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This Slovak Easter Cheese Recipe (Cirak) is a traditional Eastern European egg cheese ball served on Easter Sunday for breakfast or the main meal. My family has been making cirek, or hrudka every Easter for years!

slovak easter cheese (cirac) with kolbassa and beet horseradish on the table

Slovak Easter cheese is a very simple recipe. The basic recipe for egg cheese is just a blend of eggs and milk, although you can make it sweet or savory by adding different ingredients.

Easter cheese goes by various names. My Polish Slovak family calls this egg cheese cirak, pronounced siddik. Our Ukrainian family calls this Ukrainian egg cheese hrudka, pronounced hrootka. The younger kids usally call it brains!

Depending on where your family comes from, you might call this Eastern European Easter cheese sirecz, cirek or cirok.

My mom and grandma would make this traditional Slovak Easter recipe on Holy Saturday and add it to the Easter basket, along with Paska bread, kolbassa (kielbasa), Easter ham, beet horseradish, butter lamb, decorated eggs (Pysanky) and other traditional Ukrainian Easter food.

After being blessed at church, the food was saved to enjoy for Easter breakfast or dinner.

These days, we like to serve cirak along with Nut roll, and more American favorites like Easter eggs, lemon blueberry bagel breakfast casserole, Strawberry Jello Salad, carrot cake donuts or cinnamon rolls or lamb cake ( Easter cake )!

eggs, milk, vanilla and seasonings on the table


You only need a few basic ingredients for this egg cheese recipe. You can find them in your grocery store if you don’t have them at home:

  • Eggs
  • Milk — either whole milk or 2 percent milk works best
  • Vanilla — enhances the flavor
  • Salt and pepper — just a pinch for flavor

You will also need a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot or double boiler. This prevents the mixture from scorching during the cooking process.

You will need a colander to drain the cheese and cheesecloth to form it into a ball.

How to Make Slovak Easter Cheese

First, whisk the eggs together in a large bowl. You can use a wire whisk or electric mixer for this part.

Make sure the eggs are well blended. This keeps the color nice and uniform.

beat eggs in mixing bowl with wire whisk

Next, pour milk into the pot and heat the milk on the stove until just hot over low to medium heat. Then, pour the eggs into the milk, and stir in the vanilla, salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low. You will have to gently stir the mixture continuously.

Your arm will get a good workout! If possible, enlist the help of your kids, friends or other family members.

stir eggs and milk on stove in dutch oven with wooden spoon

Cook Time

Keep stirring the egg mixture until it begins to thicken and curds start to form. Be sure to stir around the sides and the bottom of the pan.

This process usually takes about 25 minutes to 30 minutes cooking time.

Finally, the mixture will resemble cottage cheese as the curds separate from the whey.

egg cheese curds on wooden spoon separate from whey

Turn the heat off, and place a mixing bowl into your sink. Place a colander in the mixing bowl, and cover the colander with cheesecloth.

Carefully, spoon or pour the curds and whey on top of the cheese cloth. It will be hot, so wear oven mitts to protect your hands!

drain egg cheese in cheesecloth over colander in sink

Now, bring the ends of the cheesecloth up and twist to form a tight ball. Squeeze as much excess liquid out as you can. Then, use clean twist ties, kitchen twine or clean elastic band to tie the cheesecloth.

You can hang the ball from the faucet over the sink. Or, you can attach the cheesecloth to a wooden spoon and hang it over a deep pot or bowl.

My family always hung the cheese ball from a kitchen cabinet, so that’s what I do.

cirek cheese ball hanging from kitchen cabinet over bowl

You only need to drain the cheese until it stops dripping, which is usually about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Some people drain it overnight, but I like to get the cheese ball into the fridge as soon as possible.

You can discard the whey. Or, use the leftover whey to make paska or nut rolls like my baba did.

How to Store

Wrap the egg cheese tightly in plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator. After it’s been cut, keep the cheese covered with plastic wrap.

Easter cheese keeps for 3 to 4 days refrigerated.

Slovak Easter cheese ( cirek or hrudka ) on the table


There are a few good ways to vary this Slovak egg cheese.

Vanilla extract isn’t always added to this traditional recipe, but I think it rounds out the flavors of the cirak and keeps it from tasting just like plain eggs. But, you can leave out the vanilla if you want.

Instead of ground pepper, use 1 or 2 freshly cracked black peppercorns.

If you want a sweeter Easter cheese, add some sugar. Add between 1 tablespoon to a quarter cup of sugar, depending on exactly how sweet you want the cheese to be.

Top the cirak off with some fresh cloves ( for decoration ) or lemon zest.

5 from 9 votes

Slovak Easter Cheese (cirak)

By: Dee
This Slovak Easter Cheese Recipe (Cirak) is a traditional Eastern European egg cheese ball served on Easter Sunday for breakfast or the main meal. My family has been making cirek, or Ukrainian hrudka, every Easter for years.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes
Resting time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 36 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 quart milk whole or 2 percent
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
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  • Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl, and beat with wire whisk until well blended
  • Pour milk into Dutch oven, and heat over medium heat until just hot
  • Reduce heat to low, and add eggs. Stir in vanilla, salt and pepper
  • Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until curds start to form and separate from the whey, about 20 to 30 minutes. Mixture will resemble cottage cheese with watery liquid
  • Turn heat off. Spoon or pour curds and whey into a colander lined with cheesecloth (place a mixing bowl in the sink, place colander in mixing bowl and cheesecloth over colander)
  • Bring ends of cheesecloth up, and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of cheeseball. Tie cheesecloth tightly with twist tie or elastic band.
  • Hang cheese over bowl. Allow cheese to drain until it stops dripping, about 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or clean cloth to preserve the shape, and store in refrigerator overnight until ready to eat



Use caution while draining since mixture is hot. Use hot mitts or oven mitts to protect hands.
See blog post for ways to drain Easter cheese. Nutrition info is approximate.
Store in airtight container or tightly wrapped in refrigerator.
Eat within 3 to 4 days.


Calories: 112kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 192mg, Sodium: 302mg, Potassium: 181mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 351IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 123mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: European American, Slovak, Ukrainian
Like this? Leave a comment below!

One good thing about Easter time in my house is that I get to share my Eastern European heritage with my kids, and this tasty cirak is a fun part of our Slovak Easter menu!

For more delicious Easter traditions and homemade recipes people of Eastern European descent might recognize, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter and follow me on social media!

If you grew up with cirak or hrudka and like this as much as my family does, please leave a comment or star rating!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Maria Martin says:

    Thank you for this recipe. I remember this as a child I grew up in a hungarian/german home and it was always an Easter staple. My mother would add a little sugar I like a lot LOL and so do my kids. So I am making this this year a little late for my daughter thanks again for the recipe. Turned out awesome5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I’m so glad to hear this, Maria. Thank you!

  2. Jo says:

    Great recipe! I remember my Slovak paternal grandma and my great aunt making this when we were kids. We just thought everyone ate Slovak Easter food! My 89 yr old dad still helps with the meal, his kids make it, and now his grandkids are making it. We make the bread, the meatloaf, the cheese, horseradish and hard boiled eggs. Homemade kielbasa is something the guys make a few weeks ahead of time and freeze. Happy Easter!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Jo! Happy Easter to you! I thought everyone ate the same as we did, too. I’m teaching my kids how to make these recipes, but we have not ventured into homemade kielbasa yet. 🙂

  3. Kovač says:

    I make this recipe before Easter to make sure good recipe. It is. Will make again for Easter Sunday. Good food remind me of my grandma.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I’m so glad to hear this. Thank you for the lovely compliment!

  4. Helen A Hamor says:

    We had it every Easter. My grandmother made sister and I made it a few years ago along with our dad.I think I will try again this year. Thank for sharing.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      It’s so important to keep those traditions going. Hope you get a chance to make Easter cheese this year. 🙂

  5. Kay Gee says:

    I make two batches…One plain with NO VANILLA, and one sweet (dessert), adding sugar AND vanilla but NO PEPPER, Please). Doing this recipe, you can skip one trip to the gym!

  6. Rosie Masley says:

    Thank you for this recipe. My in laws recipe is too large. It is a tradition at our house.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      You’re very welcome, Rosie. Happy Easter to you!

  7. June says:

    I am having trouble finding cheesecloth. Can I use thin cotton flour sack dish towel?
    Also, what is best kielbasa to serve with this.

    1. Dee says:

      Yes, you can use a thin cotton or muslin towel. I found cheesecloth in the cooking supplies section at Kroger/Fry’s. I think Walmart has it, and Amazon definitely does. We are lucky to have a few Polish grocery stores nearby, so I always buy their kielbasa. We like the “Wedding Kielbasa” or any smoked kielbasa will work.

    2. Donna says:

      You could also try a hardware store for cheese cloth. That is where I get mine.5 stars

  8. June says:

    I discussed this recipe with my 94 yr old mom today at the nursing home where she resides. It was a tradition at my home for years, started by her grandmother! I am planning on trying it this year. Your recipe and instructions are just like hers, though she used sugar instead of vanilla extract. Wish me luck!

    1. Dee says:

      It’s wonderful that you’re keeping the tradition, June. It’s easy to make — just takes some patience. Best of luck to you!

  9. Betty says:

    Wow! I remembered this from my childhood. My neighbors made extra for my family for Easter. Haven’t thought bout it for years but will definitely make it now for this Easter so my family can try an old tradition. Thanks for sharing this.5 stars

    1. Lisa says:

      I have been making this for years can it be frozen I wonder?

    2. Dee says:

      I’ve never frozen cirac, but you can freeze scrambled eggs, so it should work.

  10. Iryna says:

    I have been looking for a recipe that is like what my grandmother made and this one is definitely the closest. I think I will be making this receipe again for Easter this year. Thank you for posting.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Iryna. Thank you!