Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm not talking about ingredient differences like adding blueberries or chocolate chips, or even buttermilk or cooked pumpkin to the batter ...

How many fundamentally different regional types of 'pancake' are there? Either stuff called a 'pancake' or 'pan cake' in English, or where the literal translation to English is 'pan cake', even if it's qualified in some way (eg, a 'potato pancake')

(I'm not interested solely in wheat batter based pancakes ... I'm actually interested in finding items that are the furthest away from American pancakes, but that some group would still call a 'pancake')

update : oddly enough, this is indirectly a followup to my question on overpressurizing whipped cream. It was for a contest at my place of work called "Your Science as Food", and well, I won, so I'm trying to come up with a follow-up for next year. I've done the heliophysics theme for the last two years, by "my science" is actually information science, so I was thinking about having an exhibit with lots of 'pancake' items, and having a little survey of 'is it a pancake?' similar to this But Is It a Sandwich? survey, and want to find things that people will have to think about for a while if it's a 'pancake' or not.

share|improve this question
Not to be picky, but if you want this question to be answerable, you need a better defination of pancake. Do you mean any bready thing thats cooked in a pan like corn pone? Or do you mean any quick bread that shares the same traits of pancakes but might be cooked in a muffin tin? or even foods that fill the same role as the pancake in one form or another like tortitas? – sarge_smith Mar 14 '11 at 3:49
@sarge_smith : I didn't want to give too much, as I don't want to taint the responses, but stuff like dutch pannenkoeken (more crepe like) or german pfannkuchen (more popover like), where the similarity is in name only. I'm not looking for similarity to american pancakes (eg. dutch poffertjes, southern US hoecakes/northeast US jonnycakes) or necessarily cooking technique (south american tortillas) – Joe Mar 14 '11 at 4:04
And this is a case where telling why you are interested might be useful. If you're writing a book on 1000 and 1 ways to make bread in a fry pan that would help with the answer. Since some of the earliest (ancestral) cooked dishes were flat breads cooked on heated rocks, you have a lot of choices. Just check the flour types in an Indian grocery...they can all be used for making different types of flat breads. And you're going to need to make a decision on leavening. Do you only include non-yeast pancakes? – Doug Johnson-Cookloose Mar 14 '11 at 4:05
@joe gotcha, knew it wasn't going to be the version of that question I could answer. :) – sarge_smith Mar 14 '11 at 4:14
Your question seems to have more to do with linguistics than food. The reason that the Dutch and German words are similar to English is because English has Germanic roots. The other issue is that translation is hugely subjective so a dish that one person might translate into English as some sort of "pancake", another would translate differently, or use an anglicized version of the original word. – Allison Mar 14 '11 at 6:33

I can think of several "bread"-like dishes that are made in a pan. Since they're all from cultures where I don't speak the language, I can't say for the translation of the name.

  • Ethiopian Injera - This is a bread made from wheat flour and teff flour with water, left out for three days to rise (think sourdough without a starter) and then cooked in a pan. It's quite sour, but has exactly the consistency of a fluffy pancake. This is the main staple of Ethiopian diet, served with a number of different "sauces".
  • Druze Pitta - This is a little different from a regular Pitta, as it doesn't have a pocket, and isn't baked so much as done on the top of a convex pan. The idea is similar to a flour tortilla, but the flavour is different.
  • Yemeni / Israeli Malawach - This is a pastry similar to filo or puff pastry, but with more margarine. It is then fried in a pan and served hot with crushed tomatoes and a hard-boiled egg on the side.
  • French Toast (pain perdu) - I'm not sure if this qualifies, but it is a slice of bread (already baked) drenched in egg and then fried in a pan.

I can't think of anything else right now, but I'm sure there are plenty more.

share|improve this answer
Plus crepes, blintzes, blinis, and more I'm probably forgetting. – justkt Mar 14 '11 at 14:09
I can add some unusual ones to the list: Flädle (in soup), palatschinken (unleavened), wheat blini, fagopyrum blini, oladi, katmi (batter is made with yoghurt instead of milk) and I think that some Germans consider Kaiserschmarrn to be a pancake too, although it is torn to pieces in the pan. And I've had a meringue-leavened pancake with grated apples in the batter, which didn't have a specific name, the cook called it "apple pancake". – rumtscho Mar 14 '11 at 23:51


  • ployes (French-Canadian buckwheat pancakes)

and two not-so-sweet pancakes but oh so good:

  • Scallion pancakes! (Chinese/Korean)
  • latkes (potato pancakes)
share|improve this answer

It might take a linguist to really have a good answer there! I don't really have any good answers but I see where you're going... the term 'pancake' is so vague it could quite easily apply to many things that have not much in common.

I haven't looked through this but it might be worth a look:

Assuming they'll mostly be the type of pancake you're not after, but there might be some interesting exceptions.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.