German Pancakes

updated Nov 23, 2022
German Pancakes Recipe

These perfectly fluffy, light golden pancakes baked in the oven are sure to become a favorite family breakfast.

Serves6 to 8

Prep5 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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German pancakes on plates with coffee
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I am unapologetically a morning person, and the fact that breakfast is also my favorite meal of the day feels pretty on-brand. While I may be up with the sun, that does not mean I want to spend those precious moments standing over the stove. With German pancakes, a simple batter of eggs, milk, flour, and flavorings is baked in an oven for an impressive breakfast feast with surprisingly little effort. With crispy edges towering over the sides of the baking dish and a tender, custardy center, it is a treat you won’t mind waking up to — even if the alarm clock is your enemy.

What Are German Pancakes?

German pancakes, also called Dutch babies, are puffy, oven-baked pancakes akin to popovers and Yorkshire puddings. These breakfast bakes are made from a thin batter of all-purpose flour, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and kosher salt. The batter puffs and towers over the edges of the dish as it bakes for an impressive presentation.

The batter for German pancakes has more in common with crêpes than American pancakes. It is made up of almost equal parts flour, milk, and eggs, but no leavening agents. These pancakes rely on the interaction of the oven’s heat and eggs’ proteins to develop its towering height. This version of a German pancake (or Dutch baby) eschews the predictable preheated oven for a cold start, a technique I learned from America’s Test Kitchen. The slow build-up of heat gives the egg proteins time to stretch and set, resulting in German pancakes with impossibly tall and crispy edges and a rich, custardy center.

What Is the Difference Between a German Pancake and Dutch Baby?

German pancakes go by a litany of names, but they all refer to the same puffy pancake. The most common alias is Dutch baby (Dutch as corruption of the word Deusch, rather than a reference to the Netherlands). Here are some other names for this towering treat.

  • Hootenany
  • Bismarck
  • Dutch puff
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Serve German Pancakes

Recipes for Dutch babies (which we now know is just another name for German pancakes) are often prepared and served in a cast iron or oven-safe skillet and serve about 4 people comfortably. Swap the skillet for a 9×13-inch baking dish and this German pancake is perfect for breakfasts for up to eight people.

My favorite way to serve these puffy pancakes is with a squeeze of lemon and a dusting of powdered sugar, although a drizzle of maple syrup is welcome if pancakes and syrup are inextricably linked in your mind. Consider serving the pancakes with fresh berries in the spring and summer, cinnamon-stewed apples in the fall, and supremes of citrus all winter long.

German Pancakes Recipe

These perfectly fluffy, light golden pancakes baked in the oven are sure to become a favorite family breakfast.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups

    whole or 2% milk

  • 6

    large eggs

  • 1/4 cup

    granuated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for serving

  • For serving: powdered sugar, lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Place 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk, 6 large eggs, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, process everything in a blender or food processor, scraping down the sides halfway through, about 30 seconds total.) The batter will be quite loose and liquidy.

  2. Let the rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack into the lower third of the oven, but do not heat the oven.

  3. Cut 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into 4 pieces. Place the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 10-second bursts until melted, 30 to 50 seconds total. Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish, and tilt to coat the bottom and sides of the dish.

  4. Whisk or blend the batter again for 5 seconds, then pour into the baking dish. Place in the cold oven. Turn the oven on to 375°F. Bake until the pancake is puffed and lightly browned on top, 35 to 40 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces and serve with more butter, powdered sugar, and lemon wedges.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The pancake will deflate quickly, but is still delicious. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 300°F oven until warmed through.