The Russian food traditions and culture cannot fail to impress. In the food world, Russian desserts are the shining stars among countless different sweets.
Russian desserts are so delicious and the flavor combinations that each dessert can provide is almost too good to be true.
In this article, we have selected the 17 best Russian desserts you can make for that family gathering or weekend dinner table, when you want to serve your family and friends with something other than a classic vanilla or chocolate cake.
So, keep on reading below to choose the Russian dessert you will serve at your next family or friends gathering at home!
The iconic Napoleon cake is without a doubt among the top five favorite desserts in Russian households.
Why is this cake so popular? Because it is creamy, soft, and it melts in your mouth. Oh, and it’s simply delicious!
A Napoleon cake includes some very simple ingredients like flour, salt, butter, sugar, milk, and eggs, but the way they are combined results in a mille-feuille-style cake that makes the French dread the competition!
Stolichny cake is a traditional Russian cake that typically accompanies a cup of tea or coffee.
Because this cake is made with flour, raisins, butter, and sugar, it is soft, thick, and very sweet, especially when you have some once it’s out of the oven.
Nevertheless, if you feel like this recipe has too much sugar, you can always add less. The texture and taste will stay the same thanks to the raising that helps a lot with their sweetness.
This will always be one of our favorites. If you had only one chance to impress people with a Russian cake, Medovik should be your one and only choice.
We’re not going to lie; making a Medovik cake can take some time. You need to first bake all the layers one by one and then assemble then to create your tower cake.
Cream, honey, and condensed milk are then blended in a mixture that goes between the baked layers and then is poured all over the cake to cover it up. Garnish with walnuts if you want and serve it cold.
Blinis are thin, crepe-like pancakes that look just like crepes but are much lighter as each one of them is made with much less batter.
A blini recipe looks very much the same as that of crepes, but if you follow the right instructions, you will get a result that proves that they might use the same ingredients, but they are quite different to taste.
Check out this recipe from Little Broken for a step-by-step preparation of these perfect Russian blinis.
If you see a plate of Rugelach from a distance, you might mistake them for mini croissants. But they are not.
Rugelach is a Jewish dessert that entered the Russian cuisine and was “adopted” in a way to the point that it has become one of the most traditional Russian desserts.
These are basically crispy crescent-shaped cookies that are best enjoyed warm and with a cup of tea.
Their dough is made with cream cheese and their filling is sweet and nutty, with a cinnamon essence.
6. Kogel Mogel
Kogel Mogel sounds a bit Hebrew, right? Well, that is because kogel mogel is another one of the Jewish desserts that Russians have made their own.
This dessert is favored by many people for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is its simplicity. The other one is its taste, while many people love the fact that there’s alcohol in it.
If any of these reasons sounds convincing enough for you to try and make your own Kogel Mogel (or gogol mogol like Russians like to call it) check out this recipe.
Piroshkis come in all shapes and sizes and with all kinds of fillings. You can use your hands to shape them, roll them on the table to give them a rounder shape.
As for cooking them, you can fry them or bake them in the oven if you skip on the extra calories.
However, if you want a taste of the original piroshki, you should fry them and eat them warm to taste all the juiciness of the filling.
What can you put inside them? For savory fillings, try potatoes, or eggs with fresh onions. For a sweet take, try adding some sweetened shredded apple or some chocolate.
Sugar was not always easily accessible during Soviet times, so residents in Russia had to modify most dessert recipes.
That is the main honey is such an important ingredient in a number of Russian treats, and pryaniki is one of those sweet snacks that have lots of honey in them.
Pryaniki look like cookies, and they are soft and chewy at the same time. Their texture is like that of gingerbread but that’s all these two sweet snacks have in common.
Nowadays, you can find store-bought pryaniki with many different tastes, like rose, poppy and so on, but this recipe yields some classic honey pryaniki for a taste of the authentic!
Oladi are little pancakes that are made with kefir instead of milk. However, you can always use buttermilk if you cannot find kefir in your local supermarket.
These Russian pancakes are light and fluffy and are traditionally served with smetana.
Again, if you don’t have a continental shop nearby, you can replace the smetana with some Greek-style yogurt.
Zephyr is a light snack option that is made with fruit puree, sugar, and egg whites. If you called them fancy Russian marshmallows you would probably be right, as that is what they practically are.
Gourmet marshmallows are the closest thing I can think of to zephyr.
These are far superior to the marshmallows you can get from a candy shop, not to mention that they look simply stunning as a centerpiece on a party buffet.
If you are looking for a wholesome sweet treat for the colder months, syrniki is the answer.
Some call them Russian cheesecakes, others call them cheese pancakes. What you get is fluffy, thick pancakes that are made with cottage cheese, eggs, flour, and sunflower or olive oil.
The perfect syrniki are crunchy on the outside and spongy on the inside. In addition, to enhance the flavor, serve them with some fruity jam and smetana.
You’d be out of luck if you wanted to get a donut in Moscow, but a vatrushka could turn out to be a much better alternative.
This sweet snack is a delicious combination of a bagel and a donut. Since it does not have the same fillings as donuts, the similarities end there.
Vatrushkas are often topped with a fruit compote or a sugary cream cheese and nuts. Check out this recipe to make some vatrushkas with a sweet cheese filling.
13. Ptichye Moloko
Have you milked a bird? Probably not, but this is how one would translate the name of this dessert.
To make it sound better, let’s say that it’s a “bird’s milk cake” and definitely one of the most famous treats in Russia.
You can make a ptichye moloko either as a bar or as a cake. Either way, the result is a cream base with a chocolate layer on top.
To keep the dessert as Russian as possible, buy some Russian Alyonka chocolate for the top.
Pirog is a pastry treat that can be served either with a savory or a sweet filling. For the sweet version, try some sweetened cream, honey, and nuts, or check out this recipe using apricot preserves.
The word ‘pirog’ is generally used for all the doughs used to make pies, so if you want to try making both a sweet and a savory pirog recipe, use this pirog dough recipe and then split it in half and use each piece for a sweet and a savory pirog, respectively.
An apple treat that all the tsars and intellectuals indulged in, Pastila is an elegant and royal dessert that everyone needs to try making (and, of course, taste) at least once in their lives!
Sweet and fluffy, this dessert is made of applesauce, sugar and egg whites, all of which are whipped until they create a thick white foam that is then carefully baked to perfection.
Use this recipe and read it carefully before you start preparing your pastila as it is a bit tricky to make.
16. Chocolate Salami
This Russian chocolate ‘kalbasa’ (the Russian word for ‘salami’) is the perfect no-bake dessert you can make in no time the day before the big party.
Crushed tea biscuits, walnuts (these are optional), melted chocolate and butter, milk and sugar are all you need to make the salami mixture.
Then you have to simply shape it like a salami (this recipe has a step-by-step guide on how to do that) and put it in the freezer.
Serve it cold and add some ice cream or melted chocolate on top for some extra bonus points!
Even though “kartoshka” means “potato,” this dessert has nothing to do with the starchy potato we use for a vegetable stew.
The chocolate-y kartoshkas are the popular Russian cake pops that are made with condensed milk, butter, cocoa, cognac, nuts, and cookie crumbs.
To enhance the flavors of the kartoshkas, you can add some vanilla cookies, tequila, and lime, and a dash of sea salt for a more elegant look.
The Bottom Line
These 17 Russian dessert ideas are going to be a big success at your next gathering with friends and family.
And, if you have a Russian friend coming over, you are bound to make them very happy and even nostalgic of their childhood. They will definitely thank you with tears of joy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Name Of A Russian Dessert?
All of the many variations of medovik (honey cake) are popular up and down Russia. It can be made with condensed milk, buttermilk, custard or with the original sour cream.
Similar to the Napoleon cake, thin layers of pastry (this time honeyed), are layered with the sweetened cream of your choice.
Is Russia Known For Chocolate?
Chocolates: Russian chocolates such as the Alyonka bar have been made world-famous by their captivating wrappings.