German Pancakes

These German Pancakes (Dutch Baby) will quickly become your go-to quick and easy recipe with only 5 minutes of prep and no babysitting! 

This German Pancake recipe is an American invention of a giant, poufy, family-style pancake with golden, puffy edges and a tender, eggy center.  It’s a quick and easy homerun for busy weekdays, lazy Sunday mornings, special occasions, or breakfast-for-dinner with just 5 minutes of prep!  This Dutch Baby recipe is made with just a few pantry friendly ingredients that get mixed together in a blender, poured into a sizzling-hot buttered pan and baked all at once for easy serving and cleanup. The buttery German Pancake puffs up in the oven, then the middle deflates, creating a cross between a crepe and popover.  Serve the Dutch Baby hot, right out of the oven with powdered sugar, berries, maple syrup, or my favorites buttermilk syrup or apple syrup (both pictured, recipes included)!  No matter how you serve it, this recipe is a must for your recipe binder!  

If you love pancakes like our house, make sure to check out my other pancake recipes: Pumpkin PancakesCereal Pancakes, Lemon Ricotta PancakesSweet Potato Pancakes, S’mores Pancakes, Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes and now these Dutch Baby Pancakes!

How to Make Video German Pancakes

top view of German pancake recipe in a 9x13 skillet with powdered sugar
side view of German pancakes showing how fluffy they are

German pancake faqs

What do German Pancakes taste like?

German Pancakes are larger and much thinner than the thick and fluffy American pancakes.  Instead, only the edges are thick and puffy, but the center is dense and eggy, a taste similar to crepes or popovers.

Why are German pancakes called German pancakes?

In the US, German Pancakes are an interpretation of the thin German pancake dish, called Pfannkuchen that is served with, or rolled up with a fruit jam.  Our American version is also thin in the middle, but puffs up as it bakes.

Are German Pancakes really from Germany?

German Pancakes or Dutch Baby Pancakes are not German Pancakes as prepared in Germany.  The American interpretation is inspired by the original German pancake dish, and more closely resembles a popover. Instead, the American style German Pancake can trace its origins back to Manca’s Café, in the early 1900s.  

The synonym “Dutch baby,” comes from an American restaurateur who mistakenly referred to the pancakes as “Dutch” instead of “Deutsch” (“German” in German).

Are German Pancakes and Dutch Baby Pancakes the same thing?

Yes!  German Pancakes and Dutch Babies are essentially the same thing.  The two terms are used interchangeable in the US, although the inspiration behind the American dish is said to have originated in Germany, not the Netherlands.  The synonym “Dutch baby,” comes from an American restaurateur who mistakenly referred to the pancakes as “Dutch” instead of “Deutsch” (“German” in German).

What are German pancakes made of?

German Pancakes are made from eggs, milk, flour, sugar and vanilla. The pancakes are made without any leavening agent and instead rely on the heat of the pan to puff up the edges as they bake, creating a golden, puffy crust with a tender, eggy middle.

What is the difference between a German pancake and a regular pancake?

A German Pancake is one large pancaked baked in a dish, then cut into smaller pancakes, as opposed to smaller, individually made traditional pancakes.  German Pancakes are distinguished by puffing up as they bake, then deflating as they cool, leaving thick puffy edges.  German Pancakes do not use any leavening agents, and more eggs than traditional pancakes, so they are much denser with an eggy texture, more similar to popovers, as opposed to thick, soft and fluffy pancakes. 

Why do German Pancakes puff up?

German Pancake batter is poured into a hot skillet or baking dish, which creates steam around the edges. This causes the batter to puff up while drawing some of the batter from the middle of the pan, creating a thinner center. The thinner center sets and bakes more quickly, and therefore doesn’t have time to puff up.  

Why are my German pancakes flat?

The center of a German Pancakes is supposed to be flat.  If the edges are flat, then it likely is a result of either the oven or the pan not being hot enough.  It the dish isn’t hot, then steam won’t be created when the batter is poured into the pan, and instead, the batter will set and bake evenly.

side view of German Pancake sliced and served on a plate with berries

german pancake Ingredients

This German Pancake recipe is quick and easy to make with just seven basic pantry friendly ingredients, plus whatever pancake toppings you plan to pile on top! Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need to make Dutch Babies from scratch (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

  • Butter: The butter is melted directly in the baking dish in the oven, no extra pan to wash!  The butter not only adds flavor, but greases the pan, so the pancake can puff up and beautifully crisp up around the edges. The recipe calls for unsalted butter with the addition of ¼ teaspoon salt, or you can use salted butter and reduce the salt to ⅛ teaspoon.
  • Milk: I usually use reduced fat milk for this recipe, but whole milk would be even better! Any milk, however, should work just fine.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the best flour for this recipe. Gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour will also work, but the edges will nut puff up as much.
  • Eggs: 5 of them!  Dutch Babies are “eggier” and taste similar to crepes or popovers.  The eggs provide structure and the fat in the yolks adds richness and flavor.
  • Sugar: Just 1 tablespoon sweetens the batter slightly and promotes beautiful browning.
  • Vanilla extract: This adds a depth of flavor. Use quality extract for the best results.
  • Salt:  Use good old table salt or twice as much kosher salt to enhance all of the flavors. If you’re using salted butter as opposed to unsalted butter, reduce the salt to ⅛ teaspoon.
German pancake recipe in a cast iron skillet with berries

How to Make German Pancakes

This is the easiest baked pancake recipe you’ll ever make! The batter is made in a blender, and everything gets baked in the same baking dish. Here’s an overview of how to make easy German Pancakes (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

  • Step 1: Melt the butter: Place the baking dish in the oven so it can get nice and hot while the oven preheats – the hotter the baking dish, the puffier the pancakes! Once the oven reaches temperature, add the butter to the dish to melt, this will only take a minute or so in the oven. Finally, swirl the melted butter around the edges of the pan so the pancake won’t stick as the edges puff up.
showing how to make German Pancakes by melting butter in a 9x13 pan
  • Step 2: Make the batter: In a blender, combine the milk, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt and blend until smooth. Pour the batter in the center of the melted butter; don’t swirl or jostle the pan.
a collage showing how to make German Pancake recipe (Dutch Baby) by blending milk, eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla in a blender
  • Step 3: Bake the pancake:   Bake until the pancake is puffy around the edges and the center is set.
showing how to make German Pancake recipe adding butter to melted butter in pan
  • Step 4: Slice and serve: Cut into sections and top with your favorite toppings! 
showing how to serve German pancakes recipe by slicing into pieces

Syrups, Sauces and Spreads

  • Buttermilk syrup:  This is one of our favorites with German Pancakes as seen in these photos!  It’s buttery, thick and sweet. I’ve provided the recipe in the notes of the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
  • Apple syrup: Tender, sweet apples, swimming in cinnamon syrup AKA cozy drool worthy perfection. This is the other recipe seen in the photos and my favorite during the fall/winter.
  • Maple syrup: Pure maple syrup is always a win and easy to keep stocked.
  • Blueberry sauce: This is sweet and tangy blueberry heaven in every bite.  It’s my favorite topping for German Pancakes, pancakes and French toast in the spring/summer!  Best of all, it comes together in less than 10 minutes on the stove with just a few ingredients.
  • Strawberry syrup: This is also fantastic.  You can also make this recipe with fresh raspberries as well.
  • Store bought berry syrups: Purchase store-bought berry syrups for an easy, tasty shortcut that will elevate your recipe.
  • Sauces: Go extra decadent with caramel or chocolate sauce. You could even combine caramel, bananas and toasted pecans.
  • Jams: Strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, or raspberry jams are delicious with Dutch Babies.
  • Lemon curd:  Pair sweet tangy lemon curd with a dusting of powdered sugar/and or berries for tangy, fresh sweetness.  You can purchase store-bought lemon curd or make your own following this easy recipe.
  • Ricotta or Yogurt: Ricotta, vanilla Greek yogurt or even cottage cheese with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dusting of powdered sugar along with fresh berries is super tasty.  
  • Nut Butter:  Add some protein with a slathering of peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter – or go wild with cookie butter, toffee butter, s’mores peanut butter spread, etc.
  • Nutella: So creamy, chocolaty, decadent and divine, especially with strawberries or raspberries!

Toppings

  • Butter: Serve with a pad of softened butter, or better yet, pumpkin butter or cinnamon butter.
  • Cinnamon and sugar:  Melting butter along with a sprinkling cinnamon and sugar are always a tasty win!
  • Powdered sugar: A dusting of powdered sugar is stand-alone tasty or pairs particularly well with fresh fruit and maple syrup.
  • Fresh fruit:  Top the German Pancake recipe with fresh fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, bananas, mangos and/or pineapple.
  • Whipped cream: This is particularly tasty paired with berries.  You can also add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the whipped cream.
  • Lemon & sugar:  Go simple and refreshing with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice with a sprinkle of granulated sugar or powdered sugar.
  • Nuts: Top the pancakes with some toasted pecans, or better yet, caramelized pecans, or coconut. 
  • Bacon: Candied maple bacon would be divine.
top view of German pancakes showing how puffy and golden the edges are
  • If you don’t have a blender: You can still make this recipe using a mixing bowl and a whisk.  Make sure to get it nice and frothy!
  • Bake in a metal pan:  I’ve found the Dutch Baby puffs up more when baked in a metal pan (this is the pan I use) because it retains heat exceptionally well, but a glass pan also will work.
  • Get the pan nice and hot: The order of this recipe is important. Preheat the pan first without the butter so it can get super hot. The hotter the pan, the puffier the edges. Make the batter while the baking dish is in the oven, and then melt the butter. This way you can add the batter as soon as the butter is melted. Otherwise, you’ll have to pull the pan out of the oven once the butter is melted and wait wail you make the batter, which will allow the pan to cool.
  • Coat the pan with butter: After you melt the butter in the pan, make sure to give it a swirl, tilting the pan so the butter can coat high up on the edges of the pan.  The butter acts as a non-stick agent, allowing the pancakes to puff up around the edges rather than get stuck to the pan and sink, it also makes cleanup a breeze.
  • Don’t burn the butter:   Make sure to check on your butter and pull it from the oven when golden, otherwise, it can easily burn!  If this happens to you, wash the pan and start again, otherwise your whole dish will taste burnt.
  • Carefully transfer the pan:  Slowly and without too much jiggling of the pan, transfer it to the oven after you’ve added the batter.  You want the batter to stay pooled in the middle of the pan.
  • How to know when the pancake is done: The edges of the pancake will puff up a couple inches and become very golden, and the middle may not be as golden, which is okay.   Remove the dish from the oven when the center is cooked through (a toothpick comes out clean).  The Dutch baby should easily pop out of the pan when ready to serve.   
  • The Dutch Baby will deflate:  It is normal for the pancake to get really puffy while cooking, and then to deflate once it’s removed from the oven.
top view of a slice of German pancake on a white plate with berries
  • Make it in a cast iron skillet:  You can make the Dutch Baby in a large cast-iron skillet instead of a 9×13″ baking dish. Follow the recipe exactly as written.
  • Individual puffed pancakes:  Divide the batter between a greased muffin pan and bake for about 12- 16 minutes.
  • Gluten Free German Pancakes: Use your favorite gluten free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill One to One Baking Flour. The Dutch Baby will not puff as much with gluten free flour.
  • Add nuts: Sprinkle your favorite nuts such as chopped pecans or almonds, directly over the butter before adding the batter.
  • Add fruit:  Sprinkle your favorite fruit, such as blueberries or chopped banana pieces, over the butter before adding the batter.
  • Add chocolate chips: Sprinkle chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, cinnamon chips, etc. over the butter before adding the batter.
side view of German pancakes recipe showing how soft and fluffy they are
showing how to serve German pancakes by pouring syrup over a slice

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showing how to serve German pancakes by pouring syrup over a slice

German Pancakes (Dutch Baby)

This German Pancake recipe is an American invention of a giant, poufy, family-style pancake with golden, puffy edges and a tender, eggy center.  It’s a quick and easy homerun for busy weekdays, lazy Sunday mornings, special occasions, or breakfast-for-dinner with just 5 minutes of prep!  This Dutch Baby recipe is made with just a few pantry friendly ingredients that get mixed together in a blender, poured into a sizzling-hot buttered pan and baked all at once for easy serving and cleanup. Serve the Dutch Baby hot, right out of the oven with powdered sugar, berries, maple syrup, or my favorites buttermilk syrup or apple syrup (both pictured, recipes included)!  
Servings: 8 servings
Total Time: 23 mins
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 18 mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (reduce to ⅛ tsp if using salted butter)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 4-5 pieces (or salted and reduce salt)

Serving Ideas (Pick Your Favs)

  • buttermilk syrup (recipe in notes, pictured)
  • apple syrup <–click for recipe (pictured)
  • maple syrup
  • powdered sugar
  • berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • blueberrry sauce <–click for recipe
  • strawberry syrup <–click for recipe
  • lemon curd <–click for recipe

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a 9×13 baking dish in the oven to preheat with the oven (the hotter the dish, the puffier the pancake edges). Meanwhile…
  • Add flour, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a blender and blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides if needed; set aside.
  • Once the oven reaches 425, carefully add the butter to the preheated pan and allow it to melt in the oven – it will only take about 1 minute. Watch closely and don’t burn the butter! Remove the pan from the oven. Using oven mitts, tilt the pan back and forth to coat about 2-inches up the sides of the pan in the butter.
  • Give the batter a couple more pulses in the blender so it's nice and foamy, then pour the batter directly in the center of the melted butter in the pan. Don’t swirl the pan.
  • Carefully transfer the pan back to the oven. Bake for 13-17 minutes at 425 degrees F until the edges are puffy and and golden brown and the center is set.
  • Slice into servings, and serve with desired toppings such as powdered sugar, syrup, berries, etc.

Video

Notes

Buttermilk Syrup

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Mix in sugar and buttermilk and bring to a light boil stirring constantly.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and stir baking soda and vanilla. The syrup will foam up a lot which is one of the best parts!

Make Ahead and Storage

  • To make ahead: Make the batter and store it overnight in the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes the next morning. Give it a few pulses so it’s nice and foamy before adding to the melted butter and proceed with the recipe.
  • To store: Let the leftovers cool to room temperature, then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To reheat: Microwave servings for 15 to 20 seconds, then at 10-second intervals thereafter if needed or cover the baking pan with foil and bake for 5-10 minutes at 300 degrees F or until the pancake is completely warmed through.
  • To freeze: Cut the pancake into individual servings, then wrap each peace in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe container.  Freeze for up to 2 months.  To reheat, place desired number of pancakes on a baking sheet (no need to thaw first) and cover loosely with a piece of foil.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.

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2 Comments

  1. Holly says

    Hi Jen…this dutch baby pancake looks like something from my childhood that my mother made, called yorkshire pudding and served with roast beef. This looks soo yummy with the fruit! I cannot wait to make it. I am thinking for Christmas morning. Thank you for your beautiful blog and sharing your story. I am 75 with a disease similar to MS. Thankfully, and JOYFULLY, I can still cook. Merry Christmas!

    • Jen says

      I’m sorry I’m slow to respond Holly – we just moved and things have been crazy! I love that this recipe reminds you of your childhood. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas as well!

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