What is different about Swedish pancakes?

What are Swedish pancakes?

Swedish pancakes, also known as pannkakor, are thin, sweet pancakes that are made from a batter of eggs, flour, sugar, and milk or water. Unlike American pancakes which use baking powder as a leavening agent, Swedish pancakes achieve their fluffiness from whisking air into the batter before cooking. This results in pancakes that are thin, delicate, and lightly sweet. The batter is similar to crepe batter, but Swedish pancakes are thicker than crepes. They can be served rolled or folded with sweet or savory fillings for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack. Swedish pancakes are popular throughout Sweden as well as in parts of Finland where Swedish is spoken. The Thursday before Lent leading up to Easter is known as Fettisdagen (“fat Tuesday”) in Sweden and is celebrated by eating pea soup and pannkakor.

What ingredients are used to make Swedish pancakes?

The main ingredients used to make traditional Swedish pancake batter are:

– Eggs – Usually 2-3 eggs per cup of flour are used. The eggs help provide structure and rise.

– Flour – All purpose flour or a mix of all purpose and cake flour. The flour provides the bulk and texture.

– Sugar – Granulated white sugar for sweetness. Usually 1-2 tablespoons per cup of flour.

– Milk – Can be regular milk, almond milk, or buttermilk. Provides moisture and flavor.

– Water – Can be used in place of or in addition to milk.

– Salt – A pinch of salt enhances overall flavor.

– Melted butter – Some recipes call for a small amount of melted butter for added moisture and richness.

Optional extra ingredients can include:

– Vanilla extract – For extra flavor and aroma.

– Cardamom – A common spice used in Swedish baking that complements the flavor.

– Lemon zest – Brightens up the flavor with citrus.

– Heavy cream – For extra richness if using in place of milk.

The simple combination of everyday pantry ingredients is what makes Swedish pancake batter come together quickly. The ingredients can be adjusted based on preference and availability.

What are common toppings and fillings for Swedish pancakes?

Swedish pancakes can be served rolled up or folded with both sweet and savory fillings. Here are some traditional and popular topping ideas:

Sweet Toppings and Fillings:

– Fresh fruit – Especially lingonberries (similar to cranberries), blueberries, or sliced banana.

– Jam or preserves – Lingonberry, strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry jams pair well with the lightly sweet pancakes.

– Nutella, dulce de leche, chocolate-hazelnut spread, or caramel sauce.

– Whipped cream – Either unsweetened or sweetened whipped cream. Can be flavored with vanilla or orange.

– Powdered sugar – A simple dusting of powdered sugar.

– Maple syrup – The light sweetness complements the pancake flavor.

– Berries and cream – Fresh berries with whipped or sour cream.

– Lemon and sugar – Squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkling of sugar.

– Apple cinnamon – Sautéed apples with cinnamon and sugar filling.

Savory Toppings and Fillings:

– Cheese – Melted cheese like havarti, gruyere, or gouda.

– Deli meats – Ham, turkey, roast beef work nicely.

– Smoked salmon or gravlax with dill and cream cheese.

– Sautéed mushrooms, onions, spinach.

– Bacon and scallions.

– Chicken, turkey, or beef with mustard and pickles.

– Chili or taco meat seasoned with spices.

– Hummus, pesto, or olive tapenade spread.

The pancake batter itself is neutral in flavor so both sweet and savory fillings complement the tender, delicate texture of Swedish pancakes. Fillings can be mixed and matched based on taste and dietary needs.

How do you make Swedish pancake batter?

Making Swedish pancake batter is quick and easy. Here is an overview of the basic steps:

– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 4 eggs
– 2 cups milk
– 2 tbsp melted butter (optional)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
– 1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Create a well in the center.

2. Crack the eggs into the well in the dry ingredients.

3. Pour in approximately 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk together with the eggs, gradually drawing the dry ingredients into the center as you mix.

4. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk until a smooth, lump-free batter is formed with the consistency of heavy cream.

5. Whisk in the melted butter and any optional ingredients like vanilla or cardamom until fully incorporated.

6. Let the batter rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cooking. This allows the flour to hydrate and any air bubbles to settle resulting in tender pancakes.

7. The batter can be covered and refrigerated overnight for up to 2-3 days. Whisk briskly before using again to reincorporate.

Once the batter is made, ladle or pour 1/4 cup portions into a hot buttered griddle or skillet to cook the pancakes. Cook until the edges look dry and the tops are bubbly, about 2-3 minutes per side.

This versatile batter can be multiplied to make large batches easily. The pancakes freeze well between pieces of parchment paper for quick reheating later on.

What is the proper technique for cooking Swedish pancakes?

To cook Swedish pancakes properly:

– Use a nonstick griddle or skillet and heat over medium heat. Lightly grease with butter or oil.

– Pour or ladle the batter onto the hot skillet in 1/4 cup portions to form round pancakes.

– Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom is lightly browned and the edges look dry. The top will still look moist.

– Carefully flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes on the second side until speckled brown.

– Stack the cooked pancakes between sheets of parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Tips for best results:

– If the pancakes brown too quickly, reduce the heat slightly.

– If the pancakes are too thick, the batter consistency needs thinning out slightly with more milk.

– If the pancakes are too thin, the batter needs a bit more flour.

– Resist the urge to press down on the pancakes while cooking. Let them cook undisturbed for the lightest texture.

– Do not overcook or the pancakes will be dry. err on the side of slightly underdone.

– Brush the skillet with butter or oil between batches to prevent sticking.

– Serve the pancakes warm directly from the skillet for the best flavor.

With a well seasoned skillet and properly thinned batter, you can achieve tender, lightly browned Swedish pancakes easily. Their versatility makes them perfect for either weekday breakfasts or special occasion brunches.

What are good serving ideas and dishes using Swedish pancakes?

Here are some delicious serving ideas and dishes using Swedish pancakes:

– Roll up pancakes with fresh fruit and whipped cream for a beautiful dessert. Garnish with powdered sugar or mint.

– Fold pancakes over a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with chocolate or caramel sauce for an ice cream sandwich.

– Layer pancakes with turkey, ham, spinach, and cheese for a savory stack.

– Top with gravlax, dill cream cheese, and everything bagel seasoning for a Nordic inspired appetizer.

– For breakfast, smear with peanut butter and banana slices. Drizzle with honey.

– Chicken or tuna salad makes a tasty protein packed filling.

– Create a decadent dessert by layering mascarpone cheese, mixed berries, and dark chocolate shavings between stacked pancakes.

– For a hand-held lunch, fill pancakes with taco seasoned ground beef, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream.

– Fill and roll up with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and red onion for an elegant brunch dish.

– Kids love pancakes rolled with Nutella spread, sliced bananas, and chopped hazelnuts.

– For a simple dessert, sprinkle lemon juice and blueberries over stacked pancakes. Dust with powdered sugar.

The possibilities are endless! Swedish pancakes are the perfect blank canvas to get creative with both sweet and savory fillings for any meal or occasion.

What makes Swedish pancake batter different from other pancake batters?

There are a few key differences that distinguish Swedish pancake batter from American or other styles of pancake batter:

– Less leavening – Swedish pancakes rely on whipped egg whites rather than baking powder to achieve their lift. American pancakes use more baking powder.

– Extra egg yolks – The higher proportion of egg yolks helps make the batter extra rich and tender. American pancakes typically have fewer yolks.

– Less sugar – Swedish pancakes are lightly sweetened but not overly so. American pancakes often contain more sugar.

– No butter in batter – Swedish pancakes get their fat from milk and eggs rather than solid butter melted into the batter which would make them richer.

– Light mixing – The batter is mixed just until combined rather than beating vigorously to develop gluten for structure. This yields tender pancakes.

– Resting time – Letting the batter rest hydrates the flour fully for optimal lift and texture. American pancakes can be used right away.

– Thinner consistency – Swedish batter is the consistency of heavy cream which makes thin, delicate pancakes. American batter is thicker.

– Cardamom – This aromatic spice is frequently used in Swedish pancakes for a subtle flavor not found in American ones.

So in summary, the ingredients and techniques used in Swedish pancake batter result in lighter, subtly sweet, thin yet tender pancakes compared to fluffier, more sturdy American style pancakes. The flexibility of the batter makes Swedish pancakes perfect for rolling or folding around fillings.

Why are Swedish pancakes thinner than American pancakes?

There are a few reasons why traditional Swedish pancakes are thinner and more delicate than American style pancakes:

– Less leavening – Swedish pancakes rely on air incorporated through whisking rather than baking powder, resulting in less rise.

– Extra egg yolks – The yolks make the batter looser. Thinner batter spreads out more in the pan.

– Higher milk to flour ratio – More moisture in the batter makes them spread out more thinly. American pancakes use less liquid.

– Resting batter – Allows hydration for thinner consistency rather than thick, gloopy batter.

– Lower fat – Swedish pancakes traditionally have less butter in the recipe than American ones, keeping the batter light rather than rich and thick.

– Hotter skillet – Swedish pancakes are cooked at a slightly higher temperature than American pancakes, setting the batter before it has time to rise much.

– No mixing once poured – American pancakes are sometimes pressed down to fill out the pan whereas Swedish pancakes are left undisturbed.

– Delicate flipping – Careful flipping keeps them thin and round without compressing the cooked side.

– Short cook time – Quick cooking minimizes the rise from the heat and keeps them tender.

In essence, Swedish batter is formulated intentionally to spread thin, while American batter is designed to achieve maximum lift and thickness. The techniques used when cooking Swedish pancakes also maximize their delicate, thin quality.

How do you store and reheat leftover Swedish pancakes?

Here are some tips for storing and reheating leftover Swedish pancakes:


– Allow pancakes to cool completely before storing to prevent condensation and sogginess.

– Stack pancakes between sheets of parchment paper, then place inside a resealable plastic bag or storage container. This prevents sticking.

– Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2-3 months. Frozen pancakes thaw very quickly.

– Any pancakes filled or topped with moist ingredients like fruit or cream cheese should be consumed within 2-3 days and not frozen. The moisture can make them soggy.


– Preheat oven to 300°F. Arrange pancakes on a baking sheet in a single layer.

– Heat in oven for 4-5 minutes until warmed through. Pancakes should be pliable, not crispy or dried out.

– Microwave individual pancakes between paper towels for 15-20 seconds until warm and soft.

– Place a single pancake directly on a warm skillet or griddle for 1-2 minutes per side to lightly crisp the exterior while warming the interior.

– A crepe maker also does a great job heating up leftover thin pancakes evenly.

– Fillings can be quickly warmed in the microwave or stove before adding to pancakes.

With proper refrigeration and reheating, leftover Swedish pancakes can taste just as fresh and delicious. Their versatility makes them the perfect make-ahead breakfast, snack, or dessert.

How did Swedish pancakes become a tradition in Sweden?

Swedish pancakes have a long history in Sweden dating back centuries. Here are some of the reasons they became an enduring tradition:

– Abundant ingredients – Eggs, dairy, and flour were readily accessible even to poor families in the countryside, making pancakes an economical meal.

– Fuel for labor – Their high protein from eggs and carbohydrates from flour provided sustaining fuel for physical labor.

– Traditional fare – Passed down through generations as a common household recipe. Were considered everyday “farmer food”.

– Lent tradition – Their high egg and dairy content made them ideal fare before the Lent fast leading up to Easter.

– Feast celebratory food – Serving pancakes was traditional for celebrations, weddings, and festivities.

– Children’s favorite – Kids eagerly awaited pancakes as a treat. The tradition passed to new generations of children.

– Comfort food – Their warm, soft texture was comforting during long cold winters in Sweden.

– Hospitality symbol – Serving pancakes to guests was a sign of welcome and hospitality.

– Lutheran Church role – Pancakes were often served at community gatherings, establishing them as part of national culture.

Over many centuries, Swedish pancakes became ingrained as an integral symbol of Swedish food tradition and culture, passed between generations and cemented as a classic beloved dish.


Swedish pancakes hold a special place in Swedish cuisine as a beloved comfort food with a long cultural history. Their simple, flexible batter can be transformed into sweet or savory dishes fit for any meal or occasion. While similar to other thin pancakes, details like extra egg yolks, minimally leavened batter, and correct cooking technique yield tender, delicate Swedish pancakes. Topped or filled with fresh fruit, preserves, cheeses, meats or other creative ingredients, they are equally at home on a weekday breakfast table or a celebratory brunch spread. Passed down through generations and woven into traditions, Swedish pancakes will continue to be a cherished staple of Swedish food culture.

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