Pfannkucken (German Pancakes)

A Classic Pfannkuchen Recipe For Traditional German Pancakes!

Craving something sweet but feeling a little lazy? German pancakes sound like the solution for you!

Also commonly known as Pfannkuchen in German, they are easy to make in no time at all.

These thin German pancakes can be enjoyed sweet however you like: with jam, fruit, cinnamon and sugar, or with hazelnut cocoa spread!

german pancake rolled with jam with berries and jam behind on plate
Our German pancakes – one with jam and one with cinnamon & sugar!

German pancakes have a number of other names (often dictated by region) in Germany. They are sometimes also called Eierkuchen, Palatschinken, or even Plinse.

Lisa grew up eating German pancakes and knows them as Pfannkuchen so that’s what we’re calling them.

With this recipe, you can make pancakes that are a little thinner and bigger than fluffy “North American buttermilk pancakes”.

At the same time, they are usually thicker than a thin French crepe or Hungarian Palacsinta. Here’s more on confusing names for pancakes below…

German Pancakes Vs. Dutch Baby Pancakes

Those searching for a German pancake recipe might be looking for a Dutch Baby pancake recipe so it’s important to clear the air: In our case, they are actually two different things.

Our recipe in this post is for “German Pancakes”… how pancakes are actually enjoyed in Germany.

The Dutch Baby is baked in the oven, has risen walled-sides, and is much closer to a Yorkshire pudding than a classic German pancake.

A Dutch Baby Pancake has nothing to do with Germany other than the loose connection that it was created in the US with German pancakes (this recipe) as the inspiration.

The story goes that in Seattle, the child of the restaurateur who created the recipe mispronounced “Deutsch” (the German word for “German”) and turned it into “Dutch”.

Some people call the Dutch Baby Pancake “German Pancakes” which is comical to some Germans because it really has nothing to do with Germany, nor is it eaten in Germany. Dutch Baby pancakes are an American creation.

Undoubtedly both are delicious in their own right, however, they are two creations that are quite different. So, this is not a Dutch Baby recipe… but a recipe for traditional German pancakes how they are enjoyed in Germany!

Recipe Tips/Substitutions

Before you set out to fry up some pancakes, have a quick read through these recipe tips and substitutions:

  • When making the batter, make sure to mix well so that you don’t end up with flour lumps in your pancakes.
  • In Germany, some people add sparkling water to the batter to make the pancakes a bit fluffier. If you have carbonated water on hand, you can give this a try. Just remember to add less milk in that case. If you don’t have sparkling water handy, don’t worry – we’ll use a bit of baking powder instead.
  • You can add apples to this recipe – then you’d have Apfelpfannkuchen (German Apple Pancakes).
  • We like using neutral-tasting oil in the pan but you can use butter. If you use butter, watch the heat of your pan because butter can brown quickly and that’s not what we want in this case.

How to Make Pfannkuchen – Step by Step Instructions

If you’re wondering how to make Pfannkuchen, you can find the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

For those wishing to see recipe process photos, you can find the step-by-step instructions with photos in this section.

This way, you’ll have an idea of how to tackle this recipe if you are new to making German pancakes!

flour and dry ingredients in clear glass mixing bowl
Place the ingredients into a bowl.

First, add the flour, salt, and baking powder to a medium-sized mixing bowl.

wet German pancake batter in bowl with whisk
Mix the batter.

Now slowly pour in the milk while mixing with the normal beaters of your electric mixer or a hand whisk. Keep mixing until there are no lumps left.

Next, add the eggs and mix again. Then place a dishtowel on top of the bowl and let the mixture sit for around 15 minutes.

frying pan with hot oil inside on stove top
Heat oil in a pan.

Heat a little bit of oil or butter in a medium-sized frying pan.

Once hot, add one ladle of pancake batter to the pan and lightly tilt/rock the pan around so that the batter distributes evenly in the pan and doesn’t get too thick in the middle.

german pancake cooking in black frying pan
Wait until you can see bubbles forming.

Fry the pancake on medium-heat on one side until you can see bubbles forming and the pancake appears more cooked.

If it’s easy to lift the pancake with a flipper, you know it’s time to flip it.

cooked pancake in black frying pan on stove top
Cook the other side.

Flip the pancake and cook it on the other side until lightly brown.

stacked pancakes on plate on counter top
Set the pancake aside on a plate.

Remove the pancake from the pan and set it aside on a plate.

Now add another ladle of dough to make the next pancake. Don’t forget to add more oil or butter, as needed.

Repeat the steps until you have used up all the batter.

german pancakes on large plate with sugar and jam
German pancakes – ready to be enjoyed!

Pancakes in Germany are typically sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon or spread with jam or hazelnut cocoa spread.

You can roll your pancake up or just fold it over and eat it with a fork and knife – that’s completely up to you!

Storage Tips

We would recommend enjoying the pancakes fresh and only making as many as you need. They just taste best that way.

As such, we don’t recommend storing extra pancakes in the fridge since they tend to get hard but you can if you do end up having leftovers. Just make sure to consume them within 1-2 days.

You can reheat them in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.

FAQ

How to say pancake in German?

Pancake in German is Pfannkuchen. It is roughly pronounced like “Fan-cooH-hen”.

What’s the difference between a Dutch Baby Pancake and a German Pancake?

A Dutch Baby Pancake is an American recipe for a large, baked, rising pancake that is similar to a Yorkshire pudding recipe. A typical German pancake is a flat, pan-fried pancake similar to a crepe.

Related Recipes

If you liked this recipe for German pancakes, check out these other sweet and savory delights:

german pancakes on large plate with sugar and jam

Pfannkuchen (German Pancakes)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes

German Pancakes - or Pfannkuchen, in Gerrman - are a classic sweet treat. Made from a simple batter, these pan-fried pancakes are generally served sweet with some fruit and/or jam or with cinnamon and sugar!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • oil or butter for frying

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Now slowly pour in the milk while mixing with the normal beaters of your electric mixer or a hand whisk. Keep mixing until there are no lumps left.
  3. Add the eggs and mix again.
  4. Place a dishtowel on top of the bowl and let the mixture sit for around 15 minutes.
  5. Heat a little bit of oil or butter in a medium-sized frying pan. Once hot, add one ladle of pancake batter to the pan and lightly tilt/rock the pan around so that the batter distributes evenly in the pan and doesn't get too thick in the middle.
  6. Fry the pancake on medium-heat on one side until you can see bubbles forming and the pancake appears more cooked. If it's easy to lift the pancake with a flipper, you know it's time to flip it.
  7. Flip the pancake and cook it on the other side until lightly brown. Remove the pancake from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
  8. Now add another ladle of dough to make the next pancake. Don't forget to add more oil or butter, as needed. Repeat the steps until you have used up all the batter.
  9. Pancakes in Germany are typically sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon or spread with jam or hazelnut cocoa spread. You can roll your pancake up or just fold it over and eat it with a fork and knife - that's completely up to you!

Notes

  • In Germany, people sometimes add a little bit of sparkling water to their pancakes to make them fluffy since sparkling water is very common in Germany. We don't usually do this and know that people in North America don't always have sparkling water on hand but you can give it a try - just remember to use less milk in that case!
  • We like using a little bit of baking powder since this is the way Lisa grew up eating and making them, but you can also add a bit of baking soda which is much more common in North American kitchens than in German ones.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 459Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 209mgSodium: 293mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 16g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Did you like this recipe?

Pin it to one of your boards on Pinterest so you can come back to it any time!

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe