Russian Blini Recipe
Blinis are similar to a crepe that is thick, slightly chewy and has a gorgeous lacy appearance from the yeast in the batter. This yummy Russian treat can be enjoyed both savory or sweet and makes a fantastic breakfast, snack or even dinner if you wish.
The Versatility of Russian Crepes
I will forever love crepes for their versatility. They can be filled, dipped, rolled and topped with both savory and sweet fillings. But there is a special place in my heart for these chewy and thick type of Russian crepes that are so commonly made in Russia and Ukraine.
The yeast in the batter gives these Russian crepes an incredible aroma, similar to what you smell when you cut a fresh loaf of bread. You just want to put your face close to it and inhale all that amazing scent. Yum!
How to Serve This Russian Blini Recipe
As this Russian blini recipe produces extra-thick crepes, they work very well with any traditional crepe dipping sauce. My personal favorite is sweetened sour cream. A good jam will not hurt of course, but sweetened sour cream is where my heart’s at when it comes to this Russian blini recipe. That’s probably because it’s the way I ate them growing up — it brings back so many good memories!
Traditionally, however, these blinis are served with more savory toppings. The most common things to pair this Russian blini recipe with is caviar or smoked salmon. Speaking of salmon – did you know you can make your own smoked salmon without a smoker at home?
Here’re our favorite crepe pairings in a list:
- Sweetened sour cream or creme fresh
- Jam or preserves
- Sweetened Condensed milk
- Nutella + Bananas + Almonds
- Nutella + Strawberries
- Sugar with melted butter and lemon juice
- Sweetened tvorog (farmer’s cheese)
- Sour cream and caviar
- smoked salmon without a smoker, dill and sour cream
How to Make Blinis
*For detailed recipe instructions see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
This yummy treat can be whipped up first thing in the morning. While the dough proofs, enjoy a cup of coffee or an episode of your favorite show, then come back and finish this easy recipe.
As you can see, the ingredients for blini are easy to find and likely items you already have in your cupboard.
How to Make Blini Batter
- Mix together warm milk, sugar, and yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add in the egg, flour, and salt and whisk until smooth.
- Cover the bowl and allow the yeast to proof.
How to Make the Blinis
- Preheat a skillet until appropriately warm, and add butter to it.
- Using a spoon, add the mixture to the pan until the entire pan is coated.
- Cook, then flip with a spatula and allow the other side to cook.
- Transfer to a plate and make the next blini until all the batter is used.
How to Fill Your Blini
Blinis can be filled with almost anything. My favorite ways to enjoy them are sweet (sweetened sour cream and jam) or savory (caviar or smoked salmon).
Make ahead blinis
The batter can’t be prepared ahead of time because the yeast will no longer be active if it has to be kept for too long.
But, you can cook the crepes, cool them, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge a couple of hours before serving to bring to room temp, or microwave until slightly warm and serve.
To freeze, separate each crepe with a layer of parchment paper, then tightly cover and freeze. Transfer to the fridge overnight to thaw. Then, microwave to warm up before serving.
To grease the skillet while cooking crepes
- 1 tbsp cold butter
How to make Blini batter
Mix 2 cups of warm (under 90F) milk with 1 Tbsp of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of yeast and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
Then, add 1 egg and 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tsp of salt. Place the whisk in the middle and slowly start to whisk the mixture into a smooth batter. If you try to keep your whisk only in the middle of the mixture and allow the flour naturally to come towards the middle to be whisked, you will have a smooth batter with no lumps. Lastly, add 2 tbsp of oil and whisk until smooth once more.
If you still ended up with flour lumps in the batter, pour the batter through a sieve to remove them.
Cover the mixture with a tea towel and set it into the oven with the light on (do not turn on the heat) or any other warm, draft-free place for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. During this time the mixture should form a foamy top. Stir the batter and preheat your skillet for cooking crepes.
How to cook the Blinis
Preheat an 8-inch skillet over medium heat until it's thoroughly heated and you can feel the hotness of the pan if you hover the palm of your hand about 2 inches above the skillet.
Pierce 1 tbsp of cold butter with a fork, then quickly grease the bottom of the pan with the butter.
Next, using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon pour the batter in the middle of the pan and swirl it to cover the bottom completely. Cook for several minutes until the top is no longer wet. Then, using a spatula carefully flip the crepe and cook on the other side for a couple more minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Continue cooking the crepes in this manner until all batter is used up. Do stir the batter throughout cooking so the flour doesn't settle in the middle.
To store the crepes - Allow the crepes to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve either bring them to room temperature beforehand, or pop the plate with the crepes into the microwave.
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Originally published in December of 2012 this recipe was updated in February 2020.