These traditional English pancakes are easy to make when following this simple step by step recipe. They can be used to make both sweet and savoury pancake dishes and are delicious served on their own with lemon and sugar or syrup.
When it comes to pancake day, I for one can not resist the excuse to have pancakes for dessert. Being a bit of a traditionalist I always make traditional British pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
English pancakes are very similar to the French crêpes,they are traditionally thin and are often served rolled or folded up and served on their own with lemon and sugar or syrup or with a sweet or savoury filling.
French Crêpes tend to be much larger than English pancakes, and sometimes even thinner, as they are often cooked on a large round hot plate and are spread into a thin even layer using a T-shaped piece of wood (rateau en bois).
American, Scotch and drop pancakes whilst made from similar ingredients differ again because they have a raising agent added which makes them thick and fluffy. And it doesn't stop for a more in-depth look at the different types of pancakes around the world check out this article, " Why are there so many names for Pancakes?" from the BBC.
To make these traditional pancakes
all you need is just 3 ingredients
- plus a little oil or butter for frying
You do not need any special equipment just
- a mixing bowl
- balloon whisk – If you dont have a balloon whisk a wooden spoon will do but you will need to add the milk more slowly to prevent lumps forming.
- frying pan
If you are feeling adventurous you can toss the pancake into the air to flip the pancake over but you might find it easier to use a palette knife or even a fish slice to flip the pancake over.
Whether you like sweet or savoury British pancakes, all you need to do to make the pancakes is follow my easy step by step method.
Step by step to perfect English pancakes
1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Drop the eggs and add a splash of milk into the well in the centre of the flour.
2. Using a balloon whisk or wooden spoon beat the egg and milk together, gradually incorporating the flour.
3. Once all the flour has been incorporated, beat well to remove any lumps.
4. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk to produce a thin smooth pancake batter.
Many cooks suggest that you let the pancake batter rest for 30 minutes before using. Personally, I don't notice the difference between leaving it to rest or using it straight away, so I shall leave it up to you to decide.
Don't start adding the remaining milk until you have a smooth batter.
5. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and pour about 3 tablespoons of the batter into the pan.
6. Quickly tilt the pan from side to side so that the batter spreads and coats the base of the pan in a thin layer.
7. Cook for about 1 minute until the underside is golden, then toss the pancake or flip over with a palette knife and cook the other side.
8. Slide the pancake out of the pan onto a plate and cover to keep warm. I use a large saucepan lid or you could use foil.
How long do pancakes keep?
If you keep them well covered they will keep them in the refrigerator for several days. Which means you can happily make pancakes ahead of time.
Can you freeze pancakes?
Yes, pancakes freeze well for up to 6 months.
To freeze pancakes: Cool quickly then seal well in stacks in polythene bags or wrapped in foil. If you want to be able to remove just one or two at a time then place a sheet of greaseproof paper or baking pancakes between each pancake.
To defrost: Leave in packaging at room temperature for 2-3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. For rapid thawing, unwrap and spread out singly and leave at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
How do you reheat Pancakes?
I find the easiest way to reheat pancakes is one or two at a time in the microwave for 15 -20 seconds on high.
If you don't have a microwave, stack the pancakes on a heatproof plate covered with foil and pop into the oven 180℃ (160℃ fan)/350°F/gas mark 4 for 5-10 minutes from room temperature.
Alternatively, you can reheat individual pancakes gently in a frying pan for a few about 10-20 seconds each side.
You can reheat a stack of 4-5 frozen pancakes wrapped in foil in a hot oven 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6 for 20-30 minutes and individually in a frying pan for about 30-40 seconds each side.
How to serve your pancakes
This pancake recipe works very well for both sweet and saviour pancakes. If you are making savoury pancakes you can add a pinch of salt to the flour. Likewise, when making sweet pancakes you can also add a teaspoon of caster sugar to the flour, but personally, I never bother.
Sweet pancake recipes made easy
Savoury pancakes recipes made easy
- Pancakes with creamy garlic chicken and mushrooms
- Spinach and ricotta pancakes
- Savoury pancakes with salmon and broccoli
- Beef and mushroom pancakes
How do you like your pancakes?
When it comes to pancake day, I am a lemon and sugar girl, my boys like maple syrup. Slices of banana and a few blueberries never go amiss. How do you serve yours? Perhaps you prefer savoury fillings. I would love to hear in the comments.
Traditional English Pancakes
- mixing bowl
- balloon whisk or wooden spoon
- frying pan
- Palette knife or fish slice (optional)
- silicone pastry brush (optional)
- 125 g plain flour (all purpose)
- 2 eggs
- 300 ml milk
- oil for frying
- Place 125g (4oz) flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Drop in 2 eggs and add a little milk from a total of 300ml (½pt). Use a balloon whisk or wooden spoon, beat the egg well gradually incorporating the flour.
- Beat until smooth then gradually beat in the remaining milk.
- Heat a little oil in a 20cm/8in heavy-based frying pan. (I use a silicone pastry brush to brush a thin layer of oil over the pan) Spoon about 3 tablespoon of the pancake mixture into the pan and tilt the pan quickly so that the batter to coats the base of the pan.
- Cook for about 1 minute until the underside is golden.
- Flip the pancake over and cook the other side. Slide the pancake out of the pan and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, re-oiling the pan as required. Stack the cooked pancakes on top of each other, covering to prevent them from drying out.
- Use as required.
This Post was republished in 2020 with updated information to make this post even more informative and helpful.