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Apr 16, 2022

Sourdough French-Style Blini

These sourdough French-style blini are little buckwheat pancakes that you can top with savory ingredients such as smoked salmon or caviar along with a spoonful of crème fraîche or sour cream. 

Sourdough French-Style Blini stacked on a plate.

French-style blini are little appetizer-sized pancakes. They can be served warm or room temperature topped with savory ingredients such as crème fraîche or sour cream and smoked fish or caviar. 

They can also be served as a sweet treat with chocolate sauce, jam, or the traditional butter and maple syrup.

Sourdough French-Style Blini with butter and syrup on a plate.

Traditionally, they are yeasted with a little boost of baking soda, however, for these, I used a good amount of sourdough discard along with baking soda and baking powder for leavening. 

How To Make Sourdough French-Style Blini

I recommend mixing all of the pancake ingredients the night before, with the exception of the baking powder and baking soda, and then refrigerating the batter over night to develop flavor.  

The next morning, remove the bowl from the refrigerator, sprinkle the baking powder and soda over the top through a sieve and stir it in thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for five to ten minutes. 

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-low heat and melt butter, oil, or ghee on the pan. For appetizer-sized blini, drop individual tablespoons of batter onto the griddle and cook until the batter is bubbly, about a minute or two, and then flip and cook the other side. 

For slightly larger pancakes, drop two tablespoons of batter onto the griddle and cook. 

Tiny Sourdough French-Style Blini with sour cream and salmon.

Ingredients in these Blini:

Sourdough starter: Use 100% hydration (equal weight flour and water) starter. It can be discard or freshly fed. 

Pantry Ingredients: All Purpose Flour, salt, oil, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. 

From the Refrigerator: Eggs and milk.

Buckwheat flour: Buckwheat is not really wheat. Instead, it's made from the seeds of flowering plants and has been grown for centuries in Asia. 

Buckwheat has a slightly nutty flavor and is also great added to breads. I keep it in the freezer to preserve freshness. 

Sourdough French-Style Blini ingredients in bags.

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are skipping the oven and are griddling yeasted (instant or wild yeast) Ukrainian mlyntsi. Our host is Elizabeth of Blog From OUR Kitchen. She offered us an option for each. 

Typically, mlyntsi (the Ukranian word for pancake according to Google Translate) are thin and crêpe-like, however, the wild yeast version turned out puffy for me, more like pancakes, or French blini (do a search on "French blini" so see what comes up!). 

I went rogue and re-named these "French-style." 

I did make the thinner crêpe-like mlyntsi as well, but my husband ate the photogenic ones before I could take photos. Be sure to visit the other Babes' links after the recipe to see the various versions, including crêpes. 

Sourdough French-Style Blini stacked on two plates.

Ingredient Substitutions and Recipe Variations:

If you don't have a sourdough starter, just add 120 grams of flour, 120 grams of water, and a pinch of yeast to the batter ingredients. 

If you can't find buckwheat (it's typically in the flour aisle), you can substitute whole wheat flour. 

If you want thinner pancakes, stir the baking powder and baking soda into the batter before refrigerating. You can also skip the overnight refrigeration and make these immediately. 

Mini Sourdough French-Style Blini on a plate.

You can serve these with the crème fraîche and salmon already on the blini, or you can serve them (especially the larger ones) with the topping ingredients on the side for your guests to add their favorites. 

Once you've topped them, serve them immediately, typically at room temperature. 

Sourdough French-Style Blini displayed with a plate of salmon and toppings.

This recipe makes quite a few pancakes. If you have leftover blini, you can stack them on a buttered plate with butter in between each pancake. They will stick together when cold but will separate when reheated for a few seconds in the microwave. 

While I haven't tried it, you can try freezing them between layers of paper towels. 

For another yeasted pancake, be sure to try mofo gasy, pancakes from Madagascar

Sourdough French-Style Blini in stacks on plates.

Sourdough French-Style Blini

Sourdough French-Style Blini
Yield: 30 small pancakes
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 15 MinInactive time: 12 HourTotal time: 12 H & 30 M
These sourdough French-style blini are little buckwheat pancakes that you can top with savory ingredients such as smoked salmon or caviar along with a spoonful of crème fraîche or sour cream.


  • 125 grams all-purpose flour
  • 65 grams buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 240 grams 100 percent sourdough starter, either discard or active
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Oil, butter, or ghee for the griddle or pan


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the starter, eggs, milk, and oil.
  3. Combine the two bowls and stir the ingredients together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, sift the baking powder and baking soda over the batter and stir it in. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium low and coat the pan with oil, butter, or ghee. Drop one (for tiny pancakes) to two tablespoons (for 4 inch pancakes) of batter into the pan and cook on one side until the top is bubbly. Turn the pancake over and cook for an additional minute or two.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts



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Pancakes, blini
Appetizers, breakfast
Did you make this recipe?
Tag on instagram and hashtag it # karenskitchenstories

The Bread Baking Babes

Blog from OUR Kitchen

Bread Experience

A Messy Kitchen

Judy's Gross Eats

Feeding My Enthusiasms

Elizabeth adapted this recipe from The Clever Carrot

Would you like to comment?

  1. Now that's very interesting, I think using my hulled buckwheat gave me a lighter batter! Pre-ground buckwheat must still have those dark flecks from the hulls in it. Really do need to try the sourdough version, we do love sourdough pancakes!

    1. That could be it! And you will enjoy these pancakes.

    2. I used pre-ground buckwheat too. We got it from the health food store; the label on it was "dark buckwheat". Which, I guess, means that it wasn't hulled. Maybe that's why our blini were so decidedly not thin. The buckwheat absorbed a lot of the liquid.

      And. Karen is right, Kelly. You will really enjoy the sourdough version.

  2. Your sourdough French-style blinis look really tasty. I like the thickness. I may have to try the sourdough version.

    1. Definitely. Plus, they are so easy!

    2. You do, Cathy. You do. Not only are they easy, but they are incredibly delicious too.

  3. Ooooh!! Now I want to try blini with crème fraîche! I know that it's similar to sour cream, but I love the slightly different flavour of crème fraîche! I also love the photo of your mini blin with the perfectly placed garnish of dill.

    I did not know that this thicker style of cake was considered to be French. I thought it was the style of the early Slavic recipe... (I had only heard of the word "blini" before reading Darra Goldstein's article in SAVEUR and was judging their thickness by Michael Grimm's photo that accompanied the article.)

  4. Fluffy is good. It holds more smoked salmon lol

  5. Hi. I just relocated to Taos, NM and I'm going to attempt to make this. I've been having issues with the high altitude and dryness here so I'm glad someone mentioned the buckwheat tends to absorb more liquid so I'll add a bit more liquid. Really glad to find a blini recipe that includes my sourdough starter. Thanks.

    1. I always am looking for recipes where I can use my starter!


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