Russian Cutlets or Kotleti Recipe

Posted on August 5th, 2011

Russian Kotleti RecipeHave you ever tried Russian cutlets (“котлеты” [kat-LYE-tee], “котлетки” [kat-LYET-kee], I’ll just call them “kotleti”)? Not yet? I guess I just gave you an idea for your dinner tonight! 

Russian cutlets are very easy to make and are absolutely delicious! You can make as many as you like and just keep the rest in your fridge for tomorrow. The leftovers are as yummy as fresh ones.

Russian cutlets or kotleti might remind you of burger patties or meat balls, they are, after all are made out of ground beef. However, their shape is different than meat balls or patties, and because Russians love rich flavor in their food, kotleti might contain more then just ground meat and spices.

Ok, let’s get down to the recipe. The recipe below is the recipe I have known since I was a kid, but there are so many different variations of Russian kotleti nowadays!

Russian Cutlets Recipe


1 lb of ground beef
2-3 slices of wheat bread, crust removed
1 cup of milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 egg
flour or dried breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
oil for frying


1. Soak bread in a bowl with milk and set aside for a little while.

2. Mix ground beef with egg, finely chopped onions, garlic, black pepper, salt, and add bread soaked in milk. Don’t forget to remove crust from bread, otherwise you might end up with lumps in your cutlets and also make sure that you get rid of as much milk as possible from the soaked bread, do not pour milk in the mixture), and mix everything by hand to form a well-blended mixture.

3. Now it’s time to form little kotleti. As to their size, here is a little joke for you:

A student is asking an instructor in a cooking school:
– What size should a kotleta be?
Another student, interrupting the teacher:
– Any size is fine, as long as it fits on a plate .

Jokes aside, normally kotleti are not that big, to help you to find the right size: you can measure 2-3 tbsp of the mixture and form petite oval-shaped kotleti. The smaller they are, the more you will have! :-))

4. Now you can roll the kotleti in bread crumbs or flour until they are completely coated, then place them on a pre-heated oiled skillet.

5. Cook the kotleti on both sides until golden color, then add a little water (2-tbsp or more depending on how many kotletas are in your skillet), cover and cook for additional 15-20 min until ready.

Tips on How to Make Your Kotleti Even More Delicious

•    You can use 1/2 lb of ground beef and 0.5 of ground pork for an even richer taste instead of just beef as indicated in the recipe
•    Like I said earlier, you can add 1 tbsp of mayonnaise or mustard in your mixture or both for an extra delicate taste.
•    You can also add other spices to your liking.
•    To make kotleti healthier you can fry them up on both sides on a skillet first until golden, and then cook them in the oven.

And ladies, a little tip: men love them (from personal experience  😉 ), make sure to make a whole bunch!

How to Serve Russian Kotleti

Usually, Russian kotleti are served with mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, grechka or pasta. You can also make a kotleta sandwich by squeezing a kotleta in between of two slices of bread with some tomatoes, lettice and cheese – just as if you are making a burger. Yummy!

You can also serve kotleti the healthy way, by substituting potatoes or pasta with a salad.

You can use this recipe as your main guidance, but if you like more spices, or would like to add some mustard, mayonnaise or an extra something else, you can just go ahead and experiment. And please don’t forget to share your kotleti tips and recipes below!

Enjoy your dinner! Приятного аппетита!

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  1. Viktoria

    Hi Lori, and thank you for the kind words. Do you mean tort “Smetanik”? Sure, I know it and I would happy to share it 🙂

  2. Lori Kurochkina

    Just found your website, love it! (I was looking for an American way to make Syrniki)… I will try them tomorrow. Next will be your version of Kutlets (with real “farsh” of 50/50 beef and pork). I look forward to more recipes! PS: Do you know a recipe for Smetanik?

    • Lori Kurochkina

      Yes, the tort “Smetanik”. I know the sour cream is different here in the USA than in Russia. Do you add sugar to the sour cream to make it more like the Russian version? And I would love to see your recipe 🙂

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