Learn how to make the perfect thin pancakes. Easy to do tips and tricks to get delicious and lacy pancakes. Quick and simple recipe.
This is my basic quick and easy thin pancake recipe
Thin pancakes can go by many different names. In the UK, they are just known as pancakes. In France, they are called crepes. Outside the UK, these might be called English pancakes.
Fun cultural tip: When in the UK, you have to explicitly specify American pancakes if you are referring to pancakes like in IHOP. Otherwise, you'll end up getting thin eggy pancakes like these.
Is this recipe for British pancakes or crêpes?
This pancake recipe is probably classed as a cross between a British pancake and a crêpe.
Generally I think of a crêpes as being richer than British pancakes. Crêpes may contain cream (instead of milk), sugar and butter. In contrast, English pancake recipes can call for water or semi-skimmed (low fat) milk.
While I don't use cream or butter in this recipe, I do use whole milk (full fat). I also add a teaspoon of sugar.
It's easy to remember this thin pancake breakfast recipe because it's so simple
You only need a handful of ingredients to make thin pancakes from scratch. And once you've made this recipe a few times, you might find yourself easily making pancakes from memory.
Ingredients and quantities for the recipe:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon oil
- butter (for the pan)
How to make this Thin Pancake recipe
Prepare the pancake batter
To make these pancakes in its most basic form:
- Sift the flour, sugar and salt,
- make a well in it,
- crack in the eggs,
- add a bit of the milk,
- then start whisking it all together.
Next, whisk in the rest of the milk and oil until you have a pancake batter that resembles the consistency of whipping cream.
Cooking perfect lacy thin pancakes
First things first. Preheat, preheat, preheat. Make sure your pan is evenly nice and hot before you start cooking the pancakes. If the pan isn't hot enough, the recipe won't work.
Add on a bit of butter, and quickly swirl it around the pan. Then pour on the pancake batter and quickly swirl it around.
TIP: I always pour on the pancake batter using a measuring cup, so I end up with consistently-sized pancakes. I use just under ¼ cup of batter for a 12-inch pan. Pouring batter out from the tip of a scooped shaped measuring cup will give you more control.
Because these pancakes are so thin, they cook for about 30-45 seconds on each side. Also, they are delicate. So once the first side is done, gently give the pan a shake to release the pancake, and carefully flip it.
TIP: If you accidentally make a small rip in your pancake while flipping (usually caused by the edge of your spatula), you can quickly dab on a bit of pancake batter with a spoon to seal the rip, and allow the batter to cook. See? no rips below.
Best thin pancake making equipment
Making thin pancakes are quick and easy. It's one of those recipes that your grandma's grandma might have made. You don't need fancy ingredients or equipment to make thin pancakes.
You just need:
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 whisk
- 1 10-inch or 12-inch skillet
But I will tell you that if you want picture perfect thin pancakes, there are a few tools on the market that will help you easily impress anyone with your pancake perfection.
My favorite pancake pan for thin pancakes
Most importantly, you need a non-stick skillet. Any 10-inch or 12-inch non-stick skillet will generally work.
If you can get yourself a non-stick crepe pan, it will make flipping your pancake so much easier. The edges are lower and shaped in a way that you can easily shift your pancake around to get your spatula underneath the pancake.
A crepe spreader is an indispensable tool
In the recipe I state that you can just swirl the pancake batter around your pan. While you can do that, a crepe spreader will help you achieve perfect thin pancakes.
I made this round pancake below with the help of a crepe spreader. That's the only way I could get these reliably photogenic.
TIP: A crepe spreader helps you quickly and evenly spread the pancake batter out, giving you 1) perfectly round pancakes and 2) evenly thin pancakes.
Because the pan is buttered and hot when you pour on the batter, without a crepe spreader, you really only have a few seconds to swirl the batter around.
Once the pancake batter hits the pan, it immediately will start to thicken and cook. It's hard to get the batter to move to where you want it to be, without a crepe spreader.
Use a silicone brush to help spread the butter on the hot pan
Buttering the pan before you add on the batter helps your thin pancakes get the beautiful lacy patterns on it. In the instructions I say to swirl the pan around to spread the melted butter before adding on the pancake batter.
That method works, but to make sure butter reaches every surface of the pan, I always use a silicone brush. Though people will wipe melted butter around with a paper towel, I find that tricky to do on a hot pan.
TIP: To get the laciest pancake, I always use a silicone brush to spread the melted butter evenly. The silicone brush helps butter get across the entire surface of the pan much quicker, cleaner and easier.
How to serve these perfect thin pancakes
My favorite toppings to keep this a simple breakfast is to use a squeeze of lemon and a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar. Other topping suggestions:
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- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon light oil (you can also use butter for a richer pancake)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter - for cooking the pancakes, use more or less as needed
Thin pancake toppings
- powdered sugar - for serving
- lemon wedges - for serving
- In a medium bowl, sift in the flour, salt, and sugar (if using). Make a well in it and crack in two eggs. Add in about ¼ cup of milk. Whisk the eggs together, slowly incorporating in the flour.
- As the batter starts to thicken, slowly continue to whisk in the rest of the milk. The batter should go from lumpy to smooth. Whisk in the oil. You can also use an electric mixer on low speed to bring everything together.
- Preheat a 10 or 12-inch non-stick skillet or crepe pan on medium-high heat. Make sure the skillet is nice and hot before you start making the pancakes.
- Melt a bit of butter on the pan and swirl it around so it evenly coats the pan. Alternatively, melt the butter in a small bowl and brush it on using a silicone basting brush (see post for why I prefer to use a brush).
- Pour on the pancake batter and quickly swirl the pan around so the pancake batter spreads into a thin layer. I use a crepe spreader to get the perfect round and thin pancake (see post for why this is a handy tool).
- Cook for about 30 - 45 seconds, until the top of the pancake is no longer liquid. Gently shake pan to loosen the pancake. Carefully flip the pancake over and cook for an addition 30 - 45 seconds.
- Slide the pancake onto a plate, and serve warm. Top with a squeeze of lemon and a generous shake of powder sugar.