Authentic Russian Pancake Recipe - Blini or Blinchiki

Today we are going to learn how to make Authentic Russian Pancakes called Blini or Blinchiki. Even though we like to refer to Blini as "pancakes," they don't actually look a lot like a pancake (but they surely taste just as yummy, if not more.) Authentic Russian Blini are much larger in diameter and much thinner than pancakes. In fact, Blini look more like a delicate crepe than a pancake. Either way, this recipe is easy to make and is guaranteed to please your taste buds.

So, let's embark on a delicious adventure and learn how to make one of the most popular traditional Russian recipes. And, along the way we are going to learn some Russian words, explore Russian culture and discover best cooking tools to help you on this journey. Did you ever think learning a new recipe could be so much fun?
blini-crepes-pancakes-russian-recipe

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Pancakes in Russian Language

russian-russia-blini-recipe-caviar So, we want to learn how to cook Blini. But before we do it, how do we properly pronounce “Blini” or “Blinchiki” in Russian language?

Blini is pronounced as “blee-nee”
Blinchiki is pronounced as “bleen-chee-kee”

Is there a difference between “Blini” and “Blinchiki”? I would say that both “Blini” and “Blinchiki” are practically the same, though some Russian cooking experts will insist that there is a difference in preparation and outcome. But, as a practical matter, it is safe to call Russian Pancakes whatever name is easier for you to pronounce.

Russian Pancakes Pronunciation Poll

Which name is easier for you to pronouce for Russian Pancakes?

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Blini Culinary Skill

blini-crepes-pancakes-russian-recipe One of the most important parts of Blini culinary art is to make each Blini as thin as possible because super thin Blinis are truly much tastier (trust me on this one!) With just a little bit of practice, you will learn how to pour the batter thinly into a non-stick pan and then quickly tilt and rotate it until the batter covers the entire surface. You will then cook each Blini on one side until bright golden color, then flip the Blini over and cook it on the other side. Cooking Blini is really not as hard and complicated as it might sound, the entire cooking process from start to finish will take approximately 35-40 minutes.

Russian Blini Proverb

russian-russia-blini-recipe-caviar-crepe In Russian language we have a very popular Blini proverb “The first pancake is always a blob.” It means that things don’t always work out well on the first try but with a little practice and persistence it gets better and better. So when you make your very first Blini and it doesn’t turn out all that well, don’t give up! Remember, that even experienced Russian people who cook Blini every day are used to getting first few Blinis as lumpy and imperfect (that’s why we always remember Blini proverb). Once you have made four or five Blinis, you will get the knack of making perfectly cooked, delicious Blini.

Do you have a similar proverb in your culture? Please let us know, we would love to learn about it!

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  • vaslittlecrow Jan 13, 2014 @ 12:02 pm
    "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
  • mihgasper Apr 15, 2012 @ 10:53 am
    We say: nobody was ever born smart (or something like that...).
  • Jan 01, 2012 @ 4:47 am
    Am laughing at this, as whenever I make pancakes, the first one is always most definitely a "blob" :)
  • LDWorld Oct 08, 2011 @ 9:34 am
    Love that saying! Helps me to stay positive. Also I try very hard not to make a blob when I make blini :) sometimes it works
  • ajgodinho Sep 30, 2011 @ 9:48 am
    That's nice to know. I think it's a neat little proverb. Some things in life can sometimes be a blob, but it's important to persevere. Ok, let's get down to Blini now... :)

Russian Pancake Blini Quick Recipe

blini-crepes-pancakes-russian-recipe

Russian Pancake Blini Quick Recipe

  • Serves: Approximately 25 Blinis
  • Prep Time:
  • Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. <b>Step 1. </b>In a medium bowl, beat together milk, eggs and olive oil (plus sugar and salt) with a hand mixer until nicely blended. Then, gradually add flour and continue to thoroughly mix with the hand mixer until mixture is well blended and very smooth.
  2. Tip: Make sure to add flour gradually and not all at once to prevent formation of lumps. The batter should be <b>almost </b>liquid. If it is too thick, add a little more milk and if it is too thin, add slightly more flour.
  3. <b>Step 2. </b>Heat non-stick pan over medium heat. You can either spray the pan with cooking spray or oil it slightly. Pour batter into the pan using a soup ladle of small or medium size. Immediately tilt the pan to spread the batter until the pan is covered with a very thin layer of batter. Cook for about 50 seconds or until golden brown color.
  4. <b>Step 3. </b> Carefully slide a spatula (or flipper/turner tool) under the Blini, flip it over and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side or until lightly browned.
  5. <b> Step 4. </b>Take the finished Blini off the pan and put it on a plate. Repeat Step 2 and Step 3 with the remaining batter for each Blini. Stack all Blinis up high on top of each other. Serve Blini with toppings of choice (either savory or sweet.)
  6. Tip: Make sure to spray the pan with cooking spray each time before pouring the batter.

Blini Toppings

blini-crepes-pancakes-russian-recipe Blini can be served either with a variety of sweet or savory toppings. For those with sweet tooth, Blinis are perfect with jam, honey or fresh berries with whipped cream or creme fraiche. For savory types, Blinis are delicious with smoked salmon, chopped hard-boiled eggs with minced meat. Of course, the most popular way to eat Blinis in Russia is with red or black caviar. There is really no right or wrong choice of topping when it comes to Blini. Sweet or savory or simply plain, Blinis are delicious either way.

Sweet or Savory Debate

Do you prefer sweet dessert Blini or savory dinner Blini?

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I love it Sweet

katiecolette says:

I like both kinds, but if I have to choose, I'll go with sweet - with strawberry jam or tworog :)

elyria says:

I love sweet dessert Blini with sour cherry jam - delicious!

says:

Sweet, with lemon juice and sugar

ajgodinho says:

I like both, but when I think pan cakes, I generally think "sweet".

Swisstoons says:

I'd actually like to try the first half of the batch, savory (kismika's suggestion sounds pretty darned good to me!)...and the last half with fresh sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Is it permissible to polish off all 25 blinis by oneself? Or is that considered ill-mannered? :)

OrganicMom247 says:

Oh, it is all about desert

Kimbesa says:

I can go either way, but on first thought, I'd head for sweet!

I love it Savory

vaslittlecrow says:

Sour cream, caramelized onion and caviar are the best together. My husband always looks at me funny when I do this to pancakes. I am so glad I now have a proper blini recipe. :)

sharingmyinsight says:

Great lens. Here is a non-sweet alternative, my favorite are pancakes with meat wrapped inside, yam!

jkilm says:

Savory with sour cream and black caviar.

mihgasper says:

Sweet when I was younger, savory at the moment...

LDWorld says:

With ikra or sour cream! Just butter is awesome too.

kismika says:

I like it with mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese.

 

Caviar Poll

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Blini-Making Tools and Equipment

blini-crepes-pancakes-russian-recipe When cooking Blini, it always helps to have the right equipment in order to prepare Blini with ease and perfection. You don’t need to invest into a fancy gourmet Blini griddle, but definitely make sure that you have a non-stick quality pan that allows for optimum sliding. Remember that Blini are first cooked on one side and then flipped over to cook on the other side. So, you would need a non-stick pan that makes flipping Blini fast and easy. Also, remember that when cooking Blini, you would need to often lift and tilt the pan in order to spread the batter out evenly, so make sure your pan is not too heavy and you can easily lift it.

Buy Ready-Made Blini

blini-crepes-pancakes-russian-recipe Of course nothing beats fresh, homemade Blini made from scratch, but sometimes you might need to opt for ready-made Blinis if you don’t have time to cook or if you need to feed a large crowd at a big party. These hand made Blinis are quite delicious and arrive fresh with overnight delivery. Please note that authentic Russian Blini are always large in the diameter and never a cocktail size. However, these ready-made cocktail size Blinis seem to be quite popular because of their bite-sized portion that is great for tasting. We tasted them and didn’t expect them to be so yummy! We were quite surprised and now buy them ready-made every time we host a large Russian party.

Russian Pancake Festival

In Russia, Blini symbolize the sun due to their round shape, warm serving and golden color. It is Russia's old tradition to eat a lot of Blini during Maslenitsa - a fun festival which is celebrated each year at the end of winter to welcome the beginning of warm spring. This spring festival is often referred to as "Pancake Festival" - sounds yummy, isn't it? Take a look and discover how Russian people celebrate the end of freezing cold winter with delicious Blini!
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Making Blini From Scratch Poll

Have you ever made Russian pancakes from scratch?

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  • Uncle David Sep 19, 2012 @ 5:21 pm
    They are very easy to make and you can stack them and wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them for use later. Children like the ten inch ones filled with jelly or jam or preserves and rolled up and sprinkled with powderd sugar.
  • Kimbesa Jul 20, 2011 @ 2:21 pm
    I love the foods from the northern parts of the world...thanks!

Fun Russian Parties

Explore these fun lenses and learn how to host Traditional Russian Dinner Party, Russian Tea Party and Vodka Tasting Party as well as how to cook Traditional Russian Beet Soup called Borscht.
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  • sinichka59 Jun 06, 2014 @ 4:51 pm
    according to my grandma, and most of the "old" russians that i grew up with in S.F. (those that fled russia soon after WWI), bliny and blinchiki are 2 different types altogether. bliny are made with yeast, thicker than a crepe, fried on both sides, then served rolled up with all kinds of goodies like caviar and lox. blinchiki are very thin and unleavened, fried only on one side, filled, folded up, and fried again on both sides (similar to blintzes). names are not interchangeable. most of the recipes i see online are totally anemic. no wonder Bruce (commenter below) wasn't impressed.
  • vaslittlecrow Jan 13, 2014 @ 12:05 pm
    Blinis rock!
  • Bruce Sep 23, 2012 @ 7:54 am
    Every blini I've eaten in Moscow and St Petersburg has been thin, and scummy. If I buy them here (in the UK) they're thicker and bland. I like your recipe and am happy to eat savoury (with home-flavoured vodka), or sweet with jam made from fruits from the Russian forest!. I nearly fainted when I asked the price of caviar in Moscow, but once tasted - never bettered.
  • mihgasper Apr 15, 2012 @ 10:59 am
    We make very similar dish in Slovenia: palacinke (pa -la-cheen-ke) and they are in most cases made with sweet fill (jam, chocolate or walnuts). With fresh cheese are also very popular. I think main difference is we add some baking soda in the mix to make them more 'puffy'. Thanks!
  • Jan 01, 2012 @ 4:49 am
    Am thinking that if you try this recipe with wheatfree flour and then publish a page about it, you will get a lot of traffic to that page as well ;)

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