Say ‘hello’ to your new favorite way to enjoy crepes! These cheese-filled crepes, or nalesniki, are a staple dessert recipe in Eastern Europe! You’ll find these sweet cheese crepes all over in Ukraine and Russia. They’re traditionally made with a simple crepe stuffed with sweetened farmer’s cheese or quark. Since this cheese is hard to source in the United States, I’ve come up with this version that uses a blend of cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and mascarpone. Nalesniki or cheese crepes are enjoyed warm and are great for breakfast, or can be enjoyed as an after dinner dessert!
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What are Nalesniki?
Nalesniki are THE sweet cheese crepes that everyone loves in Ukraine and Russia! They’re easy to make and can be found in most cafes and restaurants. Nalesniki are made by filling a simple crepe with sweetened farmer’s cheese or quark. The crepe is either rolled, rolled into an egg roll shape, or folded into pockets.
Some versions are made with raisins or cranberries added to the filling. I like to serve mine with fresh berries, sour cream or whipped cream on top. Any way you prefer them, these cheese crepes are sure to be delicious!
Get my new and updated recipe for traditional Ukrainian nalesniki in my new cookbook, Beyond Borscht!
Making the Simple Crepes
These delicious cheese-stuffed nalesniki start with a simple crepe recipe! I find the easiest way to make crepes is to place all the ingredients into a blender and pulse for a few minutes, until a smooth batter forms. You can also prepare the batter by hand.
- First, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar and butter together for a few minutes. Then, gradually begin adding the flour, whisking well after each addition. When making crepe batter by hand, it’s easier if all the ingredients are at room temperature.
- To make the crepes, preheat an 8-inch frying pan or crepe pan and use 1/4 cup crepe batter per crepe.
- Pour and tilt the pan simultaneously to form thin and even crepes. Cook the crepes for approximately 1 minute on the first side, then turn and cook for another 30 seconds on the second side.
How to Make Nalesniki
Assembling these cheese-stuffed crepes is super easy!
- First, prepare the cheese filling. Just combine the cheeses with the egg, sugar and optional vanilla in a large bowl. Mix everything together until a uniform mixture forms.
- Drop a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each crepe, then roll the crepe into an egg roll shape. You can also try spreading the filling evenly to the edges and rolling the crepe into a log.
- Place the shaped nalesniki into a casserole pan and top with a few dabs of butter.
- Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- I love to enjoy these with a fresh berries, sour cream, whipped cream or even preserves. Growing up, we enjoyed these simply with sour cream and a sprinkle of sugar!
Enjoyed this easy Eastern European dessert? Make sure to check out my Ukrainian cookbook, Beyond Borscht! And, check out some of the recipes I have on my website!
- Easy Lemon Sirniki – these Ukrainian cheese pancakes are creamy and delicious! A taste of my childhood! Top them with jam or sour cream.
- Honey Cake – this layered honey cake is made with a cooked dough and filled with a creamy custard filling!
- Torte Napoleon – the most famous Eastern European cake, made with flaky cake layers and vanilla custard!
- Kiev Torte – my take on the iconic hazelnut meringue cake! Made with sponge cake, chocolate frosting and crunchy meringue!
- Nutella Crepes – sweet crepes stuffed with Nutella and topped with berries, almonds and cheese!
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Nalesniki – Cheese-Filled Crepes Recipe (video)
- 2 cups milk
- 5 large eggs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 16 ounces small curd cottage cheese
- 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla, optional
- 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries, optional
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- fruit for serving
- It’s important to have all ingredients for the crepes at room temperature before mixing to avoid clumps in the batter. Whisk together the eggs, butter, sugar and milk in a large mixing bowl for a few minutes, until smooth. Gradually add the flour, whisking well after each addition. Whisk until no clumps remain!
- Preheat an 8-inch non-stick crepe pan or frying pan over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup of batter at a time to the pan, tilting the batter around the pan to form a crepe. Cook the crepe on the first side for 1 minute, then turn the crepe once sides start turning golden brown. Cook on the second side for 30 seconds, then remove and stack onto a plate.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Next, prepare the filling. Place the cheese, egg, sugar and optional vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Use a large spoon to mix everything together, until a uniform filling forms. If desired, add 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries to the filling.
- For each nalesnik: place a generous amount of the filling (about 2 tablespoons) into the center of each crepe. Fold each crepe as you would an egg roll: sides folded in first, then roll from top. Alternatively, spread the filling evenly to the edges and roll the crepes into a log. Place the nalesniki seam side down into large glass baking dish or casserole pan.
- Add the cubed butter on top of the crepes and cover the pan with foil. Bake the cheese crepes for 30 minutes; bake the first 20 minutes covered with foil and the last 10 minutes without the foil.
- Let the cheese crepes cool slightly before serving with fruit and/or whipped cream.