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Sweet or Savory Farmer’s Cottage Cheese Pancakes Recipe (Syrniki)

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Be it for lunch, dessert, or a filling snack, let our sweet or savory farmer’s cottage cheese pancakes recipe, or syrniki, bring a welcome dose of hearty Eastern European cooking into your humble abode.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes(Syrniki) on a blue plate with sour cream and jam

Syrniki (Cottage Cheese Pancakes) Recipe

A firm favorite due to their simplicity and super comforting taste, syrniki or cottage cheese pancakes can be used in so many different ways. In this recipe, we’re going to look at how to make both sweet and savory versions of this dish so that you can eat that at any time of day, in any way you like.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) stacked with sour cream and jam

What are Syrniki?

Put simply, syrniki are cheese pancakes, common in a wide array of Slavic and Eastern European cuisines.

In Ukrainian cuisine, they are known as syrnyky. In Russian cuisine, they are known as syrniki. In Moldova, we called them papanasi (different from the Romanian papanasi, which are more like doughnuts). You will also find variations of these pancakes in the likes of Serbian cuisine, Belarusian cuisine, Polish cuisine, Latvian cuisine, and Lithuanian cuisine.

Traditionally sweet, you can, without a doubt, also make them savory, as we will demonstrate below. This was a go-to recipe for my mom, as their filling nature and quick preparation time make them ideal for hearty, comforting food when you’re pressed for time.

Recipe Ingredients

Sweet Syrniki Ingredients

To make sweet syrniki, assemble the following ingredients:

Sweet Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) ingredients on a wooden board
  • Farmer’s Cheese – 400 grams farmer’s cheese (about 2.5 cups)
  • Eggs – 1 egg
  • Plain (All-Purpose) Flour – 150 grams (about 1 cup), plus an additional 2-3 tbsp flour for shaping the syrniki
  • Salt – a pinch of salt
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Raisins – 1/4 cup
  • Sunflower Oil or Butter – 2-3 tbsp for frying (you can also use any neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable oil or canola oil).
  • Sour Cream (optional) – 3-4 tbsp (to serve with the syrniki). You can also use creme fraiche if you can’t find sour cream.
  • Fruit Jam (optional) – 3-4 tbsp of your favorite fruit jam/preserves or varenye (some popular choices include raspberry jam, strawberry jam, or cherry jam).

Savory Syrniki Ingredients

To make savory syrniki, we have similar ingredients, but we won’t use sugar or raisins, and we’ll add a touch more salt. If making the savory version, assemble the following ingredients:

  • Farmer’s Cheese – 400 grams farmer’s cheese (about 2.5 cups)
  • Eggs – 1 egg
  • Plain (All-Purpose) Flour – 150 grams (about 1 cup), plus an additional 2-3 tbsp flour for shaping the syrniki
  • Salt – 1 tsp salt
  • Sunflower Oil or Butter – 2-3 tbsp for frying (you can also use any neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable oil or canola oil).
  • Sour Cream (optional) – 3-4 tbsp (to serve with the syrniki). You can also use creme fraiche if you can’t find sour cream.
Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) ingredients on a wooden board

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Add the cheese, egg, flour, salt, and sugar (if making the sweet syrniki) to a large bowl, and using a hand blender (immersion blender), blend the ingredients together. We’re doing this to break up the cheese so that the syrniki are smooth and you don’t have any larger pieces of cheese inside.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could also do this with a hand mixer.

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (mixing the cheese, egg, sugar, and salt).

Step 2 – If making the sweet syrniki, add the raisins and fold them in with a spatula. If you’re making savory syrniki, skip this step.

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (mixture with raisins folded in).

Step 3 – On a lightly floured board or surface, add the batter and shape it into a log.

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (shaping the log).
Savory syrniki (half the log)
Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (shaping the log).
Sweet syrniki (half the log)

Step 4 – Cut the log into 8 equal pieces (in the picture below, we have half of the log cut into 4).

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (cutting the batter log).

Step 5 – Shape each piece into a round shape, with an approximate diameter of 7 cm (2.75 inches).

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (shaping the syrniki).
Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (shaping the syrniki).

Step 6 – In a pan, over medium heat, add the oil or butter. Once it’s shimmering, add the syrniki and fry for about 4 minutes on one side until golden and then flip them and cook them on the other side (putting the lid on the pan) for about 4 minutes until they’re cooked through.

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) Step by Step (cooking the syrniki).

Serving Suggestions

Once they’re out of the pan, stack them high and get as creative as you like.

Sour Cream – If you want to keep things simple, you can serve with a thick dollop of sour cream, as we have below.

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) with sour cream on top.

Savory syrniki are so delicious. Initially, you’re treated to that delightful pan-fried crispiness just as you bite in, before the soft, salty cheese kicks in and, cradled in a pillow of thick sour cream, makes for the perfect comforting mouthful, no matter how hungry or full you are!

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) with sour cream on top.

If you opt for sweet syrniki, the sweetness of the sugar and the sharpness of the raisins bring a whole new dimension to this wholesome cheese pancake.

Berry Jam/Berries – Paired with thick, rich fruit jam or some tart berries, this makes for a truly satisfying dessert and one that will make you keep coming back for more.

Hot Tea/Coffee – Finally, these hearty pancakes are ideal to be enjoyed with hot, fresh coffee, or tea, depending on your preference.

Whether you make them sweet or savory, and whatever you pair them with, I hope you enjoy these delicious pancakes. Just the sight of them, let alone their taste, bring back so many childhood memories for me, and this dish will always have a special place in my heart, no matter where in the world I am.

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) with sour cream and jam on top.

Syrniki Cottage Cheese Pancakes Recipe Card

Yield: 8

Syrniki (Cottage Cheese Pancakes)

Syrniki (Cottage Cheese Pancakes)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 400 grams (~ 2.5 cups) farmer’s cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 150 grams (~ 1 cup) all-purpose flour (or plain flour), plus an additional 2-3 tbsp for shaping the syrniki
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil or butter for frying (you can also use any neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable oil or canola oil).
  • 3-4 tbsp sour cream (optional), to serve with the syrniki.
  • 3-4 tbsp of your favorite fruit jam/preserve (optional), to serve with the syrniki.

Instructions

  1. Add the cheese, egg, flour, salt, and sugar (if making the sweet syrniki) to a large bowl, and using a hand blender (immersion blender), blend the ingredients together. We’re doing this to break up the cheese so that the syrniki are smooth and you don’t have any larger pieces of cheese inside. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could try to do this with a hand mixer.
  2. If making the sweet syrniki, add the raisins and fold them in with a spatula. If you’re making savory syrniki, skip this step.
  3. On a lightly floured board or surface, add the batter and shape it into a log.
  4. Cut the log into 8 equal pieces.
  5. Shape each piece into a round shape with an approximate diameter of 7 cm (2.75 inches).
  6. In a pan, over medium heat, add the oil or butter. Once it’s shimmering, add the syrniki and fry for about 4 minutes on one side until golden and then flip them and cook them on the other side (putting the lid on the pan) for about 4 minutes until they’re cooked through.
  7. (Optional) Serve with sour cream and jam/varenye.

Notes

  1. If you want to make savory syrniki, omit the sugar and raisins and increase the salt to 1 tsp. Serve with sour cream (no fruit jam).
  2. Instead of sour cream, you can also use creme fraiche.
  3. In some countries, it may be difficult to find farmer's cheese (tvorog). However, you can make it at home with our homemade farmer's cheese (tvorog) recipe.

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Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki) stacked with sour cream and jam

Contributor: Efimia is a retired Moldovan teacher and passionate home chef who has been feeding family and friends with classic Eastern European dishes for over forty years and counting.

Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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