Dutch Baby (German Pancakes)

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This Dutch baby (also known as a German pancake) is the best I’ve ever had! It has a light custard base, fluffy sides and edges, and a rich buttery flavor.

There are so many ways to top your Dutch baby, but today I’m sharing our favorite way — with plenty of fresh berries, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, and an easy buttermilk syrup.

Overhead image of the Dutch baby baked and topped with fresh fruit and syrup ready to be eaten

My toddler Bentley is probably the biggest breakfast eater around. He’ll wake up most mornings bright-eyed at 5:30 or 6:00 am, rush into my room, and beg me to make him “a big breakfast.” He has a checklist of what this “big breakfast” entails: eggs (scrambled or over medium), bacon, fruit of some kind (usually clementines), toast, and either waffles, pancakes, crepes, or a German pancake.

While I certainly don’t make him his dream breakfast every morning, we’ll have a big breakfast a few times a week and then he’s totally on cloud nine.

I’ve been working on perfecting a Dutch baby for the past couple of weeks and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today. My boys are obsessed with it and I hope you love it as much as we have!

Process shot-- images of the batter being made

First things first though: here’s a little background in case you’re not familiar:

What is a Dutch pancake called?

You may have noticed I’ve used the two terms Dutch baby and German pancakes interchangeably and that is because they are the same thing. There are actually several other names; they also go by a Dutch puff, large American popover, or a Bismarck.

Why do they call it a Dutch baby?

According to Wikipedia, Dutch babies were introduced in the 1900s in a family-owned restaurant owned by Victor Manca. The name “Dutch baby” was coined by the owner’s daughter.

Dutch baby pancakes are basically a hybrid of a pancake, a crepe, and a popover — all in one giant pan. They’re also often made in a skillet, and today I’ll share how to make them either way. 🙂

What is a German pancake made of?

The ingredients in German pancakes are simple and straightforward, so here’s what you’ll need:

  • white, all-purpose flour
  • white sugar
  • whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • vanilla extract: optional, but adds a hint of vanilla flavor
  • salt: enhances the flavors and balances everything
  • butter
  • cinnamon: optional, but it adds a great subtle flavor
  • Some people roll up Dutch pancakes (topping and all) before they cut the roll into pieces and eat it, or they eat it by hand like a burrito. 
  • We like cutting the pancake into large pieces and serving it on a plate with a fork and knife. Either way works.  🙂
  • Our favorite way to top Dutch pancakes is with fresh berries, a light sprinkle of powdered sugar, and buttermilk syrup.
  • How about this fruit-filled Dutch baby? Arrange fruits like blueberries, raspberries, or sliced peaches over the bottom of the skillet and then pour the batter over top (scattering fruit on top of the batter will keep it from rising as impressively).

Some other ways to enjoy Dutch pancakes:

  • fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar (my husband’s family always served it with a lemon butter syrup)
  • maple syrup and fresh berries
  •  a scoop of fresh whipped cream and berries (How to make whipped cream tutorial here).
  • sliced bananas and a caramel sauce or dulce de leche
  • vanilla sauce and fresh berries
  •  a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and whipped cream
  • a spoonful of lemon curd and fresh blueberries 
  • a dollop of Nutella, peanut butter, or almond butter

How to make a Dutch baby in a cast iron skillet:

Frequently German pancakes are made in a cast iron skillet. I’d say the skillet typically serves 2 people, so it’s never enough for our family, and that’s why I’m sharing a version made in a 9 x 13 pan. That said, I have tested it both ways — in a skillet or pan.

The skillet you use doesn’t have to be cast iron; you can use any oven-safe pan (or baking dish) that is approximately 9 by 12 inches. You can even make a dutch baby in a pie pan!

To halve the recipe to the following quantities(for baking in a smaller pan):

  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons whole milk 
  • 1 large egg and 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Follow the same recipe instructions below using the cast iron skillet or pie pan instead of 9×13 pan. Bake for 13-17 minutes (ours takes 15 minutes).

Image of the fresh out of the oven Dutch baby breakfast ready to be topped and eaten

Buttermilk syrup

This syrup is sweet, just barely tangy, and in my opinion, the perfect topping for a Dutch baby. It’s easy to make and the perfect thing to work on while your dutch baby is cooking! 

One tip here: when the baking soda is added to the syrup, the volume with double (or even triple) so make sure to start with a large enough pot so it doesn’t spill over.

Image of the syrup we like on this breakfast being poured on the freshly baked dutch baby

Dutch baby: quick tips on how to make them better!

  • Blend the batter: not only is this the easiest way to make the batter, it also makes it easier to pour into the hot pan. Blending the batter will ensure there are no lumps of flour and all the ingredients are well combined.
  • When pouring the batter into the pan, swirl the batter in a figure-8 pattern: This helps give the German pancake peaks and valleys which contributes to a better overall texture.
  • Use a light-colored metal pan: This 9 x 13 pan is my favorite for Dutch babies. Pancakes made in a dark pan will get overly dark.
  • Use a hot skillet or hot pan: This will help the pancake puff and you’ll get those beautiful caramelized edges. 
  • Bake in the bottom 1/3 of your oven: I’ve seen the best results from baking lower in the oven.

Overhead image of a cut out piece of the Dutch baby on a plate topped and ready to be eaten

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Dutch Baby (German Pancakes)

5 from 5 votes
This Dutch baby (also known as a German pancake) is the best I've ever had! It has a light custard base, fluffy sides and edges, and a rich buttery flavor.
Print Recipe

Dutch Baby (German Pancakes)

5 from 5 votes
This Dutch baby (also known as a German pancake) is the best I've ever had! It has a light custard base, fluffy sides and edges, and a rich buttery flavor.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword dutch baby, german pancakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 415kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (140g) white all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (340g) whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) white sugar, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter
  • Optional: fresh berries for serving

Buttermilk syrup (optional)

  • 1/4 cup (40g) dark brown sugar, loosely measured/not packed (can use light brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup (160g) white, granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (127g) buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 pan and generously on the bottom and sides with cooking spray. Cut 6 tablespoons of cold (straight from the fridge) butter into 1 tablespoon pieces. Place the pieces in the prepared pan.
  • COMBINE: In a high-powered blender, combine 1 cup flour, 1 and 1/3 cups whole milk, 3 large eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon salt (reduce if using table salt or if sensitive to salt), 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 tablespoons of white sugar, and (if desired) 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Before blending mixture, place the prepared pan (with butter in it) in the fully preheated oven.
  • BLEND: Blend the batter until smooth. Check the pan in the oven; the butter should be mostly melted. Pull out the pan and swirl it around to coat all the bottom of the pan with butter. Return to the oven (if needed) until 100% melted. As soon as the butter is completely melted, immediately pour the batter from the blender into the pan. As you pour, pour in a figure-8 pattern.
  • BAKE: Place the pan in the oven and bake for 18-23 minutes or until puffed, lightly browned at edges and peaks, and no longer glossy. (This is right at 20 minutes for me) Remove from the oven.
  • SERVE: Immediately sprinkle on powdered sugar and cut into slices to serve. Serve with fresh berries and buttermilk syrup, if desired. Other serving options are described in the post. Dutch baby is enjoyed right after being made -- it doesn't store well.
  • BUTTERMILK SYRUP (optional): In a medium-sized pot (bigger than you think, as the syrup doubles or triples in volume!), add in the loosely measured 1/4 cup of dark or light brown sugar, 3/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup buttermilk. Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved and syrup is smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Whisk quickly to dissolve and evenly disperse the soda. The volume of the syrup will greatly increase. Stir in vanilla extract. Serve warm over pancakes.

Video

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 4servings | Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.7g | Protein: 11.6g | Fat: 24.3g | Cholesterol: 237.9mg | Sodium: 100.4mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 12.9g

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15 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I made this on Mother’s Day and our family loved it! It’s quick and easy (which is wonderful for this chica for whom recipes usually take double the amount of time), AND it’s delicious! Making it again this morning for Father’s Day 🙂

  1. I started at 18 minutes and kept adding time. I took it out at 24 minutes and the bottom was burned but it was still not done. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hey Nancy, did you make any changes to the recipe? What size pan did you bake it in? And is your oven correctly calibrated?

  2. I made this for Mother’s Day last weekend and we loved it! My husband actually asked me to make more right then and there, but we decided to wait a week to enjoy it again, build up the anticipation you know 😉 QUESTION: : how come it’s okay to use a dark cast-iron skillet but not a dark colored 9×13 pan?? I would like to make the full recipe but only have a dark pan. This morning, I’m going to pour into a glass pie dish and a light colored cake pan so that we have more than we did last week, but I’d love to see it all in one pan.

  3. What should the texture be like? Firm? Gooey? I followed the recipe, but after 24 minutes I still had glossy spots/pools of butter on top. The edges and peaks were brown.

    The texture was somewhat gooey. I’ve not have German pancakes before, so I was not sure what the texture should be.

    1. It should be firm around the edges and quite gooey/custardy in the centers 🙂 Sounds like it was perfect!

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