These Homemade French Crêpes are simple to make and come together in two simple ways. Ultra-thin and delicate, crêpes are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner with sweet or savoury fillings. Follow my comprehensive How To Make Crêpes guide packed full of hints, tips and process images to make this French delicacy at home.
Classic French crêpes were treats that my French mum made for us regularly, not just for Pancake Day. Whether it was for breakfast, served as an after-school snack or taken on road trips, my love for homemade crêpes grew from a young age. I'm so excited to share how to make basic crêpes from scratch. I want you to share in the sheer beauty of thin, sweet crêpes.
Contrary to popular belief crêpes are not fancy and hard to make. Rather, they are actually way easier to make than pancakes. Today I share my easy, foolproof crêpes recipe. Furthermore, I'll guide you with what equipment to use, and how to make them along with plenty of tips for success. Also, I show you how to fold them along with various serving options. You'll be a master in next to no time and able to make this showstopping Vanilla Mille Crêpes Cake for your next special occasion.
What are crêpes?
Crêpes are a thin style of pancake made up of eggs, flour, milk, sugar and melted butter. Cooked in a frypan, they are thin, delicate and pliable.
Crêpes can be served with a selection of sweet condiments. Jams or whipped cream and fresh fruit such as strawberries make them perfect for breakfast or dessert. Alternatively, savory crêpes can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. Spinach, ham, cheese, and mushrooms and topped with an egg make them ideal for lunch or dinner.
They actually originate from Brittany on the northern coast of France. Initially, they were made from buckwheat flour and served for dinner. Their popularity grew and white flour was used within the batter to form the basis of sweet crêpes. Over time they've become one of the most beloved national dishes in France. Crêpes, both sweet and savory, grace the menus of many a French cafe.
Why this homemade crêpe recipe works
- Uses store cupboard ingredients. All the ingredients for this crêpes recipe are all basic refrigerator/pantry ingredients making them an easy option to make without having to do that extra grocery store trip!
- Family-friendly. They can be made year-round, during the week or at weekends and are extremely versatile with what you can fill and top them with.
- The batter can be made in advance. The batter actually BENEFITS from being made in advance. Allowing the flour to hydrate and gluten to relax in the fridge actually makes for more tender crêpes the next day.
- They keep well. Crêpes are great to have on hand for a quick snack. Warmed in the microwave for a couple of seconds and served with your favourite condiment, they make a great snack option.
- Adaptable. Crêpes are super versatile and ideal for customising with any variety of sweet and savoury fillings and can be enjoyed at any time of day.
With only six basic pantry and fridge ingredients needed to make this easy crêpes recipe, it's understandable that they become a budget-friendly family favourite.
- Flour: Provides structure to the batter. Use plain (all-purpose flour), not self-raising flour as no leavening agent is needed. The aim is flat, delicate pancakes, not thick fluffy pancakes.
- Sugar: I add only a little for just a touch of sweetness. Feel free to double the quantity of sugar if for prefer really sweet crêpes. Omit the sugar if making savoury pancakes.
- Salt: I always add salt to flavour the batter. If you omit the salt, the crêpes themselves will taste bland.
- Eggs: Use large eggs. They bind the ingredients of the batter together but also add flavour and richness. Make sure they are at room temperature. If you forget to remove them from the fridge ahead of time, pop the eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for ten minutes.
- Milk/water: A traditional and essential addition to your crêpes batter. I use whole milk which adds a good amount of fat and flavour to the batter. The cold water results in extremely light and tender crêpes.
- Butter: Adds flavour, keeps the crêpes soft and helps to prevent the crêpes from sticking to the pan. I recommend unsalted so that you can control the amount of salt necessary, especially if making sweet crêpes.
Flavourings (optional): I don't include these in my basic crêpes recipe as they aren't essential to beautiful tasting crêpes.
For sweet crêpes, adding vanilla extract, lemon or orange zest or orange blossom water adds another layer of amazing flavour to the crêpes. My favourite by far is adding orange zest and orange blossom water. The smell alone brings me right back to my childhood.
For savoury: Add chopped herbs such as dill, parsley or chervil or incorporate parmesan cheese into the batter.
Can these crêpes be made gluten-free?
Yes absolutely. Substitute the flour 1 for 1 your favourite gluten-free flour. The taste will be identical to that of classic french crêpes.
Flour: You can experiment with other flours. Whole wheat, as I have done in my Lemon Whole Wheat Crêpes adds an incredible nutty flavour.
Note though that when using whole grain flour such as whole wheat or buckwheat, the batter will be thicker. You'll have to increase the quantity of milk to obtain the right consistency and ensure the delicate nature of crêpes. Test out a half-half approach if you are worried about the change in texture. Go for half plain flour and half whole wheat flour.
Milk: You can substitute the milk for almond, hazelnut or oat milk. It goes without saying though that the taste will be vastly different to the traditional crêpe flavour.
How to make crêpes
Crêpes may sound fancy but follow along so that I can show you just how simple they are to make at home. They may require only six simple ingredients, but it's how you combine them and cook them that impacts the texture.
There are two ways to make crêpes. Firstly by hand with a whisk and bowl, and secondly with a countertop blender. I'll show you both ways so that you can choose your preference regarding what equipment you have at the time.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Making crêpes batter by hand.
To make crêpes by hand, all you need are two mixing bowls, one large and one medium. You also need a whisk, or you can use hand-held electric beaters if you wish. I make crêpes so often and always use this method of making the batter by hand with a whisk. It's my favourite.
1. Whisk the dry ingredients together. In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, salt and zest if you are including it (Image 1 & 2).
2. Whisk the wet ingredients together. In a separate medium bowl, add the eggs, milk, water and melted butter and whisk together (Image 3 & 4).
3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix. Now combine the two sets of ingredients. Pour a quarter of the wet mixture into the flour mixture. Whisk the two together until you have a thick slurry. It'll be quite thick and sludgy at this point (Image 5 & 6).
Gradually pour in the remaining wet mixture whilst continuously whisking. Take your time pouring in the wet mixture. Going slowly maximises your chance of incorporating the two together, lump-free. The consistency of the batter should be that of double (heavy) cream (Image 7 & 8).
TIP: How to guarantee a smooth batter
Incorporating the wet ingredients into the dry slowly is key to making sure that you have a lump-free batter. It gives the chance for the wet to loosen up the mixture forming a smooth slurry that gradually thins out as you incorporate more liquid.
REFRIGERATE. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and pop the batter in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.
TIP: The importance of chilling the batter
Exactly why do we have to spend time waiting for the batter to chill?
Texture: By setting the batter aside, the flour has a chance to rehydrate and the gluten strands that formed when mixing the batter together have a chance to relax. These two factors aid in tender light crêpes.
Taste: Whilst the batter is resting, the sugar and salt have a chance to dissolve properly which in essence seasons the batter adding more flavour.
Making crêpes batter using a blender
Admittedly this is a very quick all in one method of making the batter. But it goes without saying that you have to have a blender in order to make the batter this way.
Using the blender is a great way to ensure a lump-free batter. The blender cuts the wet ingredients into the flour perfectly. Use your favourite blender for this, I have a Ninja Blender that accommodates the volume perfectly.
1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend! Add the flour, sugar, and salt first into the blender cup. Then the eggs, milk, cold water and melted butter into the blender and blend until fully incorporated. This can take a mere 30 seconds. It's that quick! (Image 9 & 10).
REFRIGERATE. Refrigerated the mixture for a minimum of one hour. Leave it in the blender with the lid on or decant the batter into a mixing bowl. Cover it in plastic wrap.
Cooking the crêpes
Cook the crêpes in a 20cm (8-inch) or 23cm (9-inch) non-stick frypan, skillet or specialist crêpes pan. The key to success is that the surface is non-stick. I make crêpes so often that I invested in a 23cm (9-inch) crêpes pan years ago. The lower sides make it easier to get my spatular under the crêpes to check on their colour and flip them over.
If using a 20cm (8-inch pan), the crêpes will be slightly smaller. You'll result in a couple more at the end of the recipe. That's never a bad thing!
1. Prepare the pan. Heat your preferred pan over medium heat then lightly grease with melted butter, wiping away any excess (Image 11). Keep this extra butter close by so that you can grease the pan as and when you need to. The butter browns slightly whilst cooking adding colour and flavour to the surface of the crêpes. It also prevents them from sticking and gives those lovely crispy edges.
Alternatively, use vegetable oil, coconut oil or avocado oil, but they will be less flavourful.
2. Cook crêpes one at a time. Remove the crêpes batter from the fridge and give it a quick whisk. It will have thickened in the fridge as the flour hydrates. Add a touch of water to loosen it if you find it too thick.
Pour or scoop the batter into the centre of the hot pan. Tilt the pan until the base is evenly coated with the batter. The aim is for the batter to be spread as thinly as possible. (Image 12, 13 & 14).
Note: A ¼ cup worth of batter covers the base of a 23cm (9-inch) crêpes pan perfectly for thin crêpes.
TIP: Any holes in your crêpes?
When pouring the batter into the pan and swirling it around- if it doesn't coat the base fully and you have some holes, simply drip the batter to fill the holes up (Image 15). You'll never notice the patch job once the crepe is cooked and browned on the other side.
Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until you see the edges of the crêpes turning slightly crispy and pulling away from the sides and the underside golden and set (Image 16).
Throughout cooking both sides of the crêpes, the pan should be steaming but not smoking. Turn the heat down if necessary.
Slide a spatula around the edges of the pan to make sure the crêpe isn't sticking, then flip it over and cook for a further 30-60 seconds or so until golden brown (Image 17). Or be brave and hold the pan and flick the crêpes into the air! Slide the crêpes onto a plate. The
3. Cook more crêpes! Repeat the process until all the batter is used and you have a pile of steaming hot crêpes to enjoy.
Keeping the crêpes warm in-between batches
Pile the crêpes up one on top of one another into a stack as you cook them. The steam will keep the crêpes warm and moist and the crispy edges will soften. There's no need to place parchment paper between the layers. Cover the stack with a clean dry tea towel.
If you need to reheat the crêpes, place a damp paper towel over the top and reheat for 30 seconds in the microwave. They can also be reheated individually in the frypan over medium heat for 30 seconds per side. Alternatively, wrap the stack of crêpes in foil and place it in a preheated oven at 160C (330F) for ten minutes until warm.
They can either be served warm or cold depending on personal preference and the type of filling or topping that will accompany the crêpes.
Making the crepes ahead of time
As much as these crêpes can be enjoyed at any time of the day, my favourite timeline is to make the batter the day before, chill it overnight in the refrigerator, cook the crêpes for breakfast and enjoy the leftovers throughout the day.
The batter truly benefits from the rest time - so take advantage and get ahead by making the batter ahead of time. How lovely to then be able to wake up and get straight into cooking the crêpes without having to pull out all the ingredients and mix them up.
If you don't finish them, crêpes make wonderful snacks for after lunch or tea time. Make up a double batch so that you can continue to enjoy them a couple of days after. We used to travel a lot as children and our go-to snack whilst travelling was a Tupperware container filled with crêpes!
To roll or to fold?
There are two different ways to serve your crêpes- neither better than the other- it's up to personal preference.
Fold into triangles. Place your crêpes with the best side facing down. Spread an even layer of your filling across the open crêpes. Next, fold in half, and then half again. Place triangle on serving plate.
Roll up. Place your crêpes with the best side facing down. Spread an even layer of your filling across the open crêpes. Roll from one side to the other. Place rolled crêpe on serving plate.
Crêpes filling suggestions
The beauty of crêpes is that you can fill and serve them with whatever you fancy.
Here are some of my favourite options:
- Fresh lemon juice and sugar: by far the simplest way and probably the most classically French way to serve crêpes. They turn out so sweet, tangy and refreshing.
- Strawberries and cream: Learn how to roast strawberries for maximum flavour in my Roasted strawberry and whipped cream recipe.
- Lemon: Add lemon zest into the crêpes batter for a lightly fragranced citrus kick. Drizzle with an easy to make lemon syrup as in my Lemon crêpes with a simple Lemon Syrup.
- Homemade lemon curd: Nothing beats the sweet yet tangy creaminess of homemade lemon curd. You can store the leftover curd for your morning toast later in the week.
- Nutella and strawberries: Quite possibly my kids' favourite way of serving crêpes.
- Blackberry Jam: Make the most of berry season and whip up this Easy Blackberry Jam to dollop inside the crêpes. Alternatively, use your favourite jam.
- Sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit such as berries or stone fruit.
- Sliced banana and homemade caramel sauce.
- For a savory crêpes recipe, I love the idea of this caramelised onions and gruyere cheese crêpes.
Pro tips recap
- Let the batter rest. The secret to perfect crêpes is allowing the flour to absorb moisture and for the gluten to relax. Tender crêpes are a certainty after doing this.
- Use a non-stick pan. Maximise your chances of success by using a non-stick pan.
- Use butter in the recipe and in the pan. Not only does the butter help flavour the crêpes, but it also prevents the batter from sticking.
- Keep an eye on the temperature of the pan. Make sure the pan is set over medium heat and heats up before cooking the first crêpes. The pan will continue to heat up as you work your way through the batter, so turn down to medium-low if necessary.
- The technique is everything. Once the batter is poured into the pan, tilting your wrist holding the frypan will help the batter swirl across the bottom evenly covering the base of the pan.
Frequently asked questions
Essentially crêpes and pancakes use the same base ingredients of flour, sugar, egg and milk. The primary difference is the ratio of the ingredients. Pancakes have more flour making the batter thicker, whereas crêpes have more milk making the batter thinner inconsistency.
The secondary difference is that pancakes use a leavening agent of baking powder to create thick fluffy pancakes. Crêpes have zero leavening, which teamed with a thin batter, creates delicate lace-like crêpes.
The taste is far superior when crêpes are made from scratch, however, it is possible to make crêpes from pancake mix by adding enough milk to get the right consistency.
The lumps come from the flour not blending in with the milk and egg mixture enough. This can happen when too much liquid is added to the flour in one go. To fix a lumpy batter you can either pass the batter through a sieve pushing the lumps through as you go. Or use a hand blender or pop the batter in a blender, to whizz the lumps out of the batter.
If the batter hasn't had sufficient time to rest, the gluten hasn't had a chance to relax which results in chewy crêpes once cooked. Also if the crêpes are cooked over low heat for too long, the texture will end up chewy.
How to store, freeze and reheat.
- To store: Store cooled crêpes wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- To freeze: Place sheets of parchment or wax paper in between crêpes. Store in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for up to one month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- To reheat: Reheat chilled or thawed frozen crêpes in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Alternatively, heat in a 160C (325F) oven for five minutes.
Equipment needed to make the recipe
- Pans: A 20cm (8-inch) or 23cm (9-inch) non-stick frypan, or specialist crêpes pan will work perfectly. My favourite crêpe pan that has lasted me years is from Le Creuset. It is possible to use a cast-iron skillet but it isn't ideal due to its weight as it will be cumbersome to manoeuvre when swirling the batter into the pan.
- Medium and large mixing bowls.
- Whisk: Either a hand whisk or an electric hand-held whisk is needed to combine the ingredients for a smooth batter. For me, I use a hand whisk if making one batch. When I double the recipe then I tend to use the electric beaters, primarily for speed!
- Blender: If wanting an incredibly quick way to make the batter, then the blender is your go-to kitchen equipment.
Hopefully, you'll find and agree that this really is the best crêpes recipe to use. My hope is that it becomes one of your staple recipes in the future.
More breakfast/brunch recipes
If you tried this French Crepes Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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How To Make French Crêpes
- Crêpes Pan or frypan/skillet
- Large and medium mixing bowl
- Blender optional
- 150 g plain flour
- 15 g granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 420 ml whole milk
- 30 ml cold water
- 15 g unsalted butter, melted
Make the batter by hand
- Whisk the dry ingredients together. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest and whisk well to combine.
- Whisk the wet ingredients together. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the eggs, milk, water and cooled melted butter and whisk together. If adding in any additional flavourings such as vanilla extract, lemon or orange zest or orange blossom water, add it in now.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix. Into the bowl with the dry ingredients, pour ¼ of your egg mixture and whisk until a thick but smooth paste forms.Whilst whisking continuously, slowly pour in the remaining egg mixture and whisk until well combined. This can be done by hand or with a handheld electric beater for ease. The batter should be lump-free. (See tip in notes if you have lumps remaining). Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-hour minimum or overnight if making the batter in advance.
Make the batter using a blender
- Add all ingredients to the blender and blend! Add the flour, sugar and salt into the blender cup first. Then add the eggs, milk, water and melted butter and blend for a maximum of 30 seconds resulting in a smooth batter. Add a lid to the blender or decant the batter into a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-hour minimum.
Cook the crêpes
- Prepare the pan. Heat a crêpes pan or non-stick frying pan/skillet on medium heat on your stovetop for one minute. Lightly grease with melted butter wiping away any excess.
- Cook the crêpes one at a time. Remove the batter from the fridge and give it a quick whisk. It can thicken as the flour hydrates, so add in a little water to loosen it if need be. Pour 60 ml (¼ cup) of batter into the centre of the pan, and whilst lifting the pan, tilt it so that the batter swirls over the base and coats the pan's surface in an even layer. If there are any gaps, then just add a couple of drops to fill them in. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the edges start to dry out and brown and the underside of the crêpe is set and golden.
- Flip. Slide a rubber spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the crêpes all the way around. Slide the spatula underneath and flip the crêpes over. Cook for another 30-60 seconds until golden and slide the pancake onto a plate. Cover with a clean tea towel to keep the crêpes warm.
- Cook more crêpes. Lightly grease the pan again if need be, cooking the remaining batter. Stack the crêpes one on top of another to keep them warm and soft. Serve warm or cool with a variety of fillings and toppings.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.