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Blinis are your new favorite party food everyone loves you for making

Sarah grew up in Monterey, CA and now lives in Los Angeles. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying a good book, fine wine, sunflowers and long walks on the beach.

What's sweet or savory, depending on your mood? Blinis, the most versatile party food around

Fall is upon us, and you know what that means: 'Tis the season for entertaining and fun cocktail parties.

It can be exhausting coming up with inventive finger food ideas that aren't played out, but a blini tray might just be the answer to all your holiday woes. Blinis are light, thin bite-sized pancakes that hail from Russia, where they are a commonly served at cocktail parties. The magic of blinis is their versatility — you can top them with almost anything. They also don't have to be served hot, so you can make the base and toppings in advance and just put them together when you're ready to serve.

More: Fall comfort food recipes for the ‘Hungry Girl’ in all of us

We're highlighting the one and only Ina Garten's salmon-topped favorite, but the possibilities are really endless. Read on after the recipe for more suggestions for blini toppings.

Ina Garten's blini with smoked salmon

Courtesy of the Food Network

Yields about 18 pancakes

Total time: 35 minutes


  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, clarified, divided
  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Fresh dill sprig for garnish


  1. Combine both flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter, then whisk into the flour mixture.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter in a medium sauté pan and drop the batter into the hot skillet, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the top side of the blini, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 more minute, or until brown.
  5. Repeat with the remaining batter. (Garten recommends cleaning the hot pan with a dry paper towel between batches.) Set aside.
  6. To serve, top the blini with a piece of smoked salmon. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprig of dill.

More: Beer-roasted pork and more cozy fall recipes that feel like a warm sweater

Garten is the authority on entertaining, but her salmon topping isn't the only thing worthy of crowning your blinis. There are plenty of other things you can use.

More: We've found 8 holiday recipes to give your planning a head start

Sidenote: If you want to make sweet blini, simply omit the salt from Garten's above base recipe and add sugar instead.

More delicious blini toppings that will spice up your party

  • Spread basil pesto on blini and top with half a fresh cherry tomato and a fresh basil leaf
  • Get your hard cheese fix by layering with tomato chutney and a thin slice of parmesan (or hard cheese of your choice)
  • To make you blinis fancy — and super-Russian — top with caviar
  • Make it a fiesta with crushed avocado and a dollop of salsa
  • Make a sweet topping with Nutella and strawberry or banana
  • Go sophisticated with goat cheese and marinated beets
  • Give a classic sweet taste of strawberries and cream
  • Make the most out of Thanksgiving leftovers with by serving blini with a topping of cranberry relish and sliced turkey
  • Delight seafood lovers with a seared scallop and chives
You get the idea — let your imagination run wild and top a blini with just about any of your favorite foods.

Originally published December 2012. Updated October 2016.
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