Russian Words: Food and Drink

Traditional Russian snacks
Traditional Russian snacks: sauerkraut with cranberries, herring, pickled cucumbers, pickled mushrooms and rye bread.

Yulia Gusterina / Getty Images

Food and drink are a big part of the Russian culture, both for social reasons and for the sake of good health, which many Russians take very seriously. It is not uncommon to have several courses for lunch, which can include soup-based starters, main dishes, and desserts.

Russian family life is also centered around mealtimes and many people have a "proper" cooked breakfast every morning. Russian celebration meals are usually true feasts, which is not surprising if you consider the variety of flavors that Russia has developed due to its geographical location and historical connections.

For learners of Russian, getting the food and drink vocabulary down is essential if you want to be able to participate in Russian life. We have compiled a list of the most used words.

Breakfast Foods

Russian breakfast can be hot or cold and is usually a sandwich, fried eggs, or kasha—a type of porridge that can be made of oats, buckwheat, millet, semolina, or pearl barley, as well as other grains.

buckwheat porridge in ceramic pot
Buckwheat porridge is a traditional Russian breakfast food. Xanya69 / Getty Images
Russian Word Translation Pronunciation Example
Каша porridge/gruel KAsha Я не люблю кашу - I don't like porridge.
бутерброд sandwich bootyerBROT or bootrBROT Бутерброд с колбасой - Salami sandwich.
яичница fried egg yaEEshnitsa or yaEEchnitsa or yeeEEshnitsa Тебе пожарить яичницу? - Shall I make you some fried eggs?
омлет omelet amLYET Я бы хотел(а) омлет с грибами - I would like an omelet with mushrooms.
овсянка oatmeal porridge avSYANka По утрам я ем только овсянку - In the mornings/for breakfast I only eat porridge.
перловая каша pearl barley porridge pirLOvaya KAsha Принесите, пожалуйста, перловую кашу - Could I please have some pearl barley porridge.
манка semolina MANka Мой сын не любит манку / манную кашу - My son doesn't like semolina.
манная каша semolina porridge MAnnaya KAsha Мой сын не любит манку / манную кашу - My son doesn't like semolina.
гречка buckwheat GRYECHka Гречка - это полезно - Buckwheat is good for you.
гречневая каша buckwheat porridge GRYECHnyvaya KAsha Дайте, пожалуйста, порцию гречневой каши - Could you please bring/could I order one portion of buckwheat?
пшёнка millet PSHYONka Очень вкусная пшёнка - The millet is very tasty.
пшённая каша millet porridge PSHYOnaya KAsha Купи пшённую кашу - (Could you) buy some millet?
колбаса sausage kalbaSSA Какие у вас сорта колбасы? - What types of sausage do you have?
сыр cheese syrr Я очень люблю французский сыр - I love French cheese.
жареная картошка potato fries ZHArynaya karTOSHka На завтрак я хочу жареной картошки - I want some potato fries.
гренки toast/French toast GRYENki Гренки с сыром - French toast with cheese.
сырники curd cheese cakes (fried) SYRRniki Я закажу сырники - I will order some cheese buns.
булка / булочка bun BOOLka / BOOlachka Булочка с маслом - A bun with some butter.
круассан croissant kroo-asSAN Дайте, пожалуйста, круассан - May I have a croissant, please?
сливочное масло butter SLEEvachnaye MASla Мне нужно сливочное масло - I need some butter.
творог curd cheese tvaROG Творог полезен для здоровья - Curd cheese is good for your health.
сметана sour cream smeTAna Немного сметаны - A little sour cream.
джем jam dzhem Булка с джемом - A bun with some jam.
фрукты fruit FRUKty Фрукты на дессерт - Some fruit for dessert.
ватрушка curd cheese bun vatROOSHka Вкусная ватрушка - A delicious bun.
хлеб bread khleb
 
Передайте, пожалуйста, хлеб - Please could you pass the bread.
сухофрукты dried fruit soohaFRUKty Сухофрукты с йогуртом - Dried fruit with some yogurt.
изюм raisins eeZYUM Булочка с изюмом - A bun with raisins.
кишмиш sultanas kishMISH Вкусный кишмиш - Tasty sultanas.
ветчина ham vyetchiNA Ветчина и сыр - Ham and cheese.
глазунья fried egg (sunny side up) glaZOOnya Я буду глазунью - I will have a fried egg sunny side up.
рогалик kifli raGAlik Сладкий рогалик - A sweet kifli.

Vegetables

Russians eat a lot of pickled vegetables, a tradition that was born out of necessity from living in a cold climate where fresh vegetables were not available for months at a time.

Plate of pickled vegetables
Plate of pickled vegetables.  
Russian Word Translation Pronunciation
капуста cabbage kaPUSta
картошка potato/potatoes karTOSHka
картофель potatoes karTOfyel'
морковка carrot/carrots marKOVka
морковь carrot/carrots marKOF'
болгарский перец / сладкий перец bell pepper/sweet pepper balGARSky PYEryets / SLADki PYEryets
редиска radish ryDYSka
редис radish ryDIS
лук onion look
чеснок garlic chesNOK
спаржа asparagus SPARzha
квашеная капуста saurkraut KVAshenaya kaPUSta
цветная капуста cauliflower tsvetNAya kaPUSta
грибы mushrooms griBY
авокадо avocado avaCAda
огурец cucumber agooRETS

Example: Квашеная капуста.
Pronunciation: KVAshenaya kaPOOSta.
Translation: Saurkraut.

Example: Солёный огурчик.
Pronunciation: SaLYOny aGOORchik.
Translation: Gherkin.

Fruit

Russian Word Translation Pronunciation
яблоко/яблоки apple/apples YABlakuh/YAblaki
груша/груши pear/pears GRUsha/GRUshi
клубника strawberry/strawberries kloobNIka
малина raspberry/raspberries maLEEna
виноград grapes veenaGRAD
апельсин orange/oranges apyl'SEEN
грейпфрут grapefruit grape-FRUT
мандарин mandarin mandaREEN
черная смородина blackcurrant CHYORnaya smaROdina
арбуз watermelon arBOOZ
дыня melon DYnya
банан banana banana
манго mango MANguh
киви kiwi KEEvi
изюм raisins eeZYUM
курага dried apricots kuraGAH
чернослив prunes chyrnuhSLEEV
слива plums SLEEva
алыча cherry-plum alyCHAH
ежевика blackberry yezhyVEEka

Meat and Fish

Meat and fish are an important part of the traditional Russian diet. For example, pickled herring is served at any celebratory or important meal. Meat and fish are often fried.

Russian meal of pickled herring and vodka
Russian meal of pickled herring and vodka. lenakorzh / Getty Images
Russian Word Translation Pronunciation
курица chicken KOOritsa
говядина beef gaVYAdina
свинина pork sviNEEna
баранина lamb baRAnina
сёмга salmon SYOMga
треска cod trysKA
щука pike SHOOkah
форель trout faREL'
сельдь/селёдка herring SYEL'd'/syLYODka
сушеная рыба dried fish suSHYOnaya RYba
креветки prawns kryVYETki
краб crab KRAB
устрицы oysters OOStritsy

Main Dishes

The most popular main dishes are various soups, cutlets, and fried potatoes, as well as pasta and rice dishes.

Russian Word Translation Pronunciation
суп soup SOOP
куриный суп chicken soup kuREEny SOOP
борщ borscht BORsh
щи soup ("Shi") SHEE
окрошка okroshka uh-kROSHka
отбивная steak atbivNAya
котлеты cutlets/croquettes kutLYEty
макароны pasta/macaroni makaROny
лапша noodles lapSHA
плов plov/pilaf PLOV
рис rice REES
жареная картошка fried potato/fries ZHArynaya karTOSHka
жареная картошка roast zharKOye

Example: Принесите, пожалуйста, отбивную.
Pronunciation: PrinySEEtye, paZHalusta, atbivNUyu.
Translation: I will have the steak, please.

Example: На обед макароны по-флотски.
Pronunciation: Na aBYED makaROny pa-FLOTsky.
Translation: Lunch is beefaroni.

Desserts

Russian Word Translation Pronunciation
мороженное ice cream moRozhenoye
пирожное cake/pastry peeROZHnoye
печенье biscuits pyeCHEnye
торт cake TORT
шоколад chocolate shuhkuhLAD
зефир marshmallow zyFEER

Example: Зефир в шоколаде.
Pronunciation: zyFEER fshukuLAdye.
Translation: Chocolate-covered marshmallow.

Example: Я заказала торт.
Pronunciation: Ya zakaZAla TORT.
Translation: I ordered a cake.

Drinks

Russian Word Translation Pronunciation
чай tea chay
кофе coffee KOfye
горячий шоколад hot chocolate gaRYAchy shuhkuhLAD
какао cacao kaKAOH
вино wine veeNOH
пиво beer PEEvuh
спиртные напитки alcoholic drinks spirtNYye naPEETki
квас kvas KVAS
кефир kefir kyFEER
сок juice SOK
апельсиновый сок orange juice apyl'SEEnahvy SOK
яблочный сок apple juice YABlachny SOK
водка vodka VODka

Example: Кофе по-восточному, пожалуйста.
Pronunciation: KOfye pa-vasTOChnamoo, paZHAlusta.
Translation: Turkish coffee, please.