These Crepes With Cream Cheese Crepe Filling are the European crepes we call Nalisniki (crepe pronunciation in Ukrainian.) It is the best crepe recipe! I teach you how to make crepes at home using simple equipment and easy ingredients to make silky thin crepes that melt in your mouth!
We have a crepe recipe for you! Whether you like savory crepes or a sweet crepe recipe for dessert, you can choose from our Chicken Crepes, Mushroom Crepes filled with Cabbage, or our other Cottage Cheese Sweet Crepes that are all amazing!
What Is A Crepe?
Crepes are simply unleavened thin pancakes that are ladled into a pan and swirled around to coat the bottom of a pan quickly. They can later be filled with a savory or sweet crepe filling. What makes them sturdy for their paper-thin size is the eggs. It’s no wonder, these egg crepes can use a whopping 10 eggs! (Hey, at least it’s a good thing for farmers.)
When it comes to the European history, they are called Налисники (Nalysnyky) in Ukrainian and in the Russian culture Blintz. Both are very alike when it comes to ingredients for crepes, however, a crepe filling recipe may vary from region to region.
This crepe recipe was handed down by my Ukrainian mom. You can believe they didn’t use a fancy t swirl crepe maker or make blender crepes. It was all done by hand (go figure a liter of milk and 10 eggs won’t fit in a regular blender) and once they’re done they will disappear real quick! I mean who can help it, they are that good!
Blintz vs Crepe
So, Blintz is the name for Russian crepes, both are alike and have eggs and flour, however a crepe recipe can differ from each other in the ratio of milk, oil, or eggs. The pan size can make a huge difference too. This crepe recipe makes a thinner batter, making it easily spreadable when ladling into the crepe pan. I see a lot of Crepe recipes with thicker batters and that is because they nearly use the same amount of flour as the liquid which will create a much thicker crepe. The thicker the batter the tougher it will spread.
The pan size you choose for making crepes is important. The smaller the pan the thicker the crepe. I use two 11-inch non-stick pans to make crepes twice as fast and store these pans separately just for making crepes. It is hands down the perfect size for a thin crepe and I couldn’t make my crepes without it!
I love this recipe so much, I dedicated a separate post for this Crepe Recipe itself for anyone who is just looking for crepes without a filling. After all, they can be filled with pretty much anything (or be snacked on.)
These crepes can be eaten the way they are right after being rolled, but reheating them in the oven, skillet, or microwave with a little butter, makes them super fluffy! Serve with dolloped sour cream (smetana) and enjoy!
How To Make Crepes:
To make crepes you’ll need a few kitchen gadgets. My recipe calls for a lot of eggs and a liter of milk, so these won’t make blender crepes unless you half the recipe (if halving the recipe, cut the cheese filling in half too.)
The secret to making lump-free crepes without a blender is to whisk the eggs and flour first. This somehow breaks down the clumps of flour before adding any liquid. I would then gradually add the milk and other ingredients.
Handy Equipment To Make Crepes:
- Large Mixing Bowl– to hold 10 eggs and a liter of milk (this batter won’t fit in a blender.)
- Wire Whisk– if you want to make crepes the old-fashioned way.
- 11-inch Crepe Pan- makes the perfect sized crepes for cylinder-shaped rolls.
- Flex Turner Crepe Spatula- I own the same exact spatula for turning crepes over in black. It’s a game-changer!
- Plate- I typically have a dinner plate sitting by the hot pan of crepes to easily stack the cooked ones. They don’t stick to each other.
- Hand Mixer– gets the batter together quick.
- Disposable Foiled Pans- if freezing crepes or use your favorite 9×13 pyrex dish.
What are Nalesniki (Crepes)?
Nalesniki are Ukrainian crepes. They go by Nalisniki or Blintz in the Slavic community and are similar to a French crepe.
A crepe batter is made from eggs, milk, and flour then spread thinly and cooked in a skillet. Although there are many handy tools to make crepes at home, the easiest and most efficient way to make crepes is in a non-stick pan.
Once you make a batch of homemade crepes you can fill them with sweet or savory fillings! French Cafes add greens and meats for a filling lunch or brunch! However, Ukrainians mostly make sweet cheese crepes as a dessert and once you try one, you’ll now why this is a generation favorite!
How To Make Crepes Without A Blender?
A blender crepe recipe works best with a smaller batch of crepes. However, making crepes in a specific given order can prevent lumps and clumps. The secret? Mix the eggs and flour first then add the other ingredients!
- Pre-heat a non-stick pan over low heat.
- Mix together the eggs and flour. Gradually add in milk to smooth out the flour, then add the rest of the ingredients in the order given.
- Add 1/4 cup of the crepe batter into the pan and quickly swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Cook the crepes until edges turn light brown then flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Stack and repeat.
Can I Use A Blender?
If you halve the crepe batter then yes, you can use a blender. The original recipe calls for a liter of milk and almost a dozen of eggs which will barely hold a blenders capacity.
The Best Crepe Pan?
My favorite sized pan to make crepes is this [eafl id="19683" name="11-inch crepe pan" text="11-Inch Crepe Pan"]. Cast iron pans are heavy and not ideal for making theses delicate crepes as you need to quickly swirl the batter constantly.
Although they come with a T-swirl tool I find it much quicker to swirl the batter around by shaking the pan than using a tool as the batter sets quickly. Keep in mind the smaller sized pan the thicker the crepes. Swirling is key if you want thin crepes.
Cooks Tip: cook crepes in 2 pans to fasten up the process. You’ll be done in half the time!
Best Types of Cheeses To Use?
Cheese crepes, (Nalisniki in Ukrainian and cheese blintzes in Russian) are crepes filled a creamy sweet cheese filling. The cheeses used in these crepes are typically from small or fine curds that can be later spreadable.
- Farmer’s Cheese (Tvorog)- a Slavic favorite and popular in the Russian community. It can easily be made at home and is available at most European markets. This cheese has a fine curd slightly larger than ricotta.
- Cottage Cheese- my personal favorite since it’s cheap and easily available at common grocery stores. You need a sieve to rinse and drain the cottage cheese curds for this recipe.
- Mascarpone or Ricotta Cheese- are the last substitutes if you cannot find cottage or Farmer’s cheese. Although they have fine curds they can make this dish taste differently.
- Cream Cheese or Neufchâtel- this is what makes the filling creamy. It’s a must for a moist crepe. Some cheese crepes can be rather dry and grainy from Farmer’s cheese alone and cream cheese definitely adds that creamy touch.
Pro Tip- if your cheese spread is too thick add a tablespoon of sour cream or heavy cream until desired spreading consistency.
How To Wrap Crepes:
Depending on how coarse your filling is there are different ways to fold up your filling.
- Cylinder-style- is the way these cheese crepes are rolled. A thin and spreadable filling is ideal for this style of wrapping. Or a filling that can be sparsely scattered and not too heavy like these Savory Cabbage Crepes.
- Squares or envelopes- are great for chunky fillings like these Savory Crepes With Chicken.
- Folded into Quarters- my easy Crepe Recipe is shown in this fold. Folding crepes in half then in half again makes for a beautiful presentation and is great for a crepe bar.
- Wrap- like any wrap or burrito this way of folding crepes is suitable for big fillings like greens and meats.
Cooked and unfilled crepes can be kept at room temperature for up to 24 hours. If the crepes are not filled and stacked in the refrigerator they can stick. It is important to fill them and layer them between melted butter shortly after cooking.
Once the crepes are filled and rolled-up they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, then finished off by baking later.
How To Reheat Crepes:
Once the crepes are filled they can be reheated 3 ways:
- Baking Instructions: stack crepes into 2 layers in a 9×13 pan, brushing each layer with melted butter. Bake at 300°F for 30-45 minutes.
- Microwave Instructions: place a dozen of rolled up crepes onto a dinner plate and dollop with butter. Microwave over high for 2-3 minutes or until crepes have slightly puffed up and the butter is almost melted.
- Skillet Instructions: melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Toast crepes on each side until golden.
Can You Freeze Crepes?
Yes! I have froze dozens and dozens of crepes with fantastic results! Use disposable foiled pans for freezer crepes because then they can be portable for gatherings! Follow the recipe instructions only don’t bake and cover the pans with aluminum foil. Wrap each pan in a double layer of grocery bags to prevent frost and keep frozen for up to 2 months.
Tip: stack crepes into 2 layers. Anymore layers can scorch the bottom of the crepes and not fully bake the top layer.
What To Serve Crepes With?
Sweet Cheese Filled Crepes are best with sour cream or a strawberry sauce. Strawberry Jam is also a popular pick! Drizzle melted Nutella for a decadent dessert or dollop whipped cream on the side with fresh berries.
Fruit, chocolate, or whipped dairy are popular choices. Our favorite is plain sour cream over these cheese crepes.
BEST Crepe Tips:
- Drizzle warm Hazelnut spread over cheese crepes!
- To make thin crepes make sure your batter is runny enough to swirl and coat a pan quickly.
- Eggs are a binding ingredient in crepes.
- To prevent crepes from tearing wait until the edges turn golden brown before flipping. Low heat is crucial for making crepes.
- Skip from greasing your pan and just pre-heat your skillet 5 minutes in advance before cooking crepes (they won’t stick.)
- Stack your crepes into 2-layers when assembling. This will evenly bake later.
How To Make Crepes With Cream Cheese Filling:
Crepes With Cream Cheese Crepe Filling (Nalesniki)
- 1 11" crepe pan (any non-stick skillet)
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 hand mixer
- 1 flex turner spatula
- 1 liter milk
- 10 eggs
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Filling:
- 48 oz cottage cheese (rinsed and drained)
- 16 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 oz butter (melted)
How to make Crepes:
- Pre-heat a crepe pan over low heat. Meanwhile, beat together the eggs and flour until most of the flour clumps are gone. Gradually add milk over low speed until mixture smooths out. Beat in the remaining ingredients.
- Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pre-heated pan and quickly tilt and shake side to side for the batter to spread evenly. Cook until edges slightly crisp and flip over. Cook an additional 45 seconds before removing. Stack and repeat.
- Beat all the filling ingredients, except the butter. Spread a thin layer of the cheese filling over the crepe and then rollup.
- Stack into a greased 9x13 pan and brush with a generous amount of melted butter between each layer. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes. Slice in half before serving.
- To Make-Ahead Crepes: stack filled crepes into a baking dish (step 4) only keep refrigerated (up to 3 days) until day of baking.
- Freezer Instructions: follow make-ahead instructions and stack into a disposable foiled pan instead. Cover and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw before baking.
- 3 ways to re-heat Crepes: Pan-fry rolled crepes in 2 Tbsp of butter until golden on each side. 2. Bake as directed. 3. Microwave crepes with buttered slices until butter melts.
Nutrition per serving