breakfast/brunch/japanese/recipes/restaurant recipes/sweets

Fluffy Japanese Pancakes: Souffle Pancake Recipe

Posted February 21, 2019 by Stephanie
fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

I MADE FLUFFY JAPANESE PANCAKES!! I MADE FLUFFY PANCAKES!! Sorry for shouting, but I’m so excited!! Ever since the first time I laid eyes on those giggly giant fluffy Japanese pancakes, I’ve been obsessed. We may or may not have been to almost every fluffy pancake place in Tokyo because of my obsession – here’s a run down on the places we’ve been to. I love the way Japanese pancakes taste: light, airy, and oh so delicious.

The best part of going to the pancake places, aside from eating the pancakes, is that you get to watch them expertly shape, flip, and plate up serving after serving of fluffy goodness. It’s nice to watch but also kind of awkward because I’m sure the pancake peeps don’t really want anyone staring at them. I would have major anxiety if people were watching me do my job day after day after day.

Heck, I was anxious making these pancakes in the safety of my own home in my joggers and sweatshirt. It’s a good thing I was in comfy clothes because these pancakes have been years in the making and to be honest, I failed a couple times before they came out just the way I wanted them.

The very first time I tried to do Japanese pancakes I did the ring mold version, but that just wasn’t what I wanted. Then, a couple of years ago, I winged it and made some that tasted good, but weren’t perfect, looks wise. I kept meaning to perfect that recipe and put it up, but I kind of sort of *gasp* forgot about them. Just recently though, Mike mentioned that Pancake Day was coming up and I started thinking about pancakes again and here we are.

I tried to find the recipe that I was working on so many years ago but somehow it was gone so I gave up and just tried out a very popular google result. Sadly, I was seriously disappointed: too eggy and nothing like the pancakes I’ve had in Tokyo. They weren’t even fluffy?! I just knew I had to get back the recipe that I started so many years ago so I asked Mike to help and lo and behold, it was there, on my computer. With tasty recipe in hand, I set out on making them even fluffier and went deep into fluffy pancake search mode and found a promising looking video.

The recipe in the video is pretty much like mine, with just a few changes: I stabilized the egg whites with a bit of cream of tartar, decreased the baking powder, took out the vanilla and salt, and increased the sugar and cooking time. I guess when I put it like that, I changed the recipe quite a lot. I was super happy with the results: the pancakes came out super fluffy and tasted almost just like what I remember!

There are two key things you need to concentrate on if you want to make fluffy pancakes at home. One is the meringue – be sure that it’s well developed but not over beaten. The second one is how you cook them. Most of the recipes I see online use either frying pans on low heat or the exact same machines that they use in Japan: flat griddles with giant lids.

My first couple of attempts were with a frying pan with a lid. These didn’t work out for me – the heat of my gas stove, even on low, was too high. I don’t have one of those fun griddles (even though I want one) so I went with what I found at home: my crepe pan! It has a super low setting that worked perfectly. I don’t have a lid for it but my giant wok lid worked in a pinch. Fluffy pancake success! Serve them up with a dusting of icing sugar, whipped butter and maple syrup. You’ll be in heaven.

PS – These are a commitment, so you really have to love pancakes, yourself, or whoever you’re making them for. Patience is key, both when making the batter and when cooking.

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

Fluffy Japanese Pancakes: Soufflé Pancake Recipe
makes 3 pancakes


Yolks

  • 1 egg yolk (18 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (12 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (30 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons flour (30 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (1 gram)

Whites

  • 2 large egg whites (60 grams)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (.4 grams)
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar (18 grams)

adapted from Japanese Everyday Food

Notes: I’ve only made one batch at a time but I think you’d be able to double this as long as your meringue is whipped properly – from what I can tell, in Japan they don’t make the pancake batter every time you order, so I’m pretty sure it’ll hold.

Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of sugar until pale and frothy. Mix the milk in batches. Sift the flour and baking powder over the yolk mixture and whisk well making sure everything is incorporated.

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy and pale, adding in the sugar in bit at a time until the whites are whipped into a glossy thick meringue that holds a peak. Be careful not to over whip.

Take 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and whisk it into the bowl with the yolks until completely incorporated. Add half of the remaining whites and whisk into the yolk batter, being careful not to deflate. Transfer the egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites, whisk and then use a spatula to fold together.

Heat up a large non stick frying (with a lid) pan over low heat. Very lightly brush with oil and use a paper towel to rub it around. You want a very light film.

Using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup, scoop the batter onto the pan. Unless you have a very large pan with a lid, it’s probably best to make these two or even one to a pan. Scoop the batter onto the pan, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. If you have a crepe maker or griddle with a lid that will cover the entire thing without touching the pancakes, use that on the lowest setting.

Remove the lid and add some more batter on top of each pancake. Cover and continue to cook for 4-5 more minutes. Lift the lid and use a spatula to gently peek under the pancake. The pancake should release easily – don’t force it.

If you still have any batter left, pile it on top of the pancakes and then gently flip. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. The pancakes will grow even taller and fluffier when they’re done. Once the pancakes are golden and cooked through, gently remove and serve on a plate with powdered sugar, butter, whipped cream, and maple syrup. Enjoy immediately!

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

77 Comments

  1. sillygirl says:

    Isn’t it interesting how a little rearranging of ingredients makes a different thing. I’m anxious to try this recipe since we have been enjoying German egg cakes since the 80’s – more eggs and a bit of buttermilk making the difference. Also the Finnish recipe for an oven pancake gives a different result. All of these are yummy!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes! i love how many pancake variations there are out there – it’s a pancake world and we’re just living in it :)

    2. Deb says:

      Oh dear Lord, now I’m going to have to try German and Finish recipes also!

  2. Chop says:

    I was almost certain that these needed some Japanese mayo in there (eg Kewpie). Am I mistaken?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i’ve seen recipes like that online, but i definitely didn’t see any bottles of kewpie mayo in the kitchens at the pancake places in tokyo!

      1. Hasan says:

        Thanks for the info! These came out great but I didn’t get quite the rise you did. STiff peaks, cream of tartar and everything- i think my pan was way too low

        1. Stephanie says:

          happy they came out! too bad they didn’t rise as much. hmm…too low as in the heat was too low? they definitely rise a lot once they’re fully cooked so if you try it again, maybe just make sure that after you flip them, to cook them until they get really puffy. also, if you want really tall ones, pile on extra batter before the flip.

  3. Caitlin says:

    Should it be soft peaks or stiff peaks for the meringue? Thank you–they look amazing!

    1. Stephanie says:

      stiff peaks!

  4. elysia says:

    Definitely want to try this some time. But where are your plates and that cup from?! The speckling is lovely.

    1. Stephanie says:

      i made the cup in a pottery workshop! and the plate is from another local pottery studio :)

  5. Yana says:

    Stephanie, I’d love to make the recipe the need to use GF flour. Do you think it would work?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi yana,
      i haven’t tried, so i can’t say. i’m not sure how gluten free flour reacts, is it the same as regular?

  6. Diana says:

    What flour did you use? Will different brand of flour gives different result?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi diana,
      it’s all purpose flour, i don’t think different brands will give different results, but i recommend weighing out the flour and sifting it :)

  7. Julie says:

    Hi Stephanie

    My name is Julie and I’m a big pancake lover. I have always wanted to make fluffy pancakes and when I saw your post I wanted to read it immediately.
    I admire your determination and how you continued until you found the right recipe. I think many people will be grateful for your work. Most of the time I am the person who makes the pancakes at home. My family will be surprised when I make these fluffy pancakes for them, hopefully will love it.
    I’m sure I will try this recipe one day and then I’ll let you know if it worked. But with all your tips it will succeed.

    Greetings Julie

  8. Alice says:

    Hi! Why do my pancakes immediately deflate after I take them off the heat?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi alice,
      can you tell me a bit more about what happened? did you whip the eggs to stiff peaks? when you incorporated the whites into the yolks, did the batter hold it’s shape? were the pancakes cooked through after you cut into them?

      1. Michele says:

        I’m not Alice but I had the same issue. Super tall pancakes while cooking (3 rounds of piling the batter on top), still super tall when I flipped them, but deflated as soon as I took them off the pan. :(

        1. Stephanie says:

          What did the batter look like right after combining the whites into the yolk mix? Did it hold its shape well, like a super dense foam?

          1. Michele says:

            Yes! And they were cooked through after cutting them.

          2. Laurane Lim says:

            I had the same issue. They held up well all the way till I took them off the pan. They still taste amazing and texture is great even though they were deflated… Thanks for the recipe!

          3. Stephanie says:

            hi laurane,
            so happy that they tasted great and the texture was good. did they deflate all the way flat? because they do deflate a little bit. when i opened the cover i couldn’t believe how tall they got, but the nature of all soufflé things is that they tend to fall just a tiny bit due to the temperature difference. glad you liked them anyway!

  9. Thibo Mondelaers says:

    Hello,
    I will certainly try this recipe myself at home. I think that with this recipe and your clear explanation it should be possible. Even though I’m not that good at cooking. I really like pancakes and this is a different kind to how we make them in Belgium. So I think I’m going to love them. It has been a long time since I have eaten a pancake so I will start working on it right away. Thank you for all the information and the nice recipe.
    Regards Thibo

    1. Cherloon says:

      Can it be made gluten free?

      1. Stephanie says:

        i think you can try with almond flour but i don’t think they’ll be as fluffy!

  10. Irina says:

    Can I replace tartar cream by something else? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      it helps with making the eggs more stable :)

      1. Christa says:

        So…does that mean I, you can’t replace cream of tartar?

        1. Stephanie says:

          i’ve never tried it without cream of tartar but some people use a tiny bit of lemon juice instead. the cream of tartar is what helps stabilize the egg whites. you can try without but i’m not sure if the pancakes will be as fluffy.

  11. Wendy says:

    Hi,

    We’re making this recipe now and they’re not rising at all :( Have doubled the recipe to feed two people, including the raising agents, but they’re really flat. Any ideas what we’re doing wrong?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi, does the batter hold it’s shape even before cooking? how were the egg whites when you beat them? stiff and glossY?

    2. Ayse says:

      HI I wanna make them for breakfast but I dont have tarter cream is there a subtitute or will it change the taste

      1. Stephanie says:

        hi ayes,
        it won’t change the taste but your egg whites won’t be as stable so they might not be as fluffy. you can try a tiny bit of lemon juice (1/4 teaspoon) and see if that works :)

  12. JDAWG says:

    If you don’t let them cook long enough before the flip they will
    Deflate. Add a couple drops of water into the pan to “steam” them after the flip once cooked thoroughly. It will help maintain the fluffiness. Also when making the meringue. Be sure that no water or oil gets into the mixture. All whisks and spoons must be very dry and oil free for perfect meringue.

    1. Stephanie says:

      thanks for the awesome tips! that is totally true, if they’re not fully cooked, they will deflate!

  13. Lori says:

    So good…. second time making these and tried double batch. They did not fluff as much but I don’t know how to meringue the whites so well. Still yummy – & I don’t like regular pancakes.

    1. Stephanie says:

      glad you made them a second time! just make sure to whip the eggs for a while, it takes quite a long time for them to revue the meringue stage! :)

      1. Mel says:

        As a pastry chef who’s made 20+ meringues at once with the same batter, it’s definitely possible to make multiple batches with the same pancake batter.

        But a person *can* over-whip their egg whites, which will also make them unstable. It creates air bubbles that are too large and very easily popped, for lack of a better description.

  14. Deborah says:

    Just made them and ate them. Total deliciousness! Very filling,I ate all three! My pancakes did deflate slightly , as expected, but still light and airy! Little pancake clouds!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay! so happy you liked them :)

  15. Jamie says:

    I saw these pancakes in a magazine and of course we don’t have a place that makes them around here, so I started the hunt on the internet for a recipe and found yours. These were delicious! I actually did not use the baking powder as I dislike the taste and they were still super fluffy. I thought they were a tiny bit too sweet (but I eat very little sugar), so I’m going to try reducing the sugar for my taste, but these are definitely going into my breakfast rotation. Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi jamie,
      so happy they turned out well! you can definitely reduce the sugar a bit to taste :)

  16. Lo says:

    This is the first time I’ve made and even tasted these, but they turned out perfectly. Covering them is super important and consistent low heat is too. I made a double batch and as I don’t have an electric griddle I used a frying pan on an electric stove covered with tin foil which was really hard to get a consistent heat going but they were tall and fluffy and an absolute joy to eat. Thank you for posting this!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi lo,
      yay! so happy they worked out for you. and a double batch too! thanks for taking the time to let me know they worked out :) fluffy pancakes forever!

  17. Vic says:

    No sugar can make fluffy pancake?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi vic,
      you definitely need the sugar to stabilize the eggs.

  18. Yiling says:

    hi can i know the recipe in grams?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi yiling,
      it’s in the brackets :)

  19. Surya says:

    Hii….
    just wonder, do you know how long it will stay fluffy and not deflated?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi surya,
      they deflate little by little. they will never be as tall as when they come right off the pan, but they have that first deflation, they stay pretty stable. hope that helps!

  20. Vera says:

    Hi,
    Thx for the recipe! I tried making the pancake just now but the batter wasn’t cooked (still sticky) even I cooked it for longer time. Do you know what might I have done wrong? Thx for ur help in advance!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      how high was the heat you had it on? did you cover the pancake? and how long did you cook it for?

      1. Vera says:

        Hi,
        Thanks for your reply! I put the heat on electric skillet at 300F for 10 mins for one side. Then flip it over and cook it for 5 mins but the batter remained uncooked, so I cooked it for 5 more mins but it ended up that the inside and the side of the pancake is never cooked. Do you know what might be the cause? Many thanks!

        1. Stephanie says:

          hi vera,
          try cooking it for 15 minutes on one side, then for another 15 on the other side. did you cover it at all because it needs to be completely covered with a lid for the inside to cook :)

          1. Vera says:

            Hi,
            I did cover it with a lid but there’s an opening for venting, does it make a difference? Thanks so much for your reply! I’ll definitely try cooking it again for a longer time.

          2. Stephanie says:

            hi vera,
            did you preheat the grill? also, it’s better if there’s no vent :)

  21. Steffie says:

    Hi is this just white sugar or icing sugar? Thanks

    1. Stephanie says:

      regular white sugar :)

  22. Khalil says:

    What is the creamy tartar ??

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      it’s a powdered acid that helps stabilize the egg whites. you can find it in the baking aisle :)

  23. Cristina says:

    Hellooo I am a pastry chef :) and in my restaurant we start doing souffle pancakes for the brunch. I was watching some japanese pancakes videos how to make them and i saw that the do the butter mix in different bowls (I mean if they want to do 5 times reciepe they have 5 bowls with butter mix) and after they do meringue and they mix with the butter mix. Is it better like that? In my job we are doing 10 times butter mix in one bowl and after we take some of the mix and then we mix with meringue, is that going to be bad for the pancakes? Can you give me some advice to do them with nice shape? The key here is the consistence of the meringue?. Thanks!!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      i recommend mixing each batch separately. hope that helps!

  24. Brandon says:

    Can you do this in the oven? It seems like if you want a low heat (whatever is equiv to low setting on your electric crepe pan) then you could do it in the oven to achieve it.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi brandon,
      i haven’t tried in the oven, it might be possible in a covered pan? maybe i’ll give it a try one day :)

  25. Cathi says:

    In the San Francisco area there are 2 places to get them: Grams Cafe Stonestown Mall & Sweethoney Desserts (they have multiple locations in CA). Sweethoney makes several flavors.

  26. Cathi says:

    Do you uses room temperature eggs?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i use them out of the fridge, but it shouldn’t make much of a difference if make the meringue properly. hope that helps!

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Hi I just tried your recipe, and everything looked perfect until I took it out of the pan and the pancakes deflated super fast. Any troubleshooting help? :(

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi elizabeth,
      i can try to help! did they deflate immediately? when you cut into them, were they cooked through completely? how was the batter when you mixed the egg whites and yolks? was the batter able to hold it’s own shape?

  28. Marlene says:

    I have been trying so many recipes over the years, searching for the perfect pancake. I’ve found it!! These were SO light and fluffy, and just melt in your mouth tender. Unbelievably good. I doubled the recipe and used my crumpet baking rings for the first four, then free form for the last, big one. Amazing! Thank you, thank you,thank you!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay so happy you loved them :) and wow, a giant one!!

  29. Amanda Campos says:

    I did it!! I used a mold for the sides… it worked. If I could share my results- I would they stayed fluffy !

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay!!! :) so happy it worked out for you!

  30. Melanie says:

    Hi! Just wondering, did you use powdered sugar in the batter, or granulated ones? Or doesn’t matter at all?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      it’s granulated!

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