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How to make pancakes

Lynn Wright / 29 January 2015 ( 12 February 2018 )

Traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday, pancakes are so quick to make and delicious with either sweet or savoury fillings that they’re perfect to cook any time of the year. Here’s our guide on how to make pancakes.

How to make pancakes
How to make pancakes

Cooking time

15 minutes


8 pancakes


Makes about 8 pancakes

  • 120g of plain flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 300ml milk (or 225ml milk and 75ml water for a lighter pancake)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter for frying


1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and begin to mix it with the flour using a wooden spoon or whisk. Add the milk (or milk and water mixture) in a slow stream while continually whisking. Whisk until all the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth batter with the consistency of single cream.

2. Leave your pancake batter to stand for 30 minutes. If the batter thickens while resting, add a little more milk to return it to the right consistency. If it’s too thick, you will struggle to evenly coat the frying pan when cooking.

3. Take a large frying pan or crêpe pan and very lightly grease it with melted butter. Place it over a medium heat and wait until it is shimmering hot.

4. Pour a ladleful of pancake batter into the pan, tipping the pan quickly so the mixture runs across the bottom to form a thin even layer.

5. Cook the pancake for around 40 seconds until the edges start to curl upwards. Using a palette knife or spatula, lift the edge of the pancake up carefully to see if the underside is light brown.

6. Flip the pancake onto the other side. If you’re feeling brave, remove the pan from the heat and holding the pan handle in both hands, toss the pancake into the air to flip it to the other side, then return the pan to the heat.

7. Cook the other side for another 30-40 seconds until it moves freely around the pan. Then transfer the pancake to a serving plate.

Yummy pancake topping and fillings

The classic way to serve pancakes is to fold them into quarters, then add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of caster sugar. Pancakes are also perfect wrapped around any number of sweet and savoury fillings. Try a creamy seafood, or a Stilton and leek, filling. Those with a sweet tooth may prefer chocolate and banana or rhubarb and cream.

Reheating pancakes

Pancakes are best eaten as soon as possible, but if you're cooking for a crowd, you can make them in advance. Once cooked, stack each one on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Then reheat the stack in a low oven or microwave one at a time for a few seconds.


Don’t be alarmed if the first pancake you make in any batch turns out to be a soggy mess. Judging when the pan is really hot, and then pouring just enough batter to achieve the right thickness takes practice. Normally, the second and subsequent pancakes turn out just perfect.

Try these delicious pancake recipes: Pancakes with smoked salmon, beetroot and apple relish, crème fraiche and dill, and blackberry and Bramley apple pancakes.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.