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Traditional Russian Pancakes (Blini)

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This traditional Russian pancakes (blini) recipe is a pearl of Russian cuisine. I use this recipe for over 15 years and my pancakes have always come out great. The ingredients of wheat flour, milk, and eggs, though humble, create the foundation of something incredible. Fill Russian pancakes with sweet or savory fillings and eat to your heart’s content. 

A Pile of Russian Pancakes with Cherries on the Background

This post was originally published on Sept 23, 2015 and was updated on Feb 11, 2020 by Elena Szeliga.

Russian pancakes (blini), also known as blinis or blinchiki, are near and dear to the people of Russia and the former USSR. Because they’re so tasty and versatile they absolutely need to be shared with the world! Breakfast, lunch or dinner, they are sure to become an instant favorite for any meal.

Sweet and Savory Fillings for Blini

I promise you, this blini recipe will become an instant hit because they are much wider and thinner than American-style pancakes but not as thin and wide as crepes. It allows you to stuff them with anything you’d like.

Just try out a few of these traditional fillings and ideas:

  • minced meat,
  • cheese,
  • ham,
  • mushrooms,
  • or anything savory you like and then fry them a second time, like chimichangas.

Or kick it up a notch, dress them up and fill them with:

  • caviar

or

  • smoked salmon

and serve with sour cream or cream cheese.

Perhaps you have a sweet tooth that needs to be satisfied? The great news is that blinis can also be filled with anything sweet!

Try out any (or all) of the following:

  • your favorite jams,
  • chocolate cream (hello Nutella!),
  • poppy seeds,
  • condensed milk (sgushenka),
  • berries,
  • honey,
  • sweetened cottage cheese,
  • apples and cinnamon
  • or any other sweet.

They are a blank page that you can fill according to your culinary preferences. Fulfill your craziest culinary cravings like stuffing Russian pancakes with sausages or wrap yesterday’s chicken salad in them.

You can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never get tired of them. The possibilities are endless. As you can see, because of their versatility they are a delicious staple in my Russian culture.

Russian Pancakes with Cherries on a Plate

A History of Russian Pancakes

As I said above, Russian pancakes along with the classic Borsch are pearls of Russian cuisine. So much so, that we even have a holiday dedicated just to pancakes called Maslenitsa!

It comes from an old Slavic tradition to worship the beginning of spring with pancakes, symbolizing the Sun. It was even adopted by the Orthodox church. Maslenitsa lasts for a week. You are supposed to make and eat tons of pancakes during that time.

Wherever I am in the world, I celebrate this week. It would feel outright wrong if I didn’t!

Russian Pancakes Top View

What are Russian Pancakes Made of?

Classic blinis use very basic ingredients that pretty much every household has: wheat flour, milk and eggs.

But, because of their simplicity, there is room to play! You can experiment with rye or oatmeal flour instead of wheat flour. I like to use a 1:1 ratio of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.

Instead of milk, try using beer or kefir or add some yeast to the batter. Once you have the basic recipe down, feel free to make it work for you.

Warning! It’s pointless to only make a serving or two of blini. Rather, if you start to make them, you should make the right amount (which is at least 40!). Don’t worry about leftovers because they are still tasty on the second day and freeze perfectly.

Bonus fact: The singular for pancake – “blin” is used instead of cursing in Russian language. Cute, right?

Russian Pancakes Stalked on a Plate

How to Make Ultimate Russian Pancakes

This blini recipe is really so simple. All you have to do is mix up the ingredients, make sure the consistency is correct and get ready to fry.

Though frying Russian pancakes is easy, you have to be careful not to burn them, as they are done pretty quick. Before you start frying the first pancake, the pan should be really hot. You can test it by sprinkling a drop of water on it and if it starts vaporizing immediately, it’s time to start frying.

There is a Russian saying: “The first pancake always comes out a lump”. So be warned!

I recommend using two pans simultaneously, for the sake of time. Below you’ll find my favorite recipe that always works out (and I’ve tried a bunch of them). To me, this is exactly how Russian pancakes should taste.

Believe me, this will be your “go to” Russian pancake recipe from now on. It’s a basic recipe with plenty of room for experimentation and fantastic fillings.

Cook’s Tips

  • Store blini covered in the fridge for about 3 days.
  • You can freeze them for up to 3 months. To reheat, bring to a room temperature and microwave or heat stalked blini in the pan, 5-6 pancakes at a time.
  • Use 2 or 3 frying pans if you are tight on time.
  • Some of the traditional savory fillings include minced meat, cheese, ham, mushrooms, smoked salmon, caviar and sour cream.
  • Sweet fillings include but are not limited to jams, chocolate cream, poppy seeds, condensed milk (sgushenka), berries, honey, sweetened cottage cheese, apples and cinnamon or any other sweet.

Recipe Variations

  • To make Russian pancakes gluten free, use the same amount of buckwheat flour.
  • To make blini more nutritious, use a 1:1 ratio of all-purpose and whole wheat flour.
  • Beer or kefir can be substituted for milk.
  • Use same amounts of dairy-free milk and a flax egg to make blini vegan.
  • To make this Russian blini recipe lighter, skip the cream and butter and add same amounts of warm water instead.

Since the pan is hot, you could try out this traditional farmer’s cheese pancake “Syrniki.

Another favorite fried pancake of Russian cuisine, though thicker and fluffier it’s typically eaten with a sweet topping and a dollop of sour cream.

To venture further into the Russian culinary adventure, try out my grandma’s delicious, and healthy Russian pickled tomatoes.

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4.64 from 44 votes

Traditional Russian Pancakes (Blini)

This traditional Russian pancakes (blini) recipe is a pearl of Russian cuisine. I use this recipe for over 15 years and my pancakes have always come out great. Fill Russian pancakes with sweet or savory fillings and eat to your heart’s content. 
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Russian
Keyword blini, blini recipe, blinis, bliny, Russian blini, Russian pancakes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10 servings (about 40 pancakes)
Calories 305kcal
$4

Ingredients

  • 400 grams or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour See notes below for substitutions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs (see notes below for substitutions)
  • 800 ml or 3 1/3 cups milk warmed (see notes below for substitutions)
  • 100 ml or 1/2 cups cream for lower calories intake use warm water
  • 5 tablespoons butter for lower calories intake use warm water instead
  • sunflower oil or canola oil to fry

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. Add eggs, milk and cream. Use a paddle attachment of your mixer or food processor to mix the batter until smooth. The consistency of the batter should be a bit thicker than cream with no lumps.
  • Heat two pans over high heat. Melt butter and add it to the batter. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour a tiny bit of sunflower oil in both pans (you can use a silicon brush to spread it). Use a scoop or a ladle to pour the batter in the middle of the pan. Acting quickly, tilt the pan from side to side while pouring, forming a circle with the batter.
  • Flip the pancake over with a thin spatula, after the surface looks porous and sides are golden. Fry for half of the time you fried the first side. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  • You might want to put them in the warm oven (not warmer then 70 °C/160 °F) to keep them hot before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

Cook’s Tips

  • Store blini covered in the fridge for about 3 days.
  • You can freeze them for up to 3 months. To reheat, bring to a room temperature and microwave or heat stalked blini in the pan, 5-6 pancakes at a time.
  • Use 2 or 3 frying pans if you are tight on time.
  • Some of the traditional savory fillings include minced meat, cheese, ham, mushrooms, smoked salmon, caviar and sour cream.
  • Sweet fillings include but are not limited to jams, chocolate cream, poppy seeds, condensed milk (sgushenka), berries, honey, sweetened cottage cheese, apples and cinnamon or any other sweet.

Recipe Variations

  • To make Russian pancakes gluten free, use the same amount of buckwheat flour.
  • To make blini more nutritious, use a 1:1 ratio of all-purpose and whole wheat flour.
  • Beer or kefir can be substituted for milk.
  • Use same amounts of dairy-free milk and a flax egg to make blini vegan.
  • To make this Russian blini recipe lighter, skip the cream and butter and add same amounts of warm water instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Follow @happykitchen.rocks on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #happykitchenrocks!

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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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