Typical foods in Russia include exotic dishes and others with recipes similar to conventional Western cuisine. Although it is very marked by the foreign influence of its neighbors, the country also has its own ancient creations from its vast territorial extension.
Let us know in this article the 30 typical foods in Russia, many soups, salads, desserts and traditional drinks, that Russians always eat.
1. Princely fries
The princely potatoes consist of a kind of tortilla or cake based on potatoes cooked in the oven.
They are cut into slices with their shells and complemented with tvorog, a fermented milk product very common in Russian cuisine that must be covered until they are overflowing.
This ancient dish became traditional for the celebration of Saint Peter’s Day celebrated on July 12. It is served hot and can be battered with vegetables and chives.
Caviar is one of the most emblematic foods of Russian cuisine. It has two versions: red caviar, prepared with salmon, and black caviar, which is usually made with sturgeon or beluga.
Either presentation is served on thin slices of buttered white bread, brown bread, crusty bread slices, or blinis, which are pancakes or crepes.
Caviar on buttered bread is known as zakuska.
Red caviar is the least expensive and therefore the most present in Russian homes. Black caviar is exclusive and expensive, only for holidays or special occasions like Christmas.
There are a variety of types of black caviar, but one of the best known is beluga caviar.
3. Olivier salad or Russian salad
The Russian salad is called Olivier in homage to its creator, the French chef, Lucién Olivié, who popularized it in Moscow.
The original recipe consists of hard-boiled eggs, bologna, salted cucumbers, fennel, fresh peas, carrots and potatoes cooked to perfection. All cut into small cubes and seasoned with mayonnaise and salt to taste.
Currently, the salad is prepared with a hard-boiled but grated egg, pickles in brine, potatoes, cooked carrots and some animal protein such as chicken, sausage or meat.
A now common variant is to add cooked beets also diced with sauerkraut. As a dish, it is usually accompanied by tangerines when preparing the table.
Salad is one of the typical meals of Russians, especially in winter and for their biggest festivities, Christmas and New Year.
4. Herring in fur coat
Salad or cold cake formed by layers. It is prepared with potatoes, carrots and beets cooked separately, which are then grated or diced.
Hard-boiled egg, finely grated fresh onions, green apples also cut, mayonnaise and salt to taste are added.
When ready, the ingredients are seasoned separately and layered on top of each other, leaving a portion of mayonnaise in between. Green apples are placed last on the layers.
A variant is to place the pieces of fruit next to the mayonnaise in between each layer. Likewise, this dish can be prepared with sardines instead of herring for the Christmas season.
5. Uja, fish soup
To prepare the traditional uja fish soup you will need a salted fish such as trout, normal sturgeon or sterlet, burbot, cod, scorpion fish or fresh salmon.
The flavor will depend on the chosen fish. Carrots, potatoes, pieces of celery and bay leaves, a little dill and onion are added as companions to the broth.
The soup is served hot garnished with a few fine sprigs of parsley and accompanied by a shot of vodka.
6. Borsch (soup)
Borsh is an exquisite vegetable soup with a characteristic fiery red color, one of the most famous broths in the country.
Among its vegetables and previously sautéed vegetables are carrots, potatoes, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, beans and onions, along with some mushrooms and meat, which can be pork, chicken or beef.
You can prepare it to eat it hot or cold, without this detracting from its exquisite flavor. In both it has beet as a base vegetable, although they are prepared differently.
Hot borsh is the most common and has the most alternative ingredients.
This interesting beetroot soup, whose origins are in the Ukraine, is accompanied by fresh rye bread, a good meat dish, and a spoonful of sour cream is usually added to the soup.
7. Shchi (soup)
Shchi is another of Russia’s famous soups, this time with cabbage as the main ingredient. It is accompanied by other greens and vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, onions, parsley, garlic and bay leaf, with spices to taste.
In some cases, for part of the meat, chicken is added as the first option or some other such as fish or beef.
A variant of the soup is to replace the cabbage (cabbage) with chukrut, which changes the name to sour shchi. To make it thicker and with more nutritional value, a little rye flour and buckwheat grain are added to it.
8. Okroshka (cold soup)
Okroshka is a cold soup whose name comes from the Russian “kroshit”, which means “to chop”.
It is prepared with raw vegetables such as radish, cucumber and spring onions, mixed with eggs, boiled potatoes and a little Kvass, a refreshing drink made from bread.
The dish also usually includes meat, ham or mortadella. Kvass can be replaced by kefir and citric acid.
9. Solyanka or meat soup
Solyanka is on the list of traditional Russian soups for winter. It is also consumed in other European countries, including the Ukraine.
It is similar to shchi in that it is based on meat, although it is particularly made with various types of meat, be it beef, mushrooms or fish.
It is accompanied with carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage, as well as sour-savory ingredients such as salted mushrooms, salted cucumbers, olives and sliced lemons.
The solyanka can contain, among the types of meat, bacon, sausage and even ham, always cut into cubes or slices, which contributes to the color of the soup and the accentuation of the final flavors.
10. Shashlik or meat skewers
Skewers of juicy diced beef or pork or chicken bondiola, with onion and tomato.
The meat is marinated between spices to taste, pepper and salt, for at least 6 hours. It is taken to the grill to be roasted and then the skewers are made.
The Russians use to add a touch of kefir, vinegar or beer, to the preparation where the meat will be marinated to give it more flavor.
Shashlik is one of the typical foods from the south of the country, prepared on summer days and at picnics. The meat is accompanied or dressed with mayonnaise or tomato sauce. It can be eaten with French fries and some spreadable cream.
11. Pelmeni or dumplings stuffed with meat
Russians regard pelmeni as the “workers’ food” and national dish. They are small balls of a mixture of beef, pork and lamb, wrapped in a thin dough.
They can be consumed in various ways: coated with various sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard), added with sour cream or butter, or simply on their own.
Another option is to serve them in a hot broth and eat them as a soup. As a variant, they are filled with mushrooms or salmon.
If you will order them in a restaurant, you should order “dumplings”, since that is how they are known on food menus.
12. Kotleta po-kievski or “Chicken Kiev”
Kotleta po-kievski or in Spanish, chicken Kiev, is a traditional Russian food consisting of boneless chicken breast tenderized with a mallet, then rolled up and stuffed with unsalted garlic butter. Then, it is breaded for cooking.
It can be prepared fried or, as a healthier alternative, baked; In both ways, it is expected to be crispy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside.
It is accompanied with a side dish of rice, green salad with lettuce or potatoes (mashed or steamed) and mushrooms.
13. Ukha or fish soup
Ukha or uja soup, which in Spanish would be Russian fish soup, is one of the most popular soups in the country. Although it is eaten at any time of the year, it is prepared more frequently in winter.
Fish such as dorado, northern pike, ruffe or catfish are used for its preparation. Salmon, cod, sturgeon and even the exquisite trout are also considered.
Like any good soup, it also has sliced carrots and potatoes, onion, leek, bay leaf cut into strips, salt and pepper to taste.
To give the soup a touch of color, you can add saffron and it will turn yellow, while with cloves and some pepper it will turn black or white.
The fish will be what determines the flavor.
14. Blinis or Russian pancakes
The popular blinis are the well-known Russian pancakes, a very old dish linked to the country’s festivities and traditions.
Blinis are similar to the famous French crepes, because in addition to being prepared with similar ingredients, they are usually filled with tasty components. However, the blini batter contains yeast, leaving the pancakes lighter.
They are served plain, with dill and butter, or topped with sour cream or tartar sauce. There are those who add caviar and even previously marinated or smoked salmon.
For sweet pancakes they are accompanied with jam, condensed milk, chocolate, honey or cottage cheese.
15. Beef Stroganoff
Dish originating in Russia whose recipe is in the book of Russian Classical Cuisine under the name of govjadina postrogonovski s gorchitseju, which translated into Spanish would be “ox strogonov with mustard”.
The original recipe consists of thin strips of meat or beef tenderloin coated in sour cream, with strips of onion and mushrooms. However, the dish can vary by using beef, beef tongue, pork, chicken or, as a vegetarian option, noodles. In this case, vegetable broth is added keeping the rest of the original recipe.
The dish is accompanied by white rice.
The zapekanka is a baked cake also prepared in neighboring countries of the Slavic community, each with its own recipe.
It has a sweet and salty version. For the latter, it can be prepared with beef, chicken or fish and chopped onions between mashed potatoes, overflowing the tortilla with sour cream.
One of the most common variants is cottage cheese, with its soft texture and special flavor, accompanied by jam or red berries. So it is eaten as dessert, snack or lunch.
Small balls filled with vegetarian ingredients known for their resemblance to pelmeni.
Russian vareniks also resemble their Ukrainian varenyky namesakes and the well-known Italian ravioli.
The difference from the Ukrainian ones is that kefir and eggs are added to the dough, while in the Russian recipe the dough is prepared with sour milk and they can be frozen.
Varenik are square or crescent-shaped. They are eaten savory as an appetizer stuffed with potatoes with cheese, sauerkraut, mushrooms or cottage cheese and sweet, as a dessert or snack, stuffed with cherries.
They are equally served for breakfast and lunch with and topped with sour cream, melted butter, or in boiled water soup-style.
Golubtsy is the most typical food in Russian cuisine with origins in the Greek and Caucasian peoples, stuffed with meat and wrapped in grape leaves.
The recipe came to Russia when populations from these countries settled in the country. Golub means pigeon in Russian, and the reference was taken from the French custom of cooking pigeons wrapped in cabbage leaves.
The meal consists of ground meat or minced meat accompanied with rice, all well seasoned and wrapped in cabbage leaves (tender cabbage). They are cooked in a tomato sauce and once ready, they are served with a touch of sour cream on top.
Among its variants, you can get prepared with goose meat and wrapped in lime leaves, which creates a tasty combination of flavors.
Popular options include boiled eggs with rice prepared with onions; rice prepared with onion and mushrooms; mushrooms and onion with celery and parsley roots.
19. Pirozhkí and pirogí
The Russians have an important list of typical foods, one of them, the pirozhkí and pirogí, which in Spanish are known as large or small and stuffed pastries.
Among the most typical are the stuffed potatoes with egg and cabbage, meat or fish. Sweet cupcakes are filled with apple, cottage cheese, plums, jams or jellies.
In terms of size, those that fit in the palm of a hand are known as pirozhkí and are prepared both baked and fried. The largest ones are called pirogí and are cooked in the oven.
Although they can be eaten every day, they are especially served for celebrations, events or festivities. They are to Russians what pizza is to Italians.
20. Cabbage Pie
Russian gastronomy is rich in cabbage dishes, the most typical being cabbage cake prepared for holidays or every day.
It is a delicacy for any dinner presented as a vegetarian main course or for a quick lunch, topped with cranberries accompanied by hot tea.
The cake is a fairly elaborate meal that requires time and effort, basically because of the baked dough.
The cabbage is cut into strips for stuffing, cooked and prepared with onion also in strips. Both the cabbage and the onion are sautéed so that they take on the desired flavor, texture and color. Add the egg, salt and pepper to taste.
The filling is poured into the mold with the ready dough, covered with a layer of the same dough and baked. Golden, soft or crispy, served hot or cold, this cake steals hearts.
21. Syrniki or tvorozhniki
Syrniki or tvorózhniki, as they are mostly called in Russia, are a type of pancakes or fritters similar to the well-known blinis, only that their dough or base mixture contains qark cheese or cottage cheese.
Its preparation is simple. Contains flour, sugar, egg and crumbled cheese. Some people add a touch of vanilla to the mix.
Its name is derived from the Russian syr which means cheese. Unlike blinis, they are thick and small with a corresponding dairy flavor.
Syrniki are among the typical foods in Russia, but they are also part of Ukrainian cuisine. To eat them, they spread sour cream or jam, honey or whatever you like. They are an excellent alternative for breakfast or a delicious dessert.
22. Kasha or porridge
Kashas are one of the most typical breakfasts in the country whose name comes from the Sanskrit “krash”, which means to grind. It is a style of porridge, puche or what is known in Spain as porridge.
It is prepared from grains or crushed cereals, whole or in flour. It can be made liquid, semi-liquid or whole grain.
Among the most common grains are lentils, barley, rice, wheat semolina, buckwheat, millet, wheat, corn, peas and oats, with the latter being the most popular.
It is customary to give it to children, athletes or for special diets due to the healthy and nutritious nature of the dish.
Apart from breakfasts, it is present at parties and celebrations such as weddings, baptisms, birthdays and funerals.
In the salty kashas the ready grains are served, they are poured with plain milk or two portions of milk for one of water or with the broth of the meat that you like. Add butter, salt and to accompany, mushrooms or vegetables. The same can be done with oats or barley.
Sweet kashas are prepared with oats as the base cereal and also in milk or milk and water, accompanied by honey or fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, walnuts and other dried fruits.
23. Seafood Macaroni
Seafood macaroni is another of the traditional Russian dishes. They are simple but tasty and best of all, they cook fast.
To prepare them, ground or chopped pork meat is required, seasoned with salt and pepper, and the vegetables and spices of preference are added. Once ready, its broth is preserved.
The boiled meat is mixed between strips of onion previously put in the pan with butter, until transparent.
Meat broth is added to hydrate and give more flavor. Once the pasta is ready, it is mixed with the meat and to close and give the final touch, a few small pieces of herbs are chopped to decorate and give color, flavor and vegetal texture.
Macaroni is served hot with cheese or some other accompaniment. It is one of the typical foods in Russia for the New Year holidays.
24. Pickled cucumbers
Pickled gherkins are one of the most typical snacks in Russia due to their delicious flavor and texture between crunchy and sour. They usually accompany various types of food as part of the garnish or can be eaten alone.
They are common after drinking a vodka. They are also seen in various types of salads and on hamburgers or sandwiches.
25. Fried or baked suckling pig
A classic of Russian food, fried or baked suckling pig, ideal for special occasions, although it is also served on the table as a sort of mincemeat or snack.
It is customary to overflow it at the moment of serving it with sour cream or what is its equivalent, milk cream and horseradish cream.
One of its variants is to fill it with buckwheat porridge and then roast it. Whether fried or baked, it is accompanied by a cold shot of vodka, a combination of flavors that enhances the taste of the dish.
A recipe that looks good for both winter and summer days.
Vinaigrette is one of the many Russian salads that are known in the country. It adopted its name in French which means, “vinaigrette”, but curiously it replaces the vinegar with fresh lemon juice.
It is prepared from boiled beets, one of the most used vegetables in Russia. It also has carrots and potatoes seasoned with chopped onion. Finely, lemon juice, vegetable oil and salt to taste.
As alternatives to the recipe, it is accompanied with peas, pieces of herring or apples. It is taken to the refrigerator and served cold.
27. Russian roast
One of the typical foods in the country. It dates from pre-revolutionary Russia when only the privileged classes could taste it. It was a long time later that it became accessible to all people.
Its ingredients are a sample of characteristic elements of Russian cuisine. It is prepared with beef, but other types of meats that are cut into slices can also be used, as well as potatoes and carrots cut into small squares.
The Russian roast is accompanied by onion rings, garlic, bay leaf and parsley, to taste it. Season with salt and pepper and cook in the oven with the same meat broth.
As a final touch, add a tablespoon of smetana and dill, 10 minutes before removing from the oven.
28. Aspic or meat jelly
Aspic is an internationally recognized dish as a culinary technique in which meat is placed inside a jelly. It can be prepared with pork, beef, fish or chicken.
One of the traditional aspics is with a pig’s head and some rooster and beef bones, which they called “jaladéts”.
Part of the trick of this recipe is to prepare the gelatin with the meat broth. If the pig is chosen, the parts of the animal to be used are the legs with their hooves, the tail and the ears.
If veal meat is chosen, the parts to be used are the legs with their hooves, the brains and the tail, which will serve to gelatinize the broth.
The modernization of the dish in the XIX century is called “zalivnóye”, taking the best pieces of meat for its preparation and making the broth transparent and very clean.
Basically, this is what distinguishes it from its initial version, the presentation and the addition of other ingredients such as berries, spices, mushrooms and even fruit, along with saffron or lemon, turmeric and others. All to give a special flavor to the broth and the meat.
29. Mushroom Julienne or julienne with mushrooms and cream
Dish of French origin adopted as a typical food of Russia by foreign influence.
Its French counterpart is known as a cocotte and its ingredients are mushrooms and chicken, submerged in a bechamel sauce. The Russian version is prepared in individual portions in metal pans.
It is a creamy dish based on finely sliced mushrooms, which has a flavor similar to the well-known stroganoff, only it does not include meat.
The mushrooms are prepared with sour cream, cheese and cream, being passed through the grill to seal the upper layer and leave them crispy.
As variants, chicken or bacon is added, giving a particular touch to the flavor. This typical Russian meal is served as a starter and eaten hot. If you want it cold, keep in mind that the texture and flavor change a bit.
As an accompaniment you can serve fish or meat, even creamy mashed potatoes with vegetables or beans.
30. Baked Duck with Apples
This dish is as typical as blinis, caviar and vodka. After hunting the animal, it is baked with vegetables and spices to flavor it. Finally it is accompanied with honey and apples.
How are Russian breakfasts?
Russian breakfasts are fundamentally high in calories and fat. So the order of the day to start the food journey is carbohydrates.
Throughout the list of 30 foods that we have just shown you, you can see various types of Russian breakfasts. Among the most prominent and widely consumed are blinis, kasha and varénik, the Russian version of ravioli.
What is the drink of the Russians?
Par excellence and tradition is vodka, followed by kvass, which can be obtained with or without alcohol. Mors made from berries, a fruit-based gelatinous cream called kisel, and Baltika beer are also counted.
Other drinks are the thousand-year-old Mead, with 13° alcohol, followed by the Medovuja, based on honey, also alcoholic, fermented from fruits, kvass or berries.
Typical non-alcoholic Russian drinks include kefir, which is similar to yogurt, and sbiten, a kind of traditional herbal tea on winter days.
Typical Russian desserts
In a vast diversity of colors and flavors, among the main typical Russian desserts are morozhenoe, ice cream to which fruits, chocolate or nuts are added.
The medovick, a honey cake dipped in thick sour cream that is combined with condensed milk, dried fruit and custard.
Paskha is a sweetened cheesecake that is widely consumed on Easter and Christmas days.
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