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Skillet Puff Pancake didn't puff enough

goodlifevan's picture

I just made the skillet puff pancake from The Holiday Baking Issue, Sweet Cakes. I used cold eggs, measure the flour properly and beat the batter for a while (all ingredients together at once as dictated). The pancake only puffed up as much as a regular pancake did. Heated the skillet, etc. Followed all instructions. Can anyone put some puff back in my pancake?

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Ozark's picture

Maybe old baking powder or (post #68861, reply #1 of 25)

Maybe old baking powder or soda. Could be over mixing, should still have some lumps in it.


Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional!

Chef Todd Mohr's picture

Baking soda and baking powder (post #68861, reply #14 of 25)

Baking soda and baking powder are activated by acid and moisture. Both are calcium bicarbonate. Baking powder is basically baking soda with citric acid or cream of tartar added.

If you made a volcano or a rocket ship in grade school science class, you combined baking soda with vinegar to get the reaction that would errupt your volcano or launch the rocket.

The same occurs in baking. If you want big puff from your pancakes, increase the baking soda and add a teaspoon of lemon juice. When I make pancakes from a box of mix, I always add a tablespoon of BP with lemon juice and get 1/2 inch pancakes!

Also, flour proteins develop "gluten" through moisture and aggitation. When you overmix liquids with flour, you get a tougher protein web. This is desired for French bread, pizza crusts, and bagels, but not for pancakes. You may have over-mixed your batter, giving a tough protein web, inhibiting the leavening agent.

Chef Todd Mohr Learn to cook like a chef at home
Adele's picture

There is no baking soda nor (post #68861, reply #16 of 25)

There is no baking soda nor powder in this recipe.

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Gretchen's picture

Echoing Adele, no leavening (post #68861, reply #17 of 25)

Echoing Adele, no leavening in the recipe. It's a "yorkshire pudding" style recipe.

Gretchen's picture

I clicked on the "pancake" (post #68861, reply #2 of 25)

I clicked on the "pancake" thinking that was the recipe. Not knowing the recipe, Ozark could be correct. It sounds like a Dutch baby or a kind of popover/yorkshire pudding recipe that relies on the air being beat into it, and then hitting the hot pan/oil to rise. Did it not rise, or did it fall?

schnitzel's picture

I don't have this issue, but (post #68861, reply #3 of 25)

I don't have this issue, but Googled and found the recipe here:

I don't see a recommended pan size.

Curious. Why did you use cold eggs?

And the skillet really needs to be blazing hot for this to work.

goodlifevan's picture

Thanks for the replies. The (post #68861, reply #4 of 25)

Thanks for the replies. The flour was new, so shouldn't be an issue. Why cold eggs? I took them from the fridge, so they were cold. Matters sometimes so thought I should add. Maybe my oven temperature is off. I will have to test that. Skillet was blazing hot.
AND - it says the more you mix the better for air pockets so I did that.

Ozark's picture

Mix too much then the gluten (post #68861, reply #5 of 25)

Mix too much then the gluten develops. You could also try cake flour.


Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional!

Gretchen's picture

It isn't flour being "new". (post #68861, reply #6 of 25)

It isn't flour being "new". We didn't know if you had leavening which does "go bad".
This is a popover style so you don't want to over beat. I also wonder, as others, if the pan was too big.

Adele's picture

These were originally in (post #68861, reply #7 of 25)

These were originally in FC#2, I know because I've made them several times. :) It cannot be repeated enough that the skillet has to be red hot and the oven needs to be pre-heated at least a 1/2 hour to 450. More beating equals more air equals higher puff. I use a 12" cast iron skillet for this.

The recipe is:

2 large eggs
1/2 cup AP Flour
1/2 cup whole milk
Dash Salt
2 oz unsalted butter.
Edit: The butter is for the pan

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

schnitzel's picture

Ah, FC #2. I knew this (post #68861, reply #9 of 25)

Ah, FC #2. I knew this sounded familiar. I'll make this in the morning and see what happens.

kitchengoddess's picture

The same thing happened to me (post #68861, reply #8 of 25)

The same thing happened to me when I tried it. I have only made it once and I don't think the pan was hot enough for sure. I thought I would try again but haven't yet. I will take all the great new advice into consideration.

goodlifevan's picture

Ok folks I will try to get (post #68861, reply #10 of 25)

Ok folks I will try to get the oven and pan hotter. That may be the issue - will let you know.
If that doesn't work I may have to get a smaller pan.
Funny thing is I made this in grade 9 home economic and had no problem!

SuB's picture

I'd bet your oven wasn't hot (post #68861, reply #11 of 25)

I'd bet your oven wasn't hot enough, as Adele suggested. You did everything else right by the sound of it. Opening the oven door to put the butter in the skillet, then again to pour the batter into the skillet, could cause the oven to lose quite a lot of heat, especially if it hadn't preheated long enough to stabilize at 450 degrees. That might make the difference, esp. with a cold batter. Next time maybe warm the eggs in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes or so before using just to be sure. It might not be a bad idea also to check your oven with an oven thermometer, the thermostat may need to be calibrated. I hope this helps, puff pancakes are great for breakfast.

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

schnitzel's picture

I read the article in FC #2 (post #68861, reply #12 of 25)

I read the article in FC #2 and discovered the author uses a No. 8 (10 1/2-inch) cast iron skillet. So that's what I used.

Preheat the oven @450° for at least 30 min.

Warmed eggs in a bowl of tepid water and gently nuked the milk before combining the batter. Beat the batter very well. Skillet was sizzling hot when the butter went in, followed by the batter.

Mine puffed greatly at the edge. Looks like Yorkshire pudding.

Skillet Puff Pancake

Also found an old thread at Cooks Talk about someone who had made the puff pancake successfully many times, but when she made it with cold eggs and cold milk, it failed to puff. She was surprised what a difference it made.

ashleyd's picture

Also found an old thread at (post #68861, reply #13 of 25)

Also found an old thread at Cooks Talk

Why am I not surprised? :)

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Pielove's picture

Hmm, I agree with the above (post #68861, reply #15 of 25)

Hmm, I agree with the above comments (room-temp ingredients, hot pan and oven, and do not overmix.)

Give it another go-- at least the ingredients are cheap! Good luck!


Syb's picture

I've been making this for (post #68861, reply #18 of 25)

I've been making this for years. Sometimes it doesn't puff up much. I remember the previous discussion. I was trying to figure out which variables mattered. I never paid any attention to the temperature of the eggs or the milk.

I never preheat my oven for 30 min. More like 15. But for this recipe I usually heat the cast iron pan and melt the butter on the burner, so it's really hot when it goes in the oven.

nutcakes's picture

I'm been making this pancake, (post #68861, reply #19 of 25)

I'm been making this pancake, published in the Vegetarian Epicure since the 70's and it is the same thing as what you have there. It has never failed for me. Maybe proportions or oven heat is different, check it out. The apple filling really makes it for me (but I don't like the apples in the batter.) It is a great brunch dish, or not-too-sweet dessert with whipped cream or ice cream. I've never bothered noticing cold or warm eggs, or paid much attention to how hot things are except I do use a heated cast iron skillet, which will be quite hot. Althought this calls for a 12" skillet, I have mostly made it in an 8" so it is extra puffy and thick, but still light and crisp.

Syb's picture

It was sometime in the 70's (post #68861, reply #20 of 25)

It was sometime in the 70's when I got the recipe from Sunset magazine. Since then they also published a recipe or two for Apple Dutch Babies, which I often make too, but they don't puff up nearly as much as the plain ones. They are very good though.

When I make the basic recipe for a larger group, I use my Pyrex pan, and it works fine.

I sometimes wonder if the puffiness depends on the amount of fat. I never use as much butter as it calls for, except probably the first time when I found out how excessive the amount was. So I just put some butter in the pan, the amount depending on how I feel at the moment.

Li's picture

You need room-temperature (post #68861, reply #21 of 25)

You need room-temperature ingredients, not cold. I make this all the time, and when the butter, milk, or eggs are cold, the pancake will not puff. Warm the milk briefly in the microwave, put the eggs in warm water for a few minutes before breaking, and cut the butter into small pieces.

You don't need to use cast iron--I use an All-Clad stainless-steel skillet, and sometimes even a Dutch oven. But Adele is right--the oven and the skillet need to be heated for a good while before starting. That skillet needs to be HOT so the butter should melt as quickly as possible. And you should be ready to pour in the batter and get the pan back in the oven quickly.

Only connect.

Gretchen's picture

Hey, good to "see" you!! How (post #68861, reply #22 of 25)

Hey, good to "see" you!! How are the twins?

NancyCT04's picture

Same thing happened to me one (post #68861, reply #23 of 25)

Same thing happened to me one time. It didn't rise. I had missed adding the salt. Just made it again today and voila the salt seems to have done the trick.

RuthL's picture

Hi, goodlifevan.  I just (post #68861, reply #24 of 25)

Hi, goodlifevan.

 I just discovered this thread. Don't know if you are having better success with your puff pancakes these days but I wanted to comment. I wrote that piece in FC 2 with the puff pancake recipe that Adele so kindly posted. The day I did the pancake photo I made a LOT of pancakes, one right after the other and taking photos of all of them -- only had one chance to photograph each pancake, right out of the oven. That was a LONG time ago, but I remember that the ones I beat the most resulted in the flattest p'cakes. So I took to just beating the ingredients together well and pouring them straightaway into the hot skillet. 

Funny, I haven't had a puff pancake for a while but was thinking just this morning how good one would taste. Maybe tomorrow....


Ruth Lively

AmateurCook's picture

My pancake puffed (post #68861, reply #25 of 25)

I have been wanting to make this for years, don't know why I waited (I have it in a Comfort Food issue).  I knew I had seen a comment about it here some time ago.  Followed all the suggestions, about warming the eggs and milk.  It puffed beautifully and turned out great.  Even my two picky eaters loved it.  Thanks for the tips, and the great recipe Ruth.