If you love pancakes, but want to pump up the protein on a typically carby breakfast, you’ve got to try syrniki. These traditional Russian pancakes are fluffy and filled with soft, lightly sweetened cheese.
This is a very traditional and popular Ukrainian or Russian pancake that packs a ton of protein in the form of cheese. It is as delicious, as it is good for you. You can serve warm syrniki pancakes for either dessert or breakfast. Plus, it comes together quickly—and gets eaten even quicker.
The protein in this Russian pancake comes from cheese (“syr” means cheese in Russian). It may sound odd at first, but this combination works really well because of the type of cheese.
This Russian pancake is made with a Russian tvorog cheese. This soft cheese is similar in taste to yogurt, and the texture is a mix between soft feta and ricotta. It can be purchased at oriental stores under the name of Tvorog, farmer’s cheese, or Amish cheese. You can even make it at home (with just 2 ingredients) by following my Tvorog recipe.
If you don’t have tvorog, but want to try a close alternative, use ricotta in place of tvorog and make these Ricotta Pancakes.
How to Serve Syrniki
One of my favorite parts of eating pancakes is getting to experiment with toppings! There are a lot of different ways you can enjoy syrniki, here are some of the ones my family likes best:
- Topped with jam. The easiest topping you can imagine – just scoop out some jam and serve with the syrniki!
- Sprinkled with powdered sugar. A light sprinkle of powdered sugar gives these pancakes just the right touch of sweetness.
- Topped with fresh berries. This is probably my favorite way to enjoy syrniki. I like mine with raspberries, but blueberries and chopped strawberries work too.
- Served with a dollop of cream. Sweetened sour cream or fresh cream pairs perfectly with the syrniki.
- Drizzled with Nutella. If you love chocolate, spread on some Nutella on!
- Layered with syrup. Of course, you can always add syrup to your pancake! If you do this, I invite you to try it with a bit of sour cream too—the pairing works fantastically!
Farmer’s Cheese Recipe (Tvorog) – when looking for the best cheese to make syrniki look for a well drained farmer’s cheese with not a lot of whey. If the cheese you do have has a lot of weigh, just line a sieve with a paper towel, add the cheese and allow the extra whey to drip off. The farmer’s cheese will sometimes go under the name of Amish cheese or tvorog, depending on where you’re located.
If tvorog or farmer’s cheese is not sold locally, you can always make your own tvorog using only milk and buttermilk.
Flour – you can use either semolina or all-purpose flour this recipe. Using one or the other will have an effect on texture though. Try it both ways and pick your favorite.
Eggs – eggs are used as one of the binding ingredients in this recipe. Regular large-sized eggs are all you need.
Vanilla extract – not crucial but definitely adds the right hint of sophistication.
How to Make Syrniki:
For detailed recipe instructions see the recipe card bottom of the post.
- Combine all ingredients with a fork or mixer.
- Then, shape syrniki by dropping mounds into flour, rolling into a ball, then patting it down into a puck-like pancake. Or make a log with the dough, cut into equal pieces, then shape.
- Next, fry in a well-oiled skillet until golden on both sides.
- Serve with sweetened sour cream and jam or fresh fruits, or one of the other options mentioned above.
Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe with precise ingredient amounts.
More Breakfast Recipes:
Mix everything thoroughly using a fork or a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. The mixture will be very sticky and that is normal.
Shape: Using a large ice cream scoop scoop the syrniki mixture and drop it directly into flour. Then, roll into a ball and flatten into a 3/4" thick pancake. Coat the outside in flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Or, press the dough into a dough ball, then roll into an even log. Cut into 12 pieces with a sharp knife. Coat the outside of each piece in flour, as needed to prevent sticking and shape into a 3/4 inch tall puck-like pancake.
Pro Shaping Tip: to make these Russian pancakes into perfectly round puck-like pancakes drop chunks of syrniki mixture into flour, coat it well then roll into a ball. Pat it down to about 2/3 inch thick, then place a cup over the flattened pancake and on a well floured surface, quickly, in rotating motion swirl the pancake with the help of the cup. This will create perfectly neat sides of the pancake.
Fry in a skillet: Add couple tablespoons of oil and/or butter to a skillet and preheat it over medium heat. Fry Syrniki in batches until deep golden on both sides. Add more oil and butter as needed to prevent the cheese pancakes from sticking.
Serve with sweetened sour cream and jam or fresh berries.
- Note 1:
If using semolina the syrniki pancakes will have a more pronounced farmer's cheese flavor. Using all-purpose flour will produce pancakes that are more pancake-y and less cheesy. Using half of each will give you the best of both worlds.