German pancakes
German pancakes
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German pancakes

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German pancakes, also known as Dutch babies, are a type of baked pancake that has become a popular breakfast dish in the United States. Despite its name, the dish is not directly related to German cuisine. Its history is a mix of American culinary traditions and possibly some German influences.

Origins and Name

German pancakes, also called Dutch babies, are known for their puffy, soufflé-like texture and crispy edges. The dish is believed to have originated in the United States, where it was popularized by a Seattle-based restaurant called Manca’s Café in the early 20th century. The cafe is credited with coining the name "Dutch baby" for this type of pancake.

The name itself may have originated from a confusion or corruption of the term "Deutsch," which is the German word for "German." There may have been some influence from traditional German pancakes known as "Pfannkuchen," which are a bit different in texture and preparation from the American Dutch baby.

Recipe and Characteristics

German pancakes are made by whisking together eggs, milk, flour, and sometimes sugar or other flavorings like vanilla. The batter is poured into a hot, buttered skillet or baking dish and then baked in the oven. As it bakes, the pancake puffs up dramatically and forms a crispy, golden-brown edge. The center remains soft and custardy.

Modern Popularity

Today, German pancakes are a popular breakfast or brunch item in many parts of the United States. They are often served with a variety of toppings, such as powdered sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice, fresh fruit, or jam. Their dramatic rise in the oven and their delicious flavor make them a favorite choice for special occasions or leisurely weekend breakfasts.


While the name "German pancakes" may suggest a direct link to German cuisine, the dish is actually an American creation that has its own distinct identity. Its light, airy texture and versatility have made it a beloved breakfast staple for many people across the United States.

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