Syrniki is a Russian name for “cheese pancakes.” A traditional Syrniki Recipe is made from a fine curd farmer’s cheese (tvorog), eggs, flour, and sugar. Some Eastern European’s call them Tvorozhniki and in Ukrainian, we call them “Syrnyky.”
Whether your Belarusian, Russian, or American-everyone seems to love these cheese curd pancakes! Tvorog can easily be substituted with ricotta, cottage cheese, or another kind of creamy quark cheese.
Russians love pancakes! Whether it’s Oladi (yeast pancakes), thin blini, or crepes were in! And if you want to explore beyond Russian cheese pancakes try our Cottage Cheese Crepes or Crepes With Cream Cheese Filling (Nalesniki)! We love blintzes with smetana (sour cream) and Varenya (jam.)
What Is Syrniki?
Syrniki, are Ukrainian breakfast pancakes also known as cottage cheese pancakes. They are made from curd cheese, eggs, flour, and sugar. My Ukrainian mother would fry these in oil until crisped and browned on the outside with the insides remaining slightly creamy. These cheesecakes are so good they make it into Kyiv Restaurants and are rated as the top Russian Foods to try when traveling!
Dessert or Breakfast?
Breakfast Syrniki are semi-sweet like any buttermilk pancake recipe whereas dessert Syrniki can be sweeter. Typically a normal batch of breakfast pancakes calls for about 2 tablespoons of sugar anything more is likely a dessert Sirnik. We love to dollop sour cream over the crispy tops or smear it with Homemade Jam.
Traditional Russian Syrniki Recipe:
These Russian Syrniki are on the top list of easy recipes! They are so easy to make for breakfast especially when in a hurry because you only use a few pantry ingredients! My cousin uses the Bazarny Brand premium white cheese sold in Russian supermarkets and I like to use the Friendship brand farmers cheese.
Traditionally, many Slavic moms would make Tvorog (homemade farmer’s cheese.) It’s very close to cottage cheese but in the consistency of ricotta. If you’re looking for a substitute drained cottage cheese would be the best.
My mom likes to add some leavening like baking powder or baking soda with the tip of her kitchen knife, however, I found Russian Syrniki that are made mainly of curd cheese are best without it. Because farmer’s cheese is so rich it seems like the cheese pancakes deflate easily after cooking with some leavening. Perhaps if more flour is incorporated I can see the use for it but in the meantime, I’m very happy with how crisp and well-shaped these cakes turned out!
How To Make Tvorog:
Traditionally, Tvorog was made from a soured milk culture and left at a warm spot to culture. After about three days you’d then bake the curds at a low temperature and pour off the whey.
Today, you can use vinegar, buttermilk, or yogurt to hasten the process and finish up the process all in less than an hour!
- To make Tvorog heat one gallon of milk to 180°F, stirring often.
- Slowly stir in 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. The whey should separate from the curds.
- Drain the curds through a cheesecloth and reserve the whey for baking.
- Keep well up to a week.
Best Substitute For Farmer’s Cheese?
Tvorog is a Russian cheese closest to Farmer’s Cheese and has a very fine cheese curd. The best substitute for either cheese would be small curd cottage cheese. To use cottage cheese for tvorog, make sure that you rinse and drain the curds, first. Then, weigh out as many cheese curds as you need for a recipe.
Tip: to make cottage cheese Syrniki using a large curd cottage cheese, simply beat the cheese with a mixer to break up the large curds.
How To Make Cheese Pancakes:
Homemade Syrniki makes cooking at home fun with this easy cheese pancakes recipe (Syrniki Recept.) Russian Syrniki Pancakes are made with small curd cheese (Tvorogom) so, make sure you have everything on hand to begin.
- Pre-heat oil in a small wok over medium-low heat.
- Meanwhile, mix together the farmer’s cheese (Tvorog), eggs, flour, sugar, and salt.
- Using a 1-inch [eafl id="20205" name="Cookie Scoop" text="Cookie Scoop"], scoop the pancake batter onto a lightly floured cutting board.
- Gently flatten the dough into disks and fry in batches of 5 for 2-3 minutes per side. Drain onto paper towels.
- Serve with sour cream or jam.
Cook’s Tip: always fry dough with cheese over medium-low heat to thoroughly cook the cakes.
Make Your Own Raspberry Sauce:
Don’t have a fruit jam on hand? Make a quick homemade raspberry sauce for your Syrniki by mixing together equal amounts of raspberries and sugar! Allow mixture to sit until natural juices release and then store in the fridge!
Note: this recipe works for currants, raspberries, and blackberries and can be heated then cooled.
Where To Buy Farmer’s Cheese?
Syrniki can be made with ricotta if cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese is unavailable. Farmer’s cheese is typically sold at European markets or Wholesale Grocery stores like Restaurant Depot. It goes by names like premium white cheese, Tvorog, or farmer’s cheese.
What To Serve Syrniki With?
A Ukrainian Syrniki recipe is best with sour cream! However, other toppings include softened butter, powdered sugar, fresh fruit like blueberries or raspberries, jam, raspberry sauce, or honey.
What Pan To Use for Frying Cheese Pancakes?
Russian Breakfast Syrniki are smaller than big fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Therefore, choose a [eafl id="20203" name="Italian wok pan" text="Wok Pan"] to fry the Syrniki, so the oil doesn’t spread out. This helps with using a lot less oil than needed and makes less splatter. I love how the smaller bottom of a wok holds the perfect amount of oil and is like deep-frying without using that much oil.
Can I Use Vanilla Extract?
Eastern Europeans love to use vanilla sugar. Here in the United States vanilla extract works similarly. You can use a pinch of vanillin or a teaspoon of vanilla extract for more sweetness.
How Long To Cook Syrniki?
Russian cheese pancakes are quick to make. Since the curds are finer than shredded cheese, the insides cook up faster. Each pancake takes around 2-3 minutes per side.
Tip: Syrniki takes around 3 minutes per side when scooped with a 1-inch cookie scoop.
Storing Cheese Pancakes?
These cheese pancakes can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze any leftovers that you think you won’t be using and be sure to check the date of your cheese to ensure they don’t get sour.
Can You Freeze Syrniki?
Syrniki can be frozen before and after cooking! To freeze raw Syrniki, shape into balls using a cookie scoop. Then, dust with flour and slightly flatten. Finally, layer pancakes between freezer parchment paper and place them into a gallon freezer bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months.
Reheating instructions: deep fry in oil until golden brown and done.
To Freeze Cooked Syrniki: cool and place into an air-tight food container or freezer bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months and thaw completely before reheating. To reheat, bake at 350°F for 7-8 minutes or until crisp and hot. You can also microwave Syrniki in 30-second intervals until hot.
Can I Make Gluten-Free Syrniki?
Syrniki can be made with a few other grain products including farina. However, if you are gluten-sensitive, then use starch to bind together the cheese pancake batter, such as tapioca flour, potato starch, or cornstarch. So, yes Syrniki can be made gluten-free.
Best Cheese Pancake Tips:
- Cut the Syrniki calories by using a Wok Pan and cutting down on the frying oil! Thar’s right, deep-fried using way less oil because of the smaller bottom circumference!
- Make a Russian Cottage Pancake Recipe by using small curd cottage cheese that is well-drained and rinsed. If using a large curd cottage cheese, beat with a mixer to break up the curds after being washed and drained.
- Farmer’s cheese pancakes can be made with homemade Tvorog.
- Syrniki pronounced (seer·ni·kee), is a cheese pancake originally made from Tvorog. Find my homemade Farmer’s cheese recipe in the Q and A section.
- Try flipping each side once to create a crispy cheese crust.
- Fry delicate dough over medium-low heat to prevent it from turning brown too quickly.
- Dust a large cutting board with flour and the tops of the Syrniky when handling.
Other Russian Food Recipes To Try:
- Pelmeni (Meat Dumplings)
- Easy Shuba Salad-a beet and herring fish salad.
- Dill Pickles Recipe
- How To Make Lox (Cured Salmon)
- Easy Sweet Cheese Buns-the Vatrushka has a sweet cheese filling inside yeast bread.
- Ukrainian Bulochki Recipe (Filled Sweet Buns)
Equipment for Making Russian Cheese Pancakes:
- Cookie Scoop-perfect size to scoop small pancakes. (Also the same exact one that I used.)
- Wok Pan– shallow enough to hold minimum oil.
- Food Storage Bowls-perfect for holding Tvorog or mixing the pancake batter in (great make-ahead option!)
- Slotted Spoon– to remove cakes.
How To Make Russian Sryniki:
Syrniki Recipe (Cheese Pancakes)
- 1 11-inch wok
- 1 1-inch cookie scoop
- 1 mixing bowl
- 400 grams farmers cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (scant cup)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat 1/2 cup of oil in a small wok over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients using a whisk.
- Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Dust the tops with flour and slightly flatten each piece.
- Fry Syrniki in batches of five for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and crisp.
- Drain on paper towels before serving.