I lived in the Netherlands for two years, and if I didn’t love pancakes before I moved there, I sure did afterwards. In the US, we think pancakes are breakfast foods. Yes, they can come with fruity or sugary toppings, but we’d never think to make them savory. As a foodie, I loved trying out all the savory and sweet variations of Dutch pancakes all over the country.
In the Netherlands, we would have pannekoeken for dinner about once per week, it’s like me having Mexican food when I’m in the States. Of course we had our favorite restaurant right near our house, De Pannekoekenbakker. We loved their loyalty program. They would give one stamp on your card for every pancake. By the time we left we had enough stamps to buy two very cool beach towels.
The pancakes were always delicious, and Jim and I would go halfsies. We’d order one savory to split, then we’d order a fruity one for dessert. If he didn’t happen to be with me, I’d just stick with the savory, because really they are amazing. We hope you’ve had a chance to try one in the Netherlands, but if not try this pannekoeken recipe and tell us what you think.
What is a Dutch pancake?
A Dutch pancake is very thin, almost crepe-like, but it is not made at all like a crepe. Dutch pannekoeken are made in large round frying pans so the pancake is usually at least a foot in diameter, and sometimes the toppings are cooked right inside the dough.
When you visit a pannekoeken restaurant, you will be overwhelmed with the choices of toppings. The savory ones are very similar to pizzas, with all kinds of vegetable and meat toppings. You can also order themed ones, like Mexican or Greek.
The savory options are only half the menu, though, and the other half is filled with all kinds of fruit and ice cream options. One of the most traditional would be the apple pancake which has the apple rings cut thinly and cooked right into the pancake.
How To Make Pannekoeken
After we moved away from the Netherlands we began missing our dutch pancakes. Luckily, Jim loves to cook and it turns out dutch pancakes aren’t that hard to make. In fact, our only limiting factor to getting them just right is the size of our frying pan. We just haven’t found one the exact right size. But that doesn’t matter, too much, our pancakes are just a little smaller but still taste great.
The recipe for pancakes is pretty simple. 2 cups flour, 2 cups milk, 2 eggs, and 2 pinches of salt. Beat the eggs and milk together in a large pouring bowl and then add the flour and salt. Stir the batter until the flour is completely incorporated. Once its prepared, store the batter in the refrigerator while preparing the pancake accessories.
This recipe works best with a 12″ nonstick frying pan using plenty of butter (or margarine if you prefer). Aside from the type pan, the real key to success, however, is to be sure you have planned your toppings and fillings and prepared them before pouring the first pancake. Shred the cheese, slice the ham, chop the onions, peel the asparagus, fry the bacon, whatever else you can think of. Get creative!
One of the best savoury pancake recipes for an authentic Dutch pancake. Going sweet instead? Add 2 tablespoons sugar to the batter and top with fresh fruit.
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups flour
- 2 pinches salt
- (2 tbsp sugar for sweet pancakes)
- OPTIONAL SAVORY TOPPINGS
- shredded cheese (pepper jack, gouda, white cheddar, or colby-jack)
- sliced ham
- chopped onions
- spring onions
- sliced pimento
- OPTIONAL SWEET TOPPINGS
- sliced strawberries
- sliced apple rings
- sliced pear
- sliced peach
- whipped cream
- ice cream
- Beat the eggs in a large pouring bowl.
- Add the milk and mix together with a whisk.
- Combine the flour and salt to the batter, mixing until incorporated but still slightly lumpy.
- Prepare toppings, ie. slice the ham, shred the cheese, fry the bacon, sautee the onions, etc.
- Place a 12" nonstick frying pan on a medium burner with 1 tablespoon butter.
- Pour about 1 cup of batter over the melted butter to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Add filling ingredients such as ham, asparagus, bacon, onion, pineapple, etc.
- Shake the pan gently from side to side to loosen the pancake as it cooks.
- Look for tiny bubbles appearing and the edge of the pancake to start browning and drying (about 3-5 minutes).
- Flip the pancake and cook on the other side for about 3 minutes.
- If adding cheese, flip the pancake again and spread shredded cheese on top and turn down the heat to low while the cheese melts (about 3 minutes).
- Plate and add any additional toppings.
When most people visit the Netherlands, they head straight to Amsterdam, and it’s a great city. However, we love getting out into the smaller villages and riding bikes and walking amongst the windmills, like at Kinderdijk, or electric boating through Giethoorn. No matter where you go, though, you will have an opportunity to try some true Dutch pancakes. Until you can get to the Netherlands, you can always transport there virtually by making our delicious Dutch pancake recipe!