Pancakes From Around World You Shouldn't Miss

For many people, the name pancake brings up images of a stack of fluffy flapjacks that have just come off the griddle, with a dollop of butter slowly melting beneath a stream of maple syrup. But pancakes come in a variety of shapes and sizes around the world, from delicate French crepes dusted with sugar to chewy, crunchy Japanese okonomiyaki filled with seafood and drenched with sticky brown sauce and mayo. Pancakes are a hard business and nearly impossible to define once you broaden your perspective. The realisation that nothing is actually a pancake may make you feel relieved. Pancakes, however, are among the earliest prepared dishes known to humans, and as a result, you may find some variation of them in almost every cuisine. 

Pancakes are a tough business, and they're difficult to define, as you soon discover after broadening your horizons. Knowing that nothing is actually a pancake may make you feel better. But because they are one of the earliest prepared dishes known to man, pancakes can be found in some form in almost all global cuisines. A remnant of our earliest experiments into grain-milling, the pancake itself has a millennia-old notion. In fact, it's possible that the earliest pancakes were identical to flatbreads when they were first made from wild grains that had been ground between two stones, combined with water to form a paste, and then cooked on hot, greased rocks over an open flame. 

There are countless ways to cook, serve, fill, and devour the hundreds of different pancake variants. Here are a few we believe you should get to know. 

American Pancakes

The fluffy cakes are consumed nearly exclusively for breakfast and are often served in a stack with a sliver of butter and a side of maple syrup. Similar recipes can be found in Australia (pikelets) and Scotland (drop scones, or Scotch pancakes), albeit the batters in these countries are frequently sweetened with sugar, unlike in American variants. 


Although translucent, supple crepes are French in origin, they are loved all over the world and go by many different names, such as palacsinta in Hungarian and crespelle in Italian. The traditional uses milk, eggs, a little wheat flour, a touch of salt, and a moist mixture of these ingredients. The pancake's renowned golden, lacy pattern develops while it is gently cooked on a butter-greased skillet. The batter is a type of loose batter that spreads easily. 


The equivalent of the crepe in North Africa? Moroccan msemen that is rich and flaky. The yeasted semolina dough is very thinly rolled out and spread with butter and/or a filling, such as spiced minced meat or honey. Similar to the lamination process used to make puff pastry, the dough is then folded numerous times until it becomes a thin strip. It produces layers of savoury filling separated by delicate, buttery crepe when flattened and fried. 

Blini or Blintzes 

There are several names for this delicacy from Eastern Europe, including blintz, blinchiki, and blini. But blini and blintzes can be distinguished from one another, at least in the United States. The former are often thick, malleable, and crepe-like, served wrapped around a cheese or jam filling and fried to a golden brown. The latter are typically fluffy and little, like a silver dollar pancake, and are sometimes topped with sour cream and caviar.


German pfannkuchen can be a little perplexing because eierkuchen is the name for these pancakes in Berlin, where pfannkuchen is actually the word for Berliners, the filled doughnuts. They are created from a thicker, more egg-rich batter and are baked on both sides, despite having a crepe-like appearance. Pfannkuchen resemble American pancakes in many aspects, except they are often served with jam, applesauce, or other spreads instead of syrup. 


Spherical aebleskiver are the only meal on this list that isn't even remotely flat; they don't resemble your regular pancakes. These Danish pancakes may resemble popovers in appearance, but they taste more like dessert pancakes—fluffy, hot, and frequently covered in jam and powdered sugar. Consider them the doughnut hole of pancakes, and a good illustration of why pancakes are so elusive in definition. 


Speaking of oven-baked pancakes, the Finns enjoy pannukakku, a custardy, vanilla-flavored batter served as a breakfast or dessert and topped with berries, cream, jam, and/or powdered sugar. Pannukakku is a favourite among Europeans generally.