7 Russian breakfasts so you can start every day the right way

Legion Media
What do Russians eat for breakfast? Here are our recommendations for everyday, quick-to-prepare meals that will help you have a perfect morning in the Russian style. All of these dishes are perfect for on-the-go lunches, too.

Monday: Fried eggs

The most popular way to prepare eggs in the morning is to fry them. Russians like omelets, but it takes some time to beat the eggs, and you might not have any milk in the fridge. So, the easiest and fastest way to prepare your eggs is to fry them. Make sure to leave the yolks unbroken. This way, it will look like the eggs have eyes. Russians call this meal glazunya from the word glaz, which means eye.

Ingredients: 1 teaspoon oil (or butter), 2 eggs per person, toppings to taste (grated cheese, sliced sausages or vegetables), toast.

How to make it: Break the eggs into a hot pan, coated with oil or butter, and cook for around 7 minutes until the egg whites become solid. Serve hot with toast, so you have something to dip into the yolks.

Tuesday: Semolina porridge

From the earliest days of childhood, Russians eat a lot of porridge and many different kinds: buckwheat, oatmeal, millet and even a so-called “milk soup” with noodles. But the porridge that is both the most loved and most hated is semolina porridge. The most frightening thing about this porridge for every Russian kid (and adults too, actually) is when the dish contains komochki or lumps. To avoid them, follow our instructions carefully.

Ingredients: 1 liter milk (or 2 parts milk and 1 part water), 6 tablespoons semolina, salt and sugar to taste

How to make it: Rinse a pan with cold water so that the milk won’t scald. Bring milk (or milk with water) to a near boil, and slowly sprinkle semolina into the milk, constantly mixing. The porridge should be cooked for about 5-7 minutes, mixing from time to time. Remove from heat,  add the butter and mix again. Season to taste with salt and sugar. Fruits and berries are a perfect topping for this meal.

Wednesday: Syrniki

Foreigners often say that this is one of their favorite Russian desserts—and it’s really fast and easy to make! Actually, the main ingredient is Russian cottage cheese and that is something you might have trouble finding, so you can either follow our guide to learn how to make your own homemade Russian tvorog (cottage cheese), or you can just use cream cheese instead. The best way to serve these is right from the pan, but they are still delicious even after a couple days in the fridge and they reheat nicely.

Ingredients: 400 grams cottage cheese, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tablespoons sugar

How to make them: Break up the cheese with a fork until it has a fairly smooth consistency. Add the eggs, and combine with a fork or mixing spoon. Next, add salt, sugar and flour and mix by hand until combined (if you use a mixer, the batter will become too thin).

There are two ways to cook them:

  1. For those who aren’t on a diet and have some time: roll out the mixture, adding more flour, and then cut into slices about 1 centimeter thick. Roll the slices in your hands to make oval and deep fry until golden brown.
  2. Just scoop some of the batter into a pan with a spoon and fry on low heat until both sides are well-browned.

Serve immediately. These can also be reheated in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes.

Thursday: Bliny

Bliny is one of the oldest traditional Russian desserts and is incredibly tasty. There is even a week called Maslenitsa where people celebrate these Russian pancakes with roots that go back to ancient pagan times and the cult of the sun (pancakes are the same shape as the sun). There are dozens of recipes for pancakes, and in Russia, almost every housewife has her own variation. Here, we share the recipe of Leo Tolstoy’s wife, which we think should be credible enough.

Ingredients: 2 cups kefir, 2 cups flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 tablespoons oil, sugar and salt to taste

How to make them: Mix kefir, flour, eggs, sugar and salt in a deep bowl. Add the baking soda to a cup of boiling water and mix well. Pour the baking soda and water into the batter slowly. Mix until smooth, and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, add the oil right into the bowl. Pour 1 tablespoon of batter (per bliny) into a pan and fry until lightly browned on both sides. It’s a good idea to grease the edges of the pancakes with butter so that they don’t become too crispy.

Friday: Grenki

Here’s another useful and quick recipe from our Soviet babushkas. Not only are they tasty, but this recipe is a great way to use up stale bread! Read more about this dish here.

Ingredients: 1 dry baguette, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon sugar

How to make them: Slice the baguette in pieces about 1 to 1.5 centimeters thick. In a bowl, mix the eggs and sugar, beating lightly with a fork, until combined. Dip both sides of the bread into the egg mixture and place it in a heated frying pan. To get a good crust, add a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil or butter to the pan.

Saturday: Lazy vareniki

What a great invention these are—dumplings without filling! It’s a genius idea and just what you need on a lazy Saturday morning. You can serve these vareniki with the topping of your choice: jam, sour cream, honey or any other type of sweet sauce. And you can freeze any uncooked, leftover vareniki for next time. Read the history of the dish and some fun facts here.

Ingredients: Same as syrniki: 400 grams cottage cheese, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar

How to make them: Break up the cottage cheese with a fork and place it into a bowl. Add the eggs and sugar and combine. Then, add flour, and mix everything together with a fork until well blended. To make the dough less sticky, dust with flour and incorporate until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Separate the dough into several pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a thick strip, and cut each strip into small pieces to form 1 inch chunks. Drop the vareniki into a pot of lightly-salted boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes until the vareniki float to the top. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon or a skimmer and place them on a serving plate. Toss with a pat of butter and your favorite toppings. If you’re feeling ambitious and would like to try making vareniki with filling you can find a recipe here.

Sunday: Sharlotka

This is a perfect meal for Sunday mornings in the fall when you have lots of apples and don’t have to rush. This dessert has been made since the early 19th century. Take a look at our video recipe here.

Ingredients: 4 eggs, 4 apples, 250 grams (1 cup) sugar, 250 grams (2 cups) flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 3 tablespoons spices (ground cloves, grated orange zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon)

How to make it: Beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy. Fold flour and baking powder into the egg and sugar mixture and combine. Peel the apples, slice them thinly and toss with the spices. Spread the apple slices in a layer on the bottom of a baking pan, and pour the dough on top. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30-40 minutes.


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