Pancakes of The World

We all love pancakes. Sweet or savoury, of various thicknesses, tossed, stuffed or covered in sauce. But types of pancakes are incredibly diverse and it seems every country has a pancake of its own. Even if you think that you are a bit of a pancake expert, you might find that there are types that you haven’t come across before. And whether you like yours covered with butter and syrup, or rolled up with falafel and cheese, there may be something new to delight your palate.

We all know the English pancake, made with plain flour, eggs and milk. Although some drizzle them with golden syrup or wrap them around savoury fillings, they are traditionally topped with lemon juice and sugar. (Even now, the supermarkets are stuffed full of Jif on the run-up to pancake day.) The recipe for them is fairly simple and the secret is a very hot pan and a confident wrist action when flipping.

But If you want something slightly different, then there are many, many different types of pancakes to try:

French Crêpes

Although we usually associate them with France, this very thin pancake is also common in Belgium and Switzerland and other parts of Europe. They are probably the closest counterparts to English pancakes, although their ingredients contain sugar. They can also be served sweet or savoury, with almost any filling you could wish for. The key is to make them super-thin. There are some great tips for perfect crêpes here.

Dutch Baby Pancake

Don’t be fooled by the name. The pancake actually originates in German and it’s not small. It’s giant in size, baked in the oven rather than fried and actually resembles a Yorkshire pudding. Usually seasoned with cinnamon or vanilla, they are mainly served sweet. Here’s a version by Nigella.

Scotch Pancakes

These are similar to American pancakes and are made with flour, eggs, sugar, milk, salt and cream of tartar. Often called drop-scones, they are much smaller and thicker than a traditional English pancake. Scotch pancakes are often served with jam or cream, like normal scones.

Russian Blinis

Considered a symbol of the sun in pre-Christian times these light, thin pancakes and are still eaten during religious occasions. Typically served with sour cream, butter or caviar, Blinis are yeasted pancakes traditionally made from buckwheat flour. Mini blinis in the UK are often eaten with smoked salmon. They are the pancake most often found in a party buffet.


These pancakes usually found in southern India can be made with a batter of fermented rice and black lentil, mixed with spices and chopped onions. It’s a spicy variant on the pancake theme.

Potato pancakes (Irish Boxty)

Whilst we usually think of flour as the most important ingredient in pancakes; many Eastern European cuisines feature potatoes in their versions. Pan-fried and made with batter from grated potatoes, flour and egg, there are many different types, such as the Swedish Raggmunk. The Irish Boxty is a pancake-hash brown hybrid and is best served as a savoury snack.

Indonesian Serabi

Something completely different, this pancake is made with rice flour and coconut milk and only cooked on one side. Mostly Serabi are eaten sweet, but you can add cheese and meat for a savoury snack. Some recipes which add pandan leaf juice mean that the pancakes are green. Making them isn’t as straightforward as other types of pancake, but they are naturally gluten free.

Danish Aebleskiver

The pancake equivalent of doughnuts, Danish Aebleskiver are served hot, fluffy and round! You will need a special frying pan with deep holes for each pancake. They are even eaten like doughnuts; dipped in jam and sprinkled in sugar

Venezuela and Colombia: Cachapas

Part of traditional Venezuelan cuisine, these corn pancakes are usually folded over fresh melted cheese and are a popular “street” food.

Japan: Okonomiyaki

Savory pancakes, Okonomiyaki, comes from the word okonomi meaning “What you want” and “Yaki” meaning grilled. Made with flour, egg, cabbage and really whatever else you want.

American-Style Pancakes

Perhaps the most popular pancake type in the UK, even beating the traditional English style pancake, the American recipe uses a rising agent like baking powder to form thicker, fluffier pancakes. Traditionally served with maple syrup and bacon for breakfast, or often served with sweet toppings such as fruit, cream or yoghurt, it is possible it is possible to add batter mix-ins such as blueberries or chocolate chips.

There are many more types of pancake from around the world to find out about and enjoy.

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