Foolproof Traditional English Pancake

Foolproof English Pancakes
The Spruce
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Resting time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
141 Calories
7g Fat
14g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 141
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 342mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 6g
Calcium 104mg 8%
*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.)

Pancake Day, aka Shrove Tuesday in the UK and Ireland, is the day for eating traditional pancakes that are thin and crepe-like; the true pancake of this day.

English-style pancakes are very similar to thin French crepes and in no way resemble American-style breakfast pancakes. In the U.K., American pancakes are called "Scotch pancakes" or "drop scones."

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. The English pancakes were made traditionally as a way to use up any stocks of milk, butter, and eggs, most of which were forbidden during the 40-day Lenten period of food abstinence according to Catholic and some Protestant church law. The custom continues today, even though strict adherence to this custom is rare nowadays. 

Making pancakes is quick, easy, and cheap, but make sure you prepare plenty, as they are always very popular. English pancakes are often confused with French crepes. The best way to tell them apart: crepes are thinner and larger and usually have richer ingredients including sugar and or cream and are only cooked on one side. English pancakes are made with plain flour (no rising agent), eggs, milk, and butter.


Click Play to See This Traditional English Pancake Recipe Come Together


  • 8 ounces (225 grams) all-purpose flour (or plain flour)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups (600 milliliters) milk
  • 2 teaspoons butter (melted; plus extra melted butter for cooking)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    English Pancake Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Sieve the flour into a large baking bowl, 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 smooth and lump free.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Add half the milk and the 2 teaspoons of butter, beat well. Add the remaining milk and stir. 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 and add a ladleful of batter so it evenly and thinly coats the base of the pan. Cook until set and lightly golden.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Use a spatula, or if you are really brave, you can try tossing the pancake in the air, to cook the pancake on the other side for approximately 30 seconds.

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

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. These pancakes are traditionally eaten sprinkled with sugar and a squeeze of lemon. However, serve as you like with jam, golden syrup, honey, chocolate spread; whatever tickles your fancy. And, you can eat them like you would American pancakes with real maple syrup or pancake syrups like Mrs. Butterworth or Aunt Jemima.

    English Pancake Recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Serve and enjoy.


  • Leftovers: If you have some left over, this is not a problem. In fact, this is a great problem to have, since these pancakes freeze very well. Simply layer them between greaseproof paper one-by-one. Pop them into a large freezer bag, seal, and freeze.
  • To defrost: Place the bag into the refrigerator and let the pancakes slowly thaw. Reheated very quickly by heating a frying pan and putting a defrosted pancake, one at a time, in the pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Serve immediately.