For a dish that seems so fancy, crepes are surprisingly easy to make at home. After all, they are just thin pancakes – but oh, what pancakes!
VIDEO: How to Make French Crêpes
How to Make French Crepes
Are Crêpes Really French?
The ancient origins of crêpes (which rhymes with "steps") are found in Brittany on the coast of France, where their popularity spread to make them one of today's most beloved national dishes. Crêpes can veer sweet or savory with plenty of filling options for either.
Forget about intimidating chef skills or fancy equipment. Crêpes require only patience. Once you get the hang of making them, there is no stopping you.
How to Make Crêpe Batter From Scratch
Whip up the smooth batter of eggs, flour, and milk in a blender for best results. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream when you begin cooking the crêpes. If it thickens too much while it sits, just stir in a bit more milk. (The flour will thicken the batter the longer it sits, just like with regular pancake batter.)
The batter can also be prepared and kept refrigerated for up to three days, and you can use it cold straight from the fridge.
Sweet or Savory Batter? Your Call!
The crêpes I'm making with this recipe are sweetened with sugar, but if you'd like to make them savory, just omit the sugar.
You could also experiment with adding other flours, such as a combination of white and whole wheat flour. Savory crêpes from Brittany are traditionally made with buckwheat flour! You may need to adjust the quantity of milk when working with whole grain flours to get the right consistency.
What Kind of Pan to Use for Crêpes
For the best results when making crêpes, use an 8- to 9-inch non-stick skillet or a seasoned crêpe pan. A stainless steel pan may present sticking problems unless it is very well seasoned. A seasoned cast-iron pan may work, but it is heavy and hard to manipulate quickly.
How to Make French Crêpes in 5 Steps!
The technique for making crêpes is simple:
- Heat the pan over medium-high heat and rub it with butter from the end of a stick (to add flavor and color).
- Ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan, then immediately pick up the pan and tilt it to spread the batter over the bottom of the pan.
- Return the pan to the heat for one to two minutes, or just until the bottom of the crêpe is browned and the top surface looks set.
- Slide a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the crêpe and flip it to the other side using either your fingers or the spatula.
- Another 30 seconds and your crêpe will be done.
As each crêpe is cooked, stack it on a plate with the others. Keep cooking until the batter is used, then eat!
How to Store Crêpes
Cooked and cooled crêpes can also be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to a week. Reheat them in the oven or in a hot pan before filling and serving.
What Kind of Filling Do You Use?
Now comes the fun part: the filling!
Hot from the pan, sweet crêpes can be simply slathered with butter and sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice. Or you could spread them with your favorite jam and roll up for a quick snack or breakfast treat.
Some more sweet decadent filling ideas include:
- Sweetened ricotta and peaches
- Mascarpone and berries
- Peanut butter or nut butter
- Whipped cream and chocolate sauce
- Vanilla ice cream and candied pecans with maple syrup.
Fill savory crêpes with any of these ideas:
- Ham and cheese
- Cooked asparagus and cheese
- Mushrooms and shallots
- Bacon and eggs
- Brie and pear
- Smoked fish and potatoes
The list goes on. And on.
If you can't get to Paris and stop at every corner for a crêpe snack, you certainly can have your own little crêperie at home! Bon appetit!
More Delicious Batter-Based Recipes to Try!
- Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes
- How to Make Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
- Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
- Buckwheat Pancakes
How To Make French Crêpes
Use whole milk for best flavor and color.
For savory crêpes, skip the sugar and vanilla in the batter.
For the strawberry crêpes pictured, blend 2 cups of hulled ripe strawberries with 3 tablespoons of strawberry jam to make a smooth sauce (add additional water as needed to thin). Serve crêpes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some fresh sliced strawberries, and a few spoonfuls of sauce drizzled over top.
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/3 cups milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/3 cups (290g) flour
- Butter for the pan
Make the crêpe batter:
In a blender, pulse the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and flour for 7 to 10 seconds, or until the batter is smooth. Pour into a bowl. (The batter can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. If the batter thickens too much, add additional milk before cooking to thin it to the consistency of heavy cream.)
Heat and grease the pan:
Heat an 8- or 10-inch non-stick skillet or well-seasoned crêpe pan over medium heat until hot. Using one end of a stick of butter, coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of melted butter.
Start cooking the crêpes:
Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Immediately pick up the pan and tilt and swirl it to spread the batter evenly over the bottom.
Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the crêpe is golden on the bottom.
Flip the crêpe:
Use a rubber spatula to loosen the edge of the crêpe all around. Hold the edge with your fingertips and gently, but quickly, flip the crêpe to the other side (or use a spatula if that feels more comfortable).
Cook for another 30 seconds, or until the crêpe is golden on the bottom:
Slide the finished crêpe onto a plate.
Repeat until all the batter is used, stacking the crêpes on top of each other on the plate.
Assemble the crêpes:
Place one crêpe on a plate and fill it with your filling of choice. Either roll the crêpe or fold it into quarters and top with additional toppings if desired. Serve warm.
If you're not eating them right away, let the crêpes cool, then cover the stack with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in a buttered skillet.