Classic German Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Powdered Sugar

German pancakes are my ultimate desert island brunch. Meaning, if I were stuck on a desert island and could only have one brunch food for the rest of my life, this would be it. Actually, that sounds like a pretty awesome island, one I’d like to visit ASAP.

This is one of those recipes that came from somewhere… from a family friend or a dog-eared cookbook or a pack of sample recipes encouraging you to subscribe for more (only 12 easy payments of $42.99!) But whatever its origins, the recipe made its way onto an index card in my mom’s recipe binder and quickly became one of our most used and loved and vanilla-stained. I’ve tried other German pancake recipes over the years, and yet I keep coming back to this one, my tried and true, the recipe that’s so simple you’ll have it memorized in no time.

Of course, once you’ve memorized the classic version might I suggest expanding your horizons and trying out some tempting variations like chocolate pear, pumpkin spice, or apple (Not long ago I realized that while I’ve posted multiple variations on my favorite recipe over the years, I had never actually posted the classic. And for that oversight I am truly sorry. One bite and you’ll forgive me, I promise!)

Classic German Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Powdered Sugar, made in a 13x9-inch pan to share.

In all the years I’ve been making this recipe, the only change I’ve made to the original is to prepare the batter in a blender, a trick I learned in my crepe-making experimentation that results in a perfectly smooth and easy-to-pour batter (and since you’re pouring the batter into a sizzling hot pan, that’s a game changer in my opinion).

The trick to more mountainous pancakes is to swirl as you pour, the places where the batter and the hot butter meet are where you’ll get those luxurious puffs. So as opposed to just pouring your batter right in the middle of the pan, pour it in a spiral or squiggle from the outside in to better let the batter intermingle with that glorious butter. Just pretend you’re making latte art or something.

Classic German Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Powdered Sugar

If you’ve never had a German pancake (also called a Dutch baby pancake and not unlike a sweet Yorkshire pudding), think of it as falling somewhere in between a pancake and an omelet, with undertones of French toast. It’s eggier than your typical pancake, but sweeter and lighter than an omelet, with more pastry-like characteristics. The peaks turn golden and crispy, while the valleys collect streams of butter and maple syrup for a brunch-scape that’s truly perfection.

The fact that the ingredients are so simple means you’ll almost always have them on hand. Never again will brunch be ruined by a poorly-planned grocery list and sadly forgotten bacon or potatoes. All you need for this is milk, eggs, flour, and butter, with a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla for good measure.

This recipe will yield one 13-by-9-inch baking pan full of buttery, brunchy goodness. It’s a generous 4 servings, although I’ve been known to consume almost half a pan all by myself. Or if you served it with potatoes or sausage or bacon, you could probably stretch it to 6 (though don’t be surprised when it disappears before your very eyes).

Now, about that brunch-filled island…

Classic German Pancakes

German Pancakes

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 mintues

Total Time: 30 minutes

Towering mountains of buttery, eggy goodness make this easy-to-prepare brunch recipe a treat indeed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, flour, eggs, vanilla, and salt in a blender and mix on low speed until smooth (you can also mix by hand with a whisk until mostly smooth, a few small lumps may remain but that’s ok).
  2. Spray a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Position oven rack in bottom 1/3 of oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. When oven is almost preheated, place butter in prepared baking pan and place in oven until butter is hot and sizzling. Carefully pour the batter into the hot pan (one reason I love making the batter in the blender: easy pouring. Otherwise, it may be easier to remove the pan from the oven, pour in the batter, then put it back in the oven).
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and fluffy.
  4. Slice and serve hot with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

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22 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. GIMME GIMME GIMME they look so puffy and perfect! 

  2. Definitely one of my all time favourite breakfasts! Love the look of this!

  3. Love this Lindsay and the versatility of the German pancake. Always a crowd pleaser!  I’ve not tried it in a rectangle pan, however! This way, the recipe goes further than baking in my 10″ cast iron skillet.  Beautiful work! 

  4. That’s interesting – being born and all grown up in Bavaria and meanwhile residing in Hamburg I have never ever heard of something like a German pancake before. And have never come across a recipe like this or having been served this dish. Awkward, isn’t it? In Germany a pancake is more like a thick french crepe, served sweet with fruit or sugar or savory with different fillings or herbs and cheese. And it’s flat and baked in a frying pan with butter.
    Nonetheless, this looks very delicious and I’ll definitely will try this out ;-) German pancake or not….

    • I make no claims to any sort of authenticity of this dish, German pancakes is just what I’ve always called it. Who knows where it comes from!

    • Also called a Dutch baby pancake. Doesn’t come from Germany, but it is derived from a German Pfannkuchen and was invited in the USA. They are like sweet Yorkshire puddings! I grew up in Bavaria as well :)

  5. Vanilla stained recipes are the best!  And yes it is so easy to eat way more than one serving.  One feeds me and my husband.  The baby gets mad!

  6. Have you ever experimented with other milks, particularly almond milk? I’m willing to give it a try… We usually don’t have dairy milk on hand. I don’t think I’ve made a Dutch baby since I was 14 and flipping through Betty Crocker bored on a Saturday. They’ve always seemed like too much work and too much baking time but now I’m feeling differently :)

    • I’m pretty sure it’d work with almond milk as well, though I can’t say I’ve tried it personally. If you do, definitely let me know how it turns out!

  7. These look like an absolute treat! 

  8. ooh, i’ve never tried pouring it in a swirling motion- normally i just plop it in, but i’ll have to try that. and half the time i try to to outsmart the batter and mix it by hand so i don’t have to wash my blender, but it ends up being lumpy and i have to blend it anyways. from now on i’ll just take your lead and start out blending it (:

    • Yep, it seems like when you just pour it in you get nice puffs around the edges but the center is usually flat. I could be totally wrong and this batch was just a fluke, but the swirling definitely seemed to help!

  9. Beautiful! This is almost exactly like the Finnish Oven Pancake recipe in the Harrowsmith Cookbook that I’ve been making for years. The only difference is using a cast-iron skillet as a vessel. I love watching it pouf up. 

    This is my go-to for guests and fancy day breakfasts. I try changing up the ingredients sometimes to use maple syrup instead of sugar, or a non-wheat flour (to use up those things I buy thinking I’ll go gluten-free). It’s always custard-y, egg-y good. I’m definitely trying some of your variations. Thank you!

  10. Mine is headed into the oven right now!  I only had 4 eggs on hand so we’ll see if my conversion works… ?

  11. Definitely adding this to our weekend brunch menu!  

  12. I want to go to brunch island and I could eat this for the rest of my life.

  13. Ok, you just made these in a baking pan and now I’m all over them. I’ve been intimidated by other recipes since these are usually(?) made in a skillet, which made them seem more finicky (read: easy for me to screw up). TY!

  14. I made this exactly as your post, but sliced two apples mixed with cinnamon sugar and microwaved for 4 minutes and added to the butter, then poured the batter over the top. This is awesome, thank you for posting.

  15. Used this recipe to celebrate Pancake Tuesday and it was a hit with hubby and the kids. The kids asked if I would use this sometimes on Sundays for pancake day (our regular breakfast on Sundays are pancakes) and if I would add chocolate chips next time.

  16. Easy and delicious. It also looks impressive coming out of the oven. Be sure to have an audience present!

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