These Easy English Pancakes - Sweet Crepes make the best breakfast, brunch or dessert. Our simple British recipe uses a homemade pancake mix made from scratch.
The ingredients for this thin pancake batter are flour, eggs, milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract which is optional. Quick to cook & ready in minutes.
Topping suggestions for crepes, for instance, are traditional lemon and sugar, strawberry with icing sugar or banana with chocolate sauce.
Perfect for Pancake day, UK and US measurements given.
They can even be made ahead and kept refrigerated or frozen.
How to make Easy English Pancakes?
We will go through every step of the way to making the best crepe batter used for cooking English pancakes in our recipe card below, where you will also find a slideshow video.Jump to Recipe
You can jump straight to it now or continue reading below for more information about Pancakes and Crepes?
What is the difference between British Pancakes, Crepes & American Pancakes?
The ingredients used for pancakes around the world are pretty much the same.
However, American's, British and French all have a different idea of what a Pancake should be!
One obvious difference is how thick the American Pancakes are compared to the UK version of a Pancake and the wafer-thin French crepes.
What is a British Pancake?
In Britain, pancakes should be thin and flat, usually cooked to the same size as the pan they cook in.
They are a lot thinner than American Pancakes but slightly thicker than a French crepe.
They are often enjoyed as a treat for Breakfast, but the most common day when the whole of the United Kingdom likes to enjoy them is on Pancake Day!
What ingredients are used in English pancakes?
Ingredients for making pancake batter in the UK is plain flour, eggs, milk, oil or butter.
In this case we also add sugar and vanilla extract. However this is optional if you like them sweet!
What is a Crepe?
A French crepe is similar to a British Pancake but, made bigger and thinner using a spreader and often cooked on a crepe maker.
The crepe mixture is thinner to help make it easier to spread.
What ingredients are used in Crepes?
Ingredients for making your own crepes is plain flour, eggs, milk, oil or butter. Sugar and vanilla extract is optional if you like them sweet!
What is an American Pancake?
American Pancakes are super thick and delicious, more like a cake, hence the name Pancake!
They still have similar ingredients as British Pancakes but a thicker mixture with baking powder added to help them rise.
You can check out our Bubbly Pancakes here if you wanted to make an American style Pancake instead.
Also, check out our Raspberry Sauce With Champagne which is just as good with these British pancakes too.
What equipment is needed for making Pancakes?
You will need a frying pan, preferably a shallow lipped pan. To make it easy to get your spatula under the pancake when it is ready to flip it.
We own a pancake pan which, we also use for making perfect fried eggs and omelettes so not just limited to crepes and pancakes!
It is best to use some sort of blender to mix the pancake batter, it can be a stand blender or a hand blender. Of course, a whisk will work too.
How to make a homemade pancake mix?
Making a homemade pancake mix is so easy to do and uses everyday ingredients that you probably already have at home. The basic ingredients are flour, eggs, milk and oil.
Put all the ingredients except from the flour into a large jug
If you want them sweet add sugar and/or vanilla extract at this point too.
We use Taylor and Colledge Organic vanilla bean extract for extra sweetness.
How to mix pancake batter?
Indeed, the quick and easy way to mix pancake batter is with a handheld mixer.
Blend the wet ingredients first then slowly add the flour 1 tbsp at a time whilst still mixing. This helps prevent lumps from forming.
Can I mix homemade pancake batter by hand?
Of course, if you don't have a hand blender you can mix pancake batter by hand using a whisk or a fork.
You will just need to spend a bit longer and a good strong arm to whisk out any lumps!
It may also help to sift the flour in if you are hand whisking.
How to cook British pancakes?
It is so easy to cook pancakes, start with oiling your pan.
Use oil or butter for this. A spray oil such as Frylight is the easiest way to get widespread on the pan without adding too much oil!
You could use a kitchen towel to help spread a thin layer of oil or butter instead. Just make sure you don't oil the pan too much.
It should be noted that you will need to re oil the pan between each pancake!
What temperature to cook pancakes at?
Keep the pan heated to a medium heat whilst cooking pancakes, never add the batter mix to a cold pan.
If you don't have enough time to tilt the batter around the whole pan you may need to lower the temperature.
Consequently, if the batter is not cooked on the first side within 1 minute you may need to raise the temperature a little.
How much pancake batter to use for thin pancake?
You only need to add enough of your homemade pancake mix to make a thin layer over the entire surface of the pan.
Thus, you may need to tilt the pan to help it reach the edges. Try not to add too much it should be thin!
How to flip a pancake or crepe?
After 1 minute the first side should be cooked, it is time to flip your pancake. The sensible way to do it is with a wide spatula.
Slide the spatula under the pancake, if it is ready it will slide under easily, if it is too floppy still, wait a bit longer. (you may want to turn the temperature up for the next pancake).
If you want to show off to the children you can flip the pancake in the pan using a sharp upwards jerk to flip the pancake in to the air!
It took us about 30 shots to get the above photo of the pancake-flipping!
When is Pancake day?
Pancake day is always on a Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
The date changes every year depending on when Easter is, it always falls 47 days before.
What is Pancake day celebrating?
For Christians, Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent. Historically pancakes are made as they are a way to use up eggs, milk, and sugar before fasting.
What are the best pancake toppings?
There are so many options to fill your sweet pancakes with! Everyone has a different favourite in our house.
Why not serve your pancake with the traditional lemon and sugar
Or, try your crepes with strawberries and icing sugar.
Another favourite is thin pancakes with banana & chocolate sauce.
My daughter loves her crepes spread and rolled up with Nutella!
Our recipe will give you perfect thin pancakes every time! Let us know what your favourite topping is?
Easy English Pancakes - Sweet Crepes
- 30 grams Sugar Caster is best but granulated is fine too.
- 360 ml Milk skimmed, semi or whole.
- 2 medium Eggs
- ½ tbsp Vegetable Oil can substitute for other oils or use melted butter
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract optional
- 160 grams Plain Flour
- Spray Spray Oil To spray pan between each pancake
Pancake Toppings Optional
- Sugar or Icing Sugar
- Chocolate Sauce
- Raspberry Sauce
Prepare Pancake Mix Batter
- In a large jug, blend together all ingredients (except the flour) using a hand blender (can be done by hand using a whisk)
- Add the flour a spoonfull at a time, continue to use hand blender between each spoonful. (can be done by hand using a whisk).Whisk or blend until no lumps of flour can be seen.
- Prepare your pan with a spray of spray oil. Allow to heat before pouring pancake batter into the pan.
- Try to keep the mixture in a thin layer, if needed you can tilt the pan to cover the whole surface of the pan.Fry on medium heat for about 1 - 1½ minute until you can easily get the spatula under the pancake.
- Flip using your spatula onto the other side and cook for another ½ -1 minutes
- Serve straight away or pile up into a stack, keep covered with foil to retain heat until all ready.
Can pancakes be made ahead of time?
Yes pancakes can easily be made ahead of time, and reheated when needed?
I normally make more than we need so the kids can have the leftovers for the next few days!
How to store leftover homemade pancakes?
Pancakes can be stacked on top of each other and covered with cling film to be stored in the fridge.
They keep for 4 days in the fridge.
Can I freeze pancakes?
To freeze pancakes, it is best to put a layer of parchement paper between each layer to prevent them sticking together during freezing.
Then place them in a freezer bag and remove as many as you need when you need them. Defrost before reheating, they don't take long to defrost!
How to reheat pancakes?
To reheat flat british pancakes or crepes, simply place in the microwave one at a time and heat for 30-40 seconds.