15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (2024)

Russia may not be the first to come to mind when you think of a food destination, but the country has plenty of delicious traditional dishes to try. Visitors to Russia are often surprised at the variety and flavors of Russian cuisine, which is influenced by Russia's connection to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The most classic Russian recipes are made of veggies and wheat, such as soups, porridges, and stuffed dough.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (1)

Borscht is a beet soup that originated in Ukraine and was quickly adopted as a Russian specialty. Beets may seem like a strange base for soup to many Westerners, but there are plenty of reasons that this hearty soup is one of Russia’s most famous dishes. It is full of meat and sautéed vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes. It can be served hot or cold and is best served with a dollop of fresh sour cream on top.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (2)

Shchi is a typical cabbage soup made from either fresh or fermented cabbage. While different recipes call for various ingredients, shchi often contains potatoes, carrots, onions, and possibly some meat such as chicken. The cabbage can also be replaced with sauerkraut, called sour shchi.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (3)

Solyanka is a thick soup that is plentiful enough to be a meal in itself. This soup is made with various types of meat, including sausage, bacon, ham, and beef, as well as vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes. Chopped pickles and the traditional lemon slice garnish play an essential role in giving this recipe its sour flavor. It is often also made with fish and pickled cucumbers.

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If you like seafood, try ukha, a fish soup with a clear broth. Many different kinds of fish can be used to make this soup, including bream, wels catfish, northern pike, and ruffe. The remaining ingredients are not unlike what you might find in a traditional chicken soup—think root vegetables, parsley, leeks, and dill.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (5)

You may have already heard of pirozhki (also known as piroshki or pyrizhky). These little baked or fried puff pastries are packed with potatoes, meat, cabbage, or cheese. The stuffed pockets are popular all around Russia and Ukraine.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (6)

Pelmeni is considered the national dish of Russia. They are pastry dumplings are typically filled with minced meat and wrapped in a thin, pasta-like dough. They can be served alone, slathered in butter and topped with sour cream, or in a soup broth. A favorite in Russia and Eastern Europe!

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (7)

Blini is a wheat pancake rolled with various fillings: jam, cheese, sour cream, caviar, onions, or even chocolate syrup. It is Russia's equivalent of a crepe. At any restaurant where you aren't sure of any of the other dishes, blini are always a safe bet. Blini are such an important part of Russian cuisine that a festival called Maslenitsacelebrates the beginning of spring with them.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (8)

Russian kebabs are called shashlyk or shashlik. Like any kebab, they consist of cubed meat and veggies grilled on skewers. They have roots in the Caucasian Mountains, where 19th-century tribe members would prepare them over an open flame.

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Beef Stroganoff

15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (9)

Beef stroganoff consists of sauteed beef strips served in a creamy sauce with mushrooms or tomatoes, often served with rice, noodles, or potatoes. This recipe has a long history, and many variations for its preparation exist, but its roots are in mid-19th-century Russia.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (10)

Caviar, or ikra, is really something to get worked up about in Russia. Briny and sharp, it is often served on dark, crusty bread or with blini, which are like pancakes or crepes. Caviar on buttered bread is a popular zakuska.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (11)

You can expect to find sour cream or smetana, accompanying almost any Russian traditional food—with crepes, soups, and even sometimes in dessert. This sour cream is fresh and melts into any warm dish, adding to its distinctive flavor. (You will likely often see it in beef stroganoff.)

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (12)

Russia is well-known for vodka, so you can expect to find many varieties throughout the country, such as Russian Standard Gold,Moskovskaya Osobaya, Kauffman, and Beluga Noble. Russian beverage menus can also include tea, mineral water, beer, and soda.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (13)

Kvass is a refreshing fermented beverage with slight carbonation. Although it has a very slight alcohol content, it is not considered an alcoholic beverage. It is made from black or regular rye bread or dough and can be flavored with a variety of different things, ranging from honey to berries to herbs.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (14)

Russians love ice cream, called morozhenoe. It is common to find it on many restaurant menus with various toppings​ , like fruit, nuts, or chocolate. Unlike more traditional Western ice cream, morozhenoe is much creamier, thanks to the fresh milk and a higher ice ratio to dairy.

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15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (15)

Paskha is a festive dessert that is commonly made around Easter in Eastern Orthodox countries. This sweetened cheesecake dessert is decorated with Christian symbols as a part of the holiday feast.

15 Traditional Russian Foods You Must Try (2024)


What is Russia's national dish? ›

Pelmeni is considered the national dish of Russia. They are pastry dumplings are typically filled with minced meat and wrapped in a thin, pasta-like dough. They can be served alone, slathered in butter and topped with sour cream, or in a soup broth.

What food is eaten in Russia Day? ›

This is not the case and Russia Day is a good opportunity to learn about this unique cuisine. Stroganoff is well-known and easily made with chicken or beef. Borsch is a well-known comfort food made with beef and cabbage. Desserts are also available as shortbread cookies or honey cakes.

What are 3 Russian foods? ›

Top 10 foods to try in Russia
  • Kamchatka crab. Red king crab is a species that's native to the Bering Sea and can be found around the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia. ...
  • Borscht. ...
  • Pelmeni. ...
  • Blini. ...
  • Black Sea barabulka. ...
  • Kvass. ...
  • Varenie. ...
  • Sirniki.
Oct 19, 2019

What did Russian peasants eat? ›

Here is the typical peasant diet: Dinner consists of cabbage soup, porridge (kasha), or, again, potatoes and bread. The soup, of course, has no meat in it, just cabbage, but occasionally sour cream is added. Potatoes are mixed with kvass and onions.

What are 5 foods in Russia? ›

The truest Russian foods are rye bread, emmer wheat or buckwheat porridge, cabbage soup (with or without lard), fish soup and salted fish, eggs, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, cucumbers and pickles, onions, horseradishes, mushrooms, butter, baked milk, cottage cheese, mead and kvass (a slightly fermented drink made ...

What is Russia's favorite vegetable? ›

Cabbage, potatoes, and cold-tolerant greens are common in Russian and other Eastern European cuisines. Pickling cabbage (sauerkraut), cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables in brine is used to preserve vegetables for winter use. Pickled apples and some other fruit also used to be widely popular.

What are Russian dumplings called? ›

Pelmeni, Vereniki, and Pierogi are all types of dumplings that are found in either Russia (pelmeni and vareniki), or Central and Eastern Europe (pierogi).

What is the most popular drink in Russia? ›

Tea. Tea has a significant role in Russian culture. Due to the cold Northern climate, it became the most popular drink, and today is considered a national drink of Russia. Locals love to drink tea always and everywhere!

What is a famous Russian dish? ›

Borscht (Russian Beetroot Soup)

This classic dish boasts a medley of beets, cabbage, and other vegetables simmered into a vibrant red soup. It's delicious whether served hot or cold, and for the perfect finish, add a blob of fresh sour cream on top.

What do Russians eat for lunch? ›

Lunch always features soups and Russian dinners are similar to any Western cuisine, featuring a variety of fried meats and fish. Meals are served with rich salads (the recipe of the most popular salad is very simple: cucumbers + tomatoes +onions + sour cream/mayo), picketed vegetables, and boiled of fried potatoes.

What's the most expensive food in Russia? ›

Caviar. The luxury food most closely associated with the Russian aristocracy's love of decadence, high-grade caviar (eekra) is the world's most expensive food item, with the most exclusive varieties costing several thousand dollars for a single teaspoon's worth.

What is a Russians favorite drink? ›

Russians like to drink vodka for many occasions; it can be a commemoration or a huge celebration. Russians usually express their sadness and happiness with vodka.

Which drink is famous in Russia? ›

Vodka. The main Russian alcoholic drink has always been vodka ever since it appeared in the 15th century.

What are some unique Russian traditions? ›

Top 10 Russian Customs to Remember
  • Spitting and touching wood. ...
  • Don't hand people money. ...
  • Never give clocks, scarves or knives as presents. ...
  • Always give an odd number of flowers. ...
  • Remove your shoes. ...
  • Keep your glass half full. ...
  • Don't place empty bottles on the table. ...
  • Respect Babushka.

What is Russia most known for? ›

Russia is known all over the world for its thinkers and artists, including writers like Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and ballet dancers including Rudolf Nureyev.


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