Discover delicious Syrniki, traditional Russian cottage cheese pancakes, and learn how to make fluffy, pillowy and tender syrniki at home with my Russian mother’s easy-to-follow recipe.
This post was originally published on June 24, 2016 and updated on May 17, 2023 by Elena Szeliga.
They work as a delicious breakfast treat (like these blueberry ricotta pancakes), a savory midday snack, or as an interesting, sweet dessert cuisine.
These tender, pillowy and slightly sweet pancakes are perfect for breakfast or brunch and you can serve syrniki with a variety of toppings, from strawberries and yogurt to chocolate chip ice cream.
What Are Syrniki?
Syrniki are a type of pancake made from a mixture of cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese, eggs, sugar, and flour.
Unlike regular pancake batter, these Russian cheese pancakes are full of cheesy goodness in the form of curd cheese, or farmers cheese. They are traditionally pan-fried until golden brown and served with an array of sweet and savory toppings.
With a slightly sweet flavor and a tender, creamy interior, Syrniki are a popular breakfast cuisine or dessert dish in Russia and all over Eastern Europe.
Where Do Syrniki Come From?
Syrniki pancakes, or Russian cheese pancakes, have their roots in traditional Russian and Ukrainian cuisine.
The name “syrniki” comes from the Slavic word “syr,” which means cheese, so “syrniki” literally translates as “fried cheese cakes”.
Although they are most commonly associated with Russia, similar cottage cheese pancakes can be found in other Eastern European countries, such as Belarus, Poland, and Latvia.
What is Syrniki Made Of?
The main ingredient in Syrniki is cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese, which provides the pancakes with their distinctive creamy texture.
Additional ingredients include eggs, sugar, and flour to bind the mixture together. The recipe may also include vanilla sugar for added flavor, salt for seasoning, and baking soda for a slight lift.
Why This Recipe Works
This Syrniki recipe works because it combines the perfect balance of ingredients to create the most tender, delicious pancakes. The use of cottage cheese adds creaminess, while the eggs and flour give the pancakes their structure.
Adding vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt brings out the natural sweetness and flavors of the dish. Plus, this simple Syrniki recipe ensures that even beginner cooks can master the art of making Syrniki.
My Russian mom used to make them nearly every weekend for breakfast, so I asked her for a recipe she is using. We made these syrniki together, so you can be sure that the recipe is authentic.
You can see quick step-by-step instructions in this syrniki web story.
How to Make Syrniki
Creating Syrniki begins with breaking cottage cheese with a fork in a large bowl. Next, add egg, vanilla sugar, sugar, and salt.
Once well mixed, baking soda and flour are stirred in to form a thick, sticky batter.
Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.
The next step involves heating a non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat, adding a thin layer of oil.
To form the perfect Syrniki, dust your hands with flour and shape small balls of batter before flattening them into round pancakes.
Be cautious not to make them too thin, as they should be fluffy.
Fry the pancakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown and are cooked through.
Make sure to add more oil as needed and adjust the heat if necessary to prevent burning.
Finally, transfer the cooked pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
Top Tips for Making the Perfect Syrniki
This cottage cheese pancake recipe is wonderfully simple, with its common ingredients and its easy to follow method. But I still have a few tips for you to help make sure you get perfect pancakes every time.
Choose the right cottage cheese: Look for a cottage cheese with a low moisture content, or drain any excess liquid before using it in the recipe. This will help prevent the batter from becoming too wet.
Don’t overmix the batter: Mixing the batter until just combined will ensure tender, fluffy pancakes. Overmixing may result in a tough and chewy texture.
Maintain consistent heat: Cooking the Syrniki over medium heat will allow them to cook through without burning. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain an even temperature.
Cover the pan: I sometimes cover the pan with a lid after I flip the pancakes to make them cook through.
Practice portion control: To keep the pancakes consistent in size and cooking time, use a cookie scoop, ice cream scoop, or tablespoon to measure out the pancake batter, just like when you’re trying to make evenly sized rounds from traditional pancake batter.
Be patient: Don’t flip the pancakes too soon. Wait until the edges start to look set and the bottom is golden brown before turning them over.
Store them right: Store them in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Syrniki can be served with a variety of sweet or savory toppings, such as:
- Sour cream
- Fruit preserves or jam
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh berries
- Condensed milk
- Powdered sugar
- Whipped cream
- Maple syrup
- Yogurt (with vanilla extract)
- Raspberry jam
- Fresh or dried cherries
Feel free to get creative with your toppings and enjoy these delicious cottage cheese pancakes as part of a leisurely weekend breakfast or an indulgent dessert.
With their unique texture and rich flavor, they’re sure to become a favorite treat in your household.
Whether you’re familiar with Russian cuisine or eager to try something new, this amazing recipe is one you won’t want to miss out on.
If you like this recipe, leave your feedback in the comments below, along with the star rating! It would be great if you shared the recipe with your family and friends 🙂
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Syrniki: Russian Cottage Cheese Pancakes
- 425 grams or 15 oz (2 cups) farmer's cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2-3 tablespoons wheat flour
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil to fry I use sunflower oil
- strawberries, yogurt to serve (see notes for more serving options) (see notes for more serving options)
- Break cottage cheese with a fork in a large bowl. Add egg, vanilla sugar, sugar, and salt.Once well mixed, stir in baking soda and flour to form a thick, sticky batter.Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.
- Heat a non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat, adding a thin layer of oil.To form the perfect Syrniki, dust your hands with flour and shape small balls of batter before flattening them into round pancakes.Be cautious not to make them too thin, as they should be fluffy.
- Fry the pancakes for about 3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown and are cooked through, covering the pan in the end to make them softer and juicier.Make sure to add more oil as needed and adjust the heat if necessary to prevent burning.Finally, transfer the cooked pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve with strawberries and sour cream or any other topping of your choice (see notes below).