This take on the classic Russian 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.

small buckwheat pancakes stacked on a white platter with smoked salmon, orange segments, and cream cheese

What are buckwheat 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. 

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, I 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.

Ingredients needed:

  • buckwheat flour
  • all-purpose flour—or gluten-free flour of choice
  • sugar & kosher salt
  • baking soda & baking powder
  • buttermilk
  • whole milk
  • large egg
  • unsalted butter

How to make buckwheat blini:

  1. Whisk together flours, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. Whisk together buttermilk, mik, egg, and melted butter.
  3. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and whisk just until combined. (You don’t want to overmix the batter! Some dry pockets of flour are OK.)
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3–5 minutes. (You can also use a cast-iron skillet, just make sure it’s well seasoned.)
  5. Swirl butter around heated skillet to coat.
  6. Spoon dollops of batter, slightly less than one tablespoon each, evenly around skillet (about six to eight pancakes at a time). 
  7. Cook until golden brown on bottom and large bubbles form on the surface (this is when you’ll know they are ready to flip). Flip the blini and cook until second side is golden brown.
small buckwheat pancakes topped with cream cheese, salmon, capers and dill on a brown plate

How to serve buckwheat blini?

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.

  • Smoked salmon, sour cream (or cream cheese), capers, and chives
  • Salted butter and jam 
  • Sour cream and caviar 
  • Smoked trout, crème fraîche and fresh dill
  • Fresh berries and whipped cream
  • Salted butter and pure maple syrup

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If you give this Buckwheat Blini recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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small buckwheat pancakes stacked on a white platter with smoked salmon, orange segments, and cream cheese

Buckwheat Blini

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 45 blini (9 servings) 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Russian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These bite-sized buckwheat pancakes make the perfect appetizer or brunch meal. Keep it classic with smoked salmon and sour cream, or go sweet and serve these with butter and jam.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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 

Instructions

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).



Notes

Flour: all-purpose flour works best here, but for a gluten-free version, feel free to use oat flour or a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. If you use oat flour, increase the baking powder to 1 teaspoon.

Homemade Oat Flour: to make oat flour, process old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor until a fine meal is formed. If needed, make sure the oats are certified gluten-free.

To keep the blini warm: place wire rack-lined baking sheet in a 200ºF (93ºC) oven. 

Make ahead: Blini can be frozen to for up to 1 week. To freeze the blini, let them cool to room temperature, then wrap in plastic wrap and transfer to a resealable zipper-lock bag; freeze. Thaw frozen blini in the refrigerator overnight, then arrange in an even layer on baking sheet, and warm in a 350ºF (176ºC) oven for about 5 minutes before serving. 

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 5 blini
  • Calories: 100
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 175mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 30mg

Keywords: buckwheat blini, blini, blini recipe

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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