Naleśniki: Polish Pancakes (Crepes)
Naleśniki (pron.: naleshneekey; already plural) are Polish-style thin pancakes, often filled with sweet or savoury fillings. They can be rolled up or folded.
The batter for Naleśniki is made of wheat flour, eggs, a pinch of salt and milk and/or water (often carbonated). Its texture is thinner than most pancake batters, so don’t be alarmed.
For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.
Naleśniki aren’t a Polish invention. In fact, they’re very similar to Jewish blintzes, French crêpes and Russian/Ukrainian blini. But they’re deeply ingrained in our everyday cuisine, making them Polish as well. They’re served at Milk Bars and canteens, but also enjoyed at home.
It’s a simple recipe, yet it does take a few tries to master. But it’s well worth it! They’re light, delicate and very versatile.
Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make these Naleśniki?
You can buy all of the ingredients in most supermarkets.
We’re using Farmer’s Cheese for the filling, but you can pick something else (more about it below).
Equipment-wise, a non-stick crêpe griddle/frying pan can be useful, but it’s not essential. A regular large frying pan works just as well.
How should you serve these Polish Pancakes?
Naleśniki are usually served with fillings; for breakfast, lunch or dessert. There are two routes here – sweet or savoury. Here are some popular options:
Sweet Crêpe Fillings
- Sweet Farmer’s Cheese, sometimes spiced with cinnamon (you’ll find the recipe below)
- Other sweetened cheeses, e.g. cream cheese, mascarpone (as an alternative to farmer’s cheese)
- Fresh fruit, jams, preserves
Savoury Crêpe Fillings
- Sauerkraut & Mushrooms
- Potato and Cheese
- Meat-based (Beef, Pork, Poultry)
- Veggie-based (Lentils, Spinach)
Have a look at these Pierogi filling ideas. You can use them for filling Naleśniki as well.
Cool idea: You can also assemble crêpes and line them in a baking dish greased with butter. Then sprinkle some grated cheese on top and bake at 390°F (200°C) for 10 minutes. Yum!
Can you make these Naleśniki another way?
Some recipes include additional ingredients, such as sugar and more fats (butter, oil).
Usually, if the batter contains some fats already, there’s no need to grease the skillet – but you’ll need to test that empirically.
What diets are these Polish Crêpes suitable for?
On their own, naleśniki are meat-free, but they do contain eggs and dairy. They’re suitable for lacto-ovo vegetarians.
How long can you keep these Naleśniki in the fridge?
Once you’ve served Polish Crêpes, ideally you should eat them within 3 hours.
To store Naleśniki (with and without filling), refrigerate them in a container with a lid and chill. Alternatively, leave them on a dinner plate and wrap with cling film. Aim to consume within 2 days.
Can I freeze these thin Polish Pancakes?
Yes, you can. Fresh Naleśniki are the tastiest, but defrosted ones ain’t too bad.
Freezing assembled Naleśniki (with filling):
Wrap each crêpe individually in foil (cling film works well) and label it with description and the date. Place in the freezer and store for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in the fridge overnight.
Freezing Naleśniki on their own (without filling):
Place parchment or waxed paper between each crêpe (that will keep them apart). Place the lot in a freezer-friendly bag or wrap tightly with foil. Label with description and date and freeze for up to 3 months. Once you’re ready to eat, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
How do I reheat these Naleśniki?
Reheating assembled Naleśniki (with filling):
In the oven: Arrange pancakes in a baking dish (they can overlap slightly), cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 250°F (120°C).
Reheating Naleśniki on their own (without filling):
In the microwave: Reheat in a microwave for 20 seconds (set on ‘high’), flip and continue heating for another 10 seconds.
On the stove: Preheat a non-stick frying pan, brush it lightly with some butter. Place the pancake on the pan and warm it up for 30-60 seconds. Flip slowly with a spatula and continue cooking for another 30-60 seconds, until hot throughout.
Naleśniki: Polish Pancakes (Crêpes) with Sweet Farmer's Cheese Filling
If you’re tiring of your usual weekend pancake routine, it might be time to try something new. Transport yourself to Poland for some sweet inspiration.
These 'Naleśniki' are made from a thin, egg-rich batter. They're fried in a skillet to produce thin cake-like layers that can be rolled up or folded. Here, I'm suggesting a Sweet Cheese filling, but feel free to experiment.
This recipe makes 10 crêpes (roughly 9in / 23-24 cm in diameter).
- 1¼ cup (150 g) all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar or fine sugar; only if you're making a sweet filling
- ⅘ cup (200 ml) milk
- ⅖ (6.5 tbsp, 100 ml) water, can be carbonated
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp (25 g) butter
- ½ tsp neutral cooking oil, e.g. canola
Suggested Filling: Sweet Farmer’s Cheese
- 1 lb (450 g) twaróg (farmer’s cheese); full fat, unsalted
- 2 tbsp powdered/icing sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar; can substitute for fine sugar with few drops of vanilla extract
- Get a large bowl. Add flour, a pinch of salt and vanilla sugar into it, combine with a fork.
- Gradually pour in milk and water, stirring vigorously with a whisk - to prevent lumps from forming. Add the eggs and mix again.
- If you have 2 tablespoons of soft butter - add it as well. You can mix with a whisk by hand, or with an electric mixer. If there are some lumps anyway, you can pour the dough through a strainer.
- Set the batter aside for 30 minutes, let it rest. (You can skip this step)
- Preheat a non-stick frying pan (or even better - a crêpe griddle) on a medium heat. Spread a drop of cooking oil with a silicon brush (paper towel works too).
- Using a ladle, pour in just enough batter to fully cover the surface of the pan. Move the pan around, let the batter spread - we’re trying to make our Naleśniki as thin as possible.
- Fry until the bottom is browned (40-50 seconds) and the top of the pancake is no longer liquid. Turn over with a spatula and fry for a moment (20-30 seconds) until golden. Once done, remove from the pan and onto a plate.
- Continue until you’re out of batter.
- Serve on their own or fill them with a filling of your choice (such as sweet farmer’s cheese filling - instructions below).
For Sweet Farmer’s Cheese:
- Move farmer’s cheese into a bowl, add powdered sugar and vanilla sugar.
- Smash everything together with a fork. If your cheese is very dry in texture (that’s especially the case if the cheese is made out of skimmed milk), feel free to add a spoonful or two (or more!) of cream.
- Cover each crêpe with the filling. Fold intro triangles or roll.
- You can serve Naleśniki as they are, or alternatively - you can warm them up gently on a frying pan.
- Sprinkle with powdered/icing sugar or drizzle with honey. Garnish with fresh fruit and sweetened cream.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 3
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 93mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 10g
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Pronunciation & More
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