Best Russian Pancakes Recipe for Blini in the Style of French Crepes. Best Pancake Recipes. Copyright © 2023 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Best Pancake Recipes for Blini, Buckwheat, Potato and Ricotta Pancakes

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My best pancake recipes come from my Russian grandmother’s kitchen and include pancake recipes for blini (pancakes) such as potato pancakes, buckwheat pancakes, ricotta pancakes, and more that my baboushka made me when I was a child. Forget the store-bought pancake mixes and make these healthy pancake recipes instead.

My best pancake recipes make the pancakes that my baboushka made when she wanted to spoil her children and grandchildren. The type of pancake that baba and mum mostly made was the thin French crêpe-style pancakes that we simply called blini (pancakes) – ‘blini’ is the plural of pancakes in Russian and ‘blin’ is the singular or pancake – but there are so many other types of pancakes.

Our best pancakes recipes include recipes for the buckwheat pancakes that make the blini that typically come with smoked salmon, smetana (sour cream) and caviar; potato pancakes that are somewhere between a pikelet and potato fritter; and ricotta pancakes, which would go on to become synonymous with Australian café culture in the 1980s and 90s.

Slavic peoples and those of Slavic heritage love their pancakes and there are countless kinds of pancakes cooked in Russia, Ukraine and the many other Slavic countries that have traditionally kicked off celebrations for Pancake Week or Maslenitsa tonight.

I remember reading in a newspaper last year that at one Maslenitsa event, pancake cooks were serving up over 200 types of pancakes, everything from syrniki, cottage cheese pancakes made with tvorog or farmer’s cheese, to oladyi, small, thick, fluffy pancakes made with kefir.

This Maslenitsa I’m sure the Ukrainian people will be in the hearts of Slavic peoples around the world. I know they are in mine.

Before I tell you all about my best pancake recipes, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you make any of my Russian family recipes or any of our recipes at all and you enjoy them, please consider supporting Grantourismo so we can keep creating recipes and food stories.

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Now let me tell you about my best pancake recipes.

Best Pancake Recipes from My Baboushka’s Kitchen for Potato Pancakes, Buckwheat Pancakes, Ricotta Pancakes and More

Our best pancake recipes include the Russian pancakes of my childhood. Pancakes weren’t eaten every day at my Russian grandparents’ home. When I stayed during school holidays as a child or visited for a weekend when I was at university, my baboushka would typically make me an omelette, scrambled eggs or porridge for breakfast. Baba made pancakes or blini when she wanted to spoil me or on special days.

Just a quick tip to making our best pancake recipes, which apply to all the recipes for pancakes below. Call me old-fashioned, but I like my pancakes to look home-made and rustic, and am happy just to spoon the pancake mixture directly into a fry pan or skillet.

However, Terence uses silicon egg rings which will give you perfectly round discs, and he also recommends these non-stick pancake pans with moulds. Now let’s tell you about my best pancake recipes.

Best Pancake Recipes – Potato Pancakes, Buckwheat Pancakes, Ricotta Pancakes, Russian Blini and More

Russian Blini in the Style of French Crêpes

Blini simply means pancakes in Russian although outside of Russia, blini is typically associated with the smaller pikelet-style pancakes below. Our best Russian pancakes recipe makes blini in the style of French crêpes if you’re looking for a quick and easy pancake recipe. My Russian grandmother made these sweet, thin, buttery pancakes for me for breakfast with butter, jam and sour cream, however, they can also be served as savoury blini with smoked salmon, fresh dill, gherkins, and sour cream. My mum also made these for us as kids but in the style of French crêpes, with all sorts of savoury fillings of the kind you’d find at a crêperie in France.  This recipe makes a batch of 10-12, however, baboushka would make a towering stack of several dozen. She never did things by halves!

Best Russian Pancakes Recipe for Blini in the Style of French Crêpes for Pancake Day

Buckwheat Pancakes Recipe for Blini with Smoked Salmon, Dill and Sour Cream

This Russian buckwheat pancakes recipe makes the blini with smoked salmon, dill, sour cream, and caviar that people typically think of when they think of blini. Instead of proper caviar, I’ve made a ‘caviar’ of gherkin and radish. These are blini for those of us currently on a Prosecco rather than a Champagne budget! More like pikelets than pancakes, these cocktail size blini are perfect for snacking and entertaining, and make a fun brunch snack or fantastic finger food. And while this is a savoury topping you could also spread these little pancakes with jam and cream.

Russian Buckwheat Pancakes Recipe for Blini with Smoked Salmon, Dill and Sour Cream

Ricotta Cheese Pancakes Recipe for Syrniki or Farmer’s Cheese Pancakes

My Russian ricotta cheese pancakes recipe makes syrniki or farmer’s cheese pancakes. Crunchy outside and fluffy within, these scrummy Russian pancakes are traditionally made with tvorog or farmer’s cheese. ‘Syr’ means cheese and syrniki have traditionally been made with a beloved Russian curd cheese called tvorog or farmer’s cheese. My baboushka translated it to English as ‘cream cheese’ when I was a child growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney. But in the Russian diaspora you’ll also find ricotta, cottage cheese, quark, and/or cream cheese used. Or in fact, any combination of all those white cheeses. All hard to find here, I’ve long made syrniki with ricotta and they’re just as delicious. Serve piping hot with sour cream, jams or stewed or fresh fruit.

Russian Ricotta Cheese Pancakes Recipe for Syrniki or Farmer’s Cheese Pancakes

Potato Pancakes Recipe for Draniki or Deruny

This potato pancakes recipe draniki (in Russian) or deruny (in Ukrainian) is another of our best pancake recipes. This potato pancakes recipe is super easy and versatile. Finely grate the potato and onion and use more rather than less flour for a light pancake similar in texture to a pikelet or the mini buckwheat blini or grate larger pieces of potato, finely chop or slice your onion, and use less flour for texture and crunch and something more akin to a German kartoffelpuffer, Israeli latkes, Czech bramboraky, and American hash browns. I use a kitchen grater with a storage container attached, but you can use any grater – from a simple box grater to a food processor with a grating or shredding attachment.

Russian Potato Pancakes Recipe for Draniki to Celebrate Maslenitsa or Pancake Week

Please do let us know if you make any of our best pancakes recipes as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

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