Around the world in 11 pancakes: Pancake Day 2019

Make Pancake Day 2019 an international celebration. Discover the best pancakes in the world, and even plan a pancake-themed culinary trip.

I don’t know about you, but I think Pancake Day might actually be my favourite day of the year.

The tradition of making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday has been going on for centuries, and is theoretically a way of using up all the eggs and fats in the house before it was time to fast for the whole of Lent.

But, as with most traditions with a religious origin, even non-believers who have no intention of fasting normally get stuck into a pile of amazing pancakes at some point on the big day.

If you’re a bit sick of the traditional thin British pancake topped with lemon and sugar, you’ll be pleased to know that versions of the humble pancake can be found pretty much all over the world.

Why not use these pancakes as inspiration for a Pancake Day 2019 with a bit of an exotic twist to it, and really surprise the lucky people you’re cooking for?

Or, if you’re really committed to the pancake cause, you could even get planning your next culinary adventures based around trying a couple of these delicious pancake varieties for yourself.

A pancake-themed holiday? Where do I sign up?

Now, let’s get stuck into the tasty, squidgy bit.

International pancake recipes for Pancake Day 2019

- American pancakes – USA

I know, I know, this isn’t exactly off the beaten (pun intended!) track, but we had to start with the classics.

If you want a taste of the United States, then a stack of these thick, super fluffy pancakes, preferably swimming in maple syrup (bacon optional) is in order. Try your hand at this recipe using classic pancake ingredients.

- Tiganites – Greece

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to book an escape to Greece, look no further.

The Greeks often claim that these are the oldest and therefore the best pancakes in the world, but I love them for their sheer simplicity. They’re even accidentally vegan! Give them a go.

- Pannukakku – Finland

Did you know that not all pancakes involve hours slaving over the hob, with all that flipping? These oven-baked pancakes are perfect for anyone who prefers putting their feet up.

Or, you could always pop to Helsinki and have someone else cook it for you! Either way, here’s a recipe to whet your appetite.

- Hotcakes – Mexico

The Mexicans have their own twist on the classic American pancake, which you’ll often find served up for breakfast in your hotel to set you up for a long day sunning yourself on the beach or discovering some ancient ruins.

They’re often made with brown butter and cinnamon, like in this recipe, but for an extra Mexican twist cornmeal is sometimes used.

- Arepas – Venezuela

Arepas are small pancakes made of cornmeal that can be stuffed with pretty much anything, but are usually eaten with cheese and some kind of meat.

They’re often a breakfast food, so why not get the day off to a flying start but serving these up in the morning on your International Pancake Day.

If you’re hoping to try arepas a little closer to home, then the link between Venezuela and the Canary Islands means you can enjoy them without even leaving Europe.

- Kaiserschmarrn – Austria

Named for an Austrian emperor, Kaiserschmarrn is the ultimate comfort food. These definitely aren’t healthy pancakes, intended for hungry mountaineers or skiers in mountaintop guesthouses. The thick pancakes are scrambled before they’re fully cooked, then served with fresh fruit or a compote.

Treat yourself to Kaiserschmarrn this Pancake Day, and we’re sure you’ll agree these are some of the best pancakes in the world.

- Æbleskiver – Denmark

If you want to taste these in Denmark itself, you’ll have to wait until next December and take a trip to visit the Christmas markets where these bite-size, thick pancakes are traditionally served.

Æbleskiver are traditionally made using a special pan that moulds them into their characteristic ball-like shape, and they’re the perfect accompaniment to a glass of mulled wine. But they can easily be made in the comfort of your own home, to enjoy that hygge feeling before the spring finally arrives.

- Gozleme – Turkey

No trip to Istanbul would be complete without sampling a deliciously crisp Gozleme. It’s a kind of half pancake, half quesadilla, normally stuffed with spinach or feta cheese.

- Russia – Blini

Russians don’t celebrate Pancake Day, but they do cook up these traditional Blini to welcome the start of spring. We don’t know about you, but that’s a good enough excuse for us to have two Pancake Days in March this year!

You’ll find these all over Russia at this time of year, but you can also recreate the magic at home. Topped with sour cream and caviar, these savoury pancakes are the perfect way for grown-ups to indulge their taste buds.

- Farinata – Italy

Another accidentally vegan traditional recipe, Italian farinata couldn’t be much simpler to make, but will taste even better if you sample them whilst indulging in a spot of culinary adventure travel.

You’ll only need chickpea flour, water, rosemary and olive oil to make these pan-baked flatbreads.

- Serabi – Indonesia

For another twist on what we know to be a traditional pancake recipe, let’s turn to Indonesia. These tiny pancakes get their unique flavour from the combinations of rice flour and coconut milk. The toppings can be sweet or savoury, from coconut milk syrup to grated cheese.

Whilst they’re best discovered in Indonesia itself, and will vary from island to island and province to province, they’re a brilliant recipe to try in the comfort of your own home.

Sample some of the best pancakes in the world

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the pancake varieties that exist in the world, but there’s plenty of inspiration here to make this year’s Pancake Day a more interesting one.

Try a few different recipes out, and don’t forget to book yourself a trip to try your favourite pancakes in their home country for yourself.