Don’t you just love pancakes?
I swear Pancake Day is the most beloved holiday in our house, even today, after the kids have moved out. Back when we were still a foursome, I used to make pancakes four mornings a week.
We like them sweet, we like them savoury, we like crepes, we like American-style pancakes – I think we could all honestly eat them every day, if someone could be bothered to keep making them.
Naturally, my method of pancake making involved a pan, a ladle, a bit of olive oil, and a whole lot of wrist action. I can do a perfect flip (granted that I use my own pan, as I know nothing will stick to it, others I am not so sure about), and I very rarely drop one (if ever).
However, I was then gifted a pancake maker (also known as a crepe maker) for Christmas, and it has been an idyllic love affair since.
Let me show you the one we use, and a few others that also work really well.
But before we jump into all of that, let’s just get a couple of things straight first.
We need to define the term pancake, the term crepe, and then the slightly less confusing American-style pancake.
What we know and love as the “pancake” does not contain a raising agent, while the American pancake does. It is fluffier and a bit creamier, as you add the butter and sugar into the mixture itself.
On the other hand, that would mean that to us, pancake and crepe are the same thing, but that is not quite true either.
Crepes don’t have a raising agent, but pancakes do, which is why crepes are flat, and pancakes fluffy. Crepes are also larger and thinner, and are usually filled and rolled, while pancakes are smaller and thicker.
In other words, there is no clear distinction between the terms, and they are often used to identify the same yummy product – however, Americans usually stack theirs and add the toppings on top, while we also like to add our extras into the batter.
Not meaning to start a pancake war here – just trying to make sure we are all on the same page, and that that page has a pancake on it.
Now, for the pancake makers:
Best Traditional Crepe/Pancake Makers
Let’s first take a look at a few of the more traditional options for pancake (or crepe, or tortilla, or roti) makers, shall we?
This is the one I use and love, and I wouldn’t change it for any other pancake maker (which does not mean some of the others I am going to talk about are not just as good, I’ve just become extraordinarily attached to mine).
It’s 30 centimetres wide, so large enough for your average crepe. It has a non-stick coat (and I do mean non-stick, you don’t have to use any oil), and is rather powerful at 1000 watts.
It has five settings, so you can adjust the temperature easily, and it heats up quickly (usually 2-3 minutes is plenty). It also keeps the temperature even, so you don’t have to worry about a pancake burning when you are halfway through.
It comes with that funny T-shaped tool that pros in restaurants use to spread the batter out. And while I was rather sceptical about using it, it turns out it’s not only handy, but necessary, as you won’t be able to spread your mixture out evenly without it.
There appears to have also been a recipe booklet with it, but I must have thrown mine away (or it might be in the box somewhere, if the box is still in the attic).
You can make practically anything on this little pancake maker, as it is essentially just a hotplate – pancakes of any variety, tortillas, rotis, eggs and bacon – anything you’d like.
Another model very similar to my beloved Breville is this Russell Hobbs – and you know I love almost everything Russell Hobbs.
It also measures in at 30 centimetres, there are 5 temperature settings to choose from as well, but it is a bit more powerful at 1200 watts. As it keeps temperatures even across its entire surface, your pancakes will come out perfect every time.
This one also comes with the T-shaped whatchamacallit and a spatula, so you can flip your creations easily.
Side note: you will need to get used to the new manner of flipping pancakes if you normally toss and flip in a pan – it’s not too hard, but you do need to mind where you insert the spatula (the more central the better), as they can flip over themselves and stick.
You can also check out this model, which runs quite along the same lines as the other two.
It’s the same size (30 centimetres), but it has a dial to set the temperature, so that might be more your preference.
It comes with a wooden batter spreader (okay, that’s what the T-shaped thing is called, batter spreader), and a wooden spatula, which also might suit you better than the plastic one that comes with the Russell Hobbs – this one is a bit thicker though, so make sure you take that into consideration.
Other than that, it’s just a pancake maker a.k.a. hotplate – great for all kinds of quick and easy recipes.
Best Pancake/Crepe Pans
If you are more of a traditionalist and would like to stick to a pan instead of a pancake maker, I can recommend two:
This is your traditional and classic pancake pan, 24 centimetres, non-stick, dishwasher safe, suitable for all kinds of heat sources (including induction hobs).
It is also light, which I find is super important with pancake pans – 372 grams.
It comes in all kinds of colours, so you can even match it to the aesthetics of your kitchen if you want to.
Option two is this Tefal pancake pan, slightly larger at 25 centimetres, that comes with the usual Tefal thermostat that shows you when the pan is ready for use.
It’s obviously non-stick, it is dishwasher safe, works on all kinds of stoves, and it can also be popped in the oven at 175 degrees max (if you have not tried oven-baked pancakes yet, I suggest you bookmark this recipe and this recipe – you will need a larger pan/dish, but the taste is divine!).
This one is however significantly heavier than the other model, at 840 grams, so that is definitely an important figure to factor in.
Best American Pancake Makers
Okay, so you can technically make American pancakes on all of the pancake makers I have already listed. This section is actually about making more than one pancake at the same time, so do bear with me for referencing them as “American” – that’s just what we call them at the Barnaby residence.
I have to admit right off the bat that I haven’t actually tried this one, so I have no idea personally as to how it works, but from what I have seen from others, it’s actually very good.
It’s a non-stick surface with room for six 11.5 centimetre crepes (or pancakes), so if you are a fan of the smaller pancake, or the pancake stack (or the fam is just too impatient and they all want a pancake at the same time), this can be a great way to cut down prep time.
It comes in at 1000 watts, to pretty powerful, and it comes with a ladle to make your pancake making process easier.
And finally, there is this, which I am almost tempted to buy (and I don’t think Tom would mind either, so let’s check those delivery dates).
This pan looks incredible, and it claims to make seven 3-inch pancakes – and it’s obviously made in the USA, hence the inch reference. The company also makes the same pan but with different patterns, so you could also go for an autumn leaves or a snowflake or holiday pattern.
It’s non-stick, and is a bit heavier at 740 grams, but since I don’t see how you would flip seven pancakes at once, that shouldn’t be a deterring factor.
In short, if you have kiddos who would appreciate a smiley face or an animal-shaped pancake, this one should do the trick.
And now for the fun part: pancake recipes!
How to make pancakes
Here is the recipe I use to make “regular” pancakes – easy and simple.
This recipe makes 5-7 pancakes, depending on how large and thick you make them. I do mine relatively thin.
You will need:
- 100 grams plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- 300 milliliters of milk (you can use plant based as well)
- 1 tablespoon of oil + a bit for frying if you need it (I use olive oil)
Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth. You can leave the batter to rest for a bit, or you can go ahead and make your pancakes right away.
How to make American pancakes
Now for the overall more popular, American-style recipe, that also features the raising agent and the sugar. This is what we make most often, if we are going for plain pancakes.
There should be 8 servings in this recipe, but it will again depend on how thick you make them.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I use coconut sugar, but plain white will do)
- 1 ¼ cups milk (plant based will do again)
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Sift the flour, the baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the egg, the melted butter and the milk. Mix until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
How to make crepes
And now for the crepe recipe.
This is a mixture for serving 4 people, or so it claims.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup milk (plant based is still okay)
- ½ cup water (or, you can do beer as well)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
Start by mixing the flour and the eggs together, and then gradually add the milk and the water. Add the salt and the melted butter and mix until smooth.
How to make the perfect pancake and/or crepe
Now for the actual cooking process.
The trick is in the amount of batter and the heat of the plate. You will likely need to work out your own sweet spot, but I do roughly ¾ of my ladle for pancakes and full ladle for crepes + 3.5 heat on my electric pancake maker. If I make them in a pan, I set the heat to 5.5 (out of 9).
You may want to oil your pan or plate slightly – one of those oil sprays will do nicely, but you can do it with a spoon or a tissue as well. You can then keep adding oil per pancake, or just add the oil for the first one, and then go without. Either way will work.
You turn (or flip) the pancake when bubbles have appeared around the sides and a bit in the middle. You flip the crepe when it starts to get brown on the bottom, and it starts to de-stick from the pan.
There is an entire science to rolling the pan to make the batter coat it evenly, for knowing where to pour the batter, and when and how to flip. It’s mostly just practice, and there’s nothing I can tell you that will replace an hour in the kitchen, trying to master the flip.
Off to the kitchen
Now that we have covered all that, I will leave you to enjoy your pancakes in peace. I do hope you are having some with Nutella or Biscoff (you can also crumble some Graham crackers on top too), or my favourite, blueberry-vanilla.