This Authentic French Crêpes recipe makes the lightest and softest Crêpes - the traditional way! These French Pancakes are so easy and fun to make, and perfect for breakfast, tea time or dessert filled with your favourite ingredients.
Why we love this recipe
crepes recipe for a simple reason: it is my Mum's recipe. This recipe has been made the traditional way for over 40 years - and has been enjoyed every single time!
But more than my personal attachment to this recipe, I adore these authentic French Crêpes because they are extremely light and airy. They are super easy to make with a few basic ingredients only but can be easily customised to create many delicious variation. They can even be made into savoury crepes!
Cooking the crepes one by one may be a bit time consuming but simply always worth it for the delicious treat you get at the end. A perfect lazy Sunday afternoon activity if you ask me!
What is a Crêpe
A Crêpe is a traditional French Pancake made from 3 basic ingredients: Flour, Eggs and a liquid; usually Milk. In France, they are served as either a sweet dessert (with the addition of sugar) or a savoury dish (no sugar and more salt).
French Crepes are thiner than the American version as it does not contain any baking powder or leavening ingredient. Buckhweat Crêpes (Galettes de Sarrasin) are slightly different crêpes from the French region of Brittany.
Butter (or brown butter) is often added to the batter to bring some richness and flavour, but many other ingredients can also be used to flavour the dessert such as Vanilla, Lemon Zest or even Alcohol!
Scroll down to recipe card below for all quantities
What are crepes made of:
- Flour: plain / all-purpose flour. If you are after a gluten-free alternative, check out my French Buckwheat Crêpes made with buckwheat flour. You will also need to add a pinch of Fine Table Salt to enhance the flavours.
- Caster Sugar: or fine white sugar. The quantity of sugar can be adjusted to suit your taste if you want sweeter pancakes.
- Milk: preferably full cream / whole milk for the best flavours. You can use a plant based milk to make this recipe dairy-free.
- Butter: unsalted butter, melted. For extra flavour, you can also make a brown butter by melting the butter in a small saucepan and cooking it until the fat solid split from the milk and caramelise.
- Eggs: large eggs, at room temperature
Optional Addition & Flavour Variation
There are many flavouring ingredients you can also add to the batter such as:
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Zest or Orange Zest
- Orange Blossom Water
- Alcohols such as Grand Marnier or Rhum
- Cocoa Powder to turn these crepes into chocolate crepes!
For this batch, I added about 1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract and the zest of 1/2 Lemon.
- Milk: technically, you could substitute the milk with water but the crepes won't have the same flavour and will loose some of their richness. A great tip I picked up from my mum is to substitute half of the milk with Mineral Water to create super light crepes!
- Butter: can be substituted with a neutral flavoured oil such as canola oil, but you will loose in flavour.
How to make Traditional Crêpes step-by-step
Making the Crepe Batter
Before starting, I recommend weighting and measuring all the ingredients so they are ready to be used as you go.
- Place the Butter and Milk in a heat-proof bowl or jug and heat up in the microwave until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool down.
- Whisk the Eggs into a small bowl and set aside.
- Photo 1: Sift together the Flour, Salt and Sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine then make a well in the centre by pushing the the dry ingredients towards the sides of the bowl.
- Photo 2: Pour about two thirds of the melted butter and milk into the well.
- Photo 3: Whisk to combine the liquid and dry ingredients. You will get a rather stiff batter, it's normal.
- Photo 4: Add the whisked Eggs (they will incorporate more easily if whisked separately first) and mix well to combine.
- Photo 5: Vigorously whisk to break any lumps. A few small lumps are still ok at this stage.
- Photo 6: Add the remaining melted Butter and Milk.
- Photo 7: Whisk to combine until you get a very smooth batter that is very liquid.
If you still have lumps at this stage, you can use an immersion blender to smooth out the crepe batter.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for at least one hour - preferably overnight. It is important to let the mixture rest as it will allow for the flour to hydrate properly and develop more flavours.
Cooking the Crepes
Once your batter has had time to rest in the fridge, it is finally time to cook them! Cooking them is probably the more 'technical' part of this recipe, as it takes a bit of training to get the perfect round and thin crepe.
Using a Crêpe Pan
- Heat up your crepe pan (use a cast iron pan for the best results) on medium heat and very lightly grease it with a little bit of butter.
- Photo 8: Pick up some of the batter with a ladle and pour it in the centre of the warm pan.
- Photo 9: Using the crepe spreader, move the batter around in a circular movement to get a thin, round shaped layer.
- Photo 10: Leave the crepe to cook for a couple of minutes (the exact time will depend on the thickness of the crepe and how hot the stove is). Once the edges start to lift slightly and appear the very slightly crisp up, use a wooden spatula to lift it up and flip it.
- Photo 11: Leave the crepe to cook on the other side for about a minute, or until it is very lightly golden.
A key element of cooking crepe is to continuously adjust the temperature of the stove as required. The pan will get hotter has you cook the crepes so make sure to decrease the temperature when required, then increase it again if needed.
Using a Non-Stick Skillet
To cook the crepes in a non stick pan or skillet, pick up some batter with a ladle. Hold your pan on an angle (one side tilted slightly down) and pour the batter on the highest side of the pan.
Spread the batter around by moving the pan (or your wrist) in a circular motion, making the batter go around the pan until you get a thin layer.
The main difference between a Crepe and a Pancake is that crepes are made without any leavening agent so they do not rise. Pancakes are usually made with Baking Powder (or other rising agents) to become thick and fluffy, but Crepes stay paper thin and soft.
Resting the batter in the fridge for a few hours is highly recommended for the best flavours and texture. It will allow for the flour to absorb all the liquid and hydrate properly. Resting the batter will also help developing more flavour, resulting in a more tasty crepe.
Crepe Pan usually come with special utensils to help you cook them such as a crepe spreader and flat spatula to flip them.
To cook the crepes in the crepe pan, pour some batter in the centre of the hot pan and use the Crepe Spreader in a circular movement to spread the crepe batter around into a large disk.
Once the crepe edges start to lift slightly, use the spatula to flip it over and cook the other side. Make sure you are using a wooden spatula to avoid damaging the pan.
If you do not make Crêpes often or are making them for the first time, the quick answer is yes: you can absolutely use a regular non-stick pan or skillet. See the detailed instructions above on how to cook crepes in a skillet or non-stick pan.
But I have really found that using a proper Crepe Pan is a real (crepe) game changer. Not only using the spreader is much much easier than trying to find the right hand movement (I know it doesn't look like it, but it REALLY is!), you also get a much thiner crepe that will cook much faster than on a regular pan.
Tips & Troubleshooting
Crepe Batter Consistency
A crepe batter is very forgiving and can be adjusted at any time to get the perfect consistency. Just like for pancakes, consider the first Crêpe to be a test-crepe and adjust the batter after it if needed. You want the batter to be very smooth (without any lumps) and quite liquid.
- The batter is lumpy: Try to whisk vigorously to break down the lumps. If some lumps still remain, simply use an Immersion Blender.
- The mixture is too thick: Add a little bit of Milk, one tablespoon at the time until you get a very smooth, light and liquid consistency.
- The batter is too thin: Whisk in a little bit of flour, one tablespoon at the time.
Cooking the Crepes
- Do you need to flip crepes: Yes, they need to cook on both sides - though the second side will cook much faster than the first one
- How thin should crepes be: As thin as possible - as long as it does not break apart when you try to flip it
- How do I know the crepe is ready to be flipped: Usually, looking at the edges is a good indication. They will start to crisp and lift up. You could also see some air bubbles in the middle of the crepes. When in doubt, simply lift up a side and look at the colour. It should be golden, but not too dark in colour.
- How hot should the pan be: Start with a hot pan, then adjust the temperature as you go. A key element to successfully cook crepes is to continuously adjust the temperature of the stove. The pan will get hotter has you cook the crepes so make sure to decrease the temperature when required. Once the pan gets too cold, increase it again.
A great thing about this basic recipe is that you can serve it exactly how you want - and change it up every time! I personally prefer my crepes served warm, but they could also be served cold.
For the filling, there are SO many options, going from a basic Sugar drizzle or Chocolate spread to more cooked toppings - and even ice cream!
- Brown Sugar and Lemon Juice
- Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce (or Nutella).
- Fresh Berries Sauces like Mixed Berry Compote, Raspberry Compote, Strawberry Compote or Blueberry Compote
- Fresh Fruits like berries, bananas or peaches with Whipped Cream, Chantilly Cream or even Whipped Ricotta.
And if you are looking for more original ideas, check out my 30 favourite Pancakes Toppings that could work just as perfectly with French Pancakes!
Savoury Fillings Ideas: simply discard the sugar to make savoury crepes, and fill them with cheese, roasted mushrooms, ham or cooked leeks for example!
Storing & Freezing
Crepes are best eaten straight away - but in case you have any leftover Crepes (trust me, you probably won't!), cover the stack with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the fridge for 1 or 2 days. Reheat individually before serving. I do not recommend freezing crêpes.
A good tip to keep the crepes warm and fresh while you are cooking a batch is to place them in the oven preheated on a very low temperature, covered with aluminum foil.
Made this recipe?
Let us know if you liked it by leaving a comment below, and tag us on Instagram @a.baking.journey with a photo of your creation!
Easy French Crêpes
- 30 gr (2 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
- 500 ml (2 cups) Full Cream / Whole Milk
- 3 large Eggs
- 250 gr (1 2/3 cup) Plain / All Purpose Flour
- 15 gr (1 tablespoon) Caster Sugar - (discard to make savoury crepes)
- 1/3 teaspoon Fine Table Salt
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
- Place the Butter and Milk in a heat-proof jug and heat up in the microwave until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool down. Whisk the Eggs into a small bowl and set aside.
- Sift together the Flour, Salt and Sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine then make a well in the centre (see note 1).
- Pour about 2/3 of the melted butter and milk into the well. Whisk to combine - the mixture will be rather stiff, that's normal.
- Add the whisked Eggs and mix well, then add the remaining Butter and Milk. Vigorously whisk to break any lumps until you get a very smooth, liquid batter (see note 2).
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for at least one hour - preferably overnight (see note 3).
Cooking the Crepes in a Crêpe Pan
- Heat up your crepe pan on medium heat and very lightly grease it with a little bit of butter.
- Using a ladle, pick up some of the batter and pour it in the centre of the warm pan. With the crepe spreader, move the batter around in a circular movement to get a thin, round shaped crepe.
- Leave the crepe to cook for a couple of minutes (see note 4). Once the edges start to lift slightly and appear the very slightly crisp up, use a wooden spatula to lift it up and flip it. Leave the crepe to cook on the other side for about a minute, or until it is very lightly golden.
- Repeat until all of the batter has been cooked.
Cooking the Crepes in a Non-Stick Pan or Skillet
- Heat up the pan on medium heat and very lightly grease it with a little bit of butter (optional with a non-stick pan).
- Pick up some batter with a ladle. Hold your pan on an angle with one side tilted slightly down and pour the batter on the highest side of the pan. Spread the batter around by moving the pan (or your wrist) in a circular motion, making the batter go around the pan until you get a thin layer.
- Leave the crepe to cook for a couple of minutes (see note 4). Once the edges start to lift slightly and appear the very slightly crisp up, use a wooden or silicone spatula to lift it up and flip it. Cook for another minute or until lightly golden.
- Repeat until all of the batter has been cooked.
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- To make a well, simply push the centre of the dry ingredients towards the sides of the bowl using a spoon or spatula.
- If you still have lumps at this stage, you can use an immersion blender to smooth out the crepe batter.
- It is important to let the mixture rest as it will allow for the flour to hydrate properly and develop more flavours.
- The exact time will depend on the thickness of the crepe and how hot the stove is. A key element of cooking crepe is to continuously adjust the temperature of the stove as required. The pan will get hotter has you cook the crepes so make sure to decrease the temperature when required, then increase it again if needed.