Foolproof Traditional English Pancake Recipe

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images
  • 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings
Ratings (60)

Pancake Day aka Shrove Tuesday  in the UK and Ireland, is the day for eating traditional pancakes which are thin and crepe-like; the true pancake of this day. English-style pancakes are not unlike the thin French crepe and in no way resemble the American-style breakfast pancake.

As Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, pancakes traditionally were a way to use up any stocks of milk, butter, and eggs, which were forbidden during the abstinence of Lent. The custom continues today, even though such abstinence is rare nowadays. 

Making pancakes is so quick, easy, and cheap, but make sure you prepare plenty, as they are always very popular. Even if you have some left over, do not worry, they freeze very well. Simply layer them between greaseproof paper one by one. Pop them into a large freezer bag, seal, and freeze, To defrost, place the bag into the refrigerator and let them slowly thaw. They can be reheated very quickly by heating a frying pan and popping the defrosted pancakes in for about 30 seconds each side. Serve immediately.  

What You'll Need

  • 8 ounces plain or all-purpose flour (225g)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 large, fresh eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (600ml)
  • 2 teaspoons butter (melted; plus extra melted butter for cooking)

How to Make It

  1. Sieve the flour into a large baking bowl, add the salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs. Beat well until smooth and lump free.
  2. Add half the milk and the 2 teaspoons of butter, beat well. Add the remaining milk and stir.
  3. Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease a pancake pan or frying pan with a little melted butter. Heat until very hot and add a ladleful of batter so it evenly and thinly coats the base of the pan. Cook until set and lightly golden.
  1. Using a spatula or if you are really brave try tossing the pancake in the air,  and cook on the other side for approx 30 seconds.
  2. Slip the pancake from the pan onto a warm plate. Cover the plate with a tea cloth and keep warm. Continue as above until all the batter is used up.

To Serve

On Pancake Day, pancakes are traditionally eaten sprinkled with sugar and a squeeze of lemon. However, serve as you like with jam, Golden Syrup, honey, chocolate spread; whatever takes your fancy.

Pancakes from Around the World

Much as American pancakes, Welsh pancakes known as Cremog et al are lovely, it is the traditional which wins on Pancake Day.