What is the difference in the mixture for crepes vs pancakes.

Every recipe I can find on an english language website, suggests a very similar ratio of flour/eggs/milk, but then end result is something that tastes like a pancake. Perhaps there is a specific technique required?

  • 1
    Since you are UK based, when you say ‘pancakes’ do you mean the standard British thin jobs or the thicker, raised Scotch pancake/Drop scone or even US type large thick ones?
    – Spagirl
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 11:49
  • @Spagirl that would be the British ones :)
    – Neil P
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 12:10
  • @NeilP, are you asking the difference between (Non-scottish) UK pancakes and crepes? Or are you asking about US pancakes vs. crepes or another combo?
    – GdD
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 13:31
  • A crêpe batter is very thin. Perhaps as thin as this: youtube.com/watch?v=YbxWMDdVSPY
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 14:57
  • @AlanMunn why do they taste so different? is it just because of the different thickness in the cooking? I'm guessing it could be a function of the chemistry, but most british recipes for crepes don't have any more liquid in
    – Neil P
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 15:38

3 Answers 3


Crepes and pancakes are very similar in ingredients, crepe batter is thinner (i.e. runnier). American pancake batter spreads some then stops so you get thicker pancakes, crepe (by the way in many parts of the english speaking world crepes are called pancakes) batter spreads more. It doesn't take that much more liquid to get a crepe batter.

  • 1
    Don't American pancakes alro have baking powder and sugar in them? Scotch pancakes/drop scones are also generally made with self-raising flour and sugar.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 12:53

A Crêpe is a pancake. It may be a pancake made by a skilled crêpiere and spread ultra-thin by use of a crêpe spreader and flipped with a crêpe spatula, which requires use of a low sided pan or griddle to properly achieve, and perhaps served up with orange or cream sauces, but it is basically a pancake. Wooden crêpe spatula, essentially a flat piece of wood, and crêpe spreader which is a short section of dowel with a narrower dowel handle fixed to it at right angles Delia, Nigella et al give us the same recipes under the name crêpe as they do under the name pancake. So, my understanding is that there is a large middle ground where people use the different terms to refer to the same object, possibly dependent on their class origins and pretensions, but at the extremes a pancake is spread by swirling the pan and a crêpe is spread thinner with implements and may tend to be larger in diameter. (and one is more French)

  • 1
    As I understand it, a crêpe is spread so thin it cooks from one side without needing to be turned. I've never made them myself, lacking the proper tools, but I've eaten plenty, and watched them be made by pros
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 17:48
  • I wonder if some people do eg crêpe Suzette that way, because the crêpes get folded? Otherwise I haven’t experienced that.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 18:02
  • Generally when I've had them in France they've been folded in some way, even if just the edges are folded in on some of the fancier ones in crêperies. But of course normally when they're prepared in front of you it's somewhere like a market, when they're after speed.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 20:11

Crêpes are a kind of pancake, which are very thin. While German and Scandinavian pancakes are thicker, American breakfast pancakes are typically even thicker.

In American pancakes baking powder or other leavener is often used to raise the batter. Another trick is to whip the egg whites separately before carefully mixing with the yolks to achieve even fluffier American pancakes. However, the French crêpe as it is served on the street or in a restaurant, is thin so it can be easily folded, wrapped, or rolled. Sometimes sugar is added to the batter. In contrast, a kind of savoury crêpe made out of buckwheat is the galette, of northern French origin. Both the wheat crêpe and the buckwheat galette are intended to be used with fillings, from the most basic: a sprinkle of powdered sugar, to jam, chocolate, or even nutella. Crêpe Suzette is a sweet version made using liquor and then enjoyed with a spectacular flambé. Wheat crêpes can also be served in savory combinations: with cheese, herbs and creme fraiche (French sour creme), or mushroom stew.

Regarding recipe and technique, some crêpe recipes call for substituting half of the milk with water in order to achieve an even thinner batter. When making crêpes at home it is essential to use as little batter in the pan as possible. This can be achieved by either tilting the frying pan in a circular motion or by pouring off excess batter. A thinner batter will spread faster through the pan and will take longer to solidify, so thin crêpes are easier to make using a batter that is thinner than for regular "pancakes". Finally, there is no baking powder in an authentic crêpes batter.

Essentially, crêpes are a kind of thin pancakes.

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