Recipes: Crepes and Pancakes

Emer O Hanlon 26 February 2017
Image Credit: Eldriva via

Pancakes or crepes? What’s the difference, which is better and what toppings should you use on each? Come Pancake Tuesday, this is an important question to answer.

The difference between the two usually lies in whether or not you add baking powder to the mixture. Adding baking powder, and less milk, will transform the mixture into a fluffier, thicker end product – what I call a pancake. I usually prefer to make these smaller, as they’re more filling. Crepes are (implicit in the name) much thinner and larger, a result which you achieve by using more milk and no baking powder. The issue of whether to add sugar to the mix is a contentious one. Personally, I never do, because you can add as much sugar as you like in the toppings, and by not adding sugar, it allows you to use the same mixture for savoury toppings as well.


PANCAKES (makes about 6-8)

1 cup plain flour

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)

3 tbsp sunflower oil/ melted butter, plus extra for frying

(optional) 1 egg, beaten


Sift together the dry ingredient. If using the egg, whisk in now. Make a well in the centre of the mix and mix in the milk and oil. Beat together well and leave to stand for fifteen minutes if possible.

Heat a little oil in a pan and drop around ¼ cup of the pancake mix into it. Leave it until there are bubbles all through the pancake, and then flip. Let it fry for a couple more minutes until it browns on the other side. If you have enough room in the pan, you can fry a few pancakes at once. You will probably need to add more oil to the pan after each pancake is cooked.


CREPES (makes 4-6)

1 cup flour

¼ tsp salt

1 ¼ cups milk

3 tbsp sunflower oil/ melted butter, plus extra for frying

(optional) 1 egg, beaten


Follow the same instructions for making the mixture as for the pancake recipe above. Heat a little oil in the pan, and add about half a cup of the mixture to the pan, or enough to thinly coat the whole base of the pan. Flip only once when the underside has nicely browned, and once flipped, wait for the other side to turn the same colour. The end result should be browned, but still soft rather than crisp (if it does go crisp, you have probably used a little too much oil). Add your toppings, and fold the crepes into thirds for a classic look.



The world is your oyster here. The butter-lemon-sugar combo is a classic, as is maple syrup and cinnamon. A slightly more decadent offering is homemade chocolate spread and strawberries (homemade is easy to make, and less sweet than shop-bought ones), while the Cambridge Crepe Company has a stewed apple option, which is tart, sweet and filling.

On the savoury side, I’m a fan of avocado (because avocado goes with everything), and a little dash of chilli chutney can set the whole thing off nicely. Mozzarella, pesto and tomato is a popular filling for crepes – just add the ingredients when the crepe is almost cooked through, and return to the heat to finish cooking and melt the cheese.