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How to make the perfect pancake: step-by-step guide

by Malou Herkes

published on 23 April 2020

Who doesn't love a good pancake recipe? Whether French crêpe-style pancakes doused in lemon and sugar or fluffy  versions dotted with gooey berries and plenty of maple syrup on top. While the measurements for crêpe recipes can differ, the method tends to be the same: a simple process of mixing flour with a little salt, egg, enough milk to make a loose batter – Catherine Hill recommends the 'consistency of single cream' – and a bit of melted butter or oil. How you want to fill it is up to you – banana and chocolate spread anyone?

We've put together a simple guide below but first, here are some quick tips to bear in mind:

1. Make sure to lightly grease your pan and remove any excess fat with a paper towel.
2. Don't worry about the first or second pancake coming out funny. They always do!
3. Warm up your pan slowly until you have a medium hot heat.
4. Use a spatula to loosen the pancake before flipping it.
5. Flip the pancake when the edges begin to brown. 

Basic crêpe-style pancakes step-by-step guide:

1. Place 100g plain flour in a bowl, add 1 medium egg and 200ml milk and beat until smooth. The consistency of the batter should be like single cream – so add the remainder of the milk if you feel it needs it. Stir in 1 teaspoon sunflower oil and a pinch of salt.

2. Heat a non-stick frying pan, add just a tiny drizzle of oil and spread around the pan with a piece of kitchen roll. Add a little of the batter and swirl around the pan to make a thin pancake.

3. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for another minute. Place on a plate, cover with a clean tea towel and keep warm in a very low oven whilst you make the remainder.

4. Eat with your favourite filling or click the recipe below to see how to make your own blueberry and honey compote.

Basic American-style pancakes step-by-step guide:

1. Melt 30g unsalted butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool.

2. Crack 2 large eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork until combined

3. Sift 200g self-raising flour and 1 tsp baking powder into a bowl, lifting the sieve high above to aerate the flour. Stir in 40g caster sugar until evenly mixed with the flour, so each pancake will be equally sweet.

4. In a jug, lightly beat together 250ml milk, the eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla extract until well blended. With a spoon, form a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour a little of the egg mixture into the well and start to whisk it in. Wait until each addition of egg mixture has been incorporated before whisking in more. Finally, whisk in the melted butter until the mixture is entirely smooth.

5. Melt a knob of butter in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Pour 1 tablespoon of the batter into the pan, to form a round pancake. Continue to add tablespoons of batter, leaving space between for them to spread. As they begin to cook, sprinkle a few blueberries (you will need 150g in total for all of the pancakes) over the uncooked surface. They are ready to turn when small bubbles appear and pop, leaving small holes.Turn the pancakes over carefully with a palette knife. Continue to cook for 1–2 minutes until golden brown on both sides and cooked. Remove the pancakes from the pan, and drain briefly on kitchen paper. Place the pancakes on a plate and transfer to a warm oven.

6. Wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper, and add another knob of butter. Repeat for all the batter and wipe between batches. The pan should not get too hot.

7. Remove the pancakes from the oven. Serve warm in piles, with butter and maple syrup.

Our favourite recipes to make the most of your new pancake skills:

step by step pancake guide blueberry and honey pancake recipe catherine hill

Blueberry and Honey Pancakes from The Weekend Cookbook by Catherine Hill

These straight-forward crêpes are all the more special with your own homemade berry compote, or serve with the all-time classic lemon and sugar. 

Order a copy of The Weekend Cookbook here

best pancake recipes blender banana pancakes everyday detox megan gilmore

Blender Banana Pancakes from Everyday Detox by Megan Gilmore

For a gluten-free version, these moist and fluffy pancakes feature ripe bananas and fibre-rich coconut flour. Easy to whip together in a blender, they make a healthy breakfast that's loaded with protein.

Buy Everyday Detox here.

perfect quinoa banana pancakes gluten free pancake melissa hemsley eat happy

Perfect Pancakes from Eat Happy: 30 Minute Feel-good Food by Melissa Hemsley

For delicious toppings, try this pancake recipe made with a yummy banana and quinoa flake batter. As with any pancake recipe, if you want to double it (especially if you have bananas that need using up), any extras will keep in the fridge for a few days or you can freeze them. 

Get your copy of Eat Happy here.

best pancake recipe blueberry cream cheese pancakes chrissy teigen cravings hungry for more

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pancakes from Cravings: Hungry For More by Chrissy Teigen

For something altogether more indulgent, this pancake recipe is it! Made with full-fat cream cheese or mascarpone that melts into the batter and oozes out, these fluffy pancakes are also made all the fluffier with Chrissy's secret tip. Read the recipe to find out.

Order a copy of Cravings here.

best pancake recipe nigella arabian pancakes with orange blossom nigella summer

Arabian Pancakes with Orange-Flower Syrup from Nigella Summer by Nigella Lawson

With a fragrant orange-flower syrup, these Middle-Eastern-inspired pancakes are deliciously decadent. “Don’t think breakfast pancakes” but rather a pudding, says Nigella, although we reckon these could probably pass for an indulgent brunch. Scented with cardamom, these are dreamy, light, aromatic and sweet.

Get your copy of Nigella Summer here.

best pancake recipe savoury turkish spinach galette rachel de thample five

Turkish Spinach Galette from FIVE by Rachel de Thample

For a savoury vibe, try these buckwheat galettes with fresh spinach, spicy harissa and a runny egg yolk. You can swap in other fillings too, depending on what you've got in the fridge – ham and Cheddar, smoked salmon and cream cheese, even roasted vegetables and egg. Or try Rick Stein's Buckwheat Crepes with Eggs and Mushrooms.

Get your copy of FIVE here.


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