Traditional English Pancakes

Foolproof English Pancakes
The Spruce
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Resting time: 15 mins
  • Servings: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
129 Calories
5g Fat
17g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 129
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 42mg 14%
Sodium 70mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 74mg 6%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 115mg 2%
*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.)

Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day in the UK and Ireland, is the day for eating English-style pancakes. The holiday is the equivalent of Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday, which leads to the 40-day Lenten period of food abstinence according to Catholic and some Protestant church law. A good use for the eggs, milk, and butter people used to give up on Lent, these pancakes are closer to crepes than they are to American fluffy pancakes, the main difference being the lack of a leavening agent. The custom of eating pancakes continues today. Even though strict adherence to certain food abstinence during Lent is rare nowadays, it's not uncommon to see British families eat many of these pancakes on pancake day.

Making these pancakes is quick, easy, and cheap, and because they're thinner than American pancakes, people usually eat more than one. Prepare plenty and serve with your favorite jellies, preserves, fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or the traditional way, with sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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Ingredients

For the Batter:

  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 2 large large eggs (fresh)

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 2 teaspoons butter

For Cooking:

  • 2 tablespoons butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    English Pancake Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Sieve the flour into a large baking bowl, and add the salt.

    English Pancake Recipe
    The Spruce
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Beat well until you obtain a smooth and lump-free mixture. It will be sticky.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Add half the milk and melted butter and beat well. Add the remaining milk and stir until you have a smooth batter. Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Lightly grease a pancake pan or frying pan with a little bit of melted butter. Heat until very hot, being careful not to burn the butter. Add a ladleful of batter and try to evenly and thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook until set and lightly golden.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. With the help of a spatula flip the pancake to the other side and cook for approximately 30 seconds.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Slip the pancake from the pan onto a plate. Cover the plate with a tea cloth to keep warm. Continue cooking the pancakes until all the batter is used up.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Serve and enjoy!

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce

Are English Pancakes and Crepes the Same?

Although the batters are very similar, some crepe batters have a pinch of sugar. The ultimate difference is that crepes are larger in size and much thinner, as true crepes are cooked on a special griddle that cooks the batter only on one side. English-style pancakes are cooked on both sides.

Traditionally, crepes are meant to be eaten with simple fillings or toppings. More and more, other decadent ingredients are becoming mainstream, both for English pancakes and crepes.

Beautiful Pancake Toppings

These pancakes are traditionally eaten sprinkled with sugar and a squeeze of lemon. However, serve as you like with one of the following suggestions:

How to Store and Freeze Pancakes


  • For leftovers, simply wrap in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat very quickly in an oiled and very hot frying pan for about 15 seconds on each side. Serve immediately. 
  • The pancakes freeze really well: simply layer them between greaseproof paper one-by-one. Pop them into a large freezer bag, seal, and freeze. They keep well for up to 3 months. To defrost, place the bag into the refrigerator and let the pancakes thaw overnight. Reheat very quickly in an oiled and very hot frying pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Serve immediately.