Russia: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Russia Church Image

Russian cuisine is vast and varied, a reflection of the fact that its territory spans thousands of miles and numerous cultures. A large portion of Russian dishes — cabbage soups, black bread, buckwheat porridge — have origins in the peasantry. Still others — chicken Kiev, bef Stroganoff, veal Prince Orloff — reflect French culinary traditions imported to the imperial court by Catherine the Great. Root vegetables, poulty, wild game, fish, hearty breads and noodles are popular, as are never-ending shots of vodka.

Russian Recipes


Soups | Borshch Image

(Ukrainian Russian beet soup)

Borshch (борщ) is one of the classic soups of the Russian household. Ukrainians, however, swear that it was invented by them. Regardless, there are countless variations throughout the Slavic region of Europe, both with meat and without. Most, but not all, have a base of beets. Read more »

Cherniy Hleb

Breads | Cherniy Hleb, Russian Black Bread

(Russian black bread)

A hearty loaf of sourdough rye bread represents for many Russians the core of the Russian soul. As an old Russian saying goes, "porridge is our mother; bread is our father." Read more »


(Russian potato pancakes; see Latkes recipe)


(Russian stuffed cabbage rolls; see Gołąbki recipe)


Grains | Kasha Image

(East European buckwheat groats)

Although kasha is a word used to describe a wide variety of grain porridges in Russia, it has come to be most closely linked to this particular buckwheat (gretchka) dish. Kasha is a nutritious and excellent substitute for rice, especially when paired with beef or lamb. Read more »


Breads | Kulich

(Eastern Orthodox sweet Easter bread)

Kulich (кулич) is a tall, cylindrical sweet bread that is served for Easter in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. It is traditionally paired with paskha, a sort of cheesecake. The two confections are taken to church on Easter Sunday to be blessed by the local priest. Then for the Easter meal, slices of kulich are spread with paskha and eaten. If you don't have a kulich mold, you will need a 2-pound coffee can for this recipe. Read more »


Beverages | Kvas Image

(Russian fermented rye beverage)

Kvas (квас) is an ancient and beloved beverage from Slavic Europe. While it is basically a low-alcohol beer, it is enjoyed as a soft drink, even by small children. Factory-made versions have been available for some time and many are quite good. But homemade will always be best. Often spelled "kvass." Read more »

Kvashenaya Kapusta Provansal

Salads | Kvashenaya Kapusta Provansal

(Russian sauerkraut salad)

Kvashenaya kapusta provansal is a delicious salad to serve alongside a roast or with sausages. The word "provansal" in the name of the dish is a Russian way of indicating the use of olive oil. Read more »


Desserts | Easter Paskha

(Eastern Orthodox molded Easter cheesecake)

Paskha — also known as Пасха, paska, pasca and pascha — is a pyramid-shaped confection that is served for Easter in the Eastern Orthodox homes of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and also in Poland and Lithuania. Similar in taste to a cheesecake without the crust, paskha is traditionally spread on slices of kulich, a sweet Easter bread. Read more »


Meats | Shashlik

(Central Asian grilled skewered lamb)

Shashlik, or shashlyk, (Russian: шашлык) is essential picnic food in the countries of the former USSR. Succulent lamb is marinated simply, then skewered and cooked until meltingly tender on an outdoor grill. The word comes from the Turkish "shish" as in shish kebabs. Shashlik is known as mtsvadi in Georgia. Read more »



(Russian cabbage soup)

Rich, nourishing, ethereal — shchi (щи) is a soup that touches the Russian soul. At its most basic, shchi (pronounced sh-CHEE) is a simple vegetarian cabbage stew. More elaborate versions include slow-simmered beef brisket and a variety of root vegetables. Read more »


(Russian stuffed dumplings; see Pierogi recipe)


Salads | Vinegret

(Russian cold vegetable salad)

Vinegret is a healthy, tasty Russian salad that goes well with some herring, black bread and, of course, ice-cold vodka. Because this salad was developed during Soviet times, when fresh vegetables were at a premium, vinegret is often made with canned or frozen vegetables. Read more »