How to make the best pancakes - English style!

Too many eggs and not enough recipes? Here's a very simple homemade pancake mix which takes minutes to make from scratch and is delicious to eat.

How to make English style pancakes from scratch. Pin for later.

There's really no need for a store-bought mix - you're better off without all those additives. 

Fresh eggs from your own backyard chickens, a good quality organic flour and an unwaxed lemon  is the way to go - and much less expensive.

Pancakes,  crêpes and the UK.

Traditionally, pancakes in England are thin and usually eaten rolled up, dressed with sugar and a squeeze of the juice of a fresh lemon.

Elsewhere, they'd probably be called "crêpes" and eaten with a variety of fillings, both sweet and savoury.

I love the English version, though. Even the sight of them makes my mouth water.

'Pancake Tuesday' - also known as 'Shrove Tuesday' - in the UK (and 'Mardi Gras' elsewhere) is the day before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, it's the day when pancakes are eaten in the UK, at least at one meal. 

Historically this has a religious background - eating all the rich foods before the beginning of 40 days' fasting during Lent.

How easy is it to make this style of pancake?

When I was young and about to leave home, I'd tell my family "You'll miss my pancakes when I'm gone". 

Why? Because English pancakes are so, so easy to make - they were about the only thing I could cook successfully.

To this day - many years later - I make them every Pancake Tuesday and occasional days in between. And I am not known for my cooking skills!

That's how easy they are.

English pancakes served with sugar and lemon juice.English pancakes - thinner than the US version and served with lemon and sugar.


This is plenty for 4 - 6 pancakes in a 10" pan.

  • 100 grammes (3.5 oz / 0.75 cup) flour
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 300 mls (0.5 pint / just over 1 cup) milk
  • A small amount of olive oil
  • Sugar and lemon juice for topping.
Ingredients for a simple pancake recipe:eggs, milk, sugar, lemon on a worksurface.

Making homemade pancake batter.

  • Measure the flour into a bowl, make a 'well' in the middle and add your eggs...
An egg in the centre of flour making the pancake batter.
  • No need to beat them first, although you can if you want. Add a dash of milk into the well.
  • Using a hand whisk and starting at the centre, pull in some flour from the walls of the well, a little at a time until all the flour is mixed in. 
  • Beat the mix well, adding in the rest of the milk. Don't over-beat it - it will make the pancakes hard.  
  • When it's done you'll see lots of air bubbles - like this.
Pancake batter mix
  • Now leave the batter to stand for at least 30 minutes. It makes it much easier to cook with.
  • You can prepare the batter several hours in advance and leave it covered with a cloth until you're ready to eat.

How to cook your pancakes (crêpes).

  • Take a non-stick frying pan (you can buy special pancake pans but I just use my favourite  heavy-duty Le Creuset model) and add about a teaspoon of a good quality olive oil.
  • Heat it on a medium setting, swirling the oil around until it coats the pan. Use kitchen towel to make sure it's completely covered and wipe off any excess oil. Otherwise the pancake will be too greasy.
  • Take a ladle of the batter and add it to the heated pan, just enough to cover the bottom. 
  • Don't add too much - English pancakes are traditionally thin.
Cooking the batter in a pan.Just cover the base of the pan.
  • Tilt the pan so the bottom is covered with the batter. Depending on how thick your batter is, cook it for between 30 and 45 seconds.
  • If you're brave enough, you can toss it. If not, just use a non-stick spatula to turn it.  (But tossing it is more fun, and kids love to try!).
  • Cook the second side for a very short time - no more than 30 seconds.  
  • Now slide it out onto a plate.
  • Sprinkle over a teaspoon of sugar, squeeze lemon juice over the top and fold the pancake into an oblong.

There you go - scrumptious English pancakes in minutes!

English pancakes - thin, with lemon and sugar.

Want more information about eggs? 

Egg recipes - link.
Scotch pancake recipe - link.
Which breeds produce colourful eggs? Link.
All you need to know about the nutritional value of eggs - link.
How to store eggs safely - link.
The egg-straordinary egg skelter - a review. Link.
How to test egg freshness - link.
10 facts about fertile chicken eggs - link.
Free newsletter. Link.
Link to Raising Happy Chickens home page.