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. Mary Macdonald

    Mary Elaine Macdonald December 30; 2018 Instead of using the 12′ iron skillet can I use the smaller iron skillets and if so do you know where I could buy them? Does King Arthur Flour sell them. Thank you and Happy New Year!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Whoops! Sorry about that, Katy. It was actually in article in our Fall 2018 issue, which sadly is no longer available on our website, but you may still be able to find it in some stores! Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Try heating your muffin pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, Natalie, so it’s good and hot, then add a little butter to each well and pour in your Dutch baby filling. Watch them in the oven — they’ll probably take 10 minutes or so but we haven’t tested it so keep a close eye. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tested this, BP, but you’re welcome to experiment. You likely won’t get as much of a puff. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Really, anything goes great with this, Elizabeth! Ham, fresh crisp salads, sweet potato hash, even a good steak — eggs, cheese, and herbs pretty much make everything better. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can’t go wrong with any kind of breakfast meat; ham, bacon, sausage, but it’d be great with spinach or fresh salad as well. Is there really anything that doesn’t go with cheese and eggs? Annabelle@KAF

  2. Trina

    I made this for brunch yesterday and it was delicious!! I didn’t have Parmesan on hand, so I used Pecorino Romano. Tonight I’m making it for guests and I’ll be using freshly grated Parmesan. I’ll be making it exactly as the recipe states tonight, but for future renditions, I wonder how it would be to add a little fresh spinach or some chopped sun-dried tomatoes…oh…or swirl in a little pesto. This will become a go-to recipe for sure!

    Reply

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