Blina (German Pancake)


During our Family Reunion last summer Mom hosted a Blina breakfast for whomever was free to come.  She had a good smattering of her own children show up, along with a son-in-law and granddaughter.  Mom treated us to Blina on special occasions growing up, so even now when she makes it I’m over at her house if I can get there!  I make it too, but ought to start hosting breakfast for Blina-eaters in the area as Mark has never taken a liking to the yeasty flavor in batter , which I absolutely love.  Blina is baked like and looks like a crepe, except that you need to plan ahead so the yeast can work its magic.

I was reminded of this recipe, and others passed down from my German grandmother to my mother when working on an essay about Food Roots and Histories.  I thought about the unknown woman who taught Grandma how to cook and I stand a bit in awe of the ancient and strong line of women that had some hand in who I’ve become.

Instructions to serve 4-6 people, depending on how hungry they are:

The night before you plan to eat your Blina, whisk together: 2 c. water, 2 c. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 scant Tbsp. yeast.  Cover with a tea-towel and set on the table or counter until morning.

In the morning turn a burner to medium-high with your dry skillet on it to heat up. Cast iron works best if you have it.

Meanwhile, whisk 2 eggs, 1 c. warm milk, 2 heaping tsp. baking powder and 1 scant tsp. salt into the batter.


Bake on a hot and lightly greased (with butter) griddle pan, pouring 1/3-1/2 c. batter onto  the pan. Tip the pan as you pour in the batter to spread it over the bottom of the pan.  Cook a couple of minutes until the bubbles pop and then loosen the edges with a narrow spatula, flip and cook the other side a couple of minutes.


Serve with jams and jellies.  Put one stripe of jam down the center of the open Blina and then rolled it up as shown.  Great served with fruit or bacon or sausage on the side.

Yum. Thank you, Mom, Grandma, and all the unknown others that stretch back to whomever first put these ingredients together to make this morning griddle wonder!



  • Thank You for this recipe. We used to have these at Grandma’s house and no one else knows how to make them in the family. We Grand-kids used to love them, along with many other favorites like Blueberry Pafilda (sp). and German Potato Glaze. Oh so yummy. She also used to make a really good Chicken soup. Wish we had all those old-time favorites today.

    • I love blina–and your comment makes me want to make them again soon! I make what I think you are calling the German Potato Glaze the most. At least if it’s made from boiled potatoes that cook with flour and egg dumplings, and then are drained and combined with some scrambled eggs. I learned the proper name for that is Kartoffel Kleez. Look up Anyliss in the search feature of the blog, or “German” and you’ll read some about my history with German foods. Mom gave me a bunch of old German recipes from the family, and I’m hoping to inherit Grandma’s German cookbook from Mom eventually! Chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles… I remember those too. Maybe I’ll resurrect some good German recipes this summer..

  • Being German, I’m always amazed by all the “German Recipes”. Blini are Russian yeast pancakes, usually served with sour cream, caviar, salmon, etc.

    Potato Glaze (Kartoffelkloesse) are eaten predominantly in Southern Germany, Austria and Bohemia. Kloss, supposedly sounding something like glaze, hence the name. Kartoffelkloesse are usually served with gravy, as a side dish to Sauerbraten and other meaty dishes.

    • Yes–lots of variety in German recipes! We shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, given how cultures blend and shift, and adapt to social class differences. My grandparents, who immigrated from Germany (via Russia), were poor farmers, and I doubt their ever ate caviar or salmon, so their versions of these recipes were of a simple variety. They ate meat, but certainly not every day, so in our family, Potato Glaze was the main dish. I tell a bit about my Grandmother, and the background of my German heritage in a post called, “Anyliss is in my kitchen” if you are interested in.

  • My Grandma made these as well. She spelled it Blinna. German family as well. The recipe I have uses the potato water you save after boiling potatoes the night before. I love these pancakes. They have so many memories for me

    • I bet it is Blinna–I think I’ve seen that spelling, too. And potato water–of course! Having you comment on this recipe makes me want to make up a batch… They have wonderful memories for me, too. Unrelated, but last week I got to visit with a cousin that lived on the family farm. That kitchen is where so many of my German-heritage food memories were made. Thanks for the comment.

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