I've been messing around with the pancake recipe that calls for the following ingredients in the past few days.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

They come out really thick, slightly more than half an inch thick. I can get it thinner if I spread the batter out using the ladle, but that's a bit of a messy solution.

Is there anything I can do to tweak the recipe to make the pancake batter come out a bit thinner from the start?


5 Answers 5


To make you pancakes spread more, and thus be thinner, increase the amount of liquid in the recipe. This will make the batter less viscous, so that it will spread more before beginning to set, thus giving you thinner pancakes.

I would start slowly, perhaps a couple of tablespoons extra milk (or just plain water) until you find the consistency that you like.

You will also have to experiment to determine the appropriate cooking time, as the additional liquid will somewhat need to be cooked off to get the best texture.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with using the bottom of your ladle to help the batter spread out a bit more. This is normal, and will somewhat even out as the pancakes cook.

  • A bit late on my part, sorry about that. I tried it out, and adding a little extra milk did the trick. Sep 8, 2013 at 2:54

Depending on how thin you're looking for, you may also want to check out other recipes for different styles of intentionally-thinner pancake-like items, such as

  • Crepes (as mentioned before, "crêpes" when you get real fancy)
  • German-style Pfannkuchen
  • Blintz (or blini or other names)

Good luck!

  • 1
    Also pannekoeken (Netherlands), pannkakor (Sweden), pannekaken (Norway), and British pancakes. Typically none of these have chemical leavening in them. See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/72915/67
    – Joe
    Mar 1, 2019 at 15:21

Another answer already mentioned adding more liquid, which was my first thought, so I'll just mention a few other possibilities.

Depending on the amount of batter you have or need from the recipe, you might find it easier to add a little less flour rather than more water (like maybe a tbs less to start with and recalculate after trying it?). Aside from having physically less batter, this would also make your pancake taste a bit richer and less bread-like, effectively leaving the mix with a higher proportion of eggs and oil and even salt, instead of diluting the batter with milk or water and the extra flour.

You might also try using just a little less baking powder, if the height is a moderate problem - it should make the pancake a touch denser and less fluffy, which may actually be useful depending on what you were looking for out of a pancake.

Also, you mentioned your objection to spreading the batter out for a thinner pancake is because it's messy... if you don't have any other objection than that, and especially if you like the flavor and texture (which meddling with the batter will alter), you might try spreading the batter out with the back of a ladle dhosa-style - that is, as soon as you pour the batter, use the ladle to make a tight spiral out from the middle, which smoothly and evenly moves the batter outwards. You can actually make the pancake as thin or thick as you like with practice, dhosa are usually fairly thin and crisp but the basic technique is adaptable by picking which hight you're holding the ladle at. The results are fairly aesthetic, either a smooth circular pattern or, if the pancake was a bit rawer on top, it might even smooth out the spiraling, and it really isn't difficult - and you don't have to wash an extra tool like using a crepe spreader would require.

Alternatively, if you have a steady hand, you can pour the batter in a ring or spiral in the first place. If you dump the ladleful of batter in the very center, it can kinda pile on top of itself and only spread slowly from the edges - and often start setting before it has time to finish spreading. If you spiral it out as you're pouring, it spreads from every edge both inwards and outwards until it meets the next layer (or finished setting), and will settle at a lower overall height. You might have some gaps or thicker puddles while you figure out the technique of how quickly to pour and how much space to leave between (and you can patch a bit with more batter or a swipe of the ladle to spread and thin), but it can work with patience and hand-eye coordination.


I too like thin pancakes and my husband likes them thick. I have only made pancakes from scratch a couple of times and they came out good, but I will say I use the original Aunt Jamima mix and requires you to add egg and milk. We use rice milk and it comes out good and I learned a trick from a restaurant to add vanilla and it makes a big difference they come out so good. I make my husbands batch of pancakes first (thick) and then I just add additional rice milk to thin the batter and make my and they come out great. We use real syrup and it makes a big difference. You can try that with your homemade recipe. Hope this helps.


I don't quite see what's wrong with thick, fluffy pancakes. So, I'm going to venture to guess that you may mean tough pancakes. In that case, be sure to not beat the batter too harshly. If you do that, you excite the gluten in the flour and then end up creating more protein strands, leading to tough pancakes.

So, fold, fold, fold. Ever so gently. Resist the urge to get all Emulsifier on it. :)

I bet if you try that, they may be a bit fluffier and not so thick.

Also, try crepes if you want something thinner.

  • Some people don't like their pancakes fluffy. Other times there's particular applications which call for thinner pancakes, like making a pancake sandwich or roll-up of some kind. Aug 29, 2013 at 14:26

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