dip sauce for vegetables, or in a vegetable sauce, or on spaghetti, or simply as a spread on bread.


So, here is the recipe:



Ajvar - the red pepper-sauce

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 kg red pointed peppers
  • 550 g eggplants if desired
  • 1 garlic bulb with about 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Chili to taste


  • Line baking tray with baking paper, preheat oven to 220°C
  • Remove seeds, stalks, wash and halve the peppers
  • Wash, de-stem and halve the aubergines
  • Place the peppers on a baking tray with the opening facing downwards and the aubergines with the cut side facing downwards and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Best with air circulation and grill function. The skin can be a little black.
    Peperoni su teglia
  • Add the whole garlic bulb after about 10 minutes and bake it
  • Pour the hot peppers into a bowl and cover with a lid, let them rest for about 20 minutes, then peel and puree them (they should have cooled down enough so that you can touch them by hand),
    Peperoni in scodella
  • Allow the eggplants to cool, then remove their skin and puree them
  • Divide the garlic bulb into cloves and press out the soft garlic
  • Put the pepper and eggplant mixture in a pan with the vinegar and oil and let it simmer until it becomes a creamy mass. Season to taste with salt/pepper and possibly chili.
  • Fill into sterile preserving jars while still hot
    Ajvar in vasetto
Keyword Ajvar

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