German pancakes are a little thicker, heartier, and a little more dense than French crepes, but in my mind they’ll all the lovelier for it. These are, of course, the pancakes of my childhood and I think we all have a strong connection to foods like that. This recipe is less heavy and that makes it a bit better for a breakfast that won’t leave you feeling as if you’ve eaten a whole stick of butter.
Spelt flour is so ubiquitous in German kitchens that, if this were a traditional recipe, it would not be out of place. That being said, it’s not all that traditional. With dairy-free milk, honey in place of sugar, and no butter in sight, it’s certainly a more modern version of the Pfannkuchen I grew up eating.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour: if you don’t have spelt flour, use plain flour instead. Rye is nice too. I have not made this particular recipe gluten-free, but my baked apple pancake recipe (with buckwheat flour) works well in a frying pan.
- Milk: I almost always use homemade oat milk. You can use any milk you like.
- Eggs: these should be large eggs, at room temperature for the best results. To quickly bring eggs up to room temperature, submerge in warm (not hot) water for ten minutes.
- Honey: substitute another liquid sweetener or sugar if preferred.
Step by Step
Step 1: beat the eggs until foamy, then whisk in the milk, honey, and vanilla (if using).
Step 2: mix in the flour, salt, and extra milk if needed.
Step 3: add batter to a hot pan and fry for a minute or so.
Step 4: flip and cook the other side for another minute and repeat with the remaining batter.
Pictured is a portable induction cook top than runs rather hot, so setting 3 is equivalent to medium heat on a normal stove. Depending on the type of stove and pan you’re using, medium might not necessarily mean the exact middle of whatever options you have on your stove, so play around with it.
If your first pancake breaks when flipping, give the frying pan more time to heat up. I always use a well-seasoned cast iron pan and the pancakes don’t stick. Using oil instead of butter in the pan will make for less browned pancakes but they do cook through pretty quickly.
How to Store
Storage: keep covered or in a sealed container at room temperature for a couple of days.
Freezing: transfer fully cooled pancakes to an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature. Warm in a frying pan before serving if you’d like.
- Thin if needed: you probably won’t need the extra milk, but if your pancake batter seems very thick (remember, it should be just a bit thicker than crêpe batter) you can add it. If using whole grain flour, you will want to use the additional milk.
- Sweeten with toppings: German pancakes aren’t very sweet and are usually served with cinnamon sugar, and often toppings like applesauce or jarred sour cherries.
- Vanilla is optional: you won’t find it in most traditional recipes but it adds a nice flavour to the pancakes. If serving with applesauce, you could mix a little cinnamon in with the dry ingredients too.
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- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 200 ml non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- 200 grams spelt flour
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 50 ml milk or water if needed, see instructions
- Oil for cooking your preferred oil
- Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk until foamy. Whisk in the milk, honey, and vanilla until smooth. If using creamed honey, make sure it has been incorporated.2 large eggs, 200 ml non-dairy milk, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the flour and salt and whisk again until just combined. If the batter looks very thick (it should pour easily, about the consistency of drinking yogurt) add the extra milk or water. If using whole grain flour, you will need it.200 grams spelt flour, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, 50 ml milk or water
- Set the batter aside while you heat the pan over medium heat. Once hot, add a little oil to the pan. Pour about 50 ml (a scant ¼ cup) of batter into the pan and swirl the pan to spread the batter out.Oil for cooking
- Cook for about a minute, then flip and cook about a minute more. Adjust the heat as needed and cook the remaining batter until it's been used up.
- Serve the pancakes warm with any desired toppings.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.