A blini pan is small diameter cooking pan, similar to a frying pan and a crepe pan. It is used primarily for making mini pancakes called blinis. A ‘pancake’ pan is a blini pan just slightly bigger. What makes this style handy is the pan size is small – which makes all your blinis or mini pancakes all the same size. If you find a pan with more than one mold, it’s even better because you can make multiple blinis at the same time.

The non-stick ones are multi taskers for eggs or silver dollar sized pancakes, made one at a time.

If you are wanting to know what a blini even is, traditionally it is a small buckwheat pancake served with caviar. They really are smallish, but since they are typically accompanying an appetizer, a snack, or a desert, they are not meant to be very large.

Here a description from Wikipedia about blinis:

Blinis were considered by early Slavic people in pre-Christian times to be a symbol of the sun, due to their round form. They were traditionally prepared at the end of winter to honor the rebirth of the new sun (Butter Week, or Maslenitsa, also called “butter week” or “pancake week”). This tradition was adopted by the Orthodox church and is carried on to the present day. Drochena, a kind of blini, was also served at wakes to commemorate the recently deceased.

Traditional Russian blinis are made with yeasted batter, which is left to rise and then diluted with milk, soured milk, cold or boiling water. When diluted with boiling water, they are referred to as zavarniye bliny. A lighter and thinner form made from unyeasted batter (usually made of flour, eggs, milk or soured milk, kefir, ryazhenka, varenets), is also common in Russia. Traditionally, blinis are baked in a Russian oven. The process of preparing blinis is still referred to as baking in Russian, even though they are nowadays pan-fried, like pancakes. All kinds of flour is used, from wheat and buckwheat to oatmeal and millet, although wheat is currently the most popular.

Here’s what a blini pan looks like:

Blini Pan

Single blini pan.

Non-stick blini pan.

Multiple mold blini pan.

Recipe for Buckwheat Blinis

Buckwheat is not a grain, but a seed. It is super healthy offering a great source of complex carbohydrates. Although buckwheat blinis are classic, blinis can be made from all purpose or whole wheat flour. Traditional batters call for a sponge with a yeast, which is made the day before, but quick blini batters just call for baking powder. Also, if you have leftovers, keep them in a plastic zipper bag (they are best eaten same day or within a day or two). Reheat by either wrapping in foil and placing in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until warmed through, or covering with plastic wrap and heating just until warmed – do not overheat in the microwave or they will be mushy when hot and tough when cooled.

The All-Purpose Baking Book from King Arthur Flour has a great traditional recipe. In the book it says since Russians were not allowed to eat meat during Maslenitsa, they indulged in dairy products and fish. Therefore, caviar served with warm blini and sour cream was a perfect combination.

Buckwheat Blini

Category: Quick and Yeast Breads

This recipe makes classic buckwheat blinis, and calls for a sponge to be made the night before. It helps give the blini a tangy flavor that can't be recreated using other methods. It is leavened with yeast.


    For the Sponge
  • 1 1/3 cups whole buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup instant dry milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
    For the Batter:
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Cover, and let rest overnight.
  1. Beat the yolks until light in a medium mixing bowl, then add the milk, sugar, and salt. Add the batter into the yolks, and let rest for 45 minutes.
  2. Add in the butter. Whip the egg whites until medium peaks form, and then fold into the batter.
  3. Heat a blini pan (or other heavy frying pan) over medium low heat. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of blini batter to the lightly oiled pan, and cook like regular pancakes, turning once bubbles burst on the top. Flip, then continue cooking until lightly browned and cooked through.
  4. Repeat. Keep blinis covered on a plate or stacked in a warm oven as you are cooking them.


Adapted from The All-Purpose Baking Companion by The King Author Flour Company, Inc., Countryman Press, 2003.



Links to blini pans we like from favorite affiliates:


  • Item: Carbon steel blini pan, 4 3/4″ (Amazon)
  • Maker: Paderno World-Cuisine
  • Why we like it: Heavy duty carbon steel is a great heat conductor and lasts a lifetime. Even though you need to hand wash carbon steel and treat it like your cast iron skillet, these pans will last forever and season up well after using them.


  • Item:Nonstick Classic Blinis Pan (Sur la Table)
  • Maker: Scanpan
  • Why we like it: Oven safe non-stick pan made with PFOA free coating, with a lifetime warranty. It has 9 molds so you can make blinis for everyone at the same time. While hand washing is recommended, the non-stick surface makes clean up a breeze.




About Renee Shelton

Renee Shelton is the creator of Pastry Sampler specializing in customized baking tool kits. Reach her via twitter:@121degreesC and her blog Sand and Succotash.