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.
Japanese pancakes: with or without mold?
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. (Update: I made the ones with molds and they are super tall and fluffy!) 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.
I set out on making them even fluffier and went deep into fluffy pancake search mode
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.
What is a Japanese soufflé pancake?
A Japanese soufflé pancake is a pancake made using soufflé techniques. Egg whites are whipped up with sugar into a glossy thick meringue then mixed with a batter made with the yolks. Soufflé pancakes are incredibly popular in Japan.
Soufflé pancakes are fluffy, jiggly, sweet, soft, and so, so delicious. They taste like you are eating a sweet pancake cloud, with butter and syrup!
Soufflé pancake ingredients
You only need six ingredients to make soufflé pancakes.
- Eggs. Eggs make up the bulk of the pancakes. It’s best to use room temp eggs.
- Sugar. Sugar adds sweetness. If you don’t want to use sugar and make keto soufflé pancakes, you can substitute in something like Swerve for a sugar-free alternative.
- Milk. Milk helps smooth out the pancake batter.
- Flour. You need just the tiniest amount of flour to help your pancakes hold their shape. If you want to make keto soufflé pancakes, use superfine almond flour.
- Baking powder. Baking powder is what makes the pancakes rise tall and fluffy.
- Cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is a stabilizer that will help your egg whites whip up to their potential. Stable fluffy egg whites are the key to successfully making soufflé pancakes. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can sub in 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
How to make fluffy Japanese pancakes
- Mix. Mix the egg yolk and sugar until frothy, then mix in the milk. Sift in the flour and baking powder, making a smooth batter. Set aside.
- Whip. Make the meringue by beating together sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar. When the egg whites hold their shape and are stiff and glossy, they’re ready.
- Incorporate. Fold the egg yolk batter into the whites, being careful not to deflate.
- Cook. Heat up a pan (or a crepe maker) on very, very low heat. Lightly oil the pan then scoop out a large dollop of batter, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove the lid then pile some more batter on and add a couple drops of water. Cover and cook. When the bottoms are golden, very carefully flip, add a couple more drops of water, then cover and cook. Remove from the pan and enjoy immediately with butter, syrup, and powdered sugar. The pancakes will deflate as they cool down.
Japanese pancakes FAQ
Why are my pancakes flat?
There are two culprits for flat pancakes: your meringue wasn’t strong enough or you over mixed the meringue and egg yolk batter. The meringue is key to making fluffy pancakes so make sure that they hold a stiff peak. Over mixing can lead to deflating the pancakes as well, so do a gentle scoop and fold motion when mixing together the whites and yolks.
Why are my pancakes fluffy then deflate?
All soufflés deflate eventually. The reason why soufflés are so fluffy is the hot air that’s trapped inside. When soufflés cool down, the hot air inside escapes, leaving your pancakes less fluffy. Unfortunately there’s no beating science. The key is eating them right away!
How do I whip the egg whites?
Make sure your utensils are COMPLETELY clean and there is absolutely no oil or fat residue on your whisk or bowl. If you break your yolks as your separating the eggs the whites won’t whip up. Use a stainless steel or glass bowl and make sure it’s completely clean. Don’t use silicone or plastic bowls or utensils – even when they seem clean, there’s a possibility of oily residue that will make it hard for your eggs to whip up properly. Whipping egg whites takes time, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while for them to whip up.
This is THE best souffle pancake recipe, trust me. I’ve made so many successful soufflé pancakes now, I can pretty much start my own cafe and I want you to be able to soufflé pancake too. Hopefully this soufflé pancake recipe helps you live the cottagecore life with some home cafe vibes.
What to put on top of Japanese pancakes
I love Japanese pancakes best with butter and maple syrup but sometimes you just need toppings! If you’re wondering what are the best toppings for Japanese pancakes, here they are!
- Maple butter: mix 2 parts room temp butter with 1 part maple syrup
- Whipped cream: whip 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 1.5 tbsp icing sugar until soft peaks form
- Matcha whipped cream: whip 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 1.5 tbsp icing sugar and 1.5 tsp matcha powder until soft peaks form
- Whipped cheesecake: whip 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup marscapone and 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Tiramisu: marscapone whipped cream, espresso powder, cocoa powder
- Strawberries: sliced strawberries, whipped cream, strawberry jam
- Bananas: caramelized bananas, whipped cream, Nutella, chopped roasted hazelnuts
- Matcha: matcha whipped cream, crumbled matcha cookies, shaved white chocolate
If you love soufflé pancakes, try these recipes:
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.
Japanese Pancakes: Soufflé Pancake Recipe
Want fluffy Japanese pancakes but can’t fly to Tokyo? This recipe is for you!
- 1 egg yolk 18g
- 1 tbsp sugar 12g
- 2 tbsp milk 30g
- 3 tbsp flour 30g
- 1/4 tsp baking powder 1g
- 2 large egg whites 60g
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar 0.4g
- 1.5 tbsp sugar 18g
- 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!
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.
Japanese Pancakes: Soufflé Pancake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 303 Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 2g13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.