Easy Lemon Syrniki – Cheese Pancakes (video)

a close up of cheese pancakes on a plate topped with berries

A childhood favorite of mine! These easy lemon syrniki or cheese pancakes are so delicious with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Syrniki are Ukrainian breakfast cheese pancakes made with tvorog, also known as farmer’s cheese or quark. The pancakes are delicate, creamy and cheesy. I love to serve them with a spoonful of blueberry or apricot preserves. Growing up, my grandmother used to make these all the time for us! I even included this iconic Ukrainian recipe in my cookbook, Beyond Borscht.

Watch My Syrniki Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube sirniki video tutorial for step-by-step instructions for making these delicious cheese pancakes at home. Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for Cheese Pancakes

These easy lemon sirniki require just a few ingredients to make and they come together so quickly. Here are the main ingredients you’ll need; find the full list in the printable recipe card below.

  • Farmer’s Cheese (Tvorog) – also known as quark. This dry, crumbly cheese is perfect for making pancakes. Most Ukrainians will make this cheese at home, but you can easily find it in specialty Eastern European stores, too.
  • Wheat Farina – you probably know this as cream of wheat. Wheat farina is great for this recipe because it binds the cheese together without making the pancakes doughy.
  • Lemon Zest – my favorite way to add lemon flavor. A few teaspoons of lemon extract will also work well.
  • Butter & Oil – for cooking the pancakes. I use a combination of avocado oil with a few tablespoons of good-quality salted butter for amazing flavor.
  • Fruit Preserves & Sour Cream – for serving. I love to enjoy these with raspberry, blueberry, or apricot preserves.

Supplies & Tools for the Recipe

Need some supplies or tools to make this recipe at home? Shop my Amazon affiliate links and Williams Sonoma for some of the products I use in my kitchen! Using these links won’t cost you extra and I’ll earn a small commission.

several plates with cheese pancakes on a table with lemons and cups

Making the Syrniki Pancake Batter

Making lemon syrniki is super quick and easy! It’s the perfect breakfast, brunch or snack recipe for any day of the week. Here’s how to make the batter.

  1. Place the tvorog or farmer’s cheese into a large mixing bowl. Add in the sour cream, egg and egg yolk, vanilla, sugar and wheat farina.
  2. Zest 3 large lemons and add the zest to the mixing bowl. No lemon zest? Use 2 teaspoons of lemon extract instead.
  3. Using a spatula to mix everything together. You should have a thick mixture of cheese in the end. Cover the mixing bowl and set into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can also set it into the fridge overnight.

Allowing the cheese mixture to stand will do several things. It will make the dough/batter easier to shape and fry. The time will also allow the farina to absorb moisture and become light and fluffy.

a plate of lemon sirniki (cheese pancakes) topped with fruit preserves

How to Make Lemon Syrniki

Once the cheese pancake dough/batter has chilled, it’s time to make some sirniki!

  1. Using a quarter-cup measuring scoop, portion out the dough for each pancake (1/4 cup for each one). Next, roll each scoop into a nice ball and sprinkle generously with the all-purpose flour. Press each ball into a flat disk.
  2. Preheat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add in several tablespoons of cooking oil and butter. Once the butter is hot and melted, add in the syrniki in batches without overcrowding the pan.
  3. Cook the cheese pancakes over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping very gently with a rubber spatula once the edges are golden brown.
  4. Transfer the cooked syrniki onto a tray lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Add more oil and butter into the pan, then continue with the next batch.

Serving Suggestions

These delicious lemon syrniki will be extra hot and fragile when they come off the pan! Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes before enjoying them.

I recommend serving  these warm with a spoonful of blueberry, apricot or raspberry preserves on top. You can also add a bit of sour cream and sprinkle them with confectioner’s sugar.

Reheat any leftovers in a non-stick pan over medium heat.

several plates of lemon sirniki on a table, topped with fruit preserves

Instructions for Using Cottage Cheese

Can’t find farmer’s cheese in your grocery store? It’s easy to make at home, too. Check out this video on YouTube for instructions.

You can also use large curd cottage cheese for the recipe. Here’s how to do use it:

  1. Use a 48-oz container of large curd cottage cheese. Place the cheese into a fine mesh strainer and rinse it until just the curds remain, washing away the cream the curds are suspended in.
  2. Drop the cheese into a large bowl lined with a cheesecloth. Wring the cheese curds dry by squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Let the cheese rest for 5 minutes, then repeat the process.
  3. Transfer the cheese into a bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb any remaining liquids and let it rest for 15 minutes. Measure out 3 cups of slightly packed curds for the recipe.

Get my Cookbook!

This special Ukrainian breakfast recipe can be found in my newest cookbook, Beyond Borscht. It’s a collection of 75 recipes from Ukraine, Russia and Poland, including appetizers, main entrees, soups, salads, and desserts. These are the dishes I grew up enjoying and I hope you enjoy them, too! Available at most major book retailers. Get order links HERE.

Beyond Borscht cookbook with russian beet soup - borscht and rustic bread

More Recipes to Enjoy!

Enjoyed this delicious recipe for cheese pancakes? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Sheet-Pan Blueberry Pancakes – the most ingenious way to make a ton of pancakes easily! These buttermilk pancakes are super fluffy, and you can add any topping, not just blueberries!
  • Nalesniki – another traditional Ukrainian and Polish recipe. You’ll love these cheese-filled crepes with fruit preserves for breakfast or dessert. My updated recipe can be found in my cookbook, Beyond Borscht.
  • Lemon Poppy Seed Bread – a quick and easy recipe for the best lemon bread ever! Super moist, fluffy, and not too sweet thanks to maple syrup.
  • Strawberry Pancakes – the most delicious strawberry pancakes served with a homemade strawberry sauce.

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5 from 1 vote

Easy Lemon Syrniki – Cheese Pancakes (video)

10 mins prep + 8 mins cook + 30 mins Chill Time:
16 pancakes
Learn how to make the most delicious Ukrainian breakfast cheese pancakes – sirniki – served with blueberry preserves.

Ingredients 

  • 600 g tvorog (farmer's cheese), 3 1/2 cups slightly pressed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6 tbsp sour cream
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp wheat farina, cream of wheat
  • zest from 3 large lemons
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil, such as avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • fruit preserves and/or sour cream, for serving

Instructions

Making the Pancake Batter:

  • Place the tvorog or farmer’s cheese into a large mixing bowl. Add in the sour cream, egg and egg yolk, vanilla, sugar and wheat farina.
  • Zest 3 large lemons and add the zest to the mixing bowl. No lemon zest? Use 2 teaspoons of lemon extract instead.
  • Using a spatula to mix everything together. You should have a thick mixture of cheese in the end. Cover the mixing bowl and set into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can also set it into the fridge overnight.

Cooking the Sirniki:

  • Once the cheese pancake dough/batter has chilled, it’s time to make some sirniki!
  • Using a quarter-cup measuring scoop, portion out the dough for each pancake (1/4 cup for each one). Next, roll each scoop into a nice ball and sprinkle generously with the all-purpose flour. Press each ball into a flat disk.
  • Preheat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add in several tablespoons of cooking oil and butter. Once the butte ris hot and melted, add in the sirniki in batches without overcrowding the pan.
  • Cook the cheese pancakes over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping very gently with a rubber spatula once the edges are golden brown.
  • Transfer the cooked sirniki onto a tray lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Add more oil and butter into the pan, then continue with the next batch.

Serving Suggestions:

  • These delicious lemon sirniki will be extra hot and fragile when they come off the pan! Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes before enjoying them.
  • I recommend serving these warm with a spoonful of blueberry, apricot or raspberry preserves on top. You can also add a bit o fsour cream and sprinkle them with confectioner’s sugar.
  • Reheat any leftovers in a non-stick pan over medium heat.

Note:

  • Nutritional facts calculated for 1 pancake without any toppings; this recipe makes approximately 16.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pancake | Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 96IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg