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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Swedish Pancakes (Pannkakor)

Swedish pancakes (pannkakor) are something I’ve been eating since I can remember. Grandma Wallin (my dad’s mom, 100% Swedish) would make them, complete with lots of butter and granulated sugar. I think I remember her even stacking them with whipped cream and sugar and making a cake out of them some of the time. My dad will have to clarify that point! Even though Parkinson’s makes every dish in the kitchen a labor of love, Grandma Blomquist (my mom’s mom, 50% Swedish) still makes Swedish pancakes for us every time we visit.

We always loved it when my mom would make them growing up. But they weren’t a frequent occurrence…and now that I’m a mom I know why. They take forever to make! They aren’t difficult, just time-consuming. When Grandma Blomquist makes them, she actually has two pans going, which is super smart if you can juggle it! I just make sure to get an episode of This American Life playing while I cook and I’m good. Just like me, my girls absolutely love it when I make these, and since it happens pretty rarely, it is a real treat.

I’ve wanted to write about Swedish pancakes for ages and share Grandma Blomquist’s recipe with you. And last night I finally grabbed my camera while I was throwing them together and the post is finally here! Swedish pancakes are a lot like crepes, in case you’ve never had them. I think the texture and flavor is a bit different even though they are very similar. If you look up pancakes on Wikipedia, you’ll discover that many countries lay claim to super flat pancakes!

The first time I tried to make Swedish pancakes things got a little hairy. So I thought I would take a minute to share a few tips I’ve discovered. The printable recipe will be at the end of the post.

The batter is very runny. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. No panicking.

Use a non-stick pan to keep things easy, but butter the pan before you cook each pancake. It helps the pancakes to brown and it just plain tastes better. I keep a hunk of butter in its original paper and spread a bit around between each pancake.

Knowing that it takes a while to cook all the pancakes, I always keep an oven-safe plate in a 200-degree oven and put the pancakes in there until all they are all done. They taste just the same whether hot out of the pan or warmed in the oven, and then everyone can eat at once.

And now for the flip. This is where I had trouble the first time I made them. If you try to flip them too early, they are nearly impossible to flip over. You wait until the top looks dry, there will be some bubbling, and the edges look like they might be browning. First flip over one little edge to see if the pancakes is browning on the underside. If it is, you’re ready to go. Tuck your spatula under that edge, then flip the edge back flat, then FLIP! I didn’t have one mishap last night when I followed my own rules and everything flipped over perfectly!

One more quick note regarding the heat of the pan. You’ll mostly likely need to adjust the temperature while you’re cooking, but generally the pan will be medium heat, give or take depending on your stove. You want it hot enough that they brown and don’t take years to cook, but not so hot that you’re going to burn them. You’ll figure it out, I promise.

I think that’s it! On to the recipe…

Swedish Pancakes (Pannkakor)
This recipe is from my Grandma Blomquist. She and my Grandpa make them almost every weekend.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Swedish
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Put the milk and eggs in a large bowl and hand whisk until well-blended. Add the flour, sugar and salt and whisk again until well-blended. Batter will be smooth and runny.
  2. Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, coat the pan with butter (I keep my butter in it's original paper so it's easy to hold and spread around). Pour ¼ cup of batter into the pan and tip pan to coat evenly with the batter. (If you use a different sized skillet, you'll need to adjust the amount of batter accordingly - you want the batter to coat the entire pan and not be super thin or too thick.)
  3. Cook pancake on first side until the top is dried out, the pancake is starting to bubble and the underside is starting to brown. Flip one little edge over onto itself, stick your spatula under that edge, unfold the edge back flat, then flip! Cook until the second side has browned. Repeat process, remembering to add a bit of butter to the pan each time.
  4. Keep completed pancakes on a warmed plate in a 200-degree oven until all the pancakes have been cooked. Serve with butter (yes, more butter), granulated sugar, powdered sugar, berries, jam, or whatever floats your boat!
  5. With a 10-inch skillet, this recipe yields about 20 pancakes. We usually eat 3-5 pancakes each. Leftovers can be refrigerated and heated up in the microwave...and they are yummy!

swedish pancakes from @janemaynard


  1. I love crepes! (Or Swedish pancakes…) My favorite is to top them with just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Your blue dish is lovely, also! Just seeing your photos of one of my favorite foods made me smile.

  2. 2

    Yes, your farmor did serve pannkakor (notice spelling) as you described. I also remember eating them with vanilla ice cream. You can also use lingonberries. My favorite way to eat them is to drench them in butter while they are warm then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Please don’t pour maple syrup on them. That’s a no-no. By the way, your mother makes better pannkakor than either of your grandmothers.

  3. 3

    We seriously had these every saturday morning growing up. We love crepes/swedish pancakes in my family. And now that I have a family of my own, I definitely try to include these as much as possible.

    They’re usually our Christmas morning breakfast too.
    Love em!

  4. 4

    Can’t wait to try these! It is breakfast for dinner day!

    • Jane Maynard

      it was breakfast for dinner for us last night! my 3yo asked what was for dessert and my 6yo wisely exclaimed, “dinner IS dessert!” 🙂

  5. 5

    Wow, our family’s Swedish pancakes are similar in recipe, but very small — we use the special pans that have the little wells to make them into silver-dollar-sized pancakes. (Not to be confused with the Danish ebelskiver pan, which I ALSO have.) 🙂 We always eat ours with granulated sugar and butter, or some preserves. Lingonberries are tough to come by in a lot of areas, so raspberry or blueberry preserves became our standby.

    • Jane Maynard

      we always stock up on lingonberries at Ikea! 🙂

    • Mawa

      We actually have the Swedish pancake pan but never use it as you just can’t get them thin enough (well, at least thin enough for our family.)

      Jane – your Farmor used to use the Swedish pancake pan when she made them…

    • Fredrik

      @Bri – Those are called “plättar” (which I think is literally translated as “platelets”), and yeah, most Swedes use the same batter as they do for pancakes.

    • Janice M

      My grandmother 100% Swedish had the silver dollar pancake griddle. We would have them every weekend. They are good hot and if any were left over, not very often, I would put grape jelly on them when they were cold and roll it up and eat it that way. Delicious. Years after she passed away I asked mom about it and she threw it away because it was rusty. I about fainted. She didn’t know it could be revitalized. I have searched for years and have not been able to find one.

    • oh, janice, that’s the saddest thing I’ve heard all week! UGH!!!

  6. 6

    What a fun memory to have!! I have always wanted to try to make these but was a little nervous. Your recipe makes it seem not too difficult. I may need to add some Nutella and strawberries in there 🙂

    • Jane Maynard

      my husband who lived in France for 2 years always breaks out the Nutella when I make these!

  7. 7

    My grandma made similar style pancakes, although just a tad bit thicker. I’ve been craving them for weeks. Unfortunately, my grandma just threw things together to make them so there is no recipe. I might try yours and thicken the batter a wee bit and see if that works. I do remember that she always made them on a cast-iron skillet with lots of butter so they were barely crisp.

  8. So beautiful, and I’m sure delicious. Very Fourth of July, too! or Swedish!

  9. Okay … I am ready to try these tomorrow!! I love Swedish pancakes with ligonberries, but I have never made them myself. Now, I will. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe, as well as the tips.

  10. 10

    I discovered swedish pancakes when I lived in Chicago. They had a swedish neighborhood and I loved eating it with lingonberries. Now I live in the Boston area and no swedish pancakes anywhere :(. I guess I could have made them myself but for some reason, never tried. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. 11

    HOLY COW!! First off, i thought we were the only family that made swedish pancakes (NOT CREPES!:) We have a slightly different recipe and use a cast iron griddle instead…and the final clincher?
    My maiden name is Blonquist…(but we are related to Blomquists). It’s a great story, I promise! (if you ever want to hear it, let me know!)
    Also, my Nana (Blonquist) makes these for us everytime we visit..and she is 91! Great tradition!

  12. 12

    oh..and we eat these by putting butter on them, then sprinkling powdered sugar..and we roll them up..and put syrup on them! YUM!

  13. 13

    We just went to Den Gamle By (The Old Town) in Arhus, Denmark last week and they were serving these at one of the exhibits “to taste”. My husband wasn’t able to go with us, but he can try some, too! Thanks for the recipe! I think we’ll have some Swedish pancakes for breakfast tomorrow!

  14. 14

    We tried my husband’s grandmother’s recipe, but it was from a fading memory, and the cakes were difficult to manipulate in the crepe pan. My husband thought one egg less might be better, and then we found your recipe that reinforced his instincts and provided such helpful photos and commentary, as well as illustrating that a plain ‘ol non-stick skillet would do the trick! We chucked the other batch of batter and found easy success with yours — and they were much more like my husband remembered from his childhood, so maybe yours is like his grandma’s recipe after all. 🙂 Thanks for such great instruction and for making it easy to continue the family tradition.

    • Jane Maynard

      this comment makes me happy! thanks so much – and I’m so glad the recipe worked great for you! 🙂

  15. 15

    Jane, my grandmother always made these every week. She would make a lot of them mainly because she knew we also liked them cold. We would spread them with jelly and then roll them up. They were so good and none went to waste. All I need to do now is find the griddle. Problem is I want a Swedish made or American made. I don’t want one that was made in China. I only buy American made.

  16. 16

    Thanks for putting up this recipe!

    I can help you make them easier to flip. I recommend 1.5-2 cups of flour ( I use whole wheat).

    You helped me get my half Norwegian kids through this morning while their mom is out of town since mom always makes that for them on Saturdays.

    The added flour Will make your pancakes stronger in structure and easier to flip!

    • Jane Maynard

      hi geoff! so glad you and the half-norwegian kids had a good morning with the recipe! 😉 they sure have a nice mom to make them each saturday – my daughter would love to move in! 😉

      nice tip on the flour – although I do really love how they taste as is, but maybe I’ll try it next time!

      also, glad you commented, I put this on the menu for this upcoming week – thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  17. 17
    Sue Petrosino

    Hi Jane-
    Thanks for the recipe. I just made these for dinner, delicious! When I was cooking them, I used an 8 inch nonstick skillet to pour the batter in, and begging cooking. Then, once they cooked on one side, I dumped them (literally) into my nonstick griddle to cook the other side. No flipping!

  18. 18

    I beat the batter with a whisk by hand like crazy and I’m still getting little chunks of flour in the batter. I’m usually culinarily challenged so maybe I’m doing something wrong….?

    • chances are you aren’t doing anything wrong! 🙂 I personally haven’t ever had much of an issue with lumps, but here are some thoughts. first, have you tried cooking the batter with the small lumps? if they’re small, it is probably fine and I think they should cook out. HOWEVER, if that isn’t the case and you end up with lumpy pancakes, try sifting the flour into the bowl and whisking the batter as you sift in the flour. hope this is helpful – let me know how it goes!

  19. 19

    Being swedish, i Love My pantades with either butter and suger or home made strawberry jam! Now to the important part the layerd pancakes. It’s called a “pannkakstÃ¥rta” and consists of pancakes layerd with strawberry jam (or fresh cut strawberrys, a little chocolate sauce and whipped cream each in their own layer. 10-20 layers is quite normal! Best thing ever

    Med vänliga hälsningar, Ilias från Göteborg

  20. 20

    Ohh and you can still buy the cast oron snillets for both plättar and pannkakor online from the same company that has Bern Making them for over 200 years 🙂 their name is “Skeppshult”

  21. 21

    Simple recipe, clear directions, the illustrations were very helpful. The family history added meaning. My first attempt and they turned out perfectly.
    Served with Lingonberry jam & whipped cream along side bacon & swiss cheese.
    Thanks for posting your recipe.

    • I am SO happy they came out perfectly – and thank you so much for your feedback on the post! that wounds like the perfect combination of foods to serve these with!

  22. 22

    I’m wondering how I would cut this recipe in half

    • well, it would be easier if you cut it either 2/3 or 1/3 since there are 3 eggs. if you want to do half, I would crack one egg into a small bowl, whisk, and then estimate what about half of that amount would be, in order to be able to do 1 1/2 eggs. but 1/3 or 2/3 the recipe would be much easier! 🙂

  23. 23

    My Grandmother made these for us every weekend! We are from Rockford. Long story short I once had the recipe; however, the recipe has since been lost. The only thing I remember is that the milk was to be scalded and there was vanilla. I’ve been looking everywhere for that recipe and I just can’t find it. I suppose we will try yours, but I will scald the milk first and add vanilla.

    • I have a few old swedish recipes that call for the milk to be scalded, so interesting. I hope that this recipe works for you – let me know how it goes and how your tweaks turn out, I’m certain they will work well!

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