8 Traditional Russian Foods You Have To Try

A brief introduction to your next favorite cuisine.

Russia is home to an abundance of delicious national dishes you’ll wish you tried sooner. Here are eight of the most popular snacks, meals, and desserts in the country.

1. Pirozhki

Pirozhki
Photo by dashiny_pirozhki on Instagram

Pirozhki is a beloved Russian street food that can be found in many cafés and restaurants. The hearty fried buns are made with a range of fillings from caramelized apples to cottage cheese, with the most common by far being cabbage. Whether you have them alone, with soup, or as a dessert, the versatile nature of these hand-sized pies makes them hard to get bored of.

2. Blini

Blini
Photo by teremokusa on Instagram

Blini, or savory pancakes, have a deep tie to Russian culture and are one of the most-eaten foods in Russia today. You can get them with honey as they are traditionally served, or as they are more modernly made, in the form of breakfast sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres. No matter how you decide to have your blini, you can be sure to enjoy this classic Russian staple.

3. Zefir

Zefir
Photo by marisha_with_love on Instagram

This traditional Russian sweet can be found in confectionaries and supermarkets across the country. Widely enjoyed for good reason, zefir comes in various fruit flavors and can be plain or covered in chocolate. This light dessert – reminiscent of meringue and marshmallow – is even thought to be healthy because it has no fat content. Next time you’re looking for a quick treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further than zefir.

4. Golubtsi

Golubtsi russian foods
Photo by grandcafezhivago on Instagram

Cabbage rolls filled with rice and minced meat in a creamy tomato sauce, golubtsti is a classic Russian dish loved by many. It started as a way to use leftover ingredients at home but has since become a common item on Russian restaurant menus. This flavorful combination of meat and vegetables makes golubtsi the perfect way to refuel after a long day of travel.

5. Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff russian foods
Photo by cafepushkin on Instagram

This time-honored Russian dish with origins dating back to the 19th century is still an understandably popular dinner choice today. Beef stroganoff is sautéed beef in smetana sauce, or Russian sour cream, and is most often served on top of shoestring potatoes with mini pickles on the side. Although other adaptations have been popularized around the world, Russia is still the place to find the most authentic Beef stroganoff.

6. Vatrushk

Vatrushka russian foods
Photo by karawaybakery on Instagram

Vatrushka, sweet bread pastries typically filled with raisins and soft cheese, is a nostalgic childhood treat for many Russians. In addition to the classic sweet, vatrushka is a savory version made with unsweetened bread and fried onions or cabbage. Once you have a taste of the brioche-like dough and creamy filling, you won’t be able to get enough.

7. Pelmeni

Pelmeni russian foods
Photo by lepimivarim on Instagram

Russian dumplings, or pelmeni, have been an essential part of Russian cuisine for centuries. Typical fillings include: minced meat, or mushrooms. No pelmeni is complete without a sour cream topping. This national dish of Russia isn’t hard to find no matter where you are in the country, so make sure to try it while you can!

8. Medovik

Medovik russian foods
Photo by lavkalavkarestaurant on Instagram

Medovik is a honey-flavored layer cake created in the 19th century that maintains much popularity today. This signature Russian dessert boasts thin layers of moist sponge cake separated by a sweet cream filling topped with walnuts and cake crumbs. While medovik is typically made for special occasions, you can still find it in many cafés and restaurants throughout the country all year long.

Meghan St. Pierre

Content Editor Associate

Meghan is a native of South Florida who loves nature and landscape photography. Her favorite travel activities are getting lost in new cities and trying local desserts. She has been to 22 countries, and her favorites have been Sweden and Denmark so far.

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