Breakfast & Desserts/ Drinks/ Russian Monday

Russian Monday: “Kissel” – Fruit Drink, Dessert

Hello everyone! Today we are learning how to make kissel.

Word “kissel” (pronounced in Russian as “kee-sel”) originates from Russian verb “kvasit”, which means “make sour”. Kissel has been an integral part of traditional Russian cuisine for a long time. Before 19th-century kissels were usually grain-based and thick. Popular oatmeal kissel while cooled off has been so thick that it could be cut with a knife! Such thick kissels were usually served with hemp or sunflower oil.

It is usually prepared from fresh berries, juices, syrup, and milk with the addition of some starch. The density of kissel (thick, medium or very liquid) depends on the amount of added starch. For thick kissel you can use 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup or 60 grams) of starch per pint, 2 tablespoons (35 grams) would get you medium consistency and 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) would keep your kissel very liquid.

Thick or medium kissels can be served as a separate dessert while liquid ones are often used as sauces for various sweet casseroles and grits-based dishes. Once cooked, thick kissel is poured out into pans and cooled off. It can be served with syrup, jam, milk or cream.

“Kissel” – Fruit Drink, Dessert

Type of starch used depends on what your kissel is based on. If you use berries, utilize potato starch, if you make milk-based kissel, use corn starch. Initially, starch is diluted in cold water and then poured into boiling syrup. You start the process with making juice, then boiling it to the syrup consistency, adding diluted starch, then juice and, finally, cooling off. To avoid the formation of the membrane on the surface of your kissel adds a bit of sugar into it.

This concludes our recipe for today. Happy kissel making!

“Kissel” – Fruit Drink, Dessert

Kissel - Fruit Drink

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  • 1 cup pitted Sour Cherries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5-6 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch dissolved in ¾ cup cold water(or red wine)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



Wash the berries and place them in a non-oxidizing pan. Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer for about 5-6 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth, then add sugar and mix well. Heat to boiling, constantly removing the foam from the surface. To preserve the bright color and enhance the taste add lemon juice.


Stir in the potato starch dissolved in the cold water, and vanilla, cook stirring until just starts to boil. Cover the top with some sanding or just coarse sugar to prevent from film forming.


In the bottom of the nice glasses or bowls put a few cherries or raspberries and pour the kissel on top. Serve it warm or chilled.

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  • Reply
    July 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Love kissel!!! I have not drank it for over 10 years, unbelievable! Thanks for reminding me that such wonderful drink exists. Pinned!

  • Reply
    July 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you, Julia! I cooked it first time in many years myself-)) Very refreshing drink/dessert.

  • Reply
    Rosa's Yummy Yums
    July 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    That looks delightful! So summery and refreshing. And what a gorgeous color your Kissel has…



  • Reply
    Rebecca Subbiah
    July 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    great drink and love the use of cherries

  • Reply
    Elen Smirnova
    July 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    One of my favourites!!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Looks delicious! I have just made my first kissel ever, with cranberries. It is still chilling but I can't wait to try it. Your kissel looks gorgeous 🙂

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