Polish Sweet Cream Cheese Pancakes (Nalesniki)

Polish Pancakes Nalesniki

I’m excited to share this recipe with you as it’s really delicious and probably quite different to anything you may have tasted before. It’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow, or Pancake Day here in the UK and this is one of my favourite pancake fillings. Imagine eating a soft and creamy cheesecake, but then imagine that flavour folded inside a thin and delicate crepe or pancake. This is a very well-known dish in Poland, called Naleśnik z Serem or Polish Sweet Cream Cheese Pancakes. They are traditionally made with farmer’s cheese, or curd cheese, which I have seen in the shops. But if you can’t find any, use full fat cream cheese.  You can use any crepe or pancake recipe you like. My favourite is a recipe called Make Ahead Pancake Mix from Vanessa Kimbell’s Prepped. You can store the leftover dry mix in a container and then use it for quick suppers.

Polish Pancakes Nalesniki

I mentioned ‘Fat Thursday’ recently in a post, the day when Poles eat lots of doughnuts and sweet things to mark the start of Lent. We don’t have  a pancake day, specifically. Naleśniki can be eaten sweet, filled with plum jam, fruit, or sweet cheese,or even savoury, perhaps with wild mushrooms.  I’ve shared quite a few Polish recipes recently, which I hope you’ve all liked. I’m currently working on setting up a new site just for my Polish recipes, so that they can have a home of their own. I’ll keep you posted!

A traditional Polish filling for pancakes with sweet cream cheese.


6 servings


  • 6 thin, crepes or pancakes, warmed
  • 200 g / 8 oz full fat cream cheese, such as Philadelphia
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla seeds or extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Grated zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • Fruit, to serve


  1. Warm the pancakes or make them fresh and leave to one side covered.
  2. To make the filling, whisk together the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest until you have a smooth mixture, similar to the consistency of whipped cream.
  3. Take one pancake at a time and spread a spoonful of filling onto each pancake. Roll or fold into quarters. Lay them on a plate and fill the rest of the pancakes.
  4. You can serve the pancakes as they are, or gently heat them, by placing them on a plate into a warm oven, or in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  5. To serve, dust with icing sugar and serve with fruit, such as straberries, or cherries, soaked in alcohol.


  • If you are serving these to children or anyone who is pregnant, you can leave out the egg yolk.

Polish Pancakes

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to pancake day tomorrow. I’ll be back with some more ideas tomorrow, too.

What’s your favourite filling?


  1. says

    This is certainly different to what I have experienced and the seem lovely! Does the cheese become slightly sour in the cooking? I can’t wait to try them xx

  2. says

    What beautiful looking pancakes! I was really pleased with mine this year but they didn’t have the gorgeous frilly edge that yours do! And with that filling – mmm, inspirational!
    So glad to hear you like going on holiday to Wales!

    • Ren says

      The trick is to get the pancake batter quite thin and use a flat pan that just curls up slightly. We do love Wales! Looking forward to an Easter break there hopefully x

  3. says

    I know I’m a tad late for pancake day – but I think I can find an excuse for pancakes on lots of other days too, they’re very tempting! Yours look delicious, beautiful presentation as usual. I have some mascarpone in the fridge that I might try them with. And only just seen your banana and maple syrup version from last year, which looks equally yummy.

  4. says

    It’s always a source of some concern to me that British people don’t connect food and culture as much as most other nations do (e.g. the Poles). You are certainly doing your bit to keep Polish food alive! We Brits could learn a lot from you. How many English people know more than the barest minimum about the history / origins – or even the ingredients – of their food?

    • Ren says

      Thanks Mark, kind words. I’m learning, every day and there is still so much more digging to do. I think the Brits are starting to learn about the origins of their food, most of it, it seems, comes from horses! Joking aside, I also think that British festivals and culture are fading – some people eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, but many probably don’t know why – or connect it to any wider religious or festive/cultural significance. I like eating Bath Buns, in Bath, or Sally Lunn Buns! And the Welsh are quite well connected to their food, which is why we like going on holiday there. I’m looking forward to much more travel in the coming years, to learn more and to experience more. Food, Glorious, Food!

    • Ren says

      Thanks Emma! I was thinking that Mascarpone would be good, I think I used that once. Curd cheese has a very particular flavour but it’s really hard to get over in the UK. Ricotta, I find is quite bland, but that’s what’s the American’s use in place of curd cheese in Polish dishes. Hope you have a lovely pancake day, too. I’ve just seen your recipes in Sainsbury’s Magazine, too – congratulations! X

  5. says

    These sound delicious Ren, and we have lots of cream cheese at it is currently on BOGOF in Waitrose, I’ll be making these…
    Looking forward to the Polish site too, there is a reasonably Polish community near to me and a Polish shop very close to my flat.

    • Ren says

      Ooh that’s good, see I could have entered it into credit crunch munch if I had seen that special offer! There are tons of Polish shops around, probably takes a bit of courage to go in, but you usually find friendly faces! I love POSK in Hammersmith – great little cafe in there.

  6. says

    Hi Ren,
    These look amazing. I can’t wait to try them. I am very excited for your polish recipes site. I come from a Polish decent so always love reading about your traditions and especially the food recipes!

    • Ren says

      Hi Corin, thank you, I hope you manage to try them. Thanks for the vote of confidence on the Polish food site! Hope to launch it soon, Ren x