Croatian Palačinke Crepes

Croatian Pancakes or Crepes (Palacinke)

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Rest Time: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 5 servings
Yield: 10 crepes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
249 Calories
14g Fat
22g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving
Calories 249
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 128mg 43%
Sodium 338mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 87mg 7%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 149mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Palačinke is a common and delicious meal eaten across Croatia. With varied similar versions in all of Eastern and Central Europe, these are sort of crepes but also sort of pancakes. A flour and egg batter, thicker than the one you'd use for crepes but runnier than a standard pancake batter, is fried in butter or oil and stuffed with sweet or savory fillings. Different than pancakes, palačinke doesn't need a leavening agent. We use club soda to create a light and airy batter.

Originated in the Roman Empire many centuries ago, these pancake-like discs are the perfect vehicle for any sweet or savory filling, much like crepes. Commonly found at street vendors' kiosks, most households have a favorite recipe and filling. A squeeze of lemon juice and some sugar is enough to highlight the flavorful cooked crepe, but more elaborate fillings can make the dish a whole meal and not just a snack.

Make the batter three days in advance if needed and keep refrigerated until it's time to cook the crepes. The key to the perfect palačinke is a greased clean nonstick pan that is hot enough but not too hot as to make the batter bubble.

"These crepes can be served with either sweet or savory fillings. They have no sugar in the batter and get a light and tender texture from the addition of club soda. I'm a frequent crepe-maker, and I really liked this recipe because the crepes turned out a bit fluffier than my usual recipe." —Danielle Centoni

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Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/3 cup club soda (not flat)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons canola oil, or grapeseed oil, divided

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Palačinke (Croatian pancakes or crepes) ingredients

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  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and milk until well combined. Mix in the club soda.

    Eggs and milk whisked together in a bowl

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  3. Add the flour and salt and stir with a whisk until only a few lumps of flour remain.

    Flour added to the milk and egg mixture

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  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. As the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients, the batter will smooth out.

    Batter in a bowl covered with plastic wrap

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  5. Once rested, stir the batter until smooth (though a few lumps are ok) to prepare for cooking the crepes.

    Batter in a bowl stirred smooth

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  6. Heat an 8-inch nonstick crepe pan or skillet. Add 1 of the teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon of the oil.

    Butter heating in a skillet

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  7. Add about 1/4 cup of batter to the pan, tilting and swirling so it covers most of the bottom of the pan.

    Thin layer of crepe batter cooking in a pan

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  8. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned. Flip over and brown the second side. Remove to a platter.

    Crepe cooked to a light brown in a pan

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  9. Continue with the cooking process, adding the remaining butter and oil as necessary—probably every third crepe. Stack the cooked crepes to keep warm. Serve and enjoy.

    Stacked crepes on a plate

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Flavorful Fillings for Palačinke

The possibilities are infinite when it comes to fillings for these crepes. But here are a few of our favorites:

  • Use a tablespoon of your favorite chocolate spread on each crepe. Roll it up, dust with powdered sugar, and decorate with fresh berries or sliced bananas. Alternatively, use dulce de leche or caramel sauce.
  • A simple filling of fruit jam or compote with a dusting of powdered sugar makes a great light dessert. Vanilla ice cream can be added or a spoonful of whipped cream.
  • Farmer cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, or mascarpone are also common fillings. Mix the cheese of choice to taste with sugar, honey, vanilla extract, and sometimes eggs. Fill the crepes with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cheesy filling and bake at 350 F for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Savory fillings are also common. Using soft cheeses as indicated above, add cooked spinach, caramelized onions, eggs, salt, and pepper; stuff the crepes and bake at 350 F for 20 to 30 minutes.

How to Freeze Palačinke

Palačinke freezes well when placed between sheets of waxed or parchment paper and added to a zip-top bag or airtight container. Remove just as many crepes as needed for a quick meal or dessert. Thaw at room temperature for a few minutes and microwave slightly to warm the crepe.