Updated date:

Exploring Crêpes: Folklore, Facts, and 10 Fun Recipes


Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Crêpes, those thin, delicate French "pancakes," are actually quite easy to make.

Crêpes, those thin, delicate French "pancakes," are actually quite easy to make.

Fun Street Foods

One of the delights of traveling to another country is being able to enjoy the local cuisine, and street vendors are an easy and inexpensive way to do just that. It’s not a new concept; in ancient Greece, vendors sold fried fish, Egyptians had lamb kebabs, and the Aztecs sold something very similar to the tamale. Today visit any city in Italy and you are sure to find a gelato stand. The streets of Belgium are filled with the aroma of crispy pommes frites. Tourists in Vietnam rhapsodize over memories of their first banh mi, and in France, the ubiquitous food in every neighborhood is the crêpe.

Let's take a moment and learn the origins of this delicate pancake that can be served with a dusting of powdered sugar, or filled to create a sweet treat, a fun but easy breakfast/brunch dish, or a savory dinner.

Paper-thin golden crepes waiting to be filled

Paper-thin golden crepes waiting to be filled

Was the Crêpe a Culinary Happy Accident?

The earliest form of Brie was purportedly created by accident in the Middle East. The story goes that a nomad filled his saddlebag with milk before embarking on a long horseback journey. His animal carcass saddlebag was lined with rennet (an enzyme also called rennin or chymosin) and the combination with the milk created a watery liquid (whey) and solid, white lumps (curds) that was an ancestor, perhaps, of the first Brie.

It is said that centuries ago, a young man in Italy, a cheese apprentice, was distracted by love, and left his cheese curds unattended overnight. To hide his oversight, the next morning he mixed them with fresh curds, but a few weeks later he noticed that the batch was turning blue. The mistake could no longer be hidden, but it proved to be a happy accident, and Gorgonzola was born . . . or something like that. (Oddly enough, the French have a similar story for the creation of Roquefort.)

Ruth Wakefield was the co-owner/operator of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. Her husband took care of the business end of the operation, and Ruth did all of the cooking and baking. One evening she decided to adapt her vanilla butter cookie recipe by stirring in a bar of Nestle chocolate that she had broken into shards. She assumed that the chocolate would melt, but as you know, those chunks of chocolate maintained their shape and chocolate chip cookies were “invented.”

And then, there’s the story of the crêpe. According to legend, wheat is a tender crop that cannot grow in the northern parts of France, but buckwheat was found to be a hardy substitute. It worked quite well as a nourishing and filling bowl of porridge at the start of the day. One morning, while ladling portions into bowls, a bit of the cereal fell onto the hot stovetop where in moments it crisped. Rather than simply toss it out, the cook sampled it and found it not only edible but quite tasty and satisfying—so the kitchen elves gave us crêpes.

How to Make Crêpes

Basic crêpe

Basic crêpe

Basic Crêpe Recipe

Ingredients (enough for 8 crepes)

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Prepare a parking spot for your finished crêpes. A large sheet of parchment paper on the countertop next to your cooking station is ideal.
  4. Heat a medium-size saute pan over medium heat (the one I use is about 8 inches across). Brush melted butter on the bottom of the pan and ladle in about 1/4 cup batter into the center of the pan. Swirl quickly to evenly distribute the batter to the edges of the pan. Cook until the edges begin to brown and curl, about 1 minute.
  5. Carefully slide a spatula under the middle of the crêpe and flip over to cook the other side. This will take just a few seconds. Quickly flip the cooked crêpe out of the pan onto the parchment paper to cool.
  6. Continue with the remaining batter.
  7. Set aside to cool.

Vegan Crêpes

Before we delve into the world of sweet and/or savory crêpe fillings, I would like to offer my friends who are vegan, allergic to eggs, or lactose intolerant an alternative to the traditional milk and egg-rich crêpe batter. These vegan crêpes are light as a cloud, but dairy- and egg-free.

Apple walnut crêpes

Apple walnut crêpes

Apple Walnut Crêpes

These crêpes are loaded with a delicious apple walnut filling then topped with powdered sugar. As the apple and walnut filling is simmering in the saucepan, the smell is amazing. Nothing says fall like the aroma that fills a kitchen with the smell of delicious fall desserts.

Banana crêpes

Banana crêpes

Banana Crêpes

These delicate banana crêpes are stuffed with a blend of cream cheese, sour cream, and powdered sugar to create a cheesecake-like filling. Top them with banana slices simmered in a rich butter/brown sugar sauce.

Blueberry lemon curd crêpes

Blueberry lemon curd crêpes

Blueberry Lemon Curd Crêpes

There's something magical about the combination of lemon curd and blueberries and those two flavors combine in these blueberry lemon curd crêpes for a sweet-tart brunch entree. If you've never made lemon curd, don't worry; Diane shares her step-by-step recipe (may I say that it's easy-peasy lemon squeezy)? Leftovers (if there are any) can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

Boston cream pie crêpes

Boston cream pie crêpes

Boston Cream Pie Crêpes

The Boston cream pie (in case you've never had the pleasure of eating a slice), is not a pie at all—it's a decadent sponge cake filled with custard cream and topped with a rich dark chocolate ganache. These Boston cream crêpes are just as sinfully decadent, but so much simpler to make.

Pumpkin crêpes

Pumpkin crêpes

Pumpkin Crêpes

Only four ingredients are needed to make the filling for these pumpkin crêpes. Even easier—you can "bake" the crêpes and make the filling ahead of time. Store covered in the refrigerator and then assemble just before serving for a quick brunch dish or a delightful autumn dessert.

Chicken broccoli stuffed crêpe casserole

Chicken broccoli stuffed crêpe casserole

Chicken Broccoli Stuffed Crêpe Casserole

Casseroles are a busy person's best friend; a meal of chicken and broccoli crêpes in one bake and serve dish—what's not to love about that? Topped off with a rich Bechamel sauce and Gruyere cheese, this chicken broccoli casserole is the very definition of comfort food. In fact, it is so delicious, flavorful, and filling, your family will be begging you to make this casserole on a regular basis.

Easy crêpes eggs Benedict

Easy crêpes eggs Benedict

Easy Crêpes Eggs Benedict

I love eggs Benedict but must admit that I've never been a fan of the English muffins on the bottom. They just don't work well (for me) as a knife and fork food. Here's a European twist on the classic American breakfast. Edyta replaces English muffins with tender crêpes. There's only one problem—these crêpes eggs Benedict sinfully addictive.

Salmon, prawn, and charred corn crêpes

Salmon, prawn, and charred corn crêpes

Salmon, Prawn, and Charred Corn Crêpes

Seafood crêpes are a four-star quality fine-dining meal that you can make in your own kitchen. These delicate salmon, prawn, and charred corn crêpes are baked to a crisp dedication perfection and take only 45 minutes to prepare. Chef Claire serves them with a creamy dill sauce.

Spinach crêpes

Spinach crêpes

Spinach Crêpes

These spinach crêpes have all of the flavors of Italian manicotti without the fuss. Golden crêpes take the place of pasta tubes which are stuffed with a savory blend of ricotta cheese and spinach, and then covered with a rich bechamel sauce. A spoonful (or two) of marinara is optional but adds a bright pop of flavor and color.

Turkey mushroom Swiss crêpes

Turkey mushroom Swiss crêpes

Turkey Mushroom Swiss Crêpes

These savory crêpes are different from the others that have been presented in this article. Dawn stirs fresh and dried herbs, lemon zest, and a pinch of red pepper flakes into her crêpe batter. Every bite of these turkey mushroom Swiss crêpes is full of flavor.


© 2021 Linda Lum


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 29, 2021:

Well Shauna, there goes the diet! I'm glad you were (finally) able to find this. I've been missing you kiddo. Crepes? You can do this.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 29, 2021:

Finally, this showed up in my feed!

As always, the history is interesting, Linda. And the recipes look amazing. I've never tried making crepes, but maybe I should give it a whirl. When I saw the eggs Benedict recipe I literally gasped. I love eggs Benedict! I think subbing crepes for English muffins would be so tasty, not to mention easier to cut. Lordy, you're making me hungry!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 28, 2021:

Adrienne, I'm not surprised that Nutella was popular. It was created in Italy. In what part of Italy did you live? If I had to live in any other country than my own, I would choose Italy in a heartbeat. I've been there several times and it feels like it could be home.

Adrienne Farricelli on April 28, 2021:

I love crepes. I was raised in Italy and one of our favorite ways to have fun on a Saturday was to go out with friends and go to this place that offered a variety of crepes. I loved the version of crepes with Nutella and whipped cream. Your Boston creme pie crepes sound heavenly.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 26, 2021:

Peggy, I love Bill but my he is a bit of a picky eater. No spinach will ever pass his lips. The crepe Eggs Benedicts is very good, and my manicotti recipe is something I discovered when I was visiting my sister in Maniago, Italy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2021:

It has been quite some time since I have made crepes. Unlike Bill, I like the sound of the ones using spinach. I would never have thought to use crepes as a base for Eggs Benedict, but it looks good.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 26, 2021:

Ann, I re-entered the recipe for vegan crepes. Give it another try.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 26, 2021:

Bill, I won't make you eat spinach, but once in a while I need to toss it in just so see if you're really reading these things. Thanks for the compliments and I hope you enjoy the week.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 26, 2021:

Pamela, I should have used that statement in my introduction - "There is no bad crepe." Thanks, my friend, and I hope you have a wonderful week.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 26, 2021:

Ann, it's always good to hear from you, my sister "across the pond." We don't have golden syrup here (and I wish that we did). There is nothing else like it--no substitutes.

I hate to be the pessimist, but I agree with you about Maven--they really don't care what we think. But wouldn't it be in their best interests to do something that promotes more traffic and interaction? Oh well. I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 26, 2021:

Dora, you can cook. I'm not a genius (not even close). You've got this gal.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on April 26, 2021:

Flourish, you've made me so happy. Your dad must have been quite the performer in the kitchen. That's awesome.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 26, 2021:

If I can put maple syrup on it, count me in. You could have stopped before the spinach recipe....just sayin' :) As always, I love the history of the foods you highlight. Well done, my friend. Enjoy the sunshine!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 26, 2021:

This is another fascinating article, Linda. I always enjoy hearing about the history of various foods, and I have also learned that there is no bad crepe. They all look delicious! Thanks for sharing so many great ideas.

Ann Carr from SW England on April 26, 2021:

I love crêpes! Our French friends do them quite often, often on a flat stone for huge ones! Here, I occasionally make some for Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) and my favourite is with golden syrup and/or lemon juice and demerara sugar. You have given us some wonderful alternatives here, Linda. I couldn't make the vegan link work though, don't know why.

Sweet or savoury, they provide a tasty alternative once in a while and most people love them. Great for a dessert.

Glad I got to this before it's moved! I complained again recently about the rubbish layout on Maven and the lack of easy comments but they just keep saying the comments will return. I told them I don't believe them!! I hope I'm proved wrong.

Hope you and yours are well, Linda. I'm busy, busy with the grandchildren again, which is great but will drop you a line soon. Keep safe and well.


Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 26, 2021:

Thanks for the interesting story of how crepes came into being. Quite a delectable "accident." Thanks also for the recipes. They make me wish I could cook.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 26, 2021:

Oh my goodness, you really outdid yourself with this one! I am so hungry after reading this. When you said cheesecake flavor I was instantly sold and then some of the dinner recipes, just wow. Growing up, my dad used to make crepes and serve them with rich chocolate or sauces, fillings, fresh fruit, and real whipped cream.

Related Articles