How to make perfect pancakes
Whether it’s pancake day, Valentine’s Day or sunday brunch, follow our easy step-by-step guide for basic crêpe-style pancakes.
These simple tips and tricks will have you cooking up perfect, wafer-thin pancakes every time.
Tips for making the batter
- Add the milk to the flour gradually, whisking continuously as you go, until you have a smooth batter. Don’t panic if it’s lumpy – simply sieve into another bowl.
- Always rest your batter for at least 20 minutes before using. This allows the starch in the flour to swell and soften, giving you a lighter batter. You can rest it overnight, chilled, but thin it down with a little milk before using.
- Invest in a good crêpe pan made of cast iron – it conducts heat well, meaning the pancakes will cook evenly. A handle that stays cool is vital, too.
- If your crepe pan is new, season it (if necessary), to make it virtually non-stick. Heat the pan until hot, rub with salt then wipe clean. Heat again, rub with mild oil and again wipe clean. Cool. Your pan is now ready to use. Never wash the pan after use – wipe clean with kitchen paper.
Hints for cooking pancakes
- Cooking the pancakes in a mild oil is better than using butter, which burns easily.
- Less is more when making pancakes – the less batter you add to the pan, the more likely you are to end up with beautifully thin pancakes. Fill in any gaps with more batter if you need to.
- The first pancake is often a write-off, as it takes practice to get the pan heat right and swirl the batter around – batter recipes tend to allow for the odd mishap!
- Using a palette knife to flip pancakes over is much easier and less messy than tossing them. The non-stick quality of your pan is vital here, too.
- Layer pancakes up between baking paper to stop them sticking. You can freeze them like this, wrapped in cling film, for 1 month. Thaw at room temperature and warm through in a low oven.
Makes 4 large or 8 medium. Takes about 20 minutes to make, plus resting the batter.
You will need…
- 125g plain flour
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 275ml-300ml semi-skimmed milk
- Vegetable or sunflower oil, for frying
1. To make the batter, sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the egg and slowly whisk in enough milk to make a smooth batter, the consistency of pouring cream. Rest for at least 20 minutes.
2. Heat a 28cm crepe pan or a smaller heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, dip some kitchen paper in the oil and wipe across the surface of the pan. Add a small ladleful of batter and tilt the pan to swirl the batter evenly and thinly.
3. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the pancake is golden underneath.
4. Loosen all around the pancake with a palette knife. Flip over and cook for a further minute, until golden.
5. Slide out onto a plate, putting a sheet of greaseproof paper between each pancake to stop them sticking together. Repeat to finish up the batter – oil the pan between each pancake.
6. Serve the pancakes with lemon wedges to squeeze over and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Per large pancake: 209kcals, 8.7g fat (1.9g saturated), 7.2g protein, 27.5g carbs, 3.7g sugar, 0.1g salt.
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