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Shrove Tuesday: What's the difference between a pancake and a crêpe?

Upgrade your food trivia knowledge today!

by: Robyn Brittow | 05 Mar 2019
Know your pancakes from your crêpes

(image: Unsplash)

WATCH: 5 Common mistakes people make when making pancakes

Whether you prefer a soft and fluffy textured stack of Malva pancakes dripping with caramel sauce or lace-thin cinnamon and sugar roll-ups that equally serve as a blanket for savoury fillings… the variations of a pancake are endless, but is a pancake really what you think it is?

Why are some smaller in circumference and taller in height while others are delicately thin but equally delectable?

We break it down: the difference between pancakes and crêpes 

Pancakes are believed to be American, with the first recorded recipe originating from a 1700s cookbook. They're usually served stacked upon each other and have a slight bit of height to them - like these gooey chocolate brownie pancakes.

Gooey chocolate brownie pancakes

Their French counter-part, crêpes however, are paper-thin “cakes” that are made to cover the whole base of a pan. They are generally served folded or rolled with various sweet and savoury fillings like these spinach stuffed crêpes.

Spinach stuffed pancakes


The main difference in ingredients is that pancakes are made with a leavening/raising agent such as baking powder while crêpes do not. Crêpes are traditionally made with buckwheat flour. The French may use white wheat flour if preparing a sweet version like the infamous Crêpes Suzette for dessert.

Shape and size

Another indicator of the difference is the size. A pancake is smaller in size with a bit more height, and a crêpe is much larger and thinner.

For buckwheat crepes, the famous pastry chef David Lebovitz says, "it’s best to let the batter chill overnight, but let it come to room temperature prior to frying them up. And keep stirring the batter as you go while frying since the flour tends to sink to the bottom." 

Flapjacks and pancakes are often seen as the same thing in America however flapjacks are a bit puffier and slightly smaller (if you're wanting to get technical). To make it even more confusing...depending on where you are, flapjacks are sometimes confused with crumpets - which have a few unique characteristics of their own. But for now, let's stick with pancakes for the sake of Shrove Tuesday!  

Have you tried our recipe for the ultimate Peppermint crisp pancake stack?

Peppermint crisp pancake stack

No matter how you prefer your pancakes, we've got a recipe of every kind for you to enjoy this Shrove Tuesday. 

Read more on: pancakes  |  dessert recipes

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