Žemaičių blynai

Samogitian pancakes or Žemaičių blynai, are a warm, hearty meal traditionally made for hungry workers in the harsh Baltic winters.  They are made with a potato-based dough that's been filled with ground meat and vegetables. Žemaičių blynai are fried in butter and served with tangy sour cream.

Servings 8 Pancakes



  • 2 Lbs Potatoes
  • 1 each Egg
  • 1/4 C AP Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Potato Starch
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 12 oz Ground Pork
  • 2 oz Onion minced
  • 2 oz Carrot grated
  • 1 cl Garlic crushed
  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Potato Starch


Make the Dough

  1. Large dice about  2lb's of potato and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add to a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, mix until the potatoes are broken up and resemble mashed potatoes. Allow cooling.

  2. Once the potatoes are cool add flour, potato starch, salt and one egg to the mixer and mix the potato dough on low for 5 minutes. Set Aside

Make the Filling

  1. To a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp of oil. Add onions and carrot, cook until translucent and starting to brown, approximately 5 minutes., add crushed garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook until fully cooked through. Season with 2 Tbsp of ketchup, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle meat with 1 Tbsp of potato starch and stir to evenly coat.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Make the Pancakes

  1. Prepare your work surface by dusting it with a 1/4 cup of flour. Take a large heaping spoon-full of mashed potato dough and flatten onto your work surface. Shape the dough into a rectangular shape. Gently lift and dredge both sides in flour.

  2. To the center of the dough add a spoon full of filling.  Fold over the sides towards the center and pinch them closed. The pancake should resemble an oblong shape.  Makes 8 pancakes.

  3. Heat a nonstick or cast iron pan over medium heat and melt 1 tbsp of butter. Working with 2 pancakes at a time, gently brown both sides. About 1-2 minutes per side.

  4. Serve hot with butter and sour cream. 

Recipe Notes

If you are using left over mashed potatoes, start by reheating them slightly so that they are easier to work with. For this recipe you may need to add additional flour. Start by adding 1/4C plus 2 Tbsp of AP flour and kneading it into the dough along with the egg and 2 Tbsp of potato starch.