By in Food

How To Make English Pancakes - a Simple Recipe

Today is Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, in the UK - and people will be making pancakes for tea! When I was growing up pancakes were always THE meal, not in addition to the meal. We used to simply have sugar on them - I know others have lemon and more pancake toppings, but for us it was always just plain sugar.

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent - the religious significance of this is that you were supposed to give up things for Lent, so pancakes were traditionally a way to use up any milk, butter and eggs which you'd be giving up during Lent. Now it's just another foodfest day emoticon :smile:

Making pancakes is easy - the English pancakes are thin, like French crepes, and moist. English pancakes not fat like American breakfast pancakes at all. They're made with

While it's nice to have about 6 pancakes, really 2-3 is a one person portion. This recipe will make 6 pancakes, just in case you're up for it. Pancakes are made in a frying pan (skillet), one at a time, they aren't made on a griddle as you don't get that perfect round. Measurements aren't precise, most people don't measure it out, they simply get about the right amount of flour, chuck in 1-2 eggs, then start adding milk until it looks right.

  • 4 oz plain flour (that's what Americans call all purpose flour)
  • 1 large egg, or 2 small eggs
  • Half a pint of milk, not an exact amount
  • Oil/butter for frying
  1. Put the flour in a bowl, with the eggs and mix together, then add most of the milk and whisk.
  2. Whisk out all the lumps, scraping round the edges of the bowl.
  3. Add more milk until the consistency is right. The batter needs to be a little thinner than if you were battering fish, or making a Yorkshire pudding, but not too thin. You can always try the batter by frying a small bit of the mixture. Some purists will tell you to rest the mix in the fridge for 1-2 hours now, we never did.
  4. Once you're ready, heat up oil/butter in a pan (just so the pan's coated), pour in a thin layer of the batter and move the pan round so the base is covered. Cook on a medium heat, peeking underneath until it's brown.
  5. When the bottom's brown, turn the pancake over (you can try tossing it if you're brave).
  6. Once the second side's cooked, slide it off onto a plate, sprinkle sugar on the pancake, then flip the two sides over. Sprinkle more sugar on top and scoff as quickly as you can.

Serve each one immediately it's been cooked for the best taste. You don't stack them up and keep them warm, there's nothing better than eating a fresh pancake straight out of the pan.

Most people will say that the first pancake's for the dog as the first one can sometimes not turn out that great, maybe the pan's not hot enough, or the oil, or maybe there's too much oil for the first one ... but you can expect the first one to often fail. After that you're on a roll!

Try them!



Image Credit » CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use / No attribution required

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


Hollyhocks100 wrote on February 17, 2015, 10:43 AM

As a kid, we always had sugar and squeezed orange juice on ours. Now I have them with sugar, fresh squeezed lemon and cinnamon. Thanks for reminding me it´s pancake day, I lose track in Spain.

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 10:54 AM

One year I went to the house of my sister's friend and her dad cooked pancakes for us - and we had them served with jam. I'd never had jam on pancakes before - and it really makes your lips feel odd and rubbery! An experience to try some time. Pancakes fun :)

Hollyhocks100 wrote on February 17, 2015, 11:21 AM

We used to have left over Yorkshire pudding with jam on, I wasn´t keen and prefer mine hot with loads of gravy..Yum emoticon :tongue:

CoralLevang wrote on February 17, 2015, 12:12 PM

This reminds me of the Swedish pancakes that my family used to make. We would roll them up with lingonberry jam and butter, and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

American pancakes I eat only with butter and granulated sugar. Most people eat them dripping with syrup, which I find too soggy.

CoralLevang wrote on February 17, 2015, 12:13 PM

I learned to make Yorkshire pudding (popovers) when I was 20 from a cookbook. Made them to serve with prime rib roast, when it was affordable. LOL

j2jworkz wrote on February 17, 2015, 12:32 PM

Funny, I just posted on our version of Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day - I'm in for a paczki pancake kind of day.

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 12:46 PM

I've never had an American pancake, just seen photos of them. I love English pancakes - and the recipe is so easy you really can't go wrong.

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 12:46 PM

It's all good. Nice yummy pancakes for Fat Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday :)

CoralLevang wrote on February 17, 2015, 1:07 PM

It appears that it is twice as much milk to flour, and an egg or two. Seems very simple.

lookatdesktop wrote on February 17, 2015, 2:22 PM

This is a good recipe. I bet you would really love my wife's buttermilk pancakes. They are second to none. Yum Yum.

JeanC wrote on February 17, 2015, 2:42 PM

The heck with the dog, first one out is cook's to make sure things are going right (not too mention to keep from trying to eat the rest as they come out of the pan LOL!). I love pancakes in any form and thickness, they are just so yummy.

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 3:16 PM

Yes, it's all very forgiving really. Simple, nothing can really go wrong. Get it a bit thin, add a bit more flour. Get it a bit thick, add a bit more milk. So long as there's about 1 egg in there for every half pint of milk it's fine. Pancakes are cheap, yummy and easy. You can't beat it.

Last Edited: February 17, 2015, 3:16 PM

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 3:17 PM

Buttermilk is a rare ingredient in the UK, so I've never had anything cooked with it.

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 3:19 PM

I cooked pancakes for my dad - his last pancakes as it turned out. I said about the first one being potentially rough but anybody was welcome to it. He had it - and then didn't want any more.... one was enough and it tasted fine. I had pancake overload that year as I'd made enough batter for 3 people and then mum only wanted one too. Older people don't eat much; I made up for it. I ate all the pancakes.

maxeen wrote on February 17, 2015, 5:23 PM

I forgot it was today,I'll be in trouble tomorrow from my Grandson for not calling in there..I like your jumbly style! Same as mine ..

LadyTrouble wrote on February 17, 2015, 7:41 PM

Do I detect a bit of distaste for American cuisine? or atleast our adaptation of it? I jest though, really. Honestly over here there are WAY TOO MANY fattening foods. Like, for instance : "Oh i'll just open a can of beans and have it for my supper." which really translates to "I'll have a can of beans with bacon, brown sugar, mustard and barbecue sauce. I think i'll have some mac and cheese as well." Whoops got a bit off track... Those pancakes sound very good and quite similar to what we make from scratch here (very occasionally). Of course we add half a bottle of syrup to ours.

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 7:42 PM

It's easy to forget - the date of Pancake Day is different every year. The only thing that stays the same is it's always a Tuesday

UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 7:50 PM

It's just that English pancakes are specific and for the day, Pancake Day. So they're a completely different thing to American pancakes. Same words in both languages, but they mean something different - and when one means one thing it's not another thing. e.g. if I say I want chips for tea, I mean hot fried potato chips on a plate with ketchup, not a bag of crisps :)

LadyTrouble wrote on February 17, 2015, 7:57 PM

:) Oh I know the chips vs crisps vs biscuit thing. The only thing that confuses me is that I've heard dog food (the dry stuff) called biscuits from a UK vlogger. So then it makes me wonder what you call the treats you give to dogs. Are they biscuits as well? I imagine it's more of that person's personal preference.

I imagine the pancake recipe was brought over here when many of America's ancestors (including mine : We come from Shropshire, UK back in the 1700's not sure of exact date.) came over. I can even believe that the recipe was more of a light one into the 1950's. It wasn't until Corporate America became involved that the pancakes became more and more fattening.

bestwriter wrote on February 17, 2015, 8:01 PM

I forgot all about it. We too follow that tradition. Our pancakes are from rice flower - very simple. We do not turn the pancake nor do we use milk but plain water We fill them up later with coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder. Some add raisins too.

seren3 wrote on February 17, 2015, 10:23 PM

My mom told me were getting English pancakes "real pancakes". She made them and served them with sugar and lemon juice. I loved them. I guess there are many versions.

Hollyhocks100 wrote on February 18, 2015, 4:27 AM

Rib of beef is delicious, especially when cook so well it drops off the bone. For a cheaper alternative, but still using Yorkshire pudding batter you could make toad in the hole. That´s Yorkshire pudding with sausage cooked in it. I´ll do a post the next time I make one to demonstrate how.

UK_Writer wrote on February 18, 2015, 4:19 PM

Sounds nice. It's funny how many countries have similar traditions around the world.

UK_Writer wrote on February 18, 2015, 4:20 PM

Lemon wasn't used in our familyy when I was growing up as it was probably an unusual/posh ingredient for kids for pancakes.

UK_Writer wrote on February 20, 2015, 8:55 AM

Dog biscuits would be the dry food, shaped like biscuits - because in the UK biscuits are what you eat with a cup of coffee. Americans call biscuits cookies. In the UK cookies are bigger/rougher items, so more likely 4-5" wide and thick, not 2" wide and a uniform/flat thickness.
When Americans have biscuits, in the UK those are scones. US biscuits and gravy and UK savoury scones and gravy, or cobblers.

FreyaYuki wrote on February 22, 2015, 2:55 AM

Looks good and simple. I love pancakes. Now I want to have some. Will have to try this recipe sometime.