Russian onion cutlets: So delicious they’ll make you cry! (RECIPE)

Not a fan of onions? Well, this Russian dish will bring tears of joy.

Not a fan of onions? Well, this Russian dish will bring tears of joy.

Olga Brovkina
If your family doesn’t like onions, give them a second chance with these healthy and nutritious cutlets.

In the 16-17th centuries, foreign travelers who came to Russia used to claim that Russians always smelled of onions and garlic. For some people, onion is an acquired taste, but it’s a must in most Russian dishes. 

Besides, some dishes were dedicated solely to this one particular ingredient. For example, on Ascension Day housewives baked pies with spring onions, because this was the time in early May when the first onions appeared in the vegetable garden. 

The date, Sept. 20, when the feast day of the Evangelist St. Luke is celebrated in Orthodox Russia, has traditionally been called Lukov Den’ (Onion Day). Of course, onions had nothing to do with the remembrance of St. Luke, but on this day it was a tradition to cook onion dishes: baked onion, turya (soup made with bread, onions, and water or kvass), as well as onion pies. 

During Lent, when eating meat isn’t allowed, onion cutlets are a perfect dish because they resemble meat cutlets but don't have any meat. At the same time these low-cost cutlets can be used in vegetarian diets. 

Also, they can be very beneficial for one’s health if falling ill with the flu. When I was a child, my grandmother believed that onion and garlic could help to build up resistance to any disease and was important for good health; so, she used to give me onion cutlets to shake off a cold, and it really helped.

Besides the onion for this recipe, we’ll need semolina, beans, and spices. The side dish can be anything you want, ranging from mashed potatoes to buckwheat. And if you find an extra 20 minutes, you can make a delicious sauce - for example, a mushroom, tomato or braised sauerkraut sauce. 

Onion cutlets have a spicy-sweet taste. The recipe is simple and quick – it won’t take more than 20 minutes to cook, and soon enough you’ll be able to enjoy a nutritious meal or snack. 


  • 5 big onions
  • 1 glass of boiled beans
  • 50-70 gr of semolina
  • 2 tablespoons of water (preferably from the beans)
  • Salt, pepper, vegetable oil


1. Slice the onions into small cubes. The best option is to slice the onions in large numbers outside in the fresh air to avoid the tearing effect, or put a fan next to you.

2. After that, add boiled white beans to the chopped onions. You can take purchased beans instead of boiling them on your own. That won’t spoil the dish and will save a lot of time. Also, I suggest you add some of the liquid from the beans.

3. Chop one large piece of garlic and place in the bowl.

4. Now, grind the mass together using the blender to achieve homogeneity.

5. Add semolina. If there’s no semolina, then use flour. This is necessary to ensure that the onion mass sticks together so you can put it on the pan with a spoon. Add spices and salt. Stir well. Leave the mass for five minutes; let the semolina rise a bit.

6. Heat the pan at high temperature, add vegetable oil and using a tablespoon spread the mass on the pan in small portions as seen in the photo. Fry the cutlets on both sides on low heat.

7. Onion cutlets will look like small pancakes. Preferably, after frying, put them on napkins to soak up the extra oil.

8. These onion cutlets are tasty, both hot and cold. They can be eaten with fresh greens, mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, tomato sauce, and even bechamel sauce. 

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