Swedish pancakes, known as “pannkakor” in Swedish, are a beloved breakfast and dessert staple in Sweden. These thin, delicate pancakes are often enjoyed with sweet toppings such as lingonberry jam, fresh fruits, whipped cream, or simply a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Unlike their American counterparts, Swedish pancakes are lighter and thinner, resembling French crêpes but with their unique taste and texture. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history of Swedish pancakes, delve into the ingredients, provide a step-by-step preparation guide, offer serving suggestions, answer frequently asked questions, and conclude with why these pancakes are cherished by many.

History and Origins

Swedish Pancakes: A Delicate Delight

The tradition of making pancakes in Sweden dates back centuries, with variations of the dish appearing in different regions. Swedish pancakes, or pannkakor, have their roots in medieval Europe, where similar thin cakes were made using simple ingredients. Over time, Swedish pancakes evolved into a unique culinary tradition, becoming a popular dish for festive occasions, Sunday breakfasts, and special family gatherings. They are often served during “Pancake Thursday” (Pannkakstorsdag), a custom where Swedish schools and families enjoy pancakes as a mid-week treat. This tradition adds to the nostalgic and cultural significance of Swedish pancakes, making them a cherished part of Swedish cuisine.


The ingredients for Swedish pancakes are simple and easily accessible, contributing to their popularity as a household favorite. Here’s what you’ll need to make authentic Swedish pancakes:

  1. Flour: All-purpose flour is typically used to provide structure to the pancakes.
  2. Milk: Whole milk is preferred for its richness, but you can use any milk you have on hand.
  3. Eggs: Essential for binding the ingredients and giving the pancakes their tender texture.
  4. Butter: Melted butter adds flavor and helps achieve the delicate consistency of the batter.
  5. Salt: Enhances the flavor of the pancakes.
  6. Sugar: A small amount adds a touch of sweetness to the batter.
  7. Vanilla Extract (optional): Adds a subtle hint of flavor that complements the pancakes’ sweetness.


Making Swedish pancakes is straightforward and rewarding. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating these delicate delights:

  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine.
  2. Combine Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together 3 large eggs, 2 cups of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (if using) until well blended.
  3. Incorporate Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue whisking until you have a smooth, thin batter. Let the batter rest for about 20-30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid and ensure a smoother texture.
  4. Prepare the Pan: Heat a non-stick skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan with a small amount of butter or oil.
  5. Cook the Pancakes: Pour about ¼ cup of batter into the hot pan, swirling it around to coat the bottom evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges start to lift and the bottom is lightly browned. Flip the pancake using a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the pan as needed.
  6. Keep Warm: Stack the cooked pancakes on a plate and keep them warm in a low oven (about 200°F) while you finish cooking the rest.

Serving Suggestions

Swedish Pancakes: A Delicate Delight

Swedish pancakes are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings. Here are some popular serving suggestions:

  • Lingonberry Jam: The traditional topping for Swedish pancakes, lingonberry jam provides a tart contrast to the sweet, delicate pancakes.
  • Fresh Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or a mix of fresh berries add a burst of flavor and a refreshing touch.
  • Whipped Cream: A dollop of freshly whipped cream adds richness and complements the light texture of the pancakes.
  • Powdered Sugar: A simple sprinkle of powdered sugar is a classic and elegant way to enjoy Swedish pancakes.
  • Nutella and Bananas: For a decadent treat, spread Nutella over the pancakes and top with sliced bananas.
  • Lemon and Sugar: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar provide a zesty, sweet combination.

Swedish pancakes can be served as a delightful breakfast, a charming brunch option, or even a light dessert.

FAQ about Swedish Pancakes

Q: Can I make the batter ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can prepare the batter ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Give it a good whisk before using, as the ingredients may separate slightly.

Q: Can I use a blender to mix the batter?
A: Yes, using a blender can help achieve a smooth batter quickly. Blend the ingredients until smooth and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Q: How do I prevent the pancakes from sticking to the pan?
A: Ensure your pan is well-greased and preheated before adding the batter. Non-stick pans work best for this recipe. If using a regular pan, you may need to add a bit more butter or oil to prevent sticking.

Q: Can I make gluten-free Swedish pancakes?
A: Yes, you can substitute all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend designed for baking. The texture might be slightly different, but the pancakes will still be delicious.

Q: How do I store leftover pancakes?
A: Store leftover pancakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in a skillet over low heat or in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

Q: Can I freeze Swedish pancakes?
A: Yes, you can freeze Swedish pancakes. Stack them with parchment paper between each pancake to prevent sticking, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and warm them in a skillet or microwave.


Swedish pancakes are a delightful dish that captures the essence of simplicity and elegance. Their light, tender texture and versatility in toppings make them a favorite for breakfast, brunch, and dessert. The ease of preparation and the minimal ingredients required make them accessible to both novice and experienced cooks. Whether enjoyed with traditional lingonberry jam, fresh berries, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar, Swedish pancakes bring a touch of Scandinavian charm to the table.

The history and tradition behind Swedish pancakes add to their appeal, making them more than just a meal but a cultural experience. By following the straightforward recipe and experimenting with different toppings, you can bring a bit of Sweden into your home and enjoy the comforting, delightful taste of Swedish pancakes with family and friends. Embrace the tradition, savor the flavors, and let these delicate pancakes become a cherished part of your culinary repertoire.

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