Alternative namesblin, bliny
Main ingredientswheat, eggs, milk

Blini (plural blinis or blini, rarely bliny;[1][2] Russian: блины pl.), singular: blin, are an Eastern European pancake made from various kinds of flour of buckwheat, wheat, etc. They may be served with smetana, tvorog, caviar and other garnishes, or simply smeared with butter. They are a traditional Russian dish.[3]

In the West, blini traditionally refers to small savory pancakes made with leavened batter. In modern Russian, the term most often refers to pan-sized leavened thin pancakes, although smaller leavened pancakes are also called blini. Smaller and thicker pancakes (with several of them baked on one larger pan) are called oladyi.

Blintzes, called blinchiki (little blinis) in Russian are an offshoot of blini or crêpes. They are basically rolls based on thin pancakes usually made of wheat flour, folded to form a casing for various kinds of filing, typically cheese, fruit, or (in Russian cuisine) pre-fried minced meat, and then sautéed or baked.[4]



The Proto-Slavic term for the Russian pancakes was probably mlinŭ, which transformed in Old East Slavic into mlinъ, blinъ (млинъ, блинъ), (cf. mlynets (млинець), Ukrainian for blin). It is derived from the verb моло́ть, "to mill ", "to grind". Max Vasmer in his Etymological Dictionary of Russian language notes that a similar word is used in many Slavic languages, as well as in Latvian and Lithuanian.[5] While the Russian word блины́ bliný (plural of блин blin) refers in modern Russian also to the introduced foreign pancakes in general; meanwhile the term ру́сские блины́ rússkiye bliný (Russian pancakes) is often emphasized in Russia for differentiation.

Some English dictionaries record usage of the forms blin as singular and blini or bliny as plural, which corresponds to the original Russian forms, but other dictionaries consider this usage so rare in English that they do not mention blin at all and only record the widespread modern regular usage of blini for the singular and blinis for the plural.[6]



Blini were considered by early East Slavic people in pre-Christian times to be a symbol of the sun due to their round form.[7] They were traditionally prepared at the end of winter to honor the rebirth of the new sun (Butter Week, or Maslenitsa, also called "pancake week").[7] The tradition of a dairy festival at that time of year was adopted by the Orthodox church as a way of using up dairy products before the start of Great Lent. This tradition is observed by Western Christians as Pancake Day. Drochena, a kind of blini, was also served at wakes to commemorate the recently deceased. Blini are considered to be the traditional meal in Lithuanian culture on Shrove Tuesday.[8]

Traditional Russian blini are made with yeasted batter, which is left to rise and then diluted with milk, soured milk, and cold or boiling water. When diluted with boiling water, they are referred to as zavarniye bliny. A lighter and thinner form made from unyeasted batter (usually made of flour, eggs, milk, or soured milk, kefir, ryazhenka, varenets) is also common in Russia. Traditionally, blini are baked in a Russian oven. The process of preparing blini is still referred to as baking in Russian, even though they are nowadays pan-fried, like pancakes. All kinds of flour may be used, from wheat and buckwheat to oatmeal and millet, although wheat is currently the most popular.



Some ways that blini are prepared and served include the following:

The preparation of bliny

They may be folded or rolled into a tube with sweet or salty fillings such as varenye, fruit, berry, mashed potatoes, tvorog, cooked ground meat, cooked chicken, salmon, chopped boiled eggs with green onions or chopped mushrooms.[9]


Aside from referring to pancakes, the word blin (блин) is used in Russian as a "minced oath" for the Russian swear word "блять" blyat', used as an interjection to express a negative emotion, akin to the words "damn!" or saying "Holy Moly!" while meaning "Holy shit!".[10]

There are many Russian proverbs involving blini.[11][12] For example, "Первый блин комом" ("The first blin is lumpy") is a figurative saying that the first attempt to do something is expected to be unsuccessful, said to calm down of the person who failed the first try.[10] And English equivalent would be "You must spoil before you spin".[10]

See also



  1. ^ "The American Heritage Dictionary entry: Blini".
  2. ^ "BLINI (noun) definition and synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary".
  3. ^ "It's Russian Mardi Gras: Time For Pancakes, Butter And Fistfights". 14 March 2013.
  4. ^ "blintze | a thin, usually wheat-flour pancake folded to form a casing (as for cheese or fruit) and then sautéed or baked". Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  5. ^ близорукий блинд. "блин - это... Что такое блин?". Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  6. ^ "blini definition and synonyms". Macmillan Dictionary. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  7. ^ a b c d e Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Wiley. pp. 56–58. ISBN 9780470943540. Retrieved April 18, 2012. ISBN 9780470391303
  8. ^ "Lithuanian Pancake - Blynai or Sklindziai".
  9. ^ "Shrovetide indulgence with babushka's tvorog blini". Retrieved 2022-12-28.
  10. ^ a b c "Blin - Meaning in Russian - Translation and audio". Learn Russian Daily. Retrieved 2019-08-22.[dead link]
  12. ^ Русские пословицы и поговорки о блинах и масленице