How to Make Perfect Crêpes At Home
Crêpes, the paper-thin, French-style pancakes, are a Parisian favorite for good reason. You can find this delicious and delicate street food, loaded with any number of tasty fillings, on just about any given street corner in the city—they’re as ubiquitous as hot dog carts in NYC. And while eating them is unequivocally the best part, watching crêpes being made is oddly mesmerizing/satisfying. That said, you don’t have to go all the way to Paris to enjoy a good crêpe.
Crêpes are, no doubt, fabulous for breakfast, but they can be enjoyed any time throughout the day. If you’ve made pancakes at home before, you already have the basic knowledge to making crêpes. You simply need a bit more wrist action between swirling the batter and flipping the crêpe, but it’s an easy technique to nail down. After a few tries, your muscle memory will essentially take the lead.
When it’s time to dress up your crêpe, Nutella is the go-to condiment of choice for many people (and if you're one of those people, you'll love these Nutella-Strawberry Crepes). However, crêpes can go both savory and sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, you can garnish your crêpe with honey, maple syrup or your favorite preserve flavor. If you are more on the savory side, adorn the batter with soft herbs or melt cheese in the center and add a slice of ham for an easy lunch. You can even stack the delicate pancakes with layers of cream to make an impressive crêpe cake. It’s so easy—not to mention, a lot of fun—to come up with tasty combinations for your crêpes.
You feeling inspired yet? Yes! Good, because these delightful (and completely versatile) treats can be made with ingredients you already have in your pantry and refrigerator.
How to Make Crêpe Batter
Similar to your typical flapjacks, crêpe batter is made with a combination of all-purpose flour, milk, water, melted butter, and eggs. However, this batter is significantly thinner than what you would use for fluffy pancakes. Here's a basic crêpe recipe you can use for the batter:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 ½ ounces)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup low-fat 1% milk
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
Instead whisking the batter by hand, I’d recommend skipping the elbow grease and using a blender to process your crêpe batter. Since crêpes are so thin, you can’t afford to have any powdery lumps in the batter. Blending guarantees an ultra smooth, consistent mixture. If you don’t want to pull out your blender or food processor, an immersion blender (also known as a hand blender) will yield similar results.
Now, I know you’re eager to get to flipping, but take a deep breath and step away from the stove—your batter needs to chill for about an hour. This ensures that when it hits the heat, the thin batter won’t instantly burn.
How to Cook Crêpes
After the mixture has chilled, you can heat an 8- or 9-inch skillet over medium heat. To make things easier on yourself, I’d suggest using a nonstick skillet, as you will be utilizing the entire bottom surface of the pan. (A small drop of cooking oil will also be very helpful in the long run.)
Now, scoop out about ¼ cup of batter at a time and pour it in the center of the skillet, immediately rotating the pan and allowing the batter to form a thin film covering the entire surface of the skillet. After about 1 minute, loosen the crêpe from the edges of your pan with a rubber spatula. When it has browned slightly, flip and cook the crêpe for another 30-60 seconds. As the crêpes come off the heat, you can stack them on a plate. Repeat this process until you a have stack of crêpes ready to fill with your favorite sweet or savory fillings.
If it’s taking a while to work through the batter or you are making the crêpes ahead of time, you can keep your crêpes warm in the oven at a very low temperature around 200-250 F° for up to 2 hours. To prevent them from sticking to each other, place a layer of parchment paper in between the crepes. When it comes to the toppings and fillings, you can be as simple or creative as you desire. Spread about ⅓ cup of your filling of choice down the center of each crêpe. Fold in the seams of the top and bottom edge and then roll. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar if it’s sweet or with freshly chopped herbs if your crêpe is savory.