Side Dishes

20 Traditional Russian Side Dishes

Traditional Russian sides to make your holiday meals unique.

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
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Updated September 18, 2022

These Russian side dishes are made with hearty ingredients using easy-to-learn tasty recipes. The result is simple, but delicious food!

Russian side dishes

Warming dishes like soups and stews feature heavily in Russian cuisine. This is because many traditional foods were designed to be preserved and eaten over the long harsh Russian winter.

Many dishes on this list started their journey as peasant food, and as Eastern Europe modernized they became everyday fare. There are also many dishes inspired by French and Dutch cuisine, such as Russian potato salad.

Classic Russian ingredients like cabbage and potatoes are inexpensive but have a lot of flavors when cooked right. Staples like fresh beets are not only nutritious but also give many Russian dishes a signature red hue.

There is a good mix of fresh and hearty foods on this list, so there’s something for every meal. So try adding one of these unique and understated Russian side dishes to your next dinner!

Russian side dishes recipe

01. Olivier Salad

Add a Russian flair to your next barbecue with this potato salad!

Olivier salad is a common dish at Russian celebrations like Christmas and New Year. Carrots and pickles give this salad a festive color, as well as some crunch!

Although the original Olivier salad contained smoked duck and caviar, modern recipes keep things simple. Ham or chicken, usually leftover from holidays, is a common addition!

02. Russian Pelmeni Recipe

Dumplings are the perfect heart-warming comfort food. And they’re easy to prepare too!

These meat dumplings are made with a mixture of ground beef and pork. They are seasoned with simple ingredients like fresh onion, pepper, and salt.

They can be tricky and time-consuming to fold, so this is a great side dish to make with the family. They freeze and reheat amazingly, so make a big batch to enjoy later on!

03. Russian Potato Salad

A slightly different take on this creamy, classic Russian food!

History says that this version of Russian potato salad was invented in an upscale restaurant in Moscow. Ingredients like mayonnaise and ham were inspired by French cuisine, popular at the time of its invention.

Capers, ham, and pickles give this Russian salad a more savory flavor than your typical mayonnaise potato salad. Some recipes even use hot dogs in place of ham!

04. Russian Stuffed Rolls with Braised Cabbage

Anything stuffed into bread is bound to be delicious. These stuffed rolls are both intensely flavorful, and surprisingly healthy!

The inside is filled with a delicious combination of sautéed cabbage, onion, carrot, and tomato paste. The juicy filling keeps the dough moist and fluffy as it bakes, while the outside gets nice and crispy.

These little pillowy rolls make a delicious appetizer or snack. Like many Russian foods, they also freeze well for later meals!

05. ‘Kurnik’ a.k.a. Chicken Pie

This Easter classic is hearty, healthy, and guaranteed to warm you up on a cold day!

Kurnik is a rustic russian chicken pie, filled with a savory mix of chicken meat, mushrooms, and fresh herbs. You can make this recipe in a skillet for an extra crispy crust and a beautiful presentation.

This pie will feed a family on its own, or you can eat it alongside other traditional Russian dishes.

06. Russian Pan Fried Potatoes

There’s no more popular staple food in Russia than potatoes. This recipe takes a humble root vegetable and turns it into a tasty snack!

The key to these fried potatoes is to use extra virgin olive oil and a skillet for extra crispy edges! Make sure to add diced onion and dill to get that authentic savory Russian flavor.

These potatoes make a great breakfast side or a tasty treat alongside a rich meat dish.

07. Russian Vinaigrette Salad

Beets give this Russian vinaigrette salad its vibrant pink hue! This color alone makes it the perfect Russian dish for celebrations and holidays.

Diced beet and pickles give this salad a unique tang that goes perfectly with meats and starchy foods. The sunflower oil dressing provides an earthy flavor that ties everything together.

This is the kind of salad that tastes better after you let it marinate.

08. Russian Pampushki Recipe

These potato and cheese balls are a perfect indulgent snack!

Traditionally, these potato balls are made with farmer’s cheese and chives. This recipe uses feta and dill for a punchier, tangy flavor.

Make sure you coat your pampushki in breadcrumbs, or else the potatoes will come apart in the vegetable oil. This results in a crispy golden brown crust, with all the fillings securely locked inside.

09. Meatless schi (Cabbage Soup)

A hearty side for a cold winter’s day!

Nutritional and filling, this soup is the perfect dish to get you through a cold snap! Hearty cabbage and potatoes are full of vitamins and fiber so this soup is good for you too!

Sometimes sauerkraut is added to give this healthy dish more of that authentic Russian sour flavor. Dried mushrooms add an element of umami to the broth and round out the vinegar taste.

10. Russian Radish Cucumber Salad Recipe

This colorful vegetable salad is a perfect side for grilled meats and stews.

Radishes can be a bit bitter, but that bitterness is cut by a delicious sour cream dressing. Chopped dill adds freshness and a pop of green color.

If you want to make this healthy salad even more nutritious, use greek yogurt or kefir, a fermented milk drink, for the dressing!

11. Turnip Soup

Creamy soup and fresh buns are one of my favorite comfort foods!

This soup uses simple, wholesome ingredients like turnip, garlic, and thyme. Although simple, these ingredients pack tons of flavor!

Turnip has an intense earthy taste that makes this soup great for autumn meals. Serve this soup with crumbled bacon and cheese on top for a deliciously savory starter!

12. Zucchini Fritters Recipe Oladi

A great finger food for parties, or a fun holiday dinner appetizer!

I admit that sometimes it’s a struggle to know what exactly to do with zucchini. These zucchini fritters are a healthy way to serve them up as a fried treat at dinner!

Grated zucchini and egg fry up perfectly into these little pancakes. Use a skillet for the crispiest results, and serve these fritters with sour cream and green onions to dip!

13. Kulebjaka (Russian Cabbage Pie)

Even Russian baked goods have a way of incorporating cabbage!

Kulebjaka can be made with yeast dough or a flaky pie crust. It’s similar to an empanada, and usually includes fillings like cabbage, salmon, or meat.

This recipe includes delicious onion and dill sauteed cabbage inside the pie. It’s a unique treat to serve with stews and soups instead of your typical bread roll!

14. Creamy Russian Mushroom Julienne Chicken

Mushroom Julienne is made for dinner parties and date nights!

This creamy mix of sautéed mushrooms, white wine, and sour cream is just begging for crackers and crusty bread! A layer of gooey melted cheese is baked to bubbly perfection right on top.

Although it seems fancy, this recipe only uses a few ingredients. A lot of the rich earthy flavors come from the sauteed mushrooms alone.

15. Cabbage Belyashi

These stuffed buns make a delicious addition to your holiday appetizer table!

The inside of these buns is stuffed with delicious Russian-style braised cabbage. You can use braised sauerkraut, or make your own filling with shredded cabbage, garlic, lemon juice, and onion.

The best part about these buns is the crispy fried exterior. Biting into one, you get that satisfying crunch, with a pop of salty cabbage inside!

16. Kvashenaya Kapusta (Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe)

One of the most versatile Russian side dish recipes that goes with almost anything!

You can buy sauerkraut in jars, but this homemade recipe is so much tastier! Fermenting your own cabbage gives you the ability to control how tangy it is, and what spices are used.

Homemade sauerkraut can be added to sandwiches for a tangy crunch. Or, use it to make delicious Russian dishes like braised beef and cabbage!

17. Russian Sourdough Dark Rye Bread

An earthy, flavorful bread that makes a worthy side for dips, meats, and spreads.

Rye bread uses rye meal and molasses to get its deep, rich flavor. Make sure you have some time set aside, as this recipe needs 4-5 days to ferment.

The dark color of rye makes it an eye-catching addition to charcuterie boards. It’s delicious with smoked fish and capers, or use it to make the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich!

18. Baked Piroshki (Russian Stuffed Rolls)

For a quick lunch or dinner side, these stuffed rolls will hit the spot!

These little hand pies are made with fluffy bread and savory filling. Common fillings are braised cabbage or mixed vegetables and beef.

You can also make these piroshki into a sweet dessert or breakfast too! Stewed fruits like apples and blueberries are typical fillings in Russian bakeries.

19. Russian Blini (Buckwheat Pancakes)

These fluffy blinis work as an appetizer or a breakfast item.

These little mini pancakes are made with buckwheat and sourdough for a slightly tangy taste. Traditionally they are topped with smoked salmon and sour cream, but you can add whatever toppings you like.

Serve up these blinis as a party finger food with your favorite cheeses and meats. They’re a unique alternative to your typical bread and crackers!

20. Borscht (Beet and Cabbage Red Soup)

The addictively sour and savory flavor of borscht will make this your new favorite soup!

Chunks of red beet, potatoes, and carrots make up the bulk of this hearty red soup. Beef shank gives the broth depth and the fat helps elevate the flavor.

And if there weren’t enough reasons to love this soup, it’s also high in vitamins A and C!

20 Traditional Russian Side Dishes

Directions


  1. Choose one of these delicious traditional Russian dishes.

  2. Don’t forget the cabbage and sour cream at the grocery store!

  3. Cook a classic, hearty meal with a unique Russian flair.

Russian side dishes - Pinterest