How to make proper English pancakes

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How to make proper English pancakes

pancakesI’ve seen many an English person try to hide their bafflement when, on visiting America, they have ordered pancakes and syrup for breakfast. Instead of what they expected, they were served with thick little cakes rather than the delightful plate-sized English pancakes they were expecting, slathered in lemon juice and Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup.

I’ve never tried to make American pancakes but making the delicious English version is incredible easy.

Remember that these should be large – when you add the batter to the frying pan, it should cover the bottom in a very thin layer. The real fun part is tossing the pancake. Of course, you can be a wuss and use a spatula but tossing pancakes is part of the ritual.

Every British person knows how to do this and yes, most have had a disaster or two until they get it exactly right but again – that’s part of the fun.

Here’s the recipe for English pancakes that are generally eaten in British homes on Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Day as it is more commonly known.

How to make proper English pancakes


  • 4oz plain flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 7fl oz milk mixed with 3fl oz water
  • 2oz butter
  • Golden Syrup
  • Orange or lemon juice
  • Orange or lemon wedges
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Whisk the eggs incorporating any flour from around the edge of the bowl.
  3. Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking.
  4. Whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream.
  5. Now melt the butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in. Use it to lubricate the panusing paprt towel to smear it round before you make each pancake.
  6. Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium. Put 2 tbsp of the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go.
  7. When the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated.
  8. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold.
  9. Toss the pancake - the other side will need a few seconds only - then slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
  10. Stack the pancakes between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate set over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.
  11. To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed juice and Golden Syrup and roll them up.
  12. Serve with extra sections of lemon or orange.

You will not be eating traditional English pancakes unless you have genuine Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup on them. If you can’t buy it locally, then it’s available online.
See below.You’ll only need a little for your pancakes so why not order the cookbook too?

Learn about the fabulous dishes you can create with the incomparable Tate and Lyle.

The lady in this video must be out of Tate and Lyle (or short on video time) and she doesn’t make pancakes exactly as I do(but very similarly) but she’s got a great tossing technique.




Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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