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Pancake Day recipes: how to make the perfect pancakes

Top chefs share their secrets for creating a tasty treat on Shrove Tuesday

Pancake day recipes

Pancake Day is upon us and what better way to get in the mood for some flipping fun than with handy hints and tips from some top chefs.

Shrove Tuesday marks the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Originally, it was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the fast.

Pancakes later became a perfect way of using up these ingredients, with the pancake first featured in cookery books around 1439.

“The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old,” says Historic UK, quoting a text from 1619 that said: “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.”

Whether you find delight in crepe-style pancakes or prefer the thicker fluffy variations typically found in Scotland and the US, Pancake Day is “an annual celebration enjoyed by many across the world in the lead up to the Christian festival of Easter”, says The Independent.

Below you will find tasty recipes as well as secrets from the best pancake-makers in the business.

Pancake recipes from around the world

The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences pancakes
Brunch Style Pancakes by The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences

If it’s a savoury pancake you’re hungry for, then why not serve up a brunch using this recipe from the team at The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences in Mayfair, London. 

Ingredients 

  • 200g self raising flour 
  • 1tsp baking powder 
  • 200ml milk 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 25g melted butter, plus extra for frying 
  • 2tbsp chopped chives, plus more to serve 

For the topping

  • 4 eggs 
  • 4 slices of thick cut ham, halved 
  • 4 small handfuls of spinach leaves 
  • 20g harissa paste

Method

  • Whisk all of the pancake ingredients together, minus the chives. Add some seasoning to taste and whisk until the batter is smooth.
  • Stir in the chives.
  • Melt a small knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to low heat.
  • Pour 2 tbsp of the pancake mix into the pan and use the back of the spoon to shape it into a 8-9cm round disc. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to get 2 or 3 pancakes cooking at the same time. Cook the first side for 1-2 minutes then flip and cook for 1 more minute. Continue until all the mixture is used up.
  • Heat an oven to its lowest setting, stack the cooked pancakes onto a baking trying and place in the oven. This will keep the pancakes warm while you cook the rest.
  • Add a little oil to a frying pan and crack in your eggs, cooking until they are done to your liking. 2-3 minutes will produce a set, firm white and a partially runny yolk. Cook a little longer for a soft yolk or for eggs ‘over easy’ flip the egg after 3 minutes to cook the yolk a little more.
  • To serve, stack the pancakes adding  harissa paste, ham and spinach leaves between layers.
  • Top with the fried egg, chives and black pepper.
The Acai Girls’s peanut butter, caramelised banana and cacao pancakes
The Acai Girls’s peanut butter, caramelised banana and cacao pancakes

Inspired by trips to New York, these dreamy American-style pancakes by the Acai Girls are food that’s good for the mind, body and soul.

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 405g plain flour 
  • 90g sugar 
  • 40g melted butter
  • 25g baking powder
  • 3 eggs 
  • 390ml almond milk

Toppings

  • Manilife deep roasted peanut butter
  • 2 bananas
  • 50g butter
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 80g cacao nibs (added to taste)
  • Maple syrup and coconut yogurt to taste

Method for pancakes

  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl – very important to sieve both to avoid lumps.  Add the sugar to the flour.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, melted butter and milk.  Pour into the flour and whisk until smooth.  The batter will be very thick, and may be a little lump to start with but will become smooth after a few mins if whisking.
  • Pour the batter into a large jug.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil to lightly coat the base of the pan.
  • Pour the batter into the centre off the pan so it evenly spreads to the size of your desired pancake, the mixture should begin to bubble and slightly rise.
  • Flip the pancake after a couple of minutes, and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1 or 2cm in thickness.

Method for toppings

  • Slice the two bananas into 2cm thick pieces.
  • Put a frying pan onto a medium heat and melt 50g of butter and 50g of sugar. Once this has melted and started to slightly bubble,  place the banana slices in the pan to caramelise.
  • Don’t move your bananas for around 30 seconds as this will allow your bananas to gain some colour.
  • The bananas should be turned once the underneath is golden brown, the second side will caramelise faster than the first.
  • Once you have caramelised your bananas, layer them on top of your pancakes with the peanut butter and sprinkle with cacao nibs for that added texture and slight bitterness to offset the sweetness of the bananas.
  • Serve with the maple syrup and coconut yogurt on the side to person.
The Ragi Pancake by The Roseate Ganges 
The Ragi Pancake by The Roseate Ganges 

Also known as a “Finger Millet”, Ragi is a herbaceous plant grown extensively in various regions of India. Considered one of the most nutritious cereals, it is particularly beneficial for maintaining good health and is a staple food for the people of India. This recipe comes from “Chidya Ghar” at The Roseate Ganges hotel in Rishikesh, India. It’s recommended that the pancakes are best served by layering the stack with bananas and topping off with a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Ingredients 

  • 450g ragi flour 
  • 70g sugar 
  • 15g baking powder 
  • 500ml milk 
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence 

For the topping 

  • Banana 
  • Chocolate sauce 
  • Mint leaves 
  • Plum compote 
  • Icing sugar 

Method 

  • Sieve the ragi flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. To this, add milk and sugar and mix all ingredients properly to make the batter. 
  • Heat the hot plate, sprinkle some butter and spread the ragi pancake batter. 
  • Cook it on low to medium flame, wait until bubbles form on the top of the pancake and flip it carefully. 
  • Cook it on the other side for two minutes. 
  • Make a three layered pancake by putting sliced banana in between three pancakes, drizzle chocolate sauce, top it with plum compote and dust some icing sugar.
The Scotch Pancake by Glenapp Castle 
The Scotch Pancake by Glenapp Castle 

The infamous scones originated in Scotland and the scotch pancake is one of its many forms. They are often referred to as “dropped scones” due to the soft dollops of mixture dropped onto the cooking surface. Historically, the Scots tend to use a griddle for their pancakes and they differ from traditional English crepes as they are much smaller, fluffier and slightly sweeter. The team at Glenapp Castle has put together this perfect recipe.

Ingredients 

  • 220g self-raising flour 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 50g caster sugar 
  • 2 free range eggs 
  • 190ml milk 
  • Small squeeze of golden syrup 

Method 

  • Place flour and sugar in bowl and add salt, eggs and syrup.
  • Whisk in milk to form a smooth batter.
  • Heat frying pan or griddle and gentle wipe with some sunflower oil.
  • Place a tablespoon of batter, in a round shape on a low heat.
  • Watch and wait until lots of bubbles form.
  • Turn and cook for one minute on the other side.
  • Serve with Nutella or Greek yogurt and fresh fruit with a drizzle of honey.
Finnish Pannukakku - Visit Finland
Finnish Pannukakku

Pannukakku is a traditional Finnish oven pancake commonly found across Finland as a simple and delicious homely treat. It comes out of the oven as an impressive golden crater, the crispy sides rise above the edges of the pan and the centre is creamy and glistening with the melted butter. 

Ingredients 

  • 180ml milk 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 3/4 cups flour 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Pinch of baking powder 
  • 40g butter 

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 450º. 
  • Combine eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract, stirring with a whisk until creamy. 
  • Mix in flour, salt, baking powder to the egg mixture and let the batter rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  • After the mixture is rested, melt the butter and use pastry brush to brush the inside of a pan and add the rest of the butter to the batter. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown on the top. 
  • Slice pancake, serve with maple syrup, cooked berries or jam.

The art of making pancakes: chefs share their top secrets

Thomas Schauer
Dominique Ansel

I always love a classic buttermilk pancake, one that’s light and fluffy with edges that crisp up a bit from the griddle, and for our LA version we decided to make buttermilk pancakes studded with tender butternut squash and drizzled with our homemade sage-infused maple syrup: something a little different, but still so comforting with those classic breakfast flavours.

What are your top tips for cooking pancakes?

  • Be sure not to over mix the batter, as the gluten in the flour will start to develop and over mixing will result in tough pancakes.
  • Know when it’s time to flip the pancakes – flip them once the edges start to dry and you notice small bubbles beginning to form on the surface of the pancake. And remember that the second side will take less time to cook.
  • Adding a splash of champagne to the batter gives them a really nice flavour and the bubbles make them extra fluffy too.
Patricia Trijbits, founder restaurant Where the Pancakes Are
Patricia Trijbits, founder restaurant Where the Pancakes Are

We are always developing our menu and I particularly enjoy the savoury flavours, either the welsh rarebit or the pastrami, which is basically taking pancakes a step further by adding more sophisticated ingredients and finishing them off in the oven.

What are your top tips for cooking pancakes?

Tender loving care. It’s about having great ingredients. In terms of the method you can’t really go wrong, but if you want to achieve fluffy pancakes, whisk the egg whites separately. wherethepancakesare.com

Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella

I love a plant-based pancake with oats, maple syrup, almond milk and coconut oil and then lots of toppings – either peanut butter and raspberry jam or maple syrup.

What are your top tips for cooking pancakes?

Enjoy it, they’re so fun to make. And be patient, the trick of flipping them is to ensure that one side is totally cooked and has firmed up before you try and move it. deliciouslyella.com

Eric Lanlard, pastry chef and founder of Cake Boy

I grew up in Brittany, the land of crepes and pancakes. At least once a week, we would go out as a family for a crepes dinner. We would start with a couple of plain pancakes with just a lot of du beurre demi-sel [half-salted butter] melted inside and move on to a couple of my favourites. The “Crepe Complete” was my absolute favourite – ham, grated cheeses and beaten eggs. The savoury pancakes are traditionally made with buckwheat flour. Buckwheat pancakes are super popular now because they are naturally gluten free, but in those days it was all about the hearty taste combination with the savoury fillings. I always managed to find room for a sweet pancake to finish off the dinner. cake-boy.com

What are your top tips for cooking pancakes?

  • When making your pancake batter, add the liquid part to your dry ingredients a little at a time to avoid a lumpy batter.
  • Be gentle when whisking your pancake batter to avoid rubbery pancakes.
  • Play around with types of flour. I love buckwheat for savoury pancakes, and of course you can make them gluten free as well.
  • Always leave the pancake batter to rest in the fridge for one hour. This will keep the batter bubble free and really light.
  • Make sure that you wait for your frying pan to be piping hot before adding pancake batter. You can test to see when the pan is ready by sprinkling in a few drops of water – if they sizzle it’s ready.
  • If you’re not brave enough to flip your pancakes, use a palette knife to turn it really easily.
  • Stack your cooked pancakes between sheets of baking paper, so that they don’t stick to each other.
Clement Leroy
Clement Leroy

I prefer crepes, not only because they are more traditional but I also prefer fine things that aren’t too heavy. I don’t enjoy overly sweet things – my preferred filling is chestnut puree and because it isn’t too sweet you can eat more of it!  Where I grew up in Drome is known for chestnuts and so they remind me of my childhood.

What are your top tips for cooking pancakes?

Weigh everything precisely. Perhaps surprisingly, it is the only time I use weighing scales in the pastry section. When I was taught to cook the only two occasions we used weighing scales were for crepes and for beurre escargot. Precision is key, so be sure to weigh to the gram!

Maxime Alary, managing director of French bistro Blanchette

My favourite pancake is ham, cheese, potato and egg. I love it because it brings back childhood memories of when my mother Blanche used to make crepes every Wednesday for my brothers and myself. The best topping is the Grand Marnier used for crepes Suzette – it brings so much flavour to the dish, and who could say no to a boozy pancake?

What are your top tips for cooking pancakes?

Add a dash of sparkling water and a pinch of salt for the savoury. For the sweet, add some whisked egg whites into your pancake mix just before resting. blanchettesoho.co.uk

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