Baking Dutch baby pancakes: A spectacular entertaining recipe

Pancakes: a familiar, beloved breakfast staple. Most people feel comfortable customizing such a simple, straightforward dish. You can make them sweet (with chocolate or fruit or maple syrup). You can make them savory and eat them for dinner. They’re a blank canvas! But despite their many charms, pancakes aren’t known for their elegance. If I say “dinner party dish,” you probably don’t think “pancakes!” — unless you’re feeding a crowd of 5-year-olds.

Enter the Dutch baby: the pancake’s sophisticated cousin. The Dutch baby is what you’d get if the pancake grew up, went to college, and jetted off to study abroad in Europe. Also known as German pancakes, they’re like a cross between a pancake and a clafoutis, with an eggy texture similar to Yorkshire pudding and puffy, soufflé-like edges.

The simple ingredient list looks almost identical to pancakes: eggs, flour, milk, and butter. But instead of using a leavener like baking powder as basic pancakes do, Dutch babies use lots of eggs (eight!) and are baked in a skillet in a hot oven; both of these factors cause them to puff majestically.

Dutch babies are excellent for breakfast, just like pancakes. But their simplicity and stunning appearance make them a wonderful option for dinner parties or the star of a weeknight meal. Instead of having to stand at the stove, constantly pouring batter and flipping (and messing up plenty, if you’re like me!), Dutch babies don’t require any work after you mix the batter.

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

Make one in a large 12″ skillet and it easily feeds four people for dinner. Make two, and serve them for a crowd! Or, halve the recipe and bake in a 9″ skillet for a nice meal for two.

Just like pancakes, you can make them sweet or savory. If you want to go sweet, try this excellent lemon recipe. But I strongly recommend you try this herbed Parmesan savory version. The recipe comes from food writer and author Melissa Clark, who generously shared it with us in the fall 2018 issue of Sift magazine.

Melissa relies on this recipe as one of her go-to entertaining dishes.

As she puts it, the pancake is “golden, crunchy, and covered in a salty, frico-like layer of baked Parmesan” and tastes like “a giant gougère-style cheese puff meets Yorkshire pudding, with a crisp outer crust and a soft, cheesy, custardy interior.”

Melissa makes it for dinner and brunch for guests, and loves it with a cold gin martini. (Who are we to argue?!)

Here’s how to do it:

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

Baking Dutch baby pancakes

Gather together your ingredients:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (128g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 large eggs
3/4 cup (170g) whole milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (85g) grated Parmesan cheese
flaky sea salt, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper.

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

Whisk the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. If your mixture is lumpy, like mine was, give it a quick whirl in the blender and it’ll smooth out like a charm.

Stir in the herbs. The recipe calls for thyme and chives, but another great addition is tarragon.

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

Melt the butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until it smells nutty and browns slightly.

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

Pour the batter into the pan with the butter. Sprinkle the cheese and flaky salt in an even layer on top.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The longer baking time will yield a drier and more golden pancake.

Carefully remove from the oven (the pan handle is hot!) and serve immediately.

Dutch Baby via @kingarthurflour

Making a Dutch baby feels pretty close to being a magician. Watching it transform from plain batter to a steaming hot pancake with a pleasingly rumpled surface like an unmade bed will thrill any baker.

If this recipe inspires you, check out our roundup of sweet and savory pancakes for dinner — from crispy Zucchini-Cheese Pancakes to these protein-packed Quinoa Pancakes.

About

Posie grew up on a farm in Maryland and spent her summers in Vermont. As an editor for King Arthur and Sift magazine, she feels lucky to bake every day and connect through writing. She loves homemade bread warm from the oven, raw milk cream, ...

comments

  1. Kimberly Parker

    Made this but with lemon zest, fresh blackberries and a lemon juice and confectioners sugar drizzle. Fantastic! Next time I’ll put my oven rack down one level. This thing really puffs up!

    Reply
    1. Robb

      Bck in the 1960s when we were young and poor a group of us would often go to the theater and go back to someone’s apartment or house to make smaller versions of these. (We didn’t actually have a name for them, but someone in the group had a recipe. IIRC, using a blender we mixed together a 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup whole milk, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and a half stick of butter.

      We preheated a 10 inch skillet with the butter melting in it. Meanwhile all other ingredients were whirling in the blender. As soon as the butter was sizzling we quickly poured the batter into the skillet and popped it into the oven for about 15 minutes or until well puff and golden brown.

      At the end we squeezed a 1/2 lemon all over it and sprinkled it heavily with powdered sugar., then cut in quarters.

      We usually made several of these in a row until everyone had enough.

      It was cheap and very tasty, and this brings back fond memories!

  2. SarahD

    How would this do with some whole wheat flour? I know popovers are a challenge with whole wheat, so I imagine this would be similarly challenging.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sarah! We think using a whole wheat flour for half of the flour will be just fine. You’ll get some nutty flavors which while compliment the cheese nicely. You can use whole wheat for all of the flour, but the Dutch baby may not pop quite as much. It’ll still taste great, it’ll just be a little denser. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    2. Robb

      It won’t puff well and will have a heavy almost doughy texture. Why ruin a good thing?

      Half and half flour mix would work better, but still is not ideal.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Lisa, go ahead and follow the recipe as written, but substitute our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour in place of all-purpose in a 1:1 ratio by volume. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

  3. Ellen Gray

    Just made this w/spinach, Parmesan, & cheddar. Melted the butter, dropped a handful of washed spinach, poured batter over top of spinach, sprinkled cheese& popped in oven @425 for 25 minutes. Hope it taste as good as it looks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Erena! You sure could put apples or mushrooms in your Dutch baby pancakes! You’d want to put any additions like that in the bottom of the pan with the butter, sauteeing them for a few minutes, then pour your batter over the top. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

Leave a Reply to Chelsea Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *