I love this German Pancake! It’s easy to make, impressive to look at, and most important, it’s really tasty! Just five simple ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now and a little time, you have yourself a delicious breakfast or brunch item!
Recipes like my Homemade Granola and Honey Lemon Breakfast Yogurt are great for when you want a family pleasing breakfast. I love starting the day in a delicious way, and this is one of my Breakfast Recipes you’ll want in your recipe box!
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
A show stopper!
Light and fluffy breakfast Pancakes, sometimes called Dutch Babies, are baked pancakes or crepes made from eggs, milk, flour, and sugar, and they’re a breakfast treat and a family favorite! These are super impressive for company or a special occasion too, as they puff up in the oven and then fall as they cool.
It’s also a really fun thing to make with kids, or childish adults, because it puffs so high in the oven, and then rapidly deflates after you take it out of the oven. Each one is different and fun too! Sometimes they rise more or less. But, it’s always a show.
I first shared this recipe back in 2010, but wanted to update the pictures, recipe card, and information, so it’s improved for reader experience.
How to make
I’ve seen some recipes that call for a blender, or that you start the pancake on the stovetop. You don’t need either.
These are so simple to make. Just mix a few ingredients together by hand, pour into a pan, and bake.
Just pour all the batter ingredients into a (affiliate link) mixing bowl and whisk. I like to use a fork to mix, but a regular whisk will also work.
It’s ok if there’s sill a few lumps in the batter. Don’t worry about making it perfectly smooth.
Melt the butter in the pan in the oven, then pour the batter into the pan and bake.
As the pancake bakes it puffs up on the side and looks really cool.
Once you take the breakfast out of the oven it’ll start to deflate. It gets all custardy and yummy in the middle.
What kind of milk can I use?
Really, any kind of milk will work here.
I used to make them with 2% milk each time and they were delicious. Now I cook with whole milk most of the time.
Whole milk will make the pancake richer and heavier, while non-fat milk will make a lighter pancake. So, use the kind of milk your family likes best.
In case you’re lactose intolerant, I’ve tested it with plant-based milk and it works just fine. In my tests it doesn’t rise quite as much, but it still rises some, and it tastes just as good! Though, products may differ, and your results may vary.
Why is it called a German Pancake?
When I first posted this recipe back in 2010 I got a comment from a reader that she is German and had never heard of this recipe. So, I thought I’d do some research into the name and find out why it’s called that!
This little breakfast goodie goes by many names actually: Dutch baby pancake, Dutch baby, Bismarck, Dutch puff, or even Hootenanny! Basically, it’s a large sweetened American version of the popover or Yorkshire pudding.
The pancake name may have been derived from the German “Pfannkuchen” (which are large crepe-like pancakes that are cooked in an iron skillet and sometimes oven-baked to eliminate the trouble that comes from attempting to flip something large in a pan). The current form of this recipe originated in the U.S. in the early 1900s.
The term “Dutch baby” was coined by an American restaurateur who couldn’t pronounce the word Deutsch (the German word for “German”), and instead, she said “Dutch.” So the use of the word “Dutch” was a corruption of the word “Deutsch”. And the term “Baby” referred to the fact that the restaurant served miniature versions of the pancake.
How does it rise like that?
These pancakes are thicker than typical American pancakes, and are baked in the oven. They also contain no chemical-leavening agents like baking powder, and there are no whipped egg whites in the mix. So how does it get all puffy like that?
It’s all cool science-y and all, but the heat in the oven begins to set the gluten and egg proteins on the surface of the batter first, and this surface tension forms a flexible bubble or shell. As the outer shell of the pancake hardens, the water inside the batter turns to steam and tries to get out but can’t. This trapped steam causes the pancake to inflate like a balloon. Because it bakes in a wide, shallow pan it cooks more quickly at the edges, which are in contact with the hot sides of the skillet. This results in a puffy edge and a thinner custardy center.
How to serve this German Pancake?
I like the pancake simply served with powdered sugar, a little maple syrup, and a maybe squeeze of lemon.
However, you can also serve it with apple slices (some recipes and restaurants will even bake them in the batter), strawberry slices, raspberry puree, blueberries, or jam.
You may also like a smear of a little more butter on the pancake.
I don’t have a cast iron skillet, how can I make these?
No (affiliate link) cast iron skillet? Don’t fret. You can still make these in a 9×13-inch pan, in a regular oven-proof metal skillet, or in a large loaf pan.
You can even bake these in smaller ramekins or in a muffin tin for individual servings. Just make sure to bake them for less time so they don’t burn. I’d check them for doneness at 10 minutes, and depending on the size of your ramekins, they’ll probably be puffed and golden.
Tip: the pancakes puff up more when baked in a metal pan, but a glass pan also works.
The center didn’t puff
That’s pretty normal. The pancake actually climbs up the walls of the pan (just like a soufflé) as it bakes, so it really does usually rise more on the edges than in the center.
It deflates almost immediately, so it’s generally is fairly dense and custardy in the center by the time you eat it.
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German Pancake Recipe
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place rack on the lowest shelf as the pancake will rise quite a bit. Whisk together eggs, milk, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
- Place butter in a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, and place pan in the oven to melt the butter. Once butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven, and place whisked egg mixture in the hot skillet.
- Carefully transfer the hot skillet back to the 400°F oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until pancake is golden and puffed.
- Sift powered sugar over the top of the pancake and serve immediately. Don’t worry as it deflates – it’s supposed to do that.