19 Popular Belarusian Dishes and Foods

Belarusian dishes feature hearty, simple options that emphasize potatoes, pork, and local ingredients, characterized by savory and slightly sour flavors.

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Basic Information

Belarusian Food: Basic Overview

Common Ingredients

Potatoes, pork, cereals (especially rye for traditional bread), vegetables like beets, cabbage, carrots, onions

Common Cooking Methods

Boiling, stewing, baking, frying, simmering


Main course, dessert, soup, salad


Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Key Taste

Savory, sour, complex, sweet

Eating Etiquette

Meals enjoyed with family and friends, with importance on togetherness and gratitude.

Meal Presentation

Traditional, often served with bread around the table, symbolizing connection among diners.

Culinary Festivals

Christmas, Easter, Maslenitsa (celebrating the end of winter)

Influence and Fusion

Influenced by neighboring countries (Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine), with some fusion dishes like Olivier Salad.
Origin and Region

Belarusian Food: Origin and Region



Cuisine’s Geographical Territory

Eastern Europe

Country’s Region

Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern, and Central Belarus
Belarus Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Popular Types of Belarusian Food

  • Soups

    These Belarusian soups range from clear, brothy types to thicker, creamier varieties, often incorporating a hearty mix of vegetables, meats, and sometimes legumes.

    Characterized by their savory profiles, some also blend sweetness and tanginess, especially when ingredients like beets or sour cream are added.

  • Pancakes

    Pancakes in Belarus can serve as both a breakfast item and a dessert.

    Unlike the typical sweet pancakes, these often carry a savory note, made from ingredients like potatoes or cheese, and can be complemented with sweet or savory toppings.

    The texture varies from crispy and golden on the outside to tender and soft within.

  • Dumplings

    Dumplings in Belarusian cuisine feature soft, pillowy texture and satisfying fillings. The dough, thin and tender, encases a variety of hearty ingredients, from minced meats to mushrooms and cheese.

    Often served with sour cream or broth, these dumplings are enjoyed as part of a family dinner or a festive gathering.

Belarusian dishes are deeply influenced by their Eastern European location and neighboring countries, like Russian culinary treasure , Polish epicurean specialties , Lithuanian gastronomic delights , and Ukrainian cuisine.

The cuisine heavily features potatoes in various forms, pork, and cereals like rye, especially in traditional bread-making. The simplicity of the cuisine highlights the use of local and seasonal ingredients, with “draniki” (potato pancakes) standing out as a favorite.

Soups are also fundamental, with “borsch” being a popular choice, reflecting the influence of Ukrainian delicacies. Cooking methods are simple, favoring boiling, stewing, and baking to preserve the natural taste of the ingredients.

The flavors tend toward savory and earthy, with a notable presence of sourness from fermented foods like pickles and sauerkraut, and dairy products such as sour cream and cottage cheese add a creamy texture to the dishes.

I’m diving into Belarusian cuisine, uncovering the secrets of its traditional dishes, their rise to global fame, and their health benefits. Along the way, I’ll also explore the rich history, dining customs, and the art of pairing dishes with the perfect drinks.

Let’s get started!

The following factors characterize traditional Belarusian food:

  • Staple Ingredients: The backbone of Belarusian cuisine consists of potatoes, bread (predominantly rye), meat (especially pork), and various vegetables. These staples are a testament to the agricultural abundance and the need for high-energy foods to withstand cold climates.
  • Potato Dishes: Potatoes are often hailed as the “second bread” in Belarus and form the basis of many iconic dishes. Among them, “draniki,” or potato pancakes, stand out as a national favorite.
  • Dairy Products: Dairy also plays a significant role, with a variety of milk, sour cream, and cheese used both as ingredients and accompaniments. Cottage cheese, or “tvarog,” is particularly popular and often appears in savory and sweet dishes.
  • Soups and Stews: Soups are a staple, with “borsch” (beet soup, often with meat) being one of the most well-known. However, distinct to Belarus are “shchi” (cabbage soup) and “kolduny” (meat-stuffed potato dumplings), showcasing the versatility of the region’s produce.
  • Rye Bread: Belarusians have a long-standing tradition of baking rye bread, valued for its dense, moist texture and slightly sour taste. This bread is often served alongside meals and used as a base for traditional snacks.
  • Pickled and Fermented Foods: Given the long winters, pickling and fermenting vegetables are common preservation methods. Sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, and tomatoes are frequent accompaniments to meals, adding a tangy contrast to the rich, hearty main dishes.
  • Seasonal and Foraged Foods: The cuisine also reflects a close connection to the land, including wild mushrooms, berries, and herbs. These foraged foods introduce unique flavors and are often used in soups, pies, and teas.
  • Celebratory Dishes: Special occasions call for more elaborate dishes, such as “kutia” (a sweet grain pudding) served during Christmas and “babka” (a type of potato bake) for Easter, showcasing the intertwining of food with cultural and religious traditions.

This exploration sets the stage for understanding the growing global appetite for Belarusian dishes as people worldwide begin to discover and embrace these unique flavors.

Belarusian food, characterized by its simplicity, use of local ingredients, and hearty flavors, has gradually gained international recognition, largely due to the diaspora.

As Belarusians emigrated or traveled, they brought their culinary traditions with them, introducing dishes such as draniki (potato pancakes), borscht (a type of beet soup), and kolduny (meat-stuffed potato dumplings) to new audiences.

Belarusian food has found a niche market in countries with significant Belarusian immigrant communities, such as the United States, Canada, and Russia.

In these places, restaurants and food festivals celebrating Eastern European cuisine often include Belarusian dishes on their menus.

This increasing international recognition highlights not just the taste but also the nutritional aspects that contribute to the health benefits of Belarusian cuisine.

Belarusian cuisine offers diverse, comforting traditional dishes with nutritious ingredients that benefit health.

  • Potatoes: Used in dishes like Kolduny and Tsibriki, potatoes are a staple in Belarusian cuisine, providing essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support energy levels and digestive health.
  • Honey: Incorporated in beverages like Sbiten, honey adds natural sweetness, antioxidants, and antibacterial properties to the diet, promoting overall wellness.
  • Dairy Products: Cottage cheese, a key ingredient in dishes like Sirniki, provides valuable protein and calcium, which are crucial for maintaining strong bones and muscle health.
  • Diverse Ingredients: Using a wide range of fillings in Vareniki, from vegetables to fruits and cheese, ensures a rich variety of nutrients, making the Belarusian diet balanced and healthful.

Right in the next part, you can explore Belarusian most beloved dishes, providing a guide to the variety and richness of this country’s culinary offerings.

19 Popular Belarusian Dishes with Filters

Here are 19 most popular dishes from Belarusian cuisine, sorted according to how popular they are. The filtering option allows you to tailor your search by ingredients, flavors, culinary techniques, types of dishes, and meal occasions.

It’s great for unearthing everything from traditional classics and national staples to novel fusions, street food gems.

  • In Belarus, some dishes are everywhere, from local homes to restaurants. These are the foods you’ll likely bump into no matter where you eat.
  • They’re well-loved by everyone and have even made a name for themselves beyond Belarus.
  • Belarus has its own national dish that represents the country’s food culture.
  • You can see them at special events or any typical day because they’re that important.
  • Belarusian traditional dishes have been around for ages. They show off the local flavors and how people in different parts of Belarus enjoy their meals.
  • These dishes come with a variety of tastes and have been passed down through generations.
  • In Belarus, street food means grabbing a quick, tasty bite from a stall or cart while you’re out and about.
  • It’s all about enjoying good food without fuss, and it’s perfect for when you’re on the move or looking for a casual eating experience.
  • Belarusian fusion dishes are where traditional flavors meet ingredients or cooking styles from other places.
  • This mix creates exciting new tastes still rooted in Belarusian traditions but with a twist, showing off the creativity in the country’s cuisine.
Draniki Belarusian


  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Draniki (often known as potato pancakes) is a national Belarusian dish made primarily from grated potatoes, which are then fried to create a crispy exterior with a soft, tender interior.

The taste of draniki is predominantly savory, with a delightful earthiness from the potatoes and a subtle hint of onion, often added to the batter for an extra layer of flavor.

While draniki is primarily served as a standalone dish, it also comes in various famous variations, including being stuffed with meat, mushrooms, or cheese. Draniki is particularly cherished during the celebration of Maslenitsa, a Slavic holiday marking the end of winter.



  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Borscht is a traditional Belarusian dish and a staple of Eastern European cuisine. It is known for its vibrant ruby-red color from beetroot, which gives it a unique, slightly sweet, and earthy taste.

It’s more than just soup in Belarus; it represents the nation’s culinary heritage and is often enjoyed as a hearty meal. The flavor of borscht is a mix of savory, tart, and sweet, coming from a combination of beets, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and sometimes meat.

While the core recipe is consistent, many variations include adding beans, tomatoes, or a dollop of sour cream for creaminess and tang.

Olivier Salad Belarusian

Olivier Salad

  • Fusion
  • Traditional

Olivier salad, or Russian salad, holds a unique position in Belarusian cuisine as a fusion dish that has been embraced as a traditional component of festive meals.

The salad is a colorful medley of diced potatoes, vegetables, eggs, and meat, bound together with mayonnaise, offering a creamy texture and a harmonious blend of sweet and tangy flavors.

This salad is especially synonymous with New Year’s celebrations and other festive gatherings in Belarus, where it is a staple on the holiday table.

Kolduny Belarusian


  • Traditional

Kalduny, or kolduny, is a cherished traditional Belarusian dish akin to stuffed dumplings in various cultures worldwide. These parcels are meticulously crafted with a thin dough shell, enveloping various savory fillings such as minced meat, mushrooms, or cottage cheese.

The taste of kalduny is rich and satisfying, with the dough providing a tender bite that complements the flavorful fillings. Among the famous variations, meat-filled kalduny are particularly beloved, often served with a dollop of sour cream to enhance their flavor.

Sirniki Belarusian


  • Fusion
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Syrniki, also known as cheese pancakes, is a Belarusian fusion dish made from a soft, fresh cheese base, typically quark. Syrniki are lightly fried to achieve a crispy exterior with a melt-in-your-mouth, creamy interior.

The taste of Syrniki strikes a beautiful balance between sweetness and the slight tanginess of the cheese, often complemented with a sprinkle of sugar, a dollop of sour cream, or a spoonful of jam on the side.

Syrniki is a beloved breakfast item and a comforting dessert enjoyed by many on holiday breakfasts and family gatherings.

Babka Belarusian


  • Traditional

Babka is a savory potato-based loaf or pie from Belarusian cuisine. Unlike its sweet Polish and Jewish counterparts, the Belarusian babka is dense, hearty, and typically made by grating potatoes, mixing them with eggs, onions, and sometimes meat or bacon before baking in an oven.

The dish has a crispy exterior with a soft, moist interior, offering a rich and comforting taste. Babka is often enjoyed during family gatherings and on weekends.

Decorated Bread


  • Traditional

Korovai is a traditional Belarusian bread made with eggs and butter and sometimes with added flavors from fruits or nuts. The taste of korovai is rich and slightly sweet.

This bread is intricately decorated and typically served at weddings and major celebrations, symbolizing community, unity, and the blessing of the couple’s future together.

Holodnik Belarusian


  • Traditional

Chaladnik is a cherished cold soup in Belarusian cuisine known for its tangy and creamy flavor. This dish blends kefir or soured milk with finely chopped vegetables such as beets, cucumbers, radishes, and dill.

A boiled egg and a dollop of sour cream are often added on top for extra richness. Chaladnik is particularly popular in the spring and summer, making it a common feature at seasonal family gatherings.



  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Blini, thin, crepe-like pancakes, are a versatile element of Belarusian cuisine, enjoyed both as a traditional dish and as a comfort food.

Made from unleavened or yeast-raised batter, blini can be served with a variety of fillings or toppings ranging from sweet (such as jam, honey, or fruits) to savory (such as caviar, smoked salmon, or sour cream).

The taste of Blini can vary widely depending on the fillings, offering a delightful experience from mildly sweet to richly savory.

While Blini are commonly enjoyed throughout the year, they hold particular significance during Maslenitsa, a Slavic holiday celebrating the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

This week-long festivity is known for its blini feasts, symbolizing the sun’s round, golden appearance.



  • Traditional

Solyanka is a hearty Belarusian soup known for its complex and savory taste. It comes in various famous variations, including meat solyanka, fish solyanka, and mushroom solyanka, catering to different palates and preferences.

The distinctiveness of this soup lies in its dense, tangy flavor, achieved through a combination of ingredients such as smoked meats, pickles, olives, and a variety of vegetables.

Geen Borscht

Sorrel Soup

  • Traditional

Sorrel soup, recognized in Belarusian cuisine as “shchavelya soup,” is a traditional dish cherished for its refreshingly tangy and slightly sour taste. It celebrates spring and summer flavors, featuring the vibrant, lemony sorrel leaves as the star ingredient.

This soup is often light and nourishing, perfect for warmer seasons. Variations of sorrel soup may include adding eggs, potatoes, and carrots, offering a delightful blend of textures and flavors.

Herring Salad

Dressed Herring

  • Traditional

Dressed herring, or “Herring under a Fur Coat,” is a traditional layered salad in Belarusian cuisine. This dish consists of salted herring covered with grated boiled vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, and beets, often finished with a generous coat of mayonnaise.

Its distinct layers resemble a fur coat, hence the name. Dressed herring boasts a unique combination of salty and creamy flavors, with a slight sweetness brought by the beets. It is particularly favored during New Year’s celebrations and other festive gatherings in Belarus.



  • Traditional

Šakotis is a Belarusian towering, tree-like cake known for its spiky surface, created by the dripping batter during its unique cooking process. This delicacy, which shares its heritage with neighboring Lithuanian cuisine, has a gentle sweetness and a slightly crunchy texture.

Šakotis is often a centerpiece at significant celebrations, including weddings and major holidays, symbolizing prosperity and festive spirit. Its preparation is an art form, with variations in height and shape, though the traditional flavor remains beloved and constant.

Halusky Belarusian


  • Traditional

Halušky is a Belarusian dish comprising small, tender dumplings made primarily from a simple dough of potatoes and flour. Halušky is often served with a rich topping, such as creamy sauces or savory bits of pork fat, which complements its soft, pillowy texture.

The taste of Halušky is comforting and satisfying, with a delightful balance of the dumplings’ subtle flavor enhanced by the richness of its accompaniments.

Lazanki Belarusian


  • Traditional

Lazanki consists of small, flat pasta pieces mixed with sautéed cabbage, onions, and sometimes meat, such as pork or sausage.

The dish offers an interplay of textures and flavors, from the chewy bite of the pasta to the slight sweetness of the cabbage and the savory depth of the meat.

Though it’s enjoyed throughout the year, lazanki is particularly cherished during cold months for its hearty and warming qualities.



  • Traditional

Zrazy is a delectable rolled meat delight filled with various stuffings. This dish, emanating from the noble tables of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, has been seamlessly woven into the fabric of Belarusian culinary tradition.

The filling, consisting of breadcrumbs, mushrooms, eggs, and onions, brings a hearty and savory flavor to the tender meat exterior. Zrazy is celebrated for its versatility, with variations like potato zrazy, where mashed potato replaces meat, offering a vegetarian alternative.



  • Traditional

Machanka is a thick, hearty Belarusian stew made with pork, sausages, or sometimes even pancakes, machanka is a versatile dish known for its rich and creamy sauce, which is traditionally made from flour, fat, and sometimes kvass or beer.

This dish is a perfect blend of flavors, with a tangy and slightly sour taste that comes from the fermentation of the liquid ingredients.

Machanka is often enjoyed with thick slices of rye bread, making it a staple at Belarusian tables, especially during gatherings and celebrations.



  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Kletski refers to Belarus dumplings, made from unleavened dough, which can be filled with a variety of ingredients, from meat to mushrooms, or even come unfilled, known as “lazy” kletski.

The taste of kletski varies with the filling, ranging from the savory depth of meat to the earthy, comforting tones of mushrooms or potatoes.

Kletski can be served in a broth as a warming soup or with sour cream. While kletski are enjoyed year-round, they hold a special place during family gatherings and traditional celebrations.

Smazhenka Belarusian


  • Street Food

Smazhenka is a type of small pizza originating from Belarusian cuisine. It is prepared using homemade or store-bought yeast dough as its base. The topping typically includes a mixture of tomato paste, finely cut basil, and finely chopped ham and grated cheese.

The smazhenka is then baked in a preheated oven until the dough is cooked and the cheese is melted and slightly golden. This dish can be a delightful snack or part of a larger meal, offering a taste of Belarusian flavors through its simple yet savory toppings​​.

What Is the History and Evolution of Belarusian Cuisine?

Belarusian cuisine offers a fascinating journey through the country’s rich history. Here is a breakdown of its evolution:

  • Local Climate and Agriculture: The cool temperatures of Belarus favored grains like rye, barley, wheat, and buckwheat. This led to a diet rich in bread, pancakes, and porridges, complemented by a variety of vegetables and flax.
  • Medieval Melting Pot: During the era of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the culinary landscape began to diversify significantly. New ingredients and cooking methods were introduced by various ethnic groups that were part of the Duchy.
  • Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Influence: This period saw the introduction of meats, sausages, and cold cuts into the Belarusian diet, marking a significant culinary expansion.
  • Russian Empire Integration: The partitions of Poland brought Russian culinary influences, such as soups and stews, while Belarusians adapted these dishes to local tastes, preserving their culinary identity.
  • Soviet Era Changes: Industrialization and urbanization transformed traditional food consumption, but the Belarusian culinary heritage remained valued and preserved.
  • Modern Belarusian Cuisine: Today, the cuisine is a testament to its history, maintaining traditional dishes like draniki, borscht, and kolduny, while embracing new influences, characterized by its simplicity and reliance on local, seasonal ingredients.

Next, let’s uncover the traditional dining etiquette observed in Belarusian meals.

What Is Belarusian Dining Etiquette?

Exploring Belarusian dining etiquette reveals a rich tradition of hospitality and shared meals, emphasizing the importance of connection and gratitude. Here’s a breakdown of its key aspects:

  • Hospitality and Communal Eating: Meals are typically enjoyed with family and friends, showcasing the importance of togetherness in Belarusian culture.
  • Invitation to Eat: It is customary to wait for the host’s invitation before the meal, respecting their role in the dining experience.
  • Significance of Bread: Bread plays a crucial role, often passed by hand around the table, symbolizing trust and connection among diners.
  • Toasts and Thanks: Expressing gratitude through a toast or a word of thanks is common before starting the meal, especially during special occasions.
  • Warm and Convivial Atmosphere: The focus is on enjoying both the food and the company, creating a welcoming and friendly dining environment.

These etiquette practices lead us to explore the beverages that best complement Belarusian dishes, thereby enhancing the dining experience.

Which Beverages Best Complement Belarusian Dishes?

Here are the beverages that typically complement Belarusian dishes:

  • Kvass: It pairs well with cold borscht, a popular beet soup, potato pancakes known as draniki, and various salads and pickled vegetables.
  • Kompot: A sweet beverage made from boiled fruits, such as apples, cherries, or berries, kompot is a versatile drink that usually pairs with a wide range of Belarusian desserts and pastries.
  • Vodka: Vodka is commonly paired with smoked or salted fish, pickles, and meat dishes like kolduny (meat-stuffed potato pancakes) and machanka (a thick pork stew).
  • Herbal teas: With a tradition of foraging and using local herbs, Belarusian herbal teas are a common accompaniment to lighter meals and snacks. Mint, chamomile, and linden teas are often enjoyed with honey cakes, rye bread, and simple pastries.

When pairing wholesome Belarusian beverages with dishes, consider the balance of flavors and the weight of the dish to choose a complementary drink that enhances the dining experience.

You will discover even more fascinating aspects of this country’s culture as you go further. I hope that the foods I’ve suggested will help you and your loved ones in your path to studying Belarusian culture. Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott

Editor in Chief, Senior Content Writer


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Western Food Evaluation Expert


Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Gained foundational knowledge in French and European culinary techniques. Participated in workshops and hands-on training sessions under the guidance of seasoned chefs.

Local Community College, New York, NY

  • Program: Associate’s Degree in Nutrition
  • Focus: Acquired basic understanding of nutrition principles, dietary needs, and the importance of balanced diets in daily life.

Jamie Scott is a skilled culinary expert and content creator specializing in Western cuisine. With over 15 years in the culinary field and formal training from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, Jamie deeply understands how to blend nutrition with delicious flavors. His passion for cooking matches his commitment to making healthy eating accessible and enjoyable.

On Fifteen.net, Jamie brings a fresh perspective to classic dishes and beverages, offering readers insightful recipes, cooking tips, and a fresh view on meal planning that emphasizes taste, health, and simplicity.

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