These simple English Pancakes are traditionally made in the UK on Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day.) This is a very useful recipe to have up your sleeve – they just take a few minutes to make and you can fill them with your choice of sweet or savoury fillings.
Everyone in my house adores pancakes. Whether it’s the thick, fluffy American style pancakes or these thin, lacy French crepes, we love them all.
Since today is Shrove Tuesday in the U.K., I thought it would be the perfect time to share my recipe for English pancakes.
what’s the difference between traditional english pancakes and french crepes?
- English pancakes and French crepes look almost identical and are made in the same way, but English pancakes are slightly thicker than the very thin, lacy French crepe. Crepes also usually have rich ingredients in the batter such as cream.
easy english pancake recipe
English pancakes are incredibly versatile – you can fill them with whatever your heart desires. Here’s a few ideas for you to try:
Sweet pancake fillings
- Fill the pancakes with whipped cream, drizzle with sticky toffee sauce and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
- Nutella and chopped strawberries
- Sliced bananas, toffee sauce and ice cream
- Vanilla apples, Greek yoghurt and granola sprinkled on top
- Caramelised oranges and Greek yoghurt
- S’mores pancakes – fill with mini marshmallows, pop under a hot grill for 30 seconds until the marshmallows have melted, then top with melted chocolate and crushed digestive biscuits
Savoury pancake fillings
- Fill with minced beef ragu and top with grated cheese for bolognese pancakes.
- In a similar vein, you could also fill the pancakes with Chilli con carne and serve with sour cream, grated cheddar and sliced jalapeños
- Chicken and ham in a creamy white sauce
- slices of thin ham and grated cheese
- Smoked salmon, asparagus and cream cheese
While all of the above are delicious, it’s pretty hard to beat the classic lemon and sugar topping. That is without a doubt my favourite.
(scroll to the bottom of the post to find printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions)
All you need to make delicious English pancakes are a few basic store cupboard ingredients:
- Plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- Caster sugar (optional if you prefer a sweet pancake)
- Sunflower or vegetable oil, or melted butter if you don’t want to use oil
- whole or semi-skimed milk
How to make perfect english pancakes
- Sieve the plain flour, sugar if using and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Place the eggs and oil or melted butter in a measuring jug and beat well until the ingredients are well combined.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour, pour in the egg and oil mixture.
- Measure the milk out in the jug and pour half the milk in the flour mixture with the other ingredients.
- Whisk the mixture very well until you have a light, smooth and lump free batter. Add the rest of the milk while whisking constantly until the batter is smooth.
- If you have time, leave the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to make the pancakes, place a large non stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, place a scant teaspoon of butter in a pan.
- When the butter starts to melt and sizzle, swirl the pan to coat the entire surface in butter, then quickly add a ladle of batter, swirling again to coat the entire pan.
- Cook the batter for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to look set underneath (use a long handled palette knife to check the underside – if it’s speckled golden brown, flip the pancake over and cook for a further couple of minutes.
cooks tips for making perfect pancakes
If you have time allow the pancake mixture to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. Just like a Yorkshire pudding batter, this will also the gluten to rest and will make the pancakes smoother and lighter.
how to prevent a lumpy batter
If you pour in all of the milk at once, it will be very hard to get all the tiny lumps out of the batter. This is why I add half the milk first, adding the rest once the batter is smooth.
While you can of course make pancakes by whisking the mixture by hand, you might find it much easier to use a blender – this pretty much eliminates the risk of a lumpy batter.
Do remember to stop the blender the minute the mixture is smooth though, or you’ll overwork the gluten and end up with tough, rubbery pancakes.
the right temperature is the key!
The trickiest part of making any pancake recipe is getting the heat at the correct temperature.
Too hot and the pancakes will burn before they are cooked through, not hot enough and they’ll take forever to cook and they won’t have that lovely light golden colour.
how to tell if your pan is the right temperature for pancakes
Place a large non stick frying pan on a medium heat and after a few minutes, place a small knob of butter in the pan. If it starts to sizzle straight away without browning immediately, then your pan is the right temperature for the pancakes.
If the butter turns dark as soon as you drop it in the pan, it’s too hot! If this happens, simply remove the pan from the heat for a few minutes and turn it down a little.
It takes a little trial and error – all hobs are different. Once you find the sweet spot, you’ll be cooking pancakes like a pro!
And don’t forget – the first pancake never turns out well! It will still taste good though, so this is the cook’s treat!
how to flip a pancake
After a few minutes, the pancake should be ready to flip. You’ll know it’s ready when little bubbles start to appear on the surface. Gently slide a long palette knife underneath – if it lifts easily, then it should be ready. This can take a little confidence, but once you’ve done a couple you’ll get the hang of it.
when is pancake day in the uk?
Pancake Day is always on a Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday. The date is slightly different every year, but it is always 47 days before Easter Sunday.
storing leftover pancakes
Pancakes are always best eaten fresh, but any leftovers can be stored in a tupperware box or container. They can be reheated the next day, but they won’t be quite as good.
can you freeze english pancakes?
Yes, pancakes freeze really well. Freeze flat on a baking tray, then transfer to large freezer bags. Place a sheet of baking paper between each pancake so they don’t stick together while freezing. Freeze for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before reheating in a low oven (120C) for about 5-10 minutes.
want to see more pancake recipes?
Pin this english pancake recipe for later
- 250 g plain flour
- A small pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of caster sugar (for sweet pancakes, if you're adding sweet toppings it's not really essential)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp sunflower, vegetable oil or melted butter
- 500 ml milk
- About 25g butter, for the pan
- To make by hand, place the flour and pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Beat the eggs and oil in a measuring jug. Pour into the well you made. Pour the milk into the measuring jug and pour half of the milk into the bowl with the other ingredients. Using a whisk, mix everything together, drawing the flour into the wet ingredients until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Pour in the remaining milk, whisking constantly, until you have a smooth, lump free, thin batter. It should be the consistency of single (pouring) cream.
- Alternatively, blend all the ingredients in a blender, switching the power off the second the mixture is smooth.
- Allow the batter to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Place a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat.
- Place a small knob of butter in the pan and wipe the excess off with a paper towel.
- Using a ladle, pour some pancake batter and tilt the pan slightly to spread the batter all over the base of the pan.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown, then toss or turn over with a spatula.
- The first pancake is always the worst one - so don't think you are doing something wrong! It will still taste good so this is the cook's treat! The next will be better, I promise.
- Repeat the process above until all of the batter is used up.
- The pancakes are best eaten the day you make them, but they can be re-heated the next day in a warm oven. You can also re-heat them in microwave, but they can end up a little rubbery so I do it in 10 second bursts.
These pancakes are best eaten the day you make them, but they can be re-heated the next day in a warm oven.
You can also re-heat them in microwave, but they can end up a little rubbery so I do it in 10 second bursts.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g
Calories and nutritional information are provided by a third party application and should be viewed as indicative figures only.