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How to Flip Pancakes

Updated on March 4, 2019

Pancake Days

Shrove Tuesday, or 'Pancake Day' happens the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent on the lead up to Easter.

Lent would be a time for Christians to give up certain foods or fast, as it is a time to think about the sacrifices Jesus made.

Shrove Tuesday was traditionally a time to feast before giving up food for Lent. People would go to church to make confessions, and use up ingredients in their homes to make pancakes.

Shrove Tuesday is also know as Mardis Gras or Fat Tuesday.

Today, people still make pancakes on pancake day, although they are quick and easy to make on any day. The idea is that the batter ingredients are always in the store cupboard to make these versatile snacks.

There are many variations to pancakes. They can be sweet or savoury. Drop scones or Scotch pancakes are small and thick and delicious with syrup and double cream. Crepes are the French version, and they are large but thin and less heavy than a traditional pancake.

Flipping Pancakes!

Pancake races are fun and in some areas quite traditional. In Britain, pancake races are held each year in some towns and villages for the local people to take part.

The oldest pancake race in Britain is thought to be in a Buckinghamshire town called Olney, where the race dates back to 1445.

Many still line up at the start, wearing their aprons and holding their frying pans. The winner is the first person to cross the line, as they continue to toss their pancake as they run. Succeeding to catch it in the frying pan is the other challenge!

The Confidence to Flip Pancakes

Some people shy away from making pancakes as it can take practice to get it right. Some people say the first pancake to be made is never the best, and some struggle to flip them without the pancake falling apart.

Getting the frying pan and the oil hot will help the pancake to cook quickly. It is also a good idea to check the pan is non-stick. If it is quite old, the surface may be worn. If the pancake sticks, you will have trouble lifting it away.

If the pan is a heavy base cast iron pan, the temperature will be even and your pancake will cook evenly.

Pancake Recipe

There are many, many recipes out there, but I always stick to the basic batter mix.

I will use any flour in my cupboard. Plain flour is fine, but self raising has a slightly lighter texture.

I never measure out my ingredients. Mainly because I always have to add more milk and flour to the mixing bowl when my family want more!



  • 1 Cup of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 200ml milk and 75ml water
  • Pinch salt
  • 50g butter/1 tsp vegetable oil


  • Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre
  • Crack the egg into the well
  • Using a hand whisk, whisk the egg
  • Next begin to pour the milk and water mix into the bowl. Whisk continiously as you pour
  • The batter needs to become smooth with the consistency of single cream

Next heat up a frying pan on the hob with the butter or oil. Ensure the pan is well greased so that the batter won't stick.

Using a ladle, pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan. It may be trial and error to get the first one right, so test the thickness. Also make sure the pan is really hot.

Move the batter around the pan to make sure it is even. Allow to dry around the edges and bubble.

Flipping The Pancake

You can either flip your pancake by using a spatula, or you can have a go at tossing it in the air.

First of all, make sure the underside is cooked. If the batter is still wet, it will stick and make a mess of your pancake.

Using your spatula, lift the edges to loosen then shake the pan a little to see if they are ready. If they move when you shake the frying pan, they are ready to flip.

Then either get a large flat spatula right under the pancake and flip it over quickly, or attempt to flip it up.

Give yourself some space, and confidently toss the pancake up in the air. Don't throw it up too high!

Flip the pan towards your body, with the opposite side of the frying pan flipping upwards. You want to encourage the pancake to flip right over to cook the other side.

Then allow to cook on the other side and serve immediately.

Serving Your Pancake

Pancakes are delicious with so many things. For a sweet treat try these combos:

  • Chopped banana and golden syrup
  • Maple syrup and chopped walnuts
  • Blueberries or frozen berries warmed in sugar
  • Classic sugar and lemon
  • Nutella and whipped cream
  • Any ice cream of your choice

Or instead, try making your pancakes for a pancake race!

© 2013 Emma Kisby


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