Lemon Ricotta Syrniki (сы́рники)

Russian’s don’t do pancakes. We don’t. I grew up with three other things that stand in for pancakes. Nalisniki are crepes and too thin to be pancakes. Oladiye are usually yogurt or milk based, occasionally contain fruit and are usually more dense than pancakes. And then we have syrniki. Syrniki are made from a sweet cheese (in Russian the word for cheese is “s’yr”) like ricotta, cottage cheese or even farmer cheese will do.

Lemon Ricotta SyrnikiLemon Ricotta Syrniki

As a kid, my mama made syrniki occasionally, but not too often. Once I had my own kids, my mom became a syrniki-making-machine! They’re small, portable and perfect for a toddlers chubby fingers. They’re delicious right from the fridge, at room temperature or immediately off of the skillet. And they keep well in the refrigerator (for up to 4 days).  The thing with syrniki is that most people make them “na glaz” or by eye. When I’d ask my mom how much flour she added, her response was “about two soup spoons worth”. Huh? What size soup spoons? Was the flour level or was it a heaping spoon? Then she’d say, “but if the syrnik doesn’t hold, you’ll need to add more flour. Sometimes a little bit and other times a little bit more.” My response to her, on more than one cooking-related occasion was, “For goodness sake, Mama! You’re an engineer. Use exact measurements!”

There’s a reason that this recipe can be finicky. If your ricotta cheese is waterier than mine, you’ll need to either drain it or increase the flour. If you use farmer cheese, which usually has a lower water content than fresh ricotta, you might want to use a little bit less flour than I did. It’s all about getting the right binding consistency.

I’m sharing my mom’s basic recipe for syrniki and my fancied up version as well.


Soaking the raisins in hot water will plump them

Soaking the raisins in hot water will plump them

Main ingredients... fresh ricotta, raisins, flour and eggs

Main ingredients… fresh ricotta, raisins, flour and eggs

This particular ricotta doesn't have a high water content.This particular ricotta doesn’t have a high water content.

Vanilla extract going in!

Vanilla extract going in!

Lemon Zest

Lemon Zest

Mix all of the ingredients and taste the batter. I felt that it needed a small boost of sugar, so I added 1 tablespoon of sugar

Mix all of the ingredients and taste the batter. I felt that it needed a small boost of sugar, so I added 1 tablespoon of sugar

Add the drained raisins

Add the drained raisins

Test syrnik...

Test syrnik…

Frying the syrniki

Frying the syrniki

Really, I could eat these all day...

Really, I could eat these all day…

Sour cream is optional (but you want to exercise that option!)

Sour cream is optional (but you want to exercise that option!)

11 Syrniki Plated

Lemon Ricotta Syrniki (сы́рники)

Makes approximately 18 syrniki (2″ diameter)


1 container TJ’s fresh ricotta (15 ounces)
3/4 cups AP flour (or GF AP flour)
2 large eggs
1 cup raisins
pinch of kosher salt
(optional) zest of 1 lemon
(optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(optional) 1 tablespoon of sugar
Canola oil for skillet


1. Measure out the raisins and add just enough hot water to the raisins to cover them, maybe a bit more. Let them plump up while you get the rest of your ingredients together: anywhere between 10 minutes and and hour-depending on how many things you’re multi-tasking. (If you want, you can drink the raisin water, it’s really yummy! The original grape juice!) Drain the raisins, but don’t squeeze them.
2. Combine the ricotta, flour, eggs and salt in a large bowl. If using, add the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Mix well.
3. Taste. If you think it needs a hit of sweetness, add a tablespoon of sugar. Mix well.
4. Add raisins and mix to incorporate.
5. Heat a non-stick pan on medium/medium-low. Add a splash of canola oil (about 1 tablespoon) and let the oil heat up.
3. With wet hands, form ONE round patty, about 2 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick. (If the patty immediately falls apart return it to the batter and add 1/2 cup more flour).
4. Place the patty in the hot skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side.
5. Remove the test syrnik and let it cool down. Taste it. If it’s yummy and held together well during the cooking process, proceed with remaining syrniki. If it fell apart, add 1/4 cup of flour to the batter.
6. Working in batches (depending on the size of your skillet), form the syrniki and cook them until golden brown on each side. About 4 minutes per side.
7. If needed, in between batches, add another tablespoon of canola oil.
8. Remove syrniki to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.
9. Optional: serve with sour cream or Fage.
10. Eat immediately (after they cooled down for a bit) or refrigerate and enjoy later.
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

7 thoughts on “Lemon Ricotta Syrniki (сы́рники)

  1. Ayli

    It’s good to know that you can do cырники from ricotta cheese (I usually cook them from farmer cheese). I’ll make cырники next time I’ll get extra ricotta cheese in my house. Thanks for this recipe.

  2. moving

    ”Its always good to learn tips like you share for blog posting. As I just started posting comments for blog and facing problem of lots of rejections. I think your suggestion would be helpful for me. I will let you know if its work for me too.”

  3. Svetlana Kerstein

    This recipe is amazing! Light, fluffy, and lemon zest takes these syrniki to a while different level. A must make to compliment any meal. I am going to make them as dessert for company next time.

  4. Lorka Kurochkina

    Wonderful! I have been searching for a version to be able to cook in the USA, and your recipe is the most understandable, thank you for posting!

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