German Pancakes

I vividly remember the first time I had a “German Pancake”.  I was a little girl and my parents had gone out of town and one of my favorite babysitters, Amy Arneson, was staying with us.  She asked if we had ever had German Pancakes and I wondered what that could possibly mean.  We had pancakes a lot, and we even had ties to Germany so I wondered what those Germans could do so differently to warrant having a pancake named after them.  She placed a big glass cake pan in the oven and I remember watching in wonder as it morphed from a flat, silky batter, into an enormous fluffy cloud in the hot oven.  To be honest, I’m not sure if German pancakes have anything to do with Germany because when you make a smaller batch in a cast iron skillet, they’re called “Dutch Babies”.  Either way we apparently have Europeans to thank?

The Best German Pancake Recipe

I mentioned on Friday that we’ve been stuck in a snopocolypse here in Boise (AKA longest winter break ever. ) We haven’t really left the house so we’ve been quickly going through everything in the fridge and pantry.  I was actually kind of low on food right before the storm hit, but what we did have was a full crate of eggs from Costco, several gallons of milk, and a freezer full of bread.  So on these cold, snowy, stuck-at-home-days, we’ve been eating LOTS of breakfast.  Breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for lunch, breakfast for dinner.  You get the idea.  I’ve been making french toast for the armies of neighborhood boys piling up around meal time, scrambled egg sandwiches while we watch tv in our pajamas, and yes- German Pancakes.

UB5A9132This is one of my kids most favorite “special” meals, but what they don’t know is that it’s one of Mom’s go-to crap-I-need-to-cook-something meals.  Because it requires minimal pantry ingredients, literally about 3 minutes prep time and that’s IT.  No pouring and flipping like crepes, pancakes, or french toast (there’s another European name, what’s with all the European breakfast names?) and no waiting for waffles to cook one by one in the waffle maker.  It’s THE easiest of the breakfast foods, so it’s a regular around here.  I realized that while I’ve shared a mini version of this favorite dish both here and in one of our cook books, I’ve never shared our tried and true dump-in-a-cake-pan version that we make so often.  So here we go.

This couldn’t be easier.  First of all, you’ll toss some butter in a pan and place that pan in the oven to get hot.  You want and need a hot pan for the best pancake so leave it in there until the butter melts, and it will even start to brown.

Best German Pancake Recipe

While it’s heating up, you’ll mix up eggs, milk and flour with a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla. Then you just pour it in your hot pan.  (My cute pan is from Crow Country Home, by the way.  I bought it here.)

Best German Pancake Recipe

Pop that pan in the oven and in 15-20 minutes or so it will puff up into a delicious pillowy pancake.  My kids love standing near the oven and watching it morph.

Best German Pancake Recipe

I actually go less by a timer and more by sight since it seems to cook a little different every time. It will start to sink down once it comes out, but no worries, that’s normal!  Drizzle it with a little more melted butter,

Best German Pancake Recipe

And we like a dusting of powdered sugar.

Best German Pancake Recipe

After that, the sky is the limit when it comes to toppings.  You can do good ol’ maple syrup, or fresh berries and whipped cream, or lemon juice and powdered sugar just to name a few.

Best German Pancake Recipe

We love this Kodiak Cakes Berry Syrup, and if you want a homemade version, check out our Strawberry  or Blueberry Syrups, or this Buttermilk Syrup is also fantastic.

Best German Pancake Recipe

Today we had so much snow and ice that even our church, which is across the street from my house, was cancelled.  So we cozied up and while my boys assembled Lego sets from Christmas, my husband and I finally watched the Gilmore Girls revival (I’ve been re-binge watching all 7 seasons and finally finished the night before!) and ate German Pancakes for dinner with canned peaches from Grandpa’s summer crop and whipped cream.  Pretty perfect day if you ask me.

The Best German Pancake Recipe

German Pancakes

Family-size fluffy egg pancake that can be topped with your favorite pancake toppings!


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick butter, divided
  • Powdered sugar

Additional toppings as desired

  • Berries berry sauce, maple syrup, whipped cream,buttermilk caramel syrup, etc.


  • Chop 6 tablespoons of the butter into chunks and place in a 9x13 pan. Place pan in oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small dish and microwave until melted completely. Set aside.
  • While the oven is preheating, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, and vanilla in a blender, or simply whisk until completely smooth. Remove pan from oven when butter is melted and tilt pan to distribute butter evenly on the bottom of pan and slightly up sides, or a silicone brush.
  • Pour batter into pan and then return to oven. Bake for 15-25 minutes or so, or until puffed up and golden brown on top. All ovens cook differently, so just keep an eye on it!
  • Remove from oven and immediately pour remaining melted butter over the top and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into large pieces and top with desired toppings.


Although a 9x13 pan seems like a lot, these will go fast! I find 1 pan feeds my family of 6 if there are other things to accompany the meal, or hearty toppings (like lots of fruit.) If it's all we're eating, I often make 2 for my hungry boys!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. So simple and so yummy! I always omit the 2 T of butter at the end. My kids love to eat the pancakes with ice cream and syrup.

  2. Joining to the comment board a tad late, but we love this recipe. One of our favorite variations is eliminating the melted butter on the bottom and spray the bottom and sides of the pan instead. Then add cooked sausage, cheese and spinach to the pan and pour the pancake batter on top. Cook as usual. Serve with warm syrup. Sweet and savory. So good!

  3. I’ve had the single, made in a cast iron pan version my whole life. Recipe from my German Grandmother, only she called it a Pop Cake. I’ve never seen it anywhere else. My Mom made them for me, I made them for my kids, and now my grandchildren – everyone loves them, especially when the bottom gets crispy. I’ll have to try the family style one, so much easier than all those individual cast iron pans. Thanks

  4. Sometimes when I make these they turn out dense and eggy instead of light and fluffy. I can’t figure out why. Anyone have any ideas? (I always use a blender, usually 1% milk).

  5. Definitely longer than 15 min. I added 5 more minutes but looks like it could have used 5 more…after tasting it seemed 25 mins. Would be spot on.. Maybe the 5,000′ elevation played a part ..but as for taste , it was delicious, anxious to try the 25 min. time…thxs. good recipe..

  6. We have these in Finland! They are traditionally eaten on Thursdays, with fruit and whipped cream (and the recipe is just a teeny bit different). I had to laugh at your note about making two pans – we have to make two pans for our family of five, easily. They are just too good!

  7. Love German Pancakes! I’ve been making them forever. So easy and yummy! I like how you drizzle melted butter on top, I’ve never done that before but I think it would make them even better! Thanks!!

  8. We make these every Sunday before church! They are so easy, my kids are now making them. I love the tip of making them in the blender.

  9. The first time I had a German pancake/Dutch baby was when I spent the night with a friend in grade school. I had no idea what she was talking about when she told me what we were having for breakfast. I am not the most adventurous eater and I was already trying to think about what I would say when I took my first bite (trying to be gracious but at that same time trying to hide the fact that I didn’t like what was being served – because I was sure I would not like it). Luckily, it was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. My friend’s mom served it with homemade strawberry jelly and bacon. Everytime I see a recipe for this I immediately think of them. It brings back an awesome childhood memory.

  10. Peel and thinly slice an apple, and arrange in pan. The apples will begin baking as the butter is melting in the oven. Then pour the egg, flour and milk combination over the sliced apples and melted butter as directed. Serve with the caramel syrup- it’s a delicious combination!

  11. My boys are going to get German pancakes on a regular basis now that I have this large-batch recipe! At The Original Pancake House in Salem/Portland, you can get a Dutch Baby like this, or these amazing apple pancakes that are basically the same batter, only smothered in gooey cinnamon apples. You have to let them know the moment you walk in the door that you want one so they can put it in the oven. If you come across a recipe for the apple one, please pass it along! = )

    1. I’d add it after, I’ve never tried cooking it in the batter- not sure how that would turn out!

  12. Once I made German pancakes, they were completely flat by the time we were able to eat them. Is that normal? Yours looks fluffy even after flattening a bit.

    It was still pretty yummy though! Maybe I’ll try these someday!

  13. So funny story, my family always called these Hootin’ Nanny Cakes. When I went to college I used to tell my roommates how much I missed a good Hootin’ Nanny Cake. Finally they got sick of hearing about it and I made it for them and when they saw it they said, “oh, these are German Pancakes”. Needless to say we were all disappointed. I still think my name sounds more fun to eat! Lol.

  14. Now that’s my kind of snowy-day recipe – super easy and the kids get an oven show to watch for free. I love seeing kids who still get a thrill out of this kind of thing and aren’t dependent on electronics for that sense of wonder!

  15. I love German Pancakes…we have had lots of snow here in the NW. Love the fruit. Sometimes a little lemon juice on them with the powdered sugar is delicious.

  16. Can you use buttermilk for these? Or any other substitute like almond milk or coconut milk?

    1. I usually love this recipe but I had some leftover soy milk which I tried today and it did NOT work. I say stick to the regular milk!

    2. I prefer buttermilk in this recipe! Only used 4T butter to melt prior to pouring batter. Serve with squeezed lemon and powdered sugar.

  17. I actually read about you in a First magazine. Was very interest because I have been saving recipes for about 70 years. I have saved so many and still use the tried and true and recipes I make up. I love your site. Thanks so much for the info.

  18. The German Pancake/Dutch Baby is probably from the same root as the Dutch/Deutsche of Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants from Germany. Either way, European-named breakfast foods are delicious and I am super keen to try this one out!

  19. My recipe is similar. It calls for 6 T. butter, which makes it less appealing to me. I’ve experimented and reduced the butter by half and it still works. I do have to spray the pan with Pam, however.

    1. I think 8 tbsp of butter is too much and it overwhelms the taste with butter. I’ll try 6 tbsp or less next time. Thank you!

  20. When we stayed at bed-and-breakfasts in Germany, they served us cold cuts, sliced cheese, and kind of hard bread. So, yeah, I’m not sure why our breakfast foods have European names. But they’re delicious! (The cold cuts weren’t bad, either…)

  21. This sounds good. I do have a question about the flour. Is it all purpose flour? If so, do you know what makes this dish rise the way it does? Thanks in advance.

  22. Yum! Does the fat % of the milk make a difference? We always have skin for drinking, but always question cooking with it. Thank you.