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Maslenitsa

All You Need to Know about Russian Blinis

There are probably as many recipes of pancakes – blinis in Russia, as there are recipes of pasta in Italy. That often confuses foreigners. Here is a brief guide to Russian Blinis.

Shape and Size

Russian blinis are always round, but the size varies and basically represents all the available sizes of the frying pans. The average blin (singular from blinis) would be about 20 cm (~ 8 inch).

Russian blinis stack

Russian blinis are thin

What is important – blinis are always very thin, so they are more similar to French crepes, than to American pancakes. However, you might have also seen tiny and very fat pancakes. What is that? Those are from the “same family”, but they are called – Oladyi (or Oladushki, using the diminutive suffix). The main difference is in ingredients – blinis are usually milk-based and oladushki are usually based on kefir (or you can use buttermilk).

Russian oladyi

Russian oladyi are plump and small

Whatever you bake though – you bake a lot. Russians never bake 2 blinis for each member of the household – you bake a stake of blinis or a mountain of oldaushki. Same thing is with other traditional dishes – we like the abundance.

Recipe of Blinis

As I said – there are thousands of recipes. You can use different types of flour and either make blinis in a fast way – without yeast or in a slow way, using yeast. I believe that the most traditional recipe is yeast-based, using buckwheat flour. But I always use the fast recipe and a regular baking flour (that recipe is for 6-8 blinis, if you want more, just double or triple the ingredients:

1 egg

1 cup of milk

1 cup of water

a pinch of salt

1 table spoon of sugar

flour (in quantities to make the dough liquid, but not too watery – sorry I do not have the exact recipe, I always do it as we say “by the eye”)

You just mix all the ingredients with a fork, so that you do not have any lumps of flour. Then you heat a frying pan really well, add some oil and pour batter on the frying pan, in the same time moving the frying pan so that the batter distributes evenly on the surface. When a blin is done on one side, you turn it over.

However, I should warn you that it is easier said than done. I looked at my mom, making blinis, all my childhood. But when I tried to replicate that – it took me almost a year until I got edible results! And in any case – the first blin is always not the prettiest. We even have a saying – “The first blin is a lump”. But if you master that skill – you will be really happy, since they taste delicious and are so fast to make. Those Russian blinis are an ideal Sunday breakfast!

If you are lactose or gluten intolerant – you can still make blinis, but you have to use soy milk or almond milk and choose the gluten free flour.

Best Blinis Fillings

Blinis are so universal that you can add almost any good stuff to them, be it sweet or savory. Here are the most popular fillings for blinis in Russia – raspberry jam, honey, sweet condensed milk, sour cream, black caviar and red caviar:

Russian blinis fillings

We eat blinis with these fillings

However, in addition to that, we also love the following:

  • minced meat with fried onions (not allowed during Maslenitsa if you are religious, but ok at other times)

  • fried cabbage & onions (sounds horrible, but it actually is very tasty with blinis – try it!)

  • mushroom & onion saute in sour cream

  • smoked or marinated salmon

  • marinated herring

  • sweetened cottage cheese with raisins

  • apple sauté

Blinis Folding Methods

Here are just several ideas:

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I  hope that you will try those recipes! Please do not hesitate to write me if you need more details! I will be happy to weight the amount of flour that I use to make the perfect blinis or assist you in any other way! Or just visit Russia, be my guest and try home-made blinis! Just make sure you are hungry, we love when our guests eat a lot!

Russian Maslenitsa tea time

Russian Maslenitsa Tea Time

Leave a Reply

  • Anonymous - 3 years ago

    SO delicious pictures!!! I will cook blinis tomorrow – the last day of Maslenitsa))))

  • Michele - 12 months ago

    My husband is Russian-American, his parents came in 1950, just before he was born. He is a native speaker and was raised in a Russian community in New York. I have been to many Blini Maslenitsa parties but his parents have passed away so we don’t have these parties. My mother-in-law always used buckwheat flour and yeast. I would like to surprise my husband with traditional blini next week. Do you have a recipe like the one I described? Thank you!

    • Tanya Golubeva - 12 months ago

      Hi Michele,

      Thank you very much for your message and sharing your story!
      Unfortunately I do not cook buckwheat flour and yeast blinis myself. But I will try to find a recipe for you.

      Best,
      Tanya