This take on the classic Russian buckwheat blini recipe is easier, faster and just as delicious! Serve blini as an elegant appetizer with smoked salmon or caviar, or on a fun brunch platter with butter, maple syrup, jam and fresh fruit.
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What is a Blini?
Buckwheat blini are a traditional yeasted pancake from Russia. The light buckwheat batter, featuring whipped egg whites, is cooked into silver-dollar sized pancakes and served with sour cream and caviar. For a fun appetizer or brunch offering, use them on our Smoked Salmon Platter.
My version simplifies the process, using baking powder and baking soda instead of yeast. This simple swap streamlines the process, which means this recipe is ready in just 30 minutes. Additionally, for a fluffier cake with more lift, we combine the dense buckwheat flour with all-purpose flour. To make these gluten-free, use oat flour or a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
Buckwheat flour is the base of classic blini. Look for it in the healthy food section of your grocery store or in the baking aisle. You can also buy it online. Use any leftover buckwheat in our Buckwheat Pancakes and Buckwheat Rhubarb Bread.
Buttermilk is important for activating the baking soda and giving rise to these mini pancakes. It also adds a lovely tang. We find blini turns out best when made with store-bought buttermilk, but if you want to make it yourself you can use ¾ cup whole milk and add 2 ½ teaspoons white vinegar.
Often times you’ll find buckwheat blini served as an appetizer with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, fresh dill, chives or minced shallot. Assembled as an open-faced sandwich, blini make a great holiday appetizer or brunch spread. Let your imagination run wild with topping ideas! Below are a few ideas of how you can serve blini.
- Make a Smoked Salmon platter!
- Salted butter and jam
- Sour cream and caviar—an absolute classic combination for blini!
- Smoked trout, crème fraîche and fresh dill
- Fresh berries and whipped cream
- Salted butter and pure maple syrup
More Buckwheat Recipes to Try
- Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes with Caramelized Pears
- Buckwheat Rhubarb Bread
- Gluten-Free Buckwheat Waffles
Yes, you can freeze blini. Arrange the blini on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Once frozen, transfer to a resealable zipper-lock bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To thaw, remove blini from freezer and let thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours. Reheat briefly in a 300ºF oven if preferred.
Yes, you can make blinis without buckwheat flour. We haven’t tested this, but it should work if you simply swap out the buckwheat flour for all-purpose flour.
Traditional buckwheat blini use yeast as the leavener. Our streamlined recipe uses a combination of baking soda and baking powder.
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour *see gluten-free options below
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled, plus extra for cooking the blini
- Set a wire rack inside a baking sheet; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk, egg, and melted butter. Whisk buttermilk mixture into four mixture just until combined and small pockets of dry flour remain.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add a small pat of butter (about 1 teaspoon) to skillet and swirl to coat.
- Spoon dollops of batter, scant 1 tablespoon each, evenly around skillet (about 6–8 pancakes at a time).
- Cook blini until large bubbles form on surface and bottoms are golden brown, 1½–2 minutes. Flip blini and cook until golden brown on second side, about 1½ minutes more.
- Transfer blini to prepared sheet. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Continue to repeat the cooking process with additional butter and remaining batter, wiping skillet clean after each batch.
- Serve as desired (see instructions below for how to keep blini warm while cooking all of the blini—should you choose to serve them warm).