khatchapuri recipe history culture origin

Хачапури, вкусное и сытное блюдо, доставит удовольствие каждому посетителю бывшего Советского Союза. Photo source:

Khatchapuri: The Big Georgian Cheese!

Published: August 5, 2018

Khatchapuri (Хачапури) is one of the most beloved of the Georgian foods adopted into the Russian tradition. That is a major achievement, as Georgian cuisine is itself one of the most beloved of all those among the former Soviet peoples. It is enjoyed in Russia, throughout the former Soviet space, and around the world. The dish itself is simple, hearty, travels well, and is mouthwateringly delicious. So, what is it? Cheesy bread!

How It Got Its Name

(Почему носит такое название?)

The name “khatchapuri” comes from the Georgian names for curd cheese (хачо) and bread (пури). One note that we should probably make here is that Georgian does not use the Cyrillic alphabet officially. So, we are providing the words here in Cyrillic for the benefit of students of Russian. However, “khatchapuri” written in Georgian would actually look like this: ხაჭაპური.

There are many different regional variations of khatchapuri, and each is generally named for the region and/or people who are best known for making it. The most common types of xачапури available in Russia are: “хачапури по-имеретински” (Imeretian Katchapori); “хачапури по-аджарски” (Adjarian Katchapori); and “хачапури по-армянски” (Armenian khatchapuri)

khatchapuri recipe history culture origin
Хлебозавод «Бородино-2006» – лишь один из производителей замороженных хачапури, продаваемых в российских магазинах.

Imeretian khatchapuri is named for the Kingdom of Imeriti, one of several great kingdoms that once made up Georgia’s shifting medieval political landscape. This version presupposes a circular dough stuffed with cheese, oil and/or butter on the inside and pan-fried.

Adjarian khatchapuri is named for Adjara, an autonomous republic in Georgia. Its dough is folded into a boat shape with the cheese inside exposed. It is oven-baked and, as it comes out, a raw egg is dropped into the center of the cheese with a pat of butter. The heat from the cheese cooks the egg to a sunny-side-up consistency.

Armenian khatchapuri is the variety most often found in Russian kiosks. This type is most associated with the Armenians, an ethnic group completely separate from the Georgians who have their own country and history. Their version of this dish has the cheese wrapped inside a puff pastry which is usually triangular or square in shape.

Two other versions worth mentioning are “хачапури по-мегрельски” (Mingrelian Katchapori) and лобиани (lobiani). Mingrelian Katchapori was named for the Megrelia region along Georgia’s Black Sea coast. They put cheese inside and on top of what otherwise looks much like Imeretian khatchapuri. Also of interest is a close relative of khatchapuri that hails from Racha, a former kingdom in the North of Georgia whose main city is said to have been founded in the 2nd century. This great and ancient kingdom altered хачапури by replacing the cheese filling with a mixture of beans, back fat, and bacon. The resulting dish is usually called “лобиани” which comes from the Georgian word for “bean.”

When and How to Eat Khatchapuri

(Как правильно есть хачапури?)

khatchapuri recipe history culture origin
As part of Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space, SRAS students learned to make khatchapuri from scratch . Pictured is student Paula Hunter and her creation.

It is a good bet that the name of this wonderful dish is so simple because it is so very common. Khatchapuri is a staple food in Georgia, and is, in fact, so often prepared that the fluctuating cost of making the dish is now being used as an inflation index in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital. In Russia, the dish is also quite common, and requires no special occasion to be a cherished food item!

As with most breads, khatchapuri is most often consumed by hand. It can be found in kiosks in Russia and in kiosks and roadside stands throughout Georgia. The dish can also be eaten with a knife and fork, as, depending upon who is cooking it and how fresh it is, the cheesy goodness inside tends to overflow its doughy boundaries.

Khatchapuri goes incredibly well with red wine (another food that at which the Georgians excel) and can often constitute a meal in itself.

How to Prepare Khatchapuri

(Как правильно готовить хачапури?)

It is impossible to point to any one correct way of preparing khatchapuri, namely because the variations on the recipe are endless. There are, however, some basic points of interest that are worth mentioning. There are two foundational methods of preparation: on the stovetop with a pan or in an oven. The pan method is recommended for those preparing the khatchapuri, using fermented milk products (traditionally matzoon (мацони) – a Caucasian fermented milk product resembling kefir) as a leavening agent. If making khatchapuri with yeast, or, as has become popular in recent times, if making a puff pastry variant, it is recommended to bake the dish in an oven.

khatchapuri recipe history culture origin
Хачапури по-аджарски – сытное блюдо, которое украсит собой любой стол.

There is some disagreement as to which cheeses should be used in the filling. There are traditional cheeses such as the Georgian “сулугуни” (Suluguni) and “имеретинский” (Imeretian). In modern times there is also increasing use of common foreign cheeses such as feta and mozzarella. It is widely agreed, however, that it is best to use a mixture of two or three cheeses in the interests of both taste and avoidance of clumping. There is also some dispute over whether one might add herbs such as parsley, dill, or cilantro to the cheese filling; many say it is strictly forbidden and ruins the taste, others think it a normal and tasty addition.

Let’s Cook!

(Давай Приготовим!)

See below for a free recipe for khatchapuri. See also the free videos online. If you are interested in cooking from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and other places in Eurasia, make sure to see our full, free Eurasian Cookbook online! You might also be interested in the following specialized cookbooks we’ve enjoyed:

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Имеретинский хачапури Imeretian khatchapuri
  • Кефир, мацони или простокваша – 0,5 литра
  • яйцо – 1 шт
  • соль – 1 ч. ложка
  • сахар – 1 ч. ложка
  • разрыхлитель – 1 ч. ложка
  • растительное масло – 1-2 ст. ложки
  • мука – 4-5 стаканов
  • брынза, сулугуни, имертинский сыр – 500 г


  1. Имертинский сыр или брынзу или сулугуни натереть на крупной терке. Муку просеять и смешать с разрыхлителем. В миску насыпать просеянную муку, сделать в середине углубление и влить в него кефир (или мацони), яйцо, соль, сахар и растительное масло. Замесить некрутое эластичное тесто и поставить его на час в холодильник.
  2. Тесто разделить на небольшие кусочки и каждый кусочек раскатать в тонкий круглый пласт. На середину лепешки положить натёртый сыр (начинки должно быть много – 4-6 столовых ложек на один хачапури), собрать края лепешки к центру и тщательно защипать (начинка должна оказаться в середине лепешки).
  3. Перевернуть лепешку защипанным швом вниз и достаточно тонко раскатать скалкой.
  4. Сковороду разогреть, смазать растительным маслом и жарить хачапури на среднем огне с двух сторон до готовности (если хачапури при жарки вздуваются, то нужно проколоть верх лепешки).
  5. Готовые хачапури смазывать сливочным маслом и складывать стопочкой, как блины.
  6. По желанию в начинку можно добавить мелко порезанную зелень петрушки или кинзы; если брынза слишком соленая, то можно натереть любой твердый сыр и смешать его с брынзой.
  • 0.5 l Kefir, matzoon, or clabber (soured milk)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cups flour
  • 500 grams brynza (a salty sheep’s milk cheese), suluguni and/or Imeretian cheese*


  1. Grate the Imeretian cheese, brynza, or suluguni on a large grater. Sift the flour and mix it with the baking powder. Pour the sifted flour into a mixing bowl, make a depression in the middle. Pour the kefir (or matzoon or clabber), egg, salt, sugar and vegetable oil into the depression. Knead this mixture into a stretchy dough and place it in the refrigerator for an hour.
  2. Divide the dough into fairly small pieces and roll each piece into a thin, round bed. In the middle of the dough-cake place the grated cheese (there has to be a lot of filling – 4-6 tablespoons to one khatchapuri), gather the edges of the dough-cake to the center and thoroughly pinch them together (the filling must be in the middle of the dough-cake).
  3. Turn the dough-cake so that the pinched seam faces downwards and with a rolling pin roll it out until fairly thin.
  4. Warm your pan, grease it with vegetable oil and fry the khatchapuri over medium heat on both sides until done (if the khatchapuri swells up during cooking, then you must pierce the top of the dough-cake).
  5. Coat the prepared khatchapuri with butter and pile up in a stack, like you would bliny.
  6. If you wish, you may add finely chopped parsley or cilantro to the filling; if brynza is too salty, you may use any hard cheese or mix it with the brynza.


*Georgian recipes usually use the traditionally Georgian cheeses brynza, suluguni and/or Imeretian. Feta and mozzarella can be substituted when these are not available.

Лепешки “Лобиани” (рача) Lobiani Flat Bread
  • Мацони – 500 г
  • Молоко – 1 ст.
  • Яйцо– 1 шт.
  • Масло сливочное – 100 г
  • Масло растительное – 150 г
  • Мука пшеничная – 0,8-1 кг
  • Дрожжи сухие – 1 ст.л. с горкой
  • Соль – щепотка
  • Сахар – щепотка


  • Фасоль сухая – 300-400 г
  • Сало свиное топлёное или сливочное масло – 100 г (плюс
  • ещё немного для подачи)
  • Соль, свежемолотый чёрный перец – по вкусу

Способ приготовления


  1. Подогреть молоко, чтобы было чуть тёплое, всыпать сахар и дрожжи, влить немного растительного масла, присыпать мукой и поставить в тёплое место на 15 минут. Затем добавить мацони и бОльшую часть просеянной муки, вбить яйцо и начать месить. По мере необходимости добавлять муку. Положить растопленное и остуженное сливочное масло и соль. Продолжать месить 20 минут, время от времени наливая на руку растительное масло и обмазывая ком теста. Готовое тесто не должно прилипать к рукам. Скатать его в шар, присыпать мукой, накрыть полотенцем и поставить в тёплое место на 2 часа. Вымесить и дать подойти ещё раз 1-1,5 ч.


  1. Замочить фасоль в холодной воде на 8-10 часов, затем откинуть на дуршлаг, залить большим количеством холодной воды и поставить на средний огонь. Довести до кипения, варить 1,5-2 часа. Слить отвар, оставив немного для приготовления пюре.Горячую фасоль размять в пюре – необязательно до гладкости, должна получиться просто однородная масса. Добавить свиной жир или масло, соль и перец по вкусу. Перемешать, остудить.
  2. Подошедшее тесто разделить на порции примерно по 200 гр. каждая и скатать в шары, затем раскатать в небольшой круг. Положить внутрь начинку – примерно столько же, сколько теста. Аккуратно собрать края теста как котомку и скрепить в узел. Перевернуть лепёшку швом вниз и раскатать скалкой в блин толщиной в 1 см. Уложить на противень и выпекать в разогретой духовке до румяной корочки 30-40 минут.
  3. Можно печь лобиани и на сковороде под крышкой на небольшом огне. Готовые лобиани промазать маслом или салом, сложить стопкой и разрезать острым ножом на порции, клиньями.
  • Matzoon (fermented milk) – 500 grams
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Butter – 100 grams (melted)
  • Vegetable oil – 150 grams
  • Flour – 0.8-1 kg
  • Yeast – 1 Tbsp (heaping)
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Sugar – a pinch


  • Beans, dry – 300-400 grams
  • Rendered pork fat or butter – 100 grams (plus a little extra for serving)
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper – to taste



  1. Warm up milk (lukewarm), add sugar and yeast, add a small amount of oil, dust the top with some flour and place in a warm place for 15 minutes. Add matzoon and most of the sifted flour, mix in the egg and start kneading, adding flour as necessary. Add melted and cooled butter and salt. Continue kneading for 20 minutes, from time to time pour oil into a hand and spreading on the dough. The dough must not stick to hands. Roll dough into a ball, dust with flour, cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place for 2 hours. Knead again and let rise again for 1-1.5 hours.


  1. Soak beans in cold water for 8-10 hours, drain, cover with large amount of cold water. Bring to boil and cook over medium heat for 1.5-2 hours. Drain, reserving small amount of cooking liquid.
    Puree beans while hot until mostly smooth, although small lumps are permitted. Add pork fat or butter, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well and let cool.
  2. When the dough has risen, divide in small portions of approximately 200 grams, roll into balls.
    Working with one portion at a time, roll each into a small circle. Place filling, approximately the same amount as dough, onto the middle of the circle. Gather the edges of the circle together, incasing the filling inside, like a small pouch. Flip the bread over, placing the seam under, and roll with a rolling pin into a circle 1 sm thick. Place the bread on the baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until light brown.
  3. The Lobiani may also be cooked in a covered skillet over low heat. While hot, spread the bread with butter or pork fat, stack together and cut into wedges for serving.


Хачапури по-аджарски Adjarian khatchapuri
Главным отличием хачапури по-аджарски является их форма. Хачапури формируется “лодочкой”, с открытой начинкой. Когда готовые хачапури вынимают из печи, в каждое из них выкладывают кусочек масла и сырое яйцо, которое готовится жаром самого пирога. По желанию, яйцо можно выложить на сыр за несколько минут до готовности, позволив ему запечься в духовке.

Шеф-повар одного из известных ресторанов предлагает рецепт хачапури по-аджарски и поясняет, как его правильно есть.

For a great recipe to try this version of khatchapuri that cooks an egg in the middle of the “bread boat” loaf, see

For a more authentic version, just make the boat smaller and, as you take the bread out of the oven, place a pad of butter on the cheese followed immediately by a raw egg and let cool.

Our Favorite Khatchapuri Videos

Nicely filmed video showing us how to prepare the tricky, but often considered most beautiful and tasty form of khatchapuri – the Adjarian “boat.” The narrator speaks in very clear Russian and also performs all the steps as she speaks, making it a great how-to follow-along.


Very entertaining cooking program that shows how to prepare cheese-topped “хачапури по-мегрельски.” Very professionally done with a wonderful backdrop and enthusiastic host. Quite interesting as the show (Smachno!) for which this is a feature is a Ukrainian-Georgian collaboration.


News video/interview about the appearance of a Georgian café in the center of Moscow. Note that neither the owner/entrepreneur nor the servers are ethnic Georgians. Swanky new approach to the old khatchapuri (khatchapurnaya – khatchapuri bakery).

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About the author

Jordan Bryant

Jordan Bryant graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Slavic Languages & Literatures. She  previously spent two summers studying abroad in St. Petersburg and one in Prauge. She participated in SRAS’s Home and Abroad Program in Vladivostok, Russia.

View all posts by: Jordan Bryant