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British Pancakes vs Crepes: What’s the Difference?

Ever stared at a menu, puzzled over the choice between a British pancake and a crepe? We’ve all been there.

Turns out, they’re not twins. Not even distant cousins. British pancakes and crepes are as different as, well, tea and coffee.

I tried making both once. Ended up with something that looked like abstract art. Lesson learned.

We’ll break it down for you – without the fluff. Straight to the good stuff.

What are British Pancakes?

British pancakes are a traditional breakfast dish in the United Kingdom that differ from their American counterpart.

They are typically smaller, fluffier and thicker than American pancakes, and are made with simple ingredients like flour, eggs, milk and butter.

British pancakes can be eaten plain or with toppings like lemon juice and sugar, fruit compote, or syrup.

They are often served on Pancake Day in the UK.

Unique to British Pancakes is they contain baking powder which makes them rise unlike crepes which remain flat during cooking.

Additionally, they’re cooked one side at a time until there’s a brownish gold coloration which gives it a bit of crispiness especially when properly prepared.

What are Crepes?

Crepes are thin, delicate pancakes originating from France.

Unlike American or British pancakes, crepes are made by pouring a thin batter onto a hot skillet and spreading it into a large, round shape.

The batter may contain flour, milk, eggs, and sugar.

The key characteristic of crepes is their ultra-thin texture, which allows them to be versatile in their use as both sweet and savory foods.

They can be filled with whipped cream or Nutella for dessert or used as a wrap for ham and cheese for a savory meal.

In summary, crepes are French-style pancakes that differ from British pancakes in terms of thickness and texture.

Their lightness allows them to be filled with various ingredients from sweet Peaches-to-goat-cheese savory fillings.

Differences Between British Pancakes and Crepes

British pancakes and crepes are both flattened cakes made of batter, but they differ in their origin and preparation method.

Crepes originate from France, while British pancakes come from the United Kingdom.

Crepe batter is thinner than pancake batter, resulting in a delicate and thin texture.

In contrast, pancake batter is thicker, creating a denser cake.

British pancakes are typically served with sugar and lemon juice or other sweet toppings, while crepes can be filled with savory or sweet fillings like vegetables or Nutella.

Origin and Culinary Traditions

Pancakes and crepes are two popular dishes with distinct origins and culinary traditions.

British pancakes, also known as “flapjacks,” were originally eaten during Shrove Tuesday in the UK.

In contrast, crepes originate from France and are associated with French cuisine.

While both dishes share some similarities, there are marked differences between them that make them unique.

One significant difference between pancakes and crepes is their batter consistency.

Pancakes use a thicker batter made with baking powder for a fluffy texture, whereas crepes have a thin batter with no leavening agents like baking powder.

This consistency affects how they are cooked too; pancakes cook on a hot griddle or frying pan while crepes are cooked on a flat skillet.

Another notable difference is how they are served and consumed.

British pancakes are typically enjoyed sweetened with sugar, syrup or toppings like fruit or chocolate spread.

Alternatively, savoury toppings such as bacon may be added for breakfast options.

On the other hand, crepes have more savoury filling options like ham and cheese in addition to sweet ones.

Ingredients Used

The key elements used in British pancakes and crepes differ from each other.

While preparing British pancakes, wheat flour, eggs, milk and sugar are the prime constituents.

On the contrary, crepes are prepared using all-purpose flour along with eggs, milk or water without adding any sugar.

The difference lies in their thickness whereby the former is thicker than the latter.

Texture and Thickness

The textures and thicknesses of British pancakes and crepes vary significantly.

British pancakes are spongy and relatively thick, while crepes are thin and delicate.

The difference is due to the ingredients used in the recipes, where British pancakes require raising agents like baking powder or baking soda to make them fluffy, whereas crepes do not require any such leavening agents.

As a result, British pancakes have a more substantial feel in the mouth and can be heavier compared to crepes.

Crepes are light, airy, and delicate to the touch because of their thinness.

Because they are so thin, it’s easy to fold them over or roll them up with fillings.

Furthermore, when it comes to making the two dishes laid side-by-side for comparative purposes, both have distinguishing cooking methods that go along with recipe variations.

While British pancake batter is poured into a heated frying pan and cooked until there are bubbles on top which indicates it’s time to flip it over- crepe batter must be spread evenly in a heated flat skillet with a lot of attention given towards even distribution.

Finally, both pancakes’ texture and thickness characteristics of British pancakes vs crepes provide different taste experiences.

The fluffiness and thickness of a classic stack of hot cakes can make for an excellent hearty breakfast while delicate French-style crepes piled high with Nutella or accompanied by fresh fruit toppings will make for an excellent dessert choice.

Cooking Techniques

Cooking methods are crucial in determining the texture, taste, and appearance of a dish.

There are various ways to cook food, each requiring different techniques and procedures to achieve the desired outcome.

In cooking diverse dishes, chefs must understand how to implement various cooking techniques accurately to ensure that their recipes have the intended result.

When it comes to making pancakes versus crepes, the techniques vary significantly.

Pancakes require more leavening agents such as baking powder or soda than crepes because they need to rise while cooking.

Batter consistency also differs for both; pancake batter should be thick and lumpy while crepe batter should be thin and liquidy.

Additionally, pancakes need higher heat than crepes since they’re thicker.

A key difference between British pancakes and French Crepes is that British pancakes tend to be thicker due to their leavening agents vs French being thinner using a regular batter mix with no leavening agents added.

Understanding the differences in cooking techniques is imperative in producing an ideal dish’s expected outcomes without compromise.

Cooking technique requires mindfulness, practice, attention-to-detail, and accuracy for ultimate success in culinary artistry.

Flavor and Toppings Comparison

British pancakes and crepes differ in their flavors, textures, and toppings.

While British pancakes are thicker and fluffier with a more filling taste, crepes boast a thinner texture with a more delicate flavor.

Toppings for British pancakes typically include lemon juice, sugar, and syrup, while crepes are usually topped with fruits, chocolate or Nutella spread.

However, both British pancakes and crepes can be customized with any desired topping to suit individual preferences.

Similarities Between British Pancakes and Crepes

British pancakes and crepes share many similarities in their ingredients, cooking style, and how they are served.

Both use flour, eggs, milk, and butter to create a batter that is cooked on a hot flat surface.

They are typically served with sugar, lemon juice or fruits like banana and berries.

Furthermore, both can be enjoyed as a sweet or savory dish depending on the toppings used.

In terms of texture, both pancakes and crepes have a thin consistency with a soft center.

However, the main difference between the two lies in the thickness of the batter.

Crepe batter is much thinner than pancake batter resulting in crepes being larger in diameter with thinner edges while pancakes tend to be smaller in size with thicker edges.

Another unique aspect of British pancakes is that they are often served during Pancake Day which falls on Shrove Tuesday before the start of Lent.

This tradition dates back to pre-Christian times when people would use up rich ingredients like flour and eggs before fasting for 40 days leading up to Easter.

Serving Suggestions and Variations

When it comes to serving pancakes and crepes, the possibilities are endless.

You can try different fillings, toppings and sauces to satisfy your cravings and impress your guests.

For example, you can top your British pancakes with fresh berries, whipped cream and honey or butter and syrup.

As for crepes, they could be served with savory fillings like ham and cheese or a delicious Nutella spread.

Let your creativity guide you in trying new combinations of flavors and textures for a memorable breakfast or brunch experience.

If you want to take your pancake game to the next level, try experimenting with alternative flours such as buckwheat or cornmeal.

You can also add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to elevate the taste of your batter.

For those who prefer a healthier option, replacing some of the flour with oatmeal or using almond milk instead of dairy could make a difference without sacrificing flavor.

Moreover, presentation is everything when it comes to food.

You can stack multiple pancakes on top of each other or roll up your crepes for a more elegant look.

Adding edible flowers or colorful fruits can give your dish an extra pop of color as well.


Comparing British pancakes and crepes highlights the significant differences in their ingredients, preparation, and texture.

While both are delicious breakfast options, they are unique in their own way.

British pancakes are thicker and fluffier, made with a mixture of flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, and sugar.

In contrast, crepes have a thin and delicate texture made using a simple batter of flour, eggs, milk or water.

They can be filled with various sweet or savory ingredients depending on preference.

Moreover, the difference between these two foods also lies in their cooking methods.

Pancakes are usually cooked on a griddle or frying pan until golden brown on both sides whereas crepes are cooked using a non-stick pan resulting in a paper-thin pancake.

British Pancakes vs Crepes: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
Craving a delicate breakfast? Explore the differences between British pancakes and crepes to indulge in the perfect morning treat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That


  • British Pancakes
  • Crepes


  • Choose between British pancakes and crepes based on your preference and desired texture.
  • Follow the recipe instructions for your chosen option, ensuring you understand the specific batter consistency and cooking techniques.
  • Prepare the batter according to the recipe, considering any variations in ingredients or proportions between British pancakes and crepes.
  • Heat a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.
  • Pour a ladleful of batter onto the pan and tilt it to spread the batter into a thin, even layer.
  • Cook the pancake or crepe for a couple of minutes until the edges start to lift and the bottom turns golden brown.
  • Flip the pancake or crepe using a spatula and cook the other side for a short time until it is lightly browned.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent burning.
  • Serve the cooked British pancakes or crepes warm, accompanied by your favorite toppings such as fruits, syrups, or spreads.
  • Enjoy the delightful texture and flavor of your chosen pancake or crepe style, and experiment with different fillings and combinations to suit your taste.
Keyword British Pancakes vs Crepes
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