The Original German Pancake

German Pancake

This post was originally published several years ago and I was inspired to bring it out of the archives for two reasons. Google Maps Street View. Once I located my grandparents old home it brought back such wonderful memories. I started traveling down memory lane and had to make this original German pancake for breakfast and decided this recipe should be shared again; it’s too good to miss. Beyond that? I’m on a personal mission to acquaint everyone with a German pancake…and let them know there is nothing Dutch about it!

———-From 2011
I’ve got a problem and it’s called a Dutch Baby. Every single time I see someone extol the virtues of that breakfast treat I want to scream it to the mountains; they simple butchered a name, that’s all!! Why does this matter so much to me?? Well, I’ve got a lot of German blood thanks to my dad’s side of the family and I know when my Grandma Bathe first prepared one of these pancakes for me and shared their history, there were no tulips or clogs in sight; nope, none. So I’m here to right a wrong; to share why this is indeed a GERMAN pancake; join my mission won’t you? :)

Story has it that the name “Dutch Baby” was coined in a family-run restaurant in Seattle called Manca’s Cafe, owned by a gentleman named Victor Manca from about 1900 to the 1950s. A Manca descendant wrote that the name was coined because Victor’s daughter could not pronounce ‘Deutsch,’ the German word for German; and out of her mouth came Dutch and the deed was done. Originally served as three small German pancakes with powdered sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice; the’ Dutch Baby’ moniker was born. Eventually a regular size serving, labeled the “Big Dutch Baby” gained popularity and is what is so often referred to today. So, let’s see. A mispronunciation leads to a new name which is furthered by making them little but eventually they get big again and yet the butchered name stays the same.

It’s really a giant pancake; an Americanized version of a German dish called Apfelpfannkuchen

.  Although called a pancake, the end result actually reminds me more of a crepe. They puff up as evidenced in the photo above and without leavening the end result is a thin layer that is traditionally finished with butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar.

The house that was my grandparents home for more than 50 years on Hoffman Avenue in St. Louis.

How fitting that my grandparents, descendants of  Germany and Switzerland, lived in a south-side neighborhood of St. Louis populated by what was called the Scrubby Dutch; another example of the word Deutsch becoming generally known as Dutch. Germans, in general, realize they are preserving their land for the future. This results in a clean, pleasant countryside and relatively manicured streets, even in big cities. If you wonder where the idea of “South St. Louis Scrubby Dutch” comes from, simply visit the central Rhine and points nearby. Germans in small villages take to the streets almost daily, to sweep small debris and keep their walkways looking attractive. This was so typical of my grandparents neighborhood, a quiet, conservative-Catholic neighborhood filled with Gingerbread bungalows. It was like going to a different world from our suburban neighborhood of new homes  without grown trees and I loved it there. I found this picture using Google maps…it seemed so much larger when I was a little girl but no less precious and I remember many special nights staying in that bedroom on the upper right listening to the birds in the tree in the front yard. For me it was just this side of Heaven.

This is easy to prepare and quite a unique presentation…one reason my children liked me to make it when they had friends sleep over; this is not everyone’s Grandma’s pancake!

Although I love the traditional method of serving with lemon juice on top sprinkled with some powdered sugar, I’ve always made a couple of options so for our family it would not be the same without apple slices sauteed in butter and sugar or cinnamon and sugar with toasted almonds on top. I provide all of those choices so everyone can have their version of this GERMAN pancake that appeals to them most whatever name they insist upon using! :)

German Pancake (Dutch Baby)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A baked pancake traditionally served with lemon and powdered sugar.
For the Pancake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
For the Apples:
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
To Make the Pancake:
  1. Using a wire whisk or fork, beat eggs until blended.
  2. Measure flour and salt into a bowl and whisk to blend.
  3. Add flour mixture to beaten eggs in 4 additions, beating slightly after each addition just until mixture is smooth.
  4. Add milk in 2 additions, beating slightly after each.
  5. Lightly beat in butter.
  6. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp of butter on low heat in 9 or 10 inch heavy skillet.
  7. Pour batter into skillet and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
  8. Slip onto a heated platter and serve immediately.
  9. Traditionally served with melted butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar.
To Make the Apples:
  1. Melt butter in a small frying pan.
  2. Add apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Slowly cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until slices are glazed and tender.
  3. Spoon onto center of baked pancake or serve on the side.
Cut slices as you would a cake from the center to the outer edge.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4-6 Servings


  1. Jen says

    Help! I just made this and it didn’t puff up at all? I used a whisk, didn’t mix much, and baked it in an 11 3/4″ le creuset skillet. I used large eggs and 1% milk. What went wrong?

    By the way, it was golden brown, thin, a little heavy, but delicious. We ate the whole thing.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Jen, I wonder if your skillet might have been so large that it made a difference because it sounds like your technique was good and the result was normal. As big and puffy as it looks, it really is a sort of thin, almost like a crepe, pancake. At least it tasted good!

  2. Louisa Gray says

    I found an old recipe with a delicious variation.
    Brown the apples in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in 12 inch oven proof pan…
    Make the pancake mixture separately….THEN add mixture to apples,
    place in 425 degree oven….20 minutes
    Even good warmed over the next day.

  3. Glen says

    I just made a German/Dutch/now American pancake. I followed your directions to a tee. I pulled it out of a preheated 450 degree oven after 20 minutes. The pancake itself was too thick. What’s up with that and how do I correct? Thank you so much.

    • Creative Culinary says

      So many things can contribute to a different end result and it’s difficult for me to know exactly what from my perspective but I am guessing you used large or extra eggs? Regular AP flour? If using the same exact ingredients, then I would suggest you add a bit more liquid the next time; the mixture is not thick when it goes into the pan and in all the years I’ve made them I’ve not had that issue. Or another thought…how large is your skillet? It would have to be a minimum of 9-10 inches; anything smaller would obviously result in a thicker pancake. Hope that helps Glen!

      • Glen says

        I used regular large eggs, all purpose flour, and a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet from cracker barrel. I did sift the four and salt. Also I used weight of 4 1/4 oz to equal one cup of flour. The elevation where I live is 3,780 feet. Could that impact the thickness? I will add more milk next time to see what happens.

        • Creative Culinary says

          Those all sound fine Glen. I’m at 5280 feet and I know sometimes we need a bit extra liquid because the dry air impacts the moisture content in flour. I don’t indicate those details because my site is not geared towards high altitude even if I live there. I’m going to weigh some flour in a bit; curious now. I will say I’ve only made this at altitude since I’ve lived in Denver for so long. Hope you do give it another try; we love them.

          • Creative Culinary says

            Oh Glen…I seriously laughed out loud when I saw your comment; so glad you took a leap of faith and tried again and evidently liked it! Thanks for the chuckle and congrats!

  4. Jan says

    I started reading your article and had to let you know that Dutch is from Pennsylvania Dutch. They were of German decent.

    We are the sons and daughters of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Some were Brethren, Reformed, Lutheran, Mennonite, Amish, Catholic or of other faiths. They came to America from Switzerland, Germany, and the eastern parts of France or wherever the German language was spoken before 1800. They came to Pennsylvania first.

    I just googled it. There is additional history if you want to look it up.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Interesting Jan because I did not write this article without seeking information…on the Dutch Baby, on why the area in St. Louis was so named and more. I’m sure they are all inter-related but for my article it was about the word Deutsch being mangled…maybe the same happened in Pennsylvania, you don’t mention any of them being from Holland!

  5. Keri says

    I still have the original article Sunset Magazine did with the recipe of the “Dutch Bsby” from the Seattle restaurant. 3 generations of my family have usedthat article to make this treat for MANY breakfasts….both special occasion and Jay because. Thank you for the history lesson of where it originated and how the name “Dutch Baby” came about.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Wow…how very cool is that? We do the same; it’s a tradition for holidays but also so easy it sneaks in for just regular days too. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      You can do it in a blender but you don’t want to incorporate too much air, there is a more a chance that it might puff up before it’s cooked through and then fall. Just blend until mixed well.

  6. Stephanie says

    Thanks for the post. I appreciate the history behind the recipe. We’ll call them German Pancakes from now on!

  7. says

    I just sent you an email about helping me with my food blog, and decided to stroll around your web site. I found your adorable picture of your grandparent’s house. I have my grandparent’s house in my cookbook and plan to put it on my blog. I love your picture and the darling story that goes with it about the scrubby Dutch. So cute. Now you have won me because you are also sentimental about your family and memories and I can’t wait for you to contact me and help me with my blog.

  8. mel says

    these are one of the things that can give me heart palpitations at the thought of making. don’t get me wrong when I do, they are delish, but I can’t count on them raising properly every time. they will be a success one time and the next I’ll make them the same way, in the same pan, in the same oven and I’ll get a flat, somewhat dense “cake”. still tastes good but not what I intended. I’ve baked them in a heavy skillet. I’ve even dragged out the old rusty cast iron from the camping box. they’ve been baked in expensive calphalon, in pie pans, in disposable pie pans. they’ve come out both high and light and flat. never know which way they’ll turn out. I’ve even contacted local restaurants that serve them to ask if they have any clues as to this phenomenon. none. do you have any advice?

    • Creative Culinary says

      It’s hard to say Mel but I can only guess it’s the eggs since there is no leavening. While you want to blend them well, beating them too much before it goes in the oven might see it deflate after it starts cooking since. I also typically use extra large or at least large eggs; make sure yours aren’t too small. I’ve never had a problem so it’s very hard to discern what is exactly going on so hoping a bit more trial and error will help.

    • Jeanne Alter says


      I can almost guarantee what is happening to your Babies! My daughter had
      The same problem with hers until we watched her make them.
      After you have warmed the pans or skillets up in the oven, what do you do with the
      butter? 1. Do you drop the pats in and allow them to melt, or 2. Do you swish the
      butter around and up thr sides? If your answer was 2. You will continue to
      get lovely, cake like Dutch Babies.
      Leave the butter to melt, and pour in yout batter. You will soon have your hearts desire,
      a tall pouffy golden brown Dutch Baby to eat alone or share with a loved one!

  9. says

    Heavenly indeed! My mom is German and made German pancakes for us quite often while growing up. They were always a favorite and I remember watching them puff up through the oven window. I haven’t one in way too long. When I left home I was confused by the name Dutch babies (and Dutch friends of mine didn’t like this at all!). I appreciate you clarifying where this originated. Hooray for German pancakes!
    Hannah Most Recent Post: Steak and Zhoug

    • Creative Culinary says

      My kids loved that too; it was the absolute ‘must have’ if they had friends sleep over! Yes Hannah…Hooray is right! :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Few know but as someone with German ancestry I have to get the word out, right? Nothing Dutch about them! :)

  10. says

    Barbara, a beautiful recipe and informative story. I blogged a blueberry and white chocolate ‘Dutch baby’ inspired by another blog I had visited… I had not heard of these prior to that… not as German pancakes nor Dutch babies. (I have a little German background mixed in with Magyar and Czech too) : ).

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’m sure that no one making something like this and calling it a Dutch Baby has a clue; being part German and knowing the story I want to educate where I can…of course with a recipe too! :)

  11. says

    What a delightful read this is. Thank you for a wonderful post and your grandparents’ home was charming.

    I will soon be trying this when the teen’s friends come home. This many not be her grand mom’s recipe, but she will say this is Aunt Barb’s recipe with a lot of pride.
    Ansh Most Recent Post: Easy Vegetable Biryani

    • Creative Culinary says

      I loved their home so much. I remember the big, warm kitchen, the stairs we used to loved to bump down on our rear and the beautiful stained glass window on that stairwell. It seemed so big and you know what’s funny, I never noticed the shape like I did when I found it online…I just remember the big front porch!

  12. says

    I loved this post and as I had never heard of Dutch Babies or German Pancakes I truly enjoyed the history lesson. Your grandparent’s house is so charming! How wonderful that you have this picture of it.

    I recall my Mother telling us how the German People were obsessive about keeping their home and properties spotless all the time. She came to know this from visiting Germany when we lived overseas from 1955 to 1960. I don’t remember our visits there but I do remember her speaking of them. My husband has visited Germany as well and loved it.
    Paula Most Recent Post: Bachelorette/Bridal Shower Lingerie Cookies

  13. says

    I remember when I first heard about Dutch Babies, and thought it must be some exotic treat. Then I had my first one — and found out it was a German pancake! Really good, of course, but something I was very familiar with. Super recipe, and totally fun read. Really enjoyable post — glad you brought this back.
    John@Kitchen Riffs Most Recent Post: Celery Root (Celeriac) Rémoulade

  14. says

    I’ve had a taste of a variety of pancakes as my children just love them but, I never had the chance to make German pancakes or what you call the Dutch Baby :) Thanks for providing the options to serve it up as per an individual’s taste; mine would be served with butter (melted), powdered sugar and roasted almonds. I’m sure my kids are going to love them as much as I enjoy making them. :-)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Your kids will love it I’m sure; sort of a crepe like final product. Now…just to be clear; I don’t call them Dutch Babies. I’m German…that’s sort of an mixed up name made by people who didn’t want to go to the trouble to pronounce Deutsch (German)! Seems silly doesn’t it because in using the incorrect word they’re now often associated with the wrong country entirely! :)

  15. says

    This looks delicious. I am definitely going to try this recipe.

    By the way, there is a lot of mixing up the words Dutch and Deutsch, but they aren’t the same. Dutch refers to origins from The Netherlands, Deutsch refers to something originated from Germany. They have some similarities, since the two countries are neighbours, but are still very different at the same time.

    Hmm, I wonder if I still have time to make this for lunch. It sure looks yummilicious!

  16. says

    Dutch babies are wonderful! In college, one of my favorite traditions was to visit Plums Cafe in Costa Mesa, CA. They had the BEST Dutch Babies, made to order. Back in the day, you could also get with it bottomless mimosas… for $4.95. Wonderful for Sunday brunch.

    Dutch babies are so easy to make, but for some reason, we hardly ever do it. Have to remedy that soon.

    Agree they’re more like crepes. :-)


  17. says

    oh my gah. i love this. the pancakes look thin enough to enjoy like a stack of 10! i love it. and the little lemons are so cute! and i love the name scrubby dutch.

  18. says

    I have always wondered where the term “dutch baby” came from and now I have the answer!! Started making these a few years ago and they are now a family favorite/staple!! My kids love them with maple syrup or blueberry compote but for me I’d be all over those beautiful apples!!
    Are the houses in the photo where your grandparents lived?? They are so cute and so different from what I grew up with – definitely jealous!!!

    P.S. – Your photography just gets better and better!!!

  19. says

    I love making the Dutch Baby. It’s so easy and yummy and it always looks so amazing when it comes out of the oven. My hubs hates the name though, so I’ve started calling it the giant oven-baked pancake, but that’s just when he’s around.

  20. says

    Oh, yes. You are in for big trouble in Germany if you forget to sweep the street in front of your house on Saturday! You will be the talk of the whole village and you really don’t want that to happen, ever.
    My Apfelpfannkuchen look different. They are very big, but don’t have this high rim. I have never seen anybody in Germany baking them with this high rim, but I have seen this in many American recipes for their German style pancakes. Do you know why, Barb? My family also puts the thin sliced apple pieces directly in the batter. We sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top and eat them with soup for lunch. Thanks for the reminder. I will have to bake some for my family soon. You made me hungry for pancakes now.

    • says

      This one went a bit nuts Kirsten, even I have to admit. I’ve done them both ways, with apples in the dough and without…and my girls just always loved the big puffy pancake without! This time around…the back half actually got sort of hung up on the rack above, I was very lucky that I easily got it unstuck!

      I actually used a 12″ cast iron skillet so I upped the ingredients a bit…next time think I will stick to the same amount of ingredients and just shorten the cooking time; this was literally 4 inches high on one side (they do settle a bit once out of the oven thankfully).

  21. says

    I can definitely use the word . . . this looks “delicious”. I am so glad to know that this recipe works at high altiitude. This definitely looks like a spring break treat for my kids.

  22. says

    My mom’s family is German, and it was so nice getting to be reminded of my Oma and her appfelkuchen this morning. Thanks so much for posting.


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