The word paints a picture. When you hear it, your mind instantly wanders from Indian, Mexican, and Italian, to Chinese. There is, however, one cuisine that is widely overlooked. Any guesses?

If your answer includes the traditional foods of Russia then you are right.

Russian cuisine is delicious yet highly underappreciated. But with time, it is gaining much traction.

Russian Food Culture/Heritage

The mouth-watering dishes of Russia reflect the vast history of the country’s cuisine. It is a tantalizing blend of the Russian heritage that has evolved over the years.From soups to pastries, the food of Russian culture offers a lot to satisfy your appetite.

When looking at Russian cuisine, you will find that most of it revolves around a few key ingredients.

  • Cereals
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Flour
  • Meat

Is Russian Food Ideal for You?

When most people picture Russian food, they have the image of potato stew in mind. However, Russian food is much more than stew.

If you are used to spicy food, then Russian cuisine might be a great palate cleanser for you. It is flavorsome, yet mildly spicy when cooked right. In Russian food, the ingredients added are the star. Every spice that is added is used to enhance the flavor of that vegetable, meat, or cereal.

Think you are ready to try something as refined as Russian cuisine?

In this article, we tell you everything about the best foods of Russia you must try. That said, let’s get started with our list of the food of Russian culture.


1.      Borscht

This deep red delicacy is a famous Russian food to try. The primary ingredients are beetroot and beef making borscht the perfect blend of meat stock, veggies, and flavor. No serving of borscht is complete without a generous dollop of sour cream and freshly sprinkled dill.

While the dish can be cooked in multiple forms, the classic Russian borscht contains beets, cabbage, onions, potatoes, and meat. Borscht can also be served as a vegetarian soup if you skip adding meat. Some other variations of one of the most popular Russian dishes are,

  • Sorrel-based green borscht
  • Rye-based white borscht
  • Cabbage Borscht

2.      Pelmeni

Every “what is traditional Russian food” query has one constant answer—Pelmeni.

Pelmeni is amongst the most common delicacies in the country. If you’re thinking it is difficult to cook, you’re not wrong. But you’re not right either. Pelmeni can easily be found in frozen form in many supermarket aisles.

For people seeking an authentic Russian experience, Pelmeni should be a must-try. Its soft texture is filled with a savory ground beef filling and traditionally paired with sour cream. Whether you find it in the frozen food section of the grocery store or at a Michelin-star restaurant, Pelmeni should be on your checklist.

3.      Beef Stroganoff

Perfectly seared beef strips served in a sour cream mushroom gravy. That sums up a beef stroganoff. However, no words can describe the intense yet mouthwatering flavors of the dish. This tangy dish screams comfort food and is part of the favourite cuisine of Russia.

Beef Stroganoff is a traditional dish that is the right combination of creamy and savory. It takes approximately 30 minutes to cook a beef stroganoff. To make a good beef stroganoff, it is vital to get a good quality steak plus use the right cut. Tender and juicy cuts like scotch fillet and beef tenderloin are some of the best options.

4.      Blini

Blini is a traditional pancake eaten by Slavic people at the end of winter. In olden times, the round shape was compared to that of the sun. Thus, making it a means of announcing the end of winter.

Blini are typically 5cm to 10cm long and are a popular appetizer in Russia. Any party or get-together will be incomplete without at least one round of these bite-sized delights. Depending on the recipe, you can make Blini in several ways. Some of the more popular recipes include,

  • Blini batter, sour cream, fruits, honey/jam, and caviar.
  • Blini with different fillings like jam, meat, chicken, mushrooms.
  • Pouring batter over chopped and fried vegetables.

5.      Olivier Salad

You may have heard of the Olivier salad or as some like to call it—a Russian salad!

If there is a straight answer to the question “What food is Russia known for?”, it’s a Russian salad.

Olivier salad dates back to the 1860s when Lucien Olivier crafted this special recipe making it the restaurants signature dish. Over the period, many adjustments have been made to the original recipe of Lucien Olivier. Several modern twists have been added to the Olivier salad to give rise to the widely acclaimed Russian salad.

So, if there’s any simple answer to “What is famous Russian Cuisine?”, it is an Olivier Salad.

6.      Shashlik

Traditionally, Shashlik is nothing but lamb or goat meat skewers. Although there are multiple variations available now including pork, chicken, and whatnot.

Meat cubes are marinated in a tangy yogurt or vinegar-based sauce. You can compare Shashlik to a kebab to understand its flavor profile slightly better. It can either be a simple meat-only affair OR you could alternate between meat and vegetables.

Shashlik isn’t difficult to find in restaurants but we recommend trying it from a street vendor. It is a common outdoor party dish in Russia.

To intensify the flavor, street vendors are known to marinate the meat used overnight.

7.      Piroshki

In simple words, Piroshki are buns with different fillings. Sweet, sour, and savory; you can find a recipe to take care of all your cravings.

The most scrumptious Piroshky comes packed with cheese, onions, carrots, and meat. All these delicious ingredients are covered in a fried bread blanket.

Fun fact- The singular of piroshki is Piroshok.

Piroshki is a blend of sauteed veggies and juicy meat. The external shell, however, is deep-fried till golden brown.

8.      Kvass

After all these mouth-watering dishes, let’s look at something to wash all that down. Kvass is an ancient low-alcoholic beverage enjoyed in Russia. It is a fermented drink made from rye. This sweet and tangy drink is a popular pick, especially during the summer.

The production of this fermented drink has deteriorated in the past years. You will now find that it is made in Russian houses.

Earlier, traditional Kvass was used to make a cold soup. This soup was laced with cucumbers, eggs, sausages, and sometimes, salami.

Fun fact- Kvass is added to Borscht recipes to balance the sweetness of the beets.

9.      Okroshka

By now, we have established that Russian cuisine and soup go hand in hand. Okroshka is another crowd-favorite soup in the country. It comprises raw veggies, boiled eggs/potatoes, and cooked meat. Beef, sausage, ham, or any other type of meat can be added to Okroshka.

The specialty of this dish is that it is cold. That’s right—cold soup!

There is one other secret ingredient that gives this soup its famous taste. Any guesses?


The low-alcoholic drink is used to bring all the vegetables and meat together to make this delicious soup.

10.  Medovik

A delicacy loved by millions in the Soviet Union, Medovik is a tasty layered cake. Medovik is made of three ingredients,

  • Sour cream
  • Honey
  • Condensed milk

When made correctly, Medovik is a moist and flavorful cake. The key ingredient to bake the perfect Medovik?


It is an eight-layer cake. Naturally, it takes time and patience to roll out each layer.

The cake gets its characteristic flavor and texture from honey. Besides the classic recipe, many other recipes are now available if you want to try a modern take on one of Russia’s finest desserts.

11.  Pryanik

The Russian Gingerbread, as Pryanik is often described. It is a sweet bread coated with a generous amount of jam, honey, or caramel.

It originally started as “honey bread”. But it has evolved over the years. Pryanik is now made using exotic spices that Russia imports especially from India. Cardamom, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon are widely used in the making of this tasty bread.

When you’re in Russia, make sure you don’t buy a lady Pryanik. Why?

In Russia, when a man buys a woman Pryanik it is considered as a marriage proposal. Like wedding cakes, some traditional ceremonies are incomplete without a special Pryanik.

12.  Mors

Finally, let’s end this on a sweet note. And what can be sweeter than berries, right?

Mors is a drink made from berry juice and water. Traditionally it was made using cranberries. Now you will find a wide variety of flavors like,

  • Raspberry
  • Blackcurrant
  • Cowberry

A cowberry Mors is not only a good refreshment but is also considered a cure for the common cold.


Russian cuisine is unique and tasty. Over the years, a lot of factors have contributed to the betterment of the dishes.

The abundance of ingredients used ensures you get options like pies, cakes, soups, blini, noodles, and so many other dishes.