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Recipes Around The World: Belarusian Draniki


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Keslie Lantz



When it comes to experiencing the cultural richness and culinary delights of a country, there is nothing quite like indulging in food travel. Exploring the world through its cuisine allows you to delve into the flavors, traditions, and stories that have been passed down through generations.


One destination that should not be overlooked on your food travel list is Belarus. This Eastern European country is known for its hearty and flavorful dishes, with one standout being the traditional dish of draniki.


Draniki, also known as Belarusian potato pancakes, are a beloved staple in Belarusian cuisine. Their golden and crispy exterior encases a soft and tender potato interior, creating a delightful combination of textures. Served with a dollop of sour cream or a side of applesauce, draniki are a true comfort food that will satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more.


In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of draniki, the ingredients used, various methods of preparation, different variations, and serving suggestions. So grab a fork and join us on a gastronomic journey through Belarus as we explore the delicious world of draniki.


History of Draniki

The history of draniki can be traced back to the 19th century in Belarus. Like many traditional dishes, the exact origins of draniki are debated, but it is widely believed to have been a peasant dish that eventually gained popularity among all social classes.


Potatoes were introduced to Eastern Europe in the 17th century and quickly became a staple crop due to their ability to grow in cold and harsh climates. Potatoes were affordable and widely available, making them a common ingredient in the diets of the Belarusian people.


It is believed that draniki were originally made as a way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. The dish was created by grating raw potatoes and mixing them with mashed potatoes, along with other ingredients like flour, eggs, and seasoning. This mixture was then shaped into small patties and fried until crispy.


For many years, draniki remained a simple and economical dish, commonly prepared in households across Belarus. However, as the culinary scene evolved, draniki started to gain recognition as a traditional Belarusian delicacy.


Today, draniki hold a special place in Belarusian culture and are often served during festive occasions, family gatherings, and even as street food at local markets. They have become an iconic symbol of Belarusian cuisine, representing the country’s rich culinary heritage.



To make delicious draniki, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

The key ingredient in draniki is, of course, potatoes. It is recommended to use starchy potatoes, such as Russet or Yukon Gold, as they have a high starch content which will help the pancakes hold their shape and develop a crispy exterior.


The onion is used to add flavor to the draniki. You can grate the onion along with the potatoes or finely chop it, depending on your preference.


All-purpose flour is added to the mixture to bind the ingredients together and give the draniki structure. It also helps to achieve a crispy texture when frying.


The beaten egg acts as a binder, helping to hold the ingredients together and give the draniki a cohesive texture.


Lastly, salt is added to enhance the flavors of the potatoes and onions. Adjust the amount of salt according to your taste preference.


Vegetable oil is used to fry the draniki until golden and crispy. You can use any neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or sunflower oil.


These simple ingredients come together to create the perfect base for your draniki, allowing you to experience the authentic flavors of this Belarusian culinary delight.



To prepare delicious draniki, follow these simple steps:

  1. Peel and grate the potatoes using a box grater or a food processor. Place the grated potatoes in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess moisture.
  2. Finely chop or grate the onion and add it to the grated potatoes. Mix well to combine.
  3. Add the beaten egg, flour, and salt to the potato mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  4. Heat a generous amount of vegetable oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Take a handful of the potato mixture and shape it into a small patty. The size of the patties can vary based on personal preference.
  6. Place the patties carefully into the hot oil and flatten them slightly with a spatula. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, as this can prevent the draniki from getting crispy.
  7. Cook the draniki for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown and crispy. Use a spatula to carefully flip them over.
  8. Once cooked, transfer the draniki to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off any excess oil.

Repeat the process with the remaining potato mixture until it is all used up. You may need to add more oil to the pan as you go along.


Serve the draniki hot, with a side of sour cream or applesauce for dipping, and enjoy the delightful flavors of Belarusian cuisine.


Variations of Draniki

While the traditional draniki recipe is undoubtedly delicious on its own, there are several variations that you can explore to add a unique twist to this beloved Belarusian dish. Here are a few popular variations:

  1. Additions: You can experiment with adding different ingredients to the basic potato mixture. Some common additions include grated carrots, minced garlic, chopped herbs like dill or parsley, or even shredded cheese. These additions can give the draniki additional flavor and texture.
  2. Vegetable Draniki: If you’re looking to amp up the vegetable content of your draniki, you can replace some of the potato with grated zucchini, sweet potatoes, or beets. This adds a vibrant burst of color and a subtle sweetness to the pancakes.
  3. Sweet Draniki: While draniki are typically enjoyed as a savory dish, you can give them a sweet twist by adding a bit of sugar and cinnamon to the potato mixture. Serve them with a dusting of powdered sugar and a side of fruit compote for a delightful dessert or brunch option.
  4. Protein-packed Draniki: For a heartier meal, you can incorporate proteins such as diced ham, cooked bacon, or crumbled sausage into the potato mixture. This transforms the draniki into a satisfying main dish.
  5. Gluten-free Draniki: If you follow a gluten-free diet, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative, such as rice flour or cornstarch. This ensures that everyone can enjoy the deliciousness of draniki.

Feel free to get creative and explore your own variations based on your personal preferences and culinary experiments. The versatility of draniki makes them a canvas for culinary creativity, allowing you to customize and personalize them according to your tastes.


Serving Suggestions

Draniki are a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your draniki experience:

  1. Classic Accompaniments: The most traditional way to serve draniki is with a dollop of sour cream or smetana. The cool and creamy texture of the sour cream complements the crispy and flavorful draniki perfectly.
  2. Applesauce: Another popular accompaniment is homemade applesauce. The tartness of the applesauce provides a delightful contrast to the savory draniki, creating a flavorful combination that is loved by many.
  3. Caviar: For a touch of luxury, serve your draniki with a spoonful of caviar, such as salmon or black sturgeon caviar. The briny and delicate flavor of the caviar pairs wonderfully with the crispy and earthy draniki.
  4. Smoked Salmon: Top your draniki with slices of smoked salmon for an elegant and indulgent twist. The smoky and buttery notes of the salmon complement the potato pancakes beautifully.
  5. Veggies and Salad: Serve draniki alongside a fresh and vibrant salad or sautéed vegetables to add a refreshing element to your meal. The crispness of the vegetables provides a nice contrast to the soft and crispy draniki.
  6. Soup: Pair your draniki with a warm and comforting soup, such as borscht or mushroom soup. The combination of soup and draniki creates a hearty and satisfying meal.
  7. Dessert Draniki: If you have made sweet draniki, you can serve them as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can also drizzle them with honey or maple syrup for added sweetness.

Get creative with your serving suggestions and explore different flavor combinations to find your own favorite way to enjoy draniki. Remember, the beauty of food travel lies in discovering new tastes and making delightful culinary discoveries along the way.



Exploring the world through food is a remarkable way to immerse yourself in different cultures and traditions. Belarusian draniki, with their crispy exterior and soft potato interior, offer a tantalizing glimpse into the delicious and comforting flavors of Belarusian cuisine.


From their humble origins as a peasant dish to now being a beloved symbol of Belarusian culinary heritage, draniki have stood the test of time. Whether enjoyed as a traditional breakfast, a satisfying main course, or even a sweet dessert, draniki never fail to satisfy the taste buds and bring smiles to faces.


While the classic recipe of draniki is a delight in itself, the variations and serving suggestions open up endless possibilities for customization and experimentation. Whether you choose to add additional ingredients to the potato mixture or explore different accompaniments, each bite of draniki becomes a unique experience tailored to your preferences.


So, do not miss the opportunity to embark on a food travel adventure to Belarus and savor the delicious flavors of draniki. Allow yourself to be transported to a world of rich traditions, warm hospitality, and mouthwatering cuisine.


Whether you decide to enjoy draniki at a local eatery in Belarus or try your hand at making them in the comfort of your own kitchen, the journey of discovering this beloved Belarusian dish is truly rewarding. So grab your grater, mix up the ingredients, and savor the taste of draniki as you embark on a culinary voyage that will leave you yearning for more.