Syrniki are sweet, cheesy Russian pancakes that are soft on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. They're especially delicious when topped with homemade blueberry syrup and sour cream, but also good with your favorite maple syrup, butter, or whipped cream. They’re easy to make but feel like a breakfast treat, and are a great way to mix up your classic pancakes.
The pancakes are made with farmer’s cheese, which is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to a Russian cheese called tvorog. It’s similar to ricotta cheese but has less water content, making it is drier. You can usually find farmer’s cheese in the deli section or where the ricotta and sour cream are stocked. You can also try your hand at making your own farmer’s cheese if you're feeling ambitious.
- 16 ounces farmer’s cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (divided)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup light vegetable oil (for frying)
Gather the ingredients.
Break up the farmer’s cheese into small crumbles in a large bowl.
Whisk in the eggs and the vanilla extract.
Add in 1/2 cup of the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. The batter will be thick and more like a cookie dough batter than a normal pancake batter. Put the remaining 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish.
Use a cookie scoop to scoop out the balls of dough. Place the ball of dough into the shallow dish filled with flour.
Dredge the pancakes with the flour to coat both sides and then flatten with a spatula.
Heat the oil on medium-low heat in a cast iron pan or large sauté pan. Once hot, place the pancakes in the oil. Fry on both sides for 3 minutes a side, or until golden brown.
Serve immediately with your favorite syrup, fruit or whipped cream.
- Many traditional recipes add raisins to the batter. You can add in a 1/2 cup of your favorite raisins if you like.
- You can also make these sweet pancakes savory. Try adding chopped chives or scallions, fresh herbs, shredded cheddar cheese, and a sprinkling of cracked black pepper.
- If you are looking for a fancy party appetizer, you can make bite-sized syrniki and serve them topped with crème fraiche, herbs, and caviar.
- You can cook the syrniki in clarified butter or coconut oil instead of oil. Avoid using olive oil unless you are making the savory variety. The flavor of olive oil will overpower the sweet pancakes.
- It's easy to make these pancakes gluten-free. Just sub in gluten-free flour for the regular flour.
- Do not skip the dredging in the flour step. The pancakes will stick and won’t get that classic crispy coating.