Olad’i Russian Kefir Pancakes

Olad’i Russian Kefir Pancakes

This is one of the traditional pancake type in Eastern Europe – mainly Ukraine and Russia – that would be served for weekend breakfast, typically with thick sour cream (Smetana) and homemade jam. At least this is how I always remembered it to be.

Some would argue that traditional Olad’i are made with yeast, but when I was growing up in East Russia baking soda was always used. It does not affect the taste or texture, they still rise and become crispy on the outside and chewy inside, but it is easier and gentler on the stomach to skip the yeast.

Kefir is the key ingredient here, which adds to Olad’i signature, slightly sour taste. Here in Scandinavia, it it readily available in supermarkets as Kefir or Kulturmelk in Norway and Filmjölk in Sweden. Icelandic product Skyr can also be used here and well as more familiar western Buttermilk, but the taste might vary depending on the chosen product and its level of tartness.

I recommend using pancake or regular non stick frying pan for making Olad’i. Cast iron or any other heavy bottom pan will not work here.


5 from 1 vote
Olad'i Russian Kefir Pancakes
Prep Time
10 mins

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Eastern European
Servings: 4
Author: Elvira
  • 450 ml Kefir
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g butter melted
  • 350 g white wheat or spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (natrium bicarbonate)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Oil for frying and thick yogurt or Smetana with berries or jam to serve
  1. Add liquid ingredients into a bowl of standing mixer, followed by dry ingredients, followed by melted butter*

  2. Mix everything with paddle beater attached. Batter should be thick and lumpy.

  3. Heat the pancake frying pan on medium heat and spoon big spoonfuls of batter into it**. Mine takes three at a time.

  4. Fry on one side until it develops a few air bubbles, then flip and finish off until both sides are golden brown.

  5. Serve with yogurt or Smetana and berries or jam.***

Recipe Notes

*Standing mixer is absolutely not required. When I was growing up Olad'i were made using biceps' strength, but in this case it is better to mix all dry ingredients first, then mix in wet ingredients one by one with a wooden spatula. Not the whisk - the batter is too thick for whisk.

**Use big cooking spoon or a small sauce ladle.

***Olad'i can be cooled and wrapped in a foil to store in the fridge until next day.

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