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20 Traditional Russian Breakfast Foods

Have you ever tried Russian breakfast foods? In a lot of ways, Russians’ breakfasts are a lot like Americans’ breakfasts.

They often start the morning off with coffee or tea. Eggs, sausage, and buttered bread are common breakfast staples, as well. 

Snyrniki or Cheese Pancakes with Blueberry Jam
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However, Russia really shines when it comes to its sweet dishes.

If you’re a fan of morning pastries and other sugary treats, you would do just fine sitting around a Russian breakfast table. 

On this list, you’ll find many things that are similar to some of your own breakfast favorites; although they may be called by different names. 

There are also some variations on common American breakfast foods, such as Russian pancakes and millet porridge. 

So settle in and grab a snack because these Russian breakfast dishes are bound to make your tummy rumble.

1. Russian Tea

Although tea in Russia isn’t quite the art form that it is in China, it’s still a much bigger deal than our “pour it from a jug” Milo’s or our “steep it for 5 minutes” stove-top Lipton’s. 

To make authentic Russian tea, you’ll need about 3 hours.

You’ll also need cinnamon sticks, cloves, and juice from pineapples, lemons, and oranges. 

This tea is a sweet, flavorful, and aromatic delight, and once you’ve had it, you’ll be hooked.

If I knew I was waking up to that every morning, I might actually learn to become a morning person. 

2. Buckwheat Porridge

Buckwheat is a famous Russian ingredient, and it’s good for you, too.

It’s high in protein, has a low glycemic index, is naturally gluten-free, and helps lower bad cholesterol.

We should all eat more buckwheat, and with this tasty porridge recipe, we might even enjoy it.

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Aside from the buckwheat, all you’ll need is milk, honey, butter, salt, and water. 

You can have it prepped for the stove in 5 minutes and ready to eat in another 15.

Top it with some fresh fruit, and you’ll have a quick, healthy, and yummy way to start the day.

3. Russian Pancakes

Russian pancakes are the perfect middle ground between big, fluffy IHOP pancakes and thin, crispy-edged French crepes. 

They’re light and fluffy, but their edges have a wonderful crispiness that makes them even better.

In addition, they’re very easy to make, requiring only essential ingredients.

If you have the time, you should also make the raspberry jam and sour cream topping.

That’s how people usually serve them in Russia, and they’re surprisingly tasty.

4. Syrniki (Russian Cheese Pancakes)

Syrnikis are more like those fluffy IHOP pancakes in consistency, but you’ll make them with farmer’s cheese instead of pancake mix. 

This makes them fat and soft, and they have an interesting taste that’s still sweet but also mildly cheesy.

Despite their cheesiness, people often eat them with jam, honey, syrup, or sweet sour cream.

If you’re unsure of what to top them with, my advice is to stick to the basics and use good old maple syrup. 

5. Donut Holes (Ponchiki)

Soft, sweet, and dusted with powdered sugar, these donut holes are also cheesy, thanks to the farmer’s cheese.

They don’t taste like the donut holes you’re used to eating, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less delicious.

Maybe it’s the minuscule amount of flour, or perhaps it’s the farmer’s cheese, but for some reason, these taste just as incredible when they’re cold as they do when they’re hot.

That makes them the perfect “cook the night before” breakfast items.

6. Russian Black Bread

Rye is one of Russia’s most popular breads, and Russian black bread is simply dark, rich rye bread made with tons of flavorful ingredients.

This loaf contains brown sugar, molasses, fennel and caraway seeds, coffee, wheat bran, and cocoa powder (among other things).

It should come as no surprise, then, that it has more flavor than most breads you eat.

It’s a thick, hearty bread, and it tastes amazing with honey butter.

7. Semolina Porridge

Also called mannaya kasha or farina, semolina porridge is known by another name in the United States – cream of wheat. 

It’s a quick, healthy breakfast option that you can have on the table in 10 minutes or less.

Serve it plain or with butter, sugar, syrup, or fruit. Either way, it’s a hot and tasty morning meal.

8. Sandwiches

If you’re looking for the perfect Russian breakfast sandwich to enjoy along with your Russian tea, grab some cold-cut deli meat, Havarti cheese, mayonnaise, and a cucumber. 

And don’t forget the rye bread, of course! Toast the bread slices.

Then cover each in mayo and layer the other ingredients on top for a fresh, cool breakfast.

9. Millet Porridge

The great thing about millet porridge is that you can make it the night before and quickly warm it up the following day and have it taste just as good. 

Then all you’ll have to do for breakfast is take 5 minutes to add the sweet honey glaze to the plums.

Pour them on top of the porridge and enjoy a wonderful meal.

10. Farmers Cheese Cake Recipe (Zapekanka)

Zapekanka is a breakfast cake made with farmer’s cheese and a few other ingredients.

Thanks to the eggs, raisins, and cream of wheat, it’s hearty enough to have for breakfast.

However, it’s also sweet enough to serve for dessert. It’s soft, moist, and has a slightly sweet, totally unique flavor you’ll love.

It tastes fantastic when eaten hot, and it’s almost as good cold.

11. Draniki

These thin, crispy potato pancakes are more savory than sweet.

But if you serve them with applesauce or your favorite jam, they could be confused with a breakfast pastry.

Because they contain onions and garlic, I prefer to leave them savory. I’ll often eat them plain, but I usually go for an herby feta dip if I want dipping sauce.

12. Grenki

If you can make French toast, you can make grenki. It’s merely French toast made with a baguette instead of toast.

The ingredients and cooking process are the same.

It takes about 10 minutes to make six servings of grenki.

Serve them with whipped cream, fresh fruit, maple syrup, or anything else you enjoy on your French toast.

13. Fried Eggs

I’m sure you’ve made hundreds of fried eggs in your life, but they’re such a staple of Russian breakfast that I couldn’t leave them off the list. 

14. Vareniki with Cherries

These may look like Chinese dumplings, but that couldn’t be further from what they are. 

I’m not going to lie; these take a little bit of time and effort to pull together.

If you have a special breakfast or brunch occasion coming up, these will make the perfect addition to it.

Each bite is packed with the flavors of cherries and sugar.

If these little things put you into a sugar coma, at least you’ll feel like you’re headed to heaven. They’re that good

Just talking about vareniki with cherries makes me want to eat a dozen of them right now.

15. Sharlotka (Apple Cake)

This five-ingredient apple cake has a moist, airy center, a slightly crunchy and crumbly top, and is dusted in powdered sugar. 

It tastes like biting into a fresh apple, but this cake is sweeter and better. 

It’s a bit high in carbs, but it’s shockingly low-fat, and the only problem you’ll have is figuring out whether to serve it for breakfast or dessert.

16. Coffee

Making coffee the Russian way isn’t nearly as time-consuming and intricate a process as making Russian tea.

In fact, you’ll pretty much make it the way you always make it. 

The only difference? Add a dash of brown sugar for extra flavor.

17. Raspberry Jam

People in Russia often use raspberry jam as a topping on their pancakes, bread, draniki, and other things.

It’s a popular spread. Luckily, it’s easy to make. 

All you’ll need are four cups of raspberries and four cups of sugar. You can make the jam on your stove in about half an hour. 

18. Russian Cream Cheese Vatrushka Buns

Whether you’re eating them for breakfast or dessert, vatrushka buns are delicious, and you won’t want to stop at just one.

You can use whatever you like for the filling, but this recipe uses cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, eggs, sugar, and golden raisins.

It gives it a smooth, creamy, mildly sweet taste.

Other filling options include raspberry jam, cherries, or cream cheese with berries.

Whatever you choose, the soft sweetness of the filling flawlessly complements the tender, chewy, perfectly golden-brown bread surrounding it.

19. Plushki

Plushki are traditional Russian pastries that are sort of like cream cheese danishes covered with a sugary glaze that’s almost like a cinnamon roll topping. 

I know that’s not super clear, but they’re hard to describe. Their flavor, on the other hand, isn’t. They’re insanely good

They’re super soft and have a buttery, sugary taste that feels like it should melt on your tongue.

They pair perfectly with coffee, Russian tea, regular black tea, or even hot chocolate. 

20. Sweet Piroshky

Piroshky is probably one of the most well-known treats in Russian fare. 

Whether they learned about them from a street vendor in New York City or hearing Red talk about them on Orange Is the New Black, plenty of people know what piroshkis are.

There are both sweet and savory piroshkis, but this recipe is for sweet ones.

They’re delightful balls of fried dough surrounding some kind of sweet filling. 

For this recipe, you’ll make the filling from poppyseeds, milk, and sugar, but you can use fruit fillings, berries, jams, or even chocolate!  

20 Traditional Russian Breakfast Foods

These traditional Russian breakfast foods are a unique twist to your usual fare. From porridge to cheese pancakes to black bread, bring a taste of Russia to your morning!


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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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