A Gluten-Free Blini Recipe

Caviar with Gluten-Free Blinis
Gluten-Free Blinis with Sour Cream and Caviar. Getty Images 2014
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 14 to 28 servings

Blini is Slavic for the symbol of the sun. That makes sense — but what blinis really are, are traditional earthly buckwheat pancakes. Our gluten-free version of Russian blinis was adapted from a recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes — Blinis which appears in the cookbook, Cook's Illustrated — The Best International Recipes.

According to Cook's Illustrated (CI) recipe editors, their goal was to create a less time-consuming recipe compared to traditional blini recipes that call for active yeast. They also wanted a slightly sweeter than traditionally sour blini. So far I like their plan. And, if, like me, you're a fan of Cook's Illustrated, you'll appreciate their parameters of recipe development. What a talented group.

As noted, when Russian cooks did not have access to buckwheat flour, they used wheat flour to prepare blinis. With that in mind, the CI recipe developers used a combination of half buckwheat flour and half all purpose flour in their blini recipe. We followed suit, except substituting one of our favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour blends for the wheat called for in the CI recipe. We also cut back on the liquids called for in the original recipe to get just the right batter consistency with our gluten-free flour blend.

So here you have it. Our very easy, delicious gluten-free version of classic Russian blinis. They make a fabulous breakfast pancake or made silver-dollar sized, are the perfect foundation for caviar appetizers.

For the very best results, please use a scale to weigh flours in recipes.


  • 2.5 ounces buckwheat flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2.5 ounces gluten-free all purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (organic cane)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum (only use IF your gluten-free flour blend doesn't contain gum. We think that guar gum makes gluten-free pancakes lighter and fluffier than xanthan gum)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (OR 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and enough whole milk to total 1 cup liquid)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled plus more butter for the frying pan)

Steps to Make It

  1. Place dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to thoroughly blend.

  2. Crack an egg into a bowl. Whisk. Add buttermilk and melted butter. Whisk. Add dry ingredients and whisk just until smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow liquids to absorb into dry ingredients.

  3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly oil pan with coconut oil or your favorite oil.

  4. For appetizer-sized blini: When the pan is hot, use a tablespoon to pour batter into the pan. When the surface has multiple little holes, flip. Cook just until both sides are golden browned. Continue until all batter is used.

  5. For breakfast-sized blini pancakes: When the pan is hot, pour 1 ounce  (2 tablespoons) batter in pan. Continue as above.

  6. To make caviar blini, top each cooled blini with a dollop of sour cream and a small scoop of your favorite caviar.