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. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Mike! The flaky sea salt is just to taste, most often about a 1/2 teaspoon. We’d recommend using a little bit less than you think you might like — you can always add more. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Carlinda! The baking time will still be the same for a half batch made in a 9″ skillet. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Becky! It would be wonderful to add in some veggies! If the vegetables are heavier it would work out best to saute them a bit in the butter before pouring the batter into the pan, using them as a base. As for spinach, we think it would be best to serve that as a side or on top, either sauteed or fresh. We think the water content of leafy greens, like spinach, will make the Dutch baby pancake a little too soggy. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  1. Tom Sommer

    My wife is allergic to milk and milk products (along with corn and vegetable gums). Are there any alternatives to the parm cheese?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Tom. You can use whatever additions you would like in this recipe, that’s one of the beauties of it — it’s very versatile! A vegan cheese substitute would be a great option here, just keep in mind it may not melt the same. Dutch baby pancakes can be made sweet as well, we have a couple option made with fruit that may be of interest. We have a Lemon Puff Pancake and a Warm Strawberry Puff. We hope this helps! Morgan@KAF

  2. BobK

    Now hold on there. I make the best pancakes in the world so this better be good.:):) My mother made fantastic pancakes and it took me a couple of years to duplicate them as she really didn’t have a recipe but just used a little of this and a little of that and some special cooking techniques. Anyway what do you top these cakes with? Same as you do with regular pancakes……syrup, butter, etc.?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Bob! It’ll depend on what you put in your Dutch baby pancakes. We like fresh lemon juice or siracha with the savory Herbed Parmesan Dutch Baby but with a fruit-filled or sweeter option, butter and syrup would pair perfectly! It’ll be up to you and your taste buds to decide! Morgan@KAF

  3. Kim Sherman

    Dear KAF,
    Above the recipe, you wrote: “The recipe comes from food writer and author Melissa Clark, who generously shared it with us in the Holiday 2018 issue of Sift magazine.”
    I’m looking through my Holiday 2018 issue of Sift magazine, and I can’t find it! What page is it on? (trying to avoid printing it out if I can.)
    Looking forward to trying this on New Year’s Day.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  4. D Casey

    I only have a 10″ Iron skillet.
    Is there any thing I need to change ingredient/volume-wise, or can I just bake it slightly longer?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’ll likely bake for about the same time, D, it just might not puff quite as much. Annabelle@KAF

  5. Chelsea

    Came out beautifully!!! I added some fresh chopped sage to the mix, and a light fourth of a cup thick shredded mozzarella with the Parmesan on top— delicious! I wasn’t sure about this recipe. Calling it a pancake, then listing savoury ingredients? And those brown edges looked like they’d be unpleasant to chew. But it was soft and scrummy! Will be making again!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No problem, Patrick — it likely won’t puff as much but the nutty flavor will pair nicely with the parm! Annabelle@KAF

Post a comment

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