Kisel: Russian Berry Dessert Recipe

Kisel: Russian Berry Dessert Recipe

Indulge in the exquisite flavors of Kisel, a classic Russian dessert that celebrates the bounty of summer berries. This traditional sweet treat, with its vibrant colors and refreshing taste, is a staple of Russian cuisine and a cherished favorite among locals and visitors alike.


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen berries (such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cranberries)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)


  1. Prepare the berries: Rinse and sort the berries, removing any stems or leaves. In a medium saucepan, combine the berries, water, and sugar.
  2. Bring to a boil: Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the berries are soft and the liquid is slightly thickened.
  3. Dissolve the cornstarch: In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water to form a smooth slurry.
  4. Thicken the kisel: Gradually whisk the cornstarch slurry into the hot berry mixture. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and becomes glossy, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add lemon juice (optional): For a touch of tartness, stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This step is optional but adds a lovely brightness to the dessert.
  6. Chill and serve: Remove the kisel from the heat and let it cool slightly. Pour into individual serving bowls, glasses, or a larger serving dish. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, to allow it to fully set.


  • For a sweeter kisel, add more sugar to taste.
  • If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use arrowroot powder as a substitute.
  • For a more vibrant color, use a variety of different berries.
  • Kisel can be served chilled or at room temperature.
  • Garnish with fresh berries or a dollop of whipped cream for a finishing touch.


  • What is the difference between kisel and kissel?
  • Answer: The words “kisel” and “kissel” are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. Kissel is a more traditional version of the dessert, made with a fermented rye starter called “zakvaska.” Kisel, on the other hand, is made with cornstarch or arrowroot powder as a thickener.
  • What are some variations of kisel?
  • Answer: Kisel can be made with a variety of different fruits and berries. Some popular variations include strawberry kisel, raspberry kisel, and blueberry kisel. You can also add different flavors, such as vanilla, cinnamon, or orange zest, to customize the taste.
  • How long does kisel last?
  • Answer: Kisel can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. However, it is best to consume it within the first few days for the best flavor and texture.

Kisel: Russian Berry Dessert Recipe

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