Buckwheat Russian Pancakes (Blinis)


Buckwheat flour is used to make these gluten-free Russian pancakes (Blinis), which can provide a base for any topping of your choice. Their preparation requires a little forward planning, but one batch will provide ample pancakes to freeze for future use.

Make them small and bite-size for an ideal starter or party food; or crepe style for lunch or breakfast.


  • 150g buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp. dried yeast
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 240 ml warm milk
  • 240 ml buttermilk
  • 50g butter (melted) or vegetable oil + extra for frying
  • 2 organic/free-range eggs separated


  1. Mix the buckwheat flour, salt and yeast with the warm milk. Set aside and cover with a clean cloth.
  2. After an hour or so (depending on the temperature) the batter will have risen slightly and small bubbles will show on the surface (see photo above).
  3. At this stage, the process can be halted and left in the fridge overnight.
  4. The next morning, take out the batter from the fridge and leave it to return to room temperature before proceeding with the next stage.
  5. Once the batter has reached this stage you can add the beaten eggs, butter and buttermilk and leave to stand for another 30 minutes or so.
    Separating the eggs and adding their whisked whites at the end will help to lighten the texture, but it is fine to add the whole beaten eggs in one go.
  6. Heat a non- stick skillet (cast iron is preferable) on a medium heat and pour the batter on in small or larger measures according to your requirements; smaller spoonfuls are easier to flip.
  7. Once the batter starts to bubble flip over and cook for a few minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven.

Serving Suggestion

Serve these buckwheat Russian pancakes with whatever you fancy. Honestly!

  • They can be served with the more traditional smoked salmon, caviar or herrings.
  • Alternatively, eat them cold with crisp raw shredded beetroot, celeriac or radish and a dollop of crème Fraiche for a tasty canapé.
  • Additionally, beetroot spread works well, especially since these mini pancakes originally hail from Russia after all!
  • Sautéed mushrooms are another favourite choice for a light lunch. You can try out this recipe for Mushroom Duxelles here.
  • Melted butter may sound simple, but sometimes that’s just what you want!
  • Hard-boiled eggs with dill work wonderfully here.
  • Equally, Russian pancakes are also very tasty as a sweet version. They are a delicious choice for breakfast. Serve them with seasonal fruit and yoghurt, or opt for jam or honey.
  • Even a simple sour cream topping works, especially with a bit of stewed fruit.

Undoubtedly, most people think canapes and tiny snack foods when they here the word blini. That’s because they’re fantastic to serve as bite-size snacks at celebrations, festive events and parties. But parties aside, these can be enjoyed any time, any day, anywhere!

Buckwheat russian pancakes with toppings
fermenting buckwheat flour for russian pancakes


milk products

Buttermilk is the slightly sour liquid that is left over after whole milk is churned into butter. 
For many, buttermilk is a great alternative to regular milk as it is more easily digested.
Buttermilk is also lower in fat than regular milk since the fat has been removed to make butter. 

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