Thin pancakes are a classic recipe used for many occasions and can be served as either a sweet or savory meal or snack. They are a number one favorite in my home- especially on those cold, rainy days when the only thing to do is eat delicious comfort food!
Thin pancakes or crepes are made by combining five ingredients: flour, egg, milk, baking powder, and salt. After mixing the ingredients to form a batter, cook the batter in a frying pan to make the pancakes, flipping them over to cook on both sides. Serve with a variety of sweet or savory toppings.
Thin pancakes are not challenging to make and do not require much preparation time or many exotic ingredients. They are simple, and if you get them right, you will have requests for more, no doubt.
How to Make the Perfect Thin Pancake
With a handful of ingredients and the correct technique in preparing the batter and cooking your pancakes, you will have mastered this recipe in no time. This is my go-to recipe for preparing something delicious in a flash, this recipe is my all-time favorite, and it never lets me down.
After just a few times of preparing this recipe for thin pancakes, you will be able to make them from memory as it is that simple. You will not even need the recipe at hand, which is excellent when you need something fresh and yummy to serve while on vacation, and you can recall the recipe from memory.
My Quick and Easy Thin Pancake Recipe
There are a few essential techniques to apply when preparing the batter and cooking your pancakes to perfection. My recipe for thin pancakes is super easy and a winner!
Ingredients and Quantities for Thin Pancakes
The below ingredients make +-10 standard thin pancakes. This recipe can easily be increased twofold for a larger quantity.
I add another half amount for my family of four, and it is just suitable for a tea-time snack. If you want to have a couple of leftovers for snacks in the lunch boxes or to keep for later, you can double or triple the recipe with no problem. Make according to your need.
- 250ml flour
- One egg
- 250ml milk or buttermilk
- 5ml baking powder
- Pinch salt
- Oil for frying
Method for This Thin Pancake Recipe
- Prepare the pancake batter:
- Sift the dry ingredients together
- In the middle of the flour, make a well
- Crack in the egg
- Add a bit of the milk gradually
- Start whisking it all together. Add a bit of the milk at a time and incorporate the dry ingredients into the mixture
- Whisk the rest of the milk until you have a pancake batter that resembles the consistency of whipping cream
- Leave the batter to stand (half an hour or longer)
- Pour the batter into a jug
- Heat the oil in a thick-based, non-stick frying pan
- When hot, pour out excess fat from the pan
- Coat the surface of the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of batter. Swirl around to cover the base of the pan.
- Fry until golden brown
- Turn pancake with an egg lifter/spatula and fry on the other side till light brown.
- Sprinkle pancake with your desired filling and roll up
- Serve hot
That is all there is to it!
Types of Thin Pancakes
The thin pancake or crepe originated from France a long time ago, back in the 13th century. I am grateful for their discovery, as are many others, and they are now popularly consumed worldwide.
There are two types of crepes; sweet crepe and savory crepe.
The Sweet Thin Pancake
The sweet version of a thin pancake is often served with a large variety of fillings. Examples of fillers could be; jams, Nutella, and berries. They can also be flambéed, which is a cooking procedure that involves adding alcohol to a boiling pan to create a sudden burst of flame.
Sweet pancakes use wheat flour, and some recipes do include sugar in the mixture for the batter, although this is not necessary. Sweet pancakes can be eaten as part of the breakfast meal or as a dessert or tea-time treat.
The thin pancake cake is made by adding several plain pancakes stacked on top of each other and a layer of cream in between the two layers.
The crepe cake is usually considered a dessert or used as a traditional birthday cake. Crêpe cakes are between 15 and 30 layers, and the pancakes are skinny and soft. Chocolates, cookies, fruits, and marshmallows can be added with the cream.
The Savory Thin Pancake
Savory pancakes can sometimes be made with non-wheat flours such as buckwheat, although this is not essential to the recipe’s success. A typical savory crêpe recipe includes wheat flour but does not include sugar.
Popular savory fillings for crêpes served for lunch or dinner are; cheese, ham, eggs, ratatouille, mushrooms, and various meat products.
How to Serve Thin Pancakes
Traditionally, and in their simplest form, thin pancakes or crepes are served with a splash of lemon juice and a mixture of cinnamon spice and sugar. However, although this may be the much-loved way of doing thin pancakes, one can get amazingly creative with either sweet or savory fillings.
So if you need to impress your tea guests or serve a savory meal with your perfectly easy pancakes, you can make use of some of these yummy ideas for either your sweet or savory thin pancakes:
Types of Fillings for Thin Pancakes
Find some of our ideas of how you could fill your sweet or savory pancake, but there is no limit to the options and combinations you can pick and choose. Be creative and experiment!
Sweet Filling Ideas for Thin Pancakes
- Lemon juice & cinnamon sugar
- Chocolate, peanut butter & banana
- Blueberry & maple syrup
- Apple & cinnamon
- Nutella & fresh strawberries
- Strawberry & cream cheese filling
- Ice cream stuffed with Nutella and fresh berries
- Peaches & fresh whipped cream
- Blueberry sauce & honey with whipped cream
- Banana, toffee, crushed nuts & fresh whipped cream
Savory Filling Ideas for Thin Pancakes
- Spinach, basil & chicken
- Ricotta, spinach, bacon & mushroom
- Chicken & broccoli
- Ricotta & smoked salmon
- Chicken & chives
- Ham, Swiss Cheese & honey mustard
- Savory mince
- Tinned tuna & mayonnaise
- Asparagus spears
- Breakfast bacon & egg
Tips for Making a Perfect Thin Pancake
Over the years of using my trusted thin pancake recipe, I have noted several little tips which produce an excellent pancake. Most of these tips are small, but they can make the most significant difference in the outcome of your pancake and take an average pancake to an extra-ordinary pancake.
Take note of the following tips in your pancake making to get the perfect pancakes:
- Before preparing your pancake batter, check you have all the ingredients you will need; if you leave something out or are short a component, your pancakes will not turn out 100%
- Having a batter without lumps is crucial to achieving an evenly thin pancake. A lump-free batter is attained by incorporating the dry ingredients alternatively with a little of the milk at a time.
- An electric mixer can be used instead of whisking the batter by hand. If you do, you can start on a slower setting, and then once all of the ingredients are combined, turn up the speed until you are sure the mixture is smooth and silky in texture, with no clumps.
- After whisking, let the batter sit for 30 minutes or longer, even overnight. Pancakes are always better if the batter is left to stand for 30 minutes or more.
- Make sure to preheat your pan to the correct temperature. Your pan should be evenly hot on its highest setting before you start cooking your pancakes. If the pan isn’t hot enough, your pancakes will flop.
- Pour a drop of cooking oil into your pan as it is getting hot, swirl it around- there should not be a large amount of fat in the pan.
- Use a measuring cup to pour the batter from if you would like consistently- sized pancakes; alternatively, guess and go for it.
- I always have a plate to place my jug of batter onto as the batter drips down the jar, and once it starts to set- it can be challenging to scrub off surfaces.
- As these pancakes are paper-thin, they will only cook for 30-45 seconds on each side; you need to be watching them, as they will burn before you know it on the scorching skillet.
- As they are thin, they are delicate, so be gentle when loosening the side of the pancake before flipping over.
- If you rip your pancake with your spatula while flipping it, you can pat on some pancake mixture with a spoon to seal the rip and allow the batter to cook.
- Once cooked, turn your pancakes onto a plate standing over a saucepan of boiling water and keep covered- this allows the pancakes to stay warm and moist- alternately serve and eat immediately!
What To Do When Your Thin Pancake Is Not Good
You may have tried to prepare and cook the most delicious thin pancake but just not be getting it quite right. This can be frustrating, discouraging you not to make them.
We wouldn’t want this to happen, so here is the most common pancake fails and how you can correct them in no time:
Dense Chewy Pancakes
These pancakes can still taste ok, but not be the correct consistency.
A dense and chewy pancake could result from overmixing the batter, causing the gluten in the flour to overdevelop, or maybe you have been pressing down on your pancake while it is in the pan cooking.
I think we can all say we have burnt a few pancakes at one time or another.
You will need to stay conscious of the pan’s temperature; you want the pan to be hot, but if you use the highest setting, this can get too hot over time, in which case, once very hot, you can turn it down a notch or two. Often I turn down the heat while cooking and then back up again once the heat comes down.
A cast iron griddle or skillet can help hold heat well and evenly. This means that your pan will get hot and stay hot.
Falling Apart When Turning the Pancake
Several explanations may account for why this could be happening to your pancakes. Your batter may be too loose; you can rectify this by adding a bit of flour to your mixture.
Maybe you are trying to turn your pancake too soon; you need to wait for the bubbles to appear before you flip your pancake over. If your pan is not hot enough, this will also cause your pancake to fall apart when you flip it over.
Equipment Needed to Make a Thin Pancake
The beauty of making thin pancakes is that it is simple and easy and uses what you most probably have in your grocery cupboard. They also do not require a massive amount of fancy or special equipment to produce an excellent pancake- which is part of the appeal of this versatile food item.
In terms of equipment, here is all you will need:
- A mixing bowl
- A whisk
- A 10-inch or 12-inch skillet/frying pan
Even if you may not have these items, you can get creative and use what you have. I have made use of a fork to mix the batter too!
You can use an electric mixer in place of the whisk. Whizz up the batter in that if you are running out of time.
The best recipes are simple, trusted, and use ingredients that you already have in your cupboard. Thin pancakes are my go-to for entertaining for a tea party, delicious comfort food, and snack-time treats as the leftovers make yummy lunch box fillers for the kids.
Thin pancakes only need five ingredients, and by following a few essential tips in preparing the batter and the cooking, your pancakes can turn out perfectly every time. The more you make them, the more confident you will feel, and this recipe will be sure to become one of your favorites!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.