Swedish pancakes called plättar or pannkakor are crepe-like thin pancakes. They can be enjoyed both sweet and savory. Easy to make, and the batter can be made ahead—simple and cheap ingredients.
The pancakes make a festive weekend breakfast, a dessert, or a snack. The pancakes can also be eaten as savory and served for dinner.
The pancakes can be made a bit bigger in an 8-10 inch skillet or Teflon pan. Many Swedes also make these as 3-inch small pancakes.
The famous Swedish and Finnish sheet pancake(ugnspannkaka) is made with a similar batter.
History: This Swedish dessert is traditionally eaten with pea soup. It was a festivity meal during the middle ages and eaten before fasting on Thursdays. This tradition lives on, and some schools and workplaces still serve pea soup and pancakes on Thursdays.
Difference between American and Swedish pancakes:
- Swedish pancakes are thin, crepe-like
- The batter has no baking powder
- The batter is thin and has more milk in it
- The batter needs to rest and can not be fried immediately
- Pancakes are rolled or folded
- Served with cream and jam
- Wheat Flour. Medium flour works best. Fine flour can get clumpy and is best sieved.
- Milk. Whole-fat milk tastes the best. For a milk-free batter, you can use plant milk.
- Sugar. Add 1-2 tablespoon of sugar for sweet pancakes. Replace with maple syrup or honey if you like. If you serve savory filling, then add just 1-2 teaspoon of sugar into the batter.
- Eggs. Use two or three eggs for the batter. Eggs are optional, you can make pancakes even without eggs, just increase the flour amount.
- Salt. A pinch of salt elevates the flavors.
- Melted butter. This is optional but gives an additional flavor to the pancakes.
- Mix dry ingredients. Add half of the milk. Mix it to a smooth batter with a whisk. The batter can be clumpy at first, but it will become smooth after it has rested. Add the rest of the milk and the two eggs, and whisk the batter to combine everything. Pour in the melted butter.
- Heat an 8-10 inch skillet to medium heat. Melt ½-1 teaspoon butter on pan. You can brush it with a silicone brush so it gets evenly on the pan. Stir your batter, take ¼- ⅓ cup, and pour it into the pan.
- Give it a whirl if it does not spread out evenly. You can turn your pancake when the bottom has some color, and the center is set.
- You can keep your pancakes warm if you stack them on a pile and cover with foil.
Tips and tricks
Type of pan. My mum used to make the best pancakes on a small cast iron pan, but you can use a nonstick pan also, then you don´t need as much butter for frying. You can make small pancakes on a pan with 4-5 3-inch "holes."
The heat of your pan makes all the difference. I usually heat my pan quite hot and then adjust it lower. Nothing frustrates me more than when the first pancake comes out colorless and takes forever to fry.
How to get a lace pattern? To get a lovely lace pattern to your pancakes, use real butter and enough of it; this makes crispy lace patterned edges. And an enough hot pan makes the batter bubble in the middle, and you get a lovely pattern throughout your pancake.
To get an even thickness to your pancakes. I like to pour my batter to six o clock on the pan and then swirl it around. This makes perfect round, even pancakes.
How to fry quickly? Fry pancakes simultaneously in 2-3 pans. This way, you get them done way faster, especially if you make a big batch.
How to keep your pancakes warm. Keep a lid or plate on your pancake pile. Aluminum foil works, also. If you don't serve them immediately, you can keep them warm in your oven at 150 degrees Celsius, 300 Fahrenheit.
What are Swedish pancakes traditionally served with?
- Whipped cream
- Berry jam, traditional is strawberry-, raspberry-, and blueberry jam
- Lingonberry jam
- Sprinkled sugar
- Fresh berries
You can roll your pancakes or fold them as you like to serve them.
Other sweet toppings
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese and jam
- Heavy Joghurt, honey, and nuts
- Rhubarb or apple jam
- Lemon cream cheese
- Maple syrup
- Berry compote
- Lemon juice and sprinkled sugar
- Fresh fruit like diced apples, mango, kiwi, orange, or banana.
Savory fillings for these Swedish crepes
Skagenröra, a shrimp salad made of shrimps, mayo, onion, and dill. This is served cold with the pancakes.
A Salmon filling can be made from smoked salmon, Creme Fraiche or mayonnaise, lemon pepper, and fresh dill.
These can also be served as savory oven crepes with minced meat taco filling topped with cheese.
You can use this same batter to make
- Spinach pancakes. Add ½ cup of thawed frozen spinach to the batter. Blend it if you don't want any chunks. Serve with lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes.
- Nettle pancakes. Nettle can be added as frozen and thawed or as nettle powder.
- Kale pancakes. Kale can be added as fresh chopped or blended in the milk.
- Carrot pancakes. Add finely grated carrot ½ cup to the batter.
- Beetroot pancakes. Replace ½ cup of the milk with beetroot puree. Reduce the sugar amount and serve as a savory one with goat cheese, roasted pine nuts, and spinach or fennel.
- Banana pancake. Add one ripe mashed banana to the batter.
The batter is very similar. Finns like to fry their pancakes a bit darker than Swedes, I have noticed. Finns also like to fry their pancakes on a muurikka pan if they are outside.
Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days covered.
Pancakes can be frozen. Put some parchment paper between the pancakes so they don't clump together—microwave or fry in a pan.
Swedes have made pancakes since the middle ages. Flour was mixed with water or/and milk, and the pancakes were baked on an open fire in a pan with three legs. Sugar was used in the recipe later on.
Easy Swedish pancakes
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon melted butter and more for frying. (optional, gives flavor)
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Put the flour, salt and sugar in a big bowl.
- Add in half of the milk. Mix it to a smooth batter with a whisk.
- Add the rest of the milk, the two eggs, and mix.
- Pour in the melted butter, make sure it has cooled. The butter is optional.
- Let the batter rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Heat up an 8-10 inch skillet to medium heat. Put some butter; ½-1 tsp, let it melt on the pan. You can brush it with a silicone brush so it gets evenly on the pan.
- Stir your batter and take ¼- ⅓ cup and pour it into the pan. You can give it a whirl if it does not spread out evenly.
- You can turn your pancake when the bottom has some color and the center is set.
- Give your batter a stir between every pancake since the flour sinks to the bottom.