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What Is a Dutch Baby Pancake? + 10 Sweet and Savory Recipes

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

Dutch baby pancakes aren't Dutch. They're not even European!

Dutch baby pancakes aren't Dutch. They're not even European!

What Is a Dutch Baby Pancake?

The Dutch baby pancake is a delightful sweet or savory meal, made with a batter of flour and eggs—but, oh my, it’s so terribly named. It’s not Dutch, it’s not baby (small) in size, and it certainly isn’t a pancake.

In order to find the origin of this pancake, we’ll need to travel back to Seattle, Washington, more than a century ago.

Victor Manca was born in Missouri in 1866. We know nothing of his early life other than that he had no more than a fifth-grade education. In 1894 he and his wife welcomed their first child, a son whom they named Vincent. The family moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1899, and Victor opened Seattle’s first Italian restaurant, Manca’s Café on Cherry Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues. In the next 11 years, three more children were added to the family: Milo born in 1902, Marcella born in 1907, and Josephine born in 1910.

One specialty at the café was Victor’s creative spin on pfannkuchen (German for pan cakes). Instead of the traditional large cake, he made for each guest three dainty ones in a small skillet. Little Marcella loved the wee German (Deutsch) pancakes, but as a small child she could not pronounce the word ‘Deutsch.’ It came out sounding like ‘Dutch,’ and the name stuck. Dutch babies were born.

In the century since then, the popularity of Dutch babies has not waned. In fact, imaginative chefs and home cooks have devised countless flavors; there is definitely a Dutch baby for everyone.

How Are Dutch Babies Made?

The batter for Dutch babies is really quite simple—mix flour, milk, and eggs (heavy emphasis on the eggs) and pour into a pan that has been preheated in a hot oven. The protein in the egg and gluten in the flour create a dough that bonds together, much like the walls of a balloon. The instant application of heat causes the moisture in the batter to turn into steam, the balloon inflates, and in minutes you have a puffy, airy, bready treat. Some people have likened the Dutch baby to a cross between a pancake and a popover.

Apfelfannkuchen (German Apple Pancake)

Apfelfannkuchen (German Apple Pancake)

1. Apple Dutch Baby (Appfelpfannkuchen)

Let's begin by going back to the basics. The German apple pancake was the genesis of today's Dutch baby. The batter is easy to make; it's simply a mix of flour, milk, and eggs. The magic happens when you pour the egg mixture into a screaming-hot cast-iron skillet. Eighteen minutes later you'll have an apple Dutch baby. It's that easy.

Lemon Blueberry Dutch Baby

Lemon Blueberry Dutch Baby

2. Lemon Blueberry Dutch Baby

I love the combination of blueberries and lemon. Actually, if you can't find fresh blueberries, strawberries or raspberries would be a good substitution. Garnish this lemon blueberry Dutch baby with whipped cream or lemon curd.

Pumpkin Dutch Baby

Pumpkin Dutch Baby

3. Pumpkin Dutch Baby Cake With Maple Whipped Cream

As I write this article, we are in the midst of autumn—yes, it's pumpkin spice season! This pumpkin Dutch baby is made moist with pumpkin puree and is spiced with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. I love the homemade pecan granola (there's a recipe for that, too) on top.

Triple Chocolate Dutch Baby

Triple Chocolate Dutch Baby

4. Triple Chocolate Dutch Baby

If you love dark chocolate (or love someone who does), this triple chocolate Dutch baby needs to be in your repertoire. The edges are crispy (like the edge of a brownie), the center is moist and fudgy, and (as you might have guessed from the title), a three-time dose of chocolate from Dutch-process cocoa, hazelnut spread, and chocolate chips.

If that isn't enough decadence for you, may I suggest one (or more) of the following toppings:

  • Chocolate or vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Dulce de leche
  • Caramel sauce
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Whipped Cream
Whole Wheat Dutch Baby With Meyer Lemon Whipped Ricotta

Whole Wheat Dutch Baby With Meyer Lemon Whipped Ricotta

5. Whole Wheat Dutch Baby With Meyer Lemon Whipped Ricotta

I believe that all of us are gifted with some type of talent. Perhaps you are great at telling a story, painting a picture, cooking, baking, gardening, sewing. (I think the ability to orient oneself north-south-east-west is an almost unworldly talent.)

My gift is the ability to rationalize the enjoyment of any decadent bit of food and convince myself that it's a healthy alternative.

Whole wheat Dutch babies are made with:

  • Whole grain wheat flour
  • Eggs (protein)
  • Milk (calcium)
  • Fresh fruit (the amazing garnish)

Have I convinced you? Seriously, the whole wheat has a nutty flavor and the whipped ricotta isn't as sweet as whipped cream; it has a tangy flavor enhanced with Meyer lemon juice and zest.

Bacon and Eggs Dutch Baby

Bacon and Eggs Dutch Baby

6. Bacon and Eggs Dutch Baby Pancake

The creator of this bacon and eggs Dutch baby has put a creative spin on the standard sweet-flavored pancake. While the pancake bakes she fries slices of bacon and fries four small eggs. Remove the baked pancake from the oven and top with bacon and eggs. Cut into chunky wedges and serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and if you choose to a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Chorizo Cheddar Dutch Baby

Chorizo Cheddar Dutch Baby

7. Chorizo Cheddar Savory Dutch Baby

I'm a sausage and eggs kinda person when it comes to breakfast; I think this chorizo cheddar Dutch baby would be great for late breakfast on a lazy weekend. It takes only 20 minutes in the oven. Garnish with sour cream or crema, fresh tomato and/or avocado, and certainly a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or parsley.

Gluten-Free Dutch Baby

Gluten-Free Dutch Baby

8. Gluten-Free Dutch Baby

Although the author of this Dutch baby tops hers with fresh fruit, you can opt for a savory meal just as easily. This is simply a basic recipe for a gluten-free Dutch baby. Let your imagination soar.

Savory Kale Dutch Baby

Savory Kale Dutch Baby

9. Savory Kale Dutch Baby

This savory kale Dutch baby will remind you of an omelette or frittata. If you don't like kale you can easily substitute spinach or arugula.

There are so many ways to adapt this recipe—imagine the possibilities. You could add:

  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Black or kalamata olives
  • Goat cheese
  • Basil pesto
  • Sauted onions and mushrooms
  • Diced cooked ham
Skillet Dutch Baby Provençal

Skillet Dutch Baby Provençal

10. Skillet Dutch Baby Provençal

The creator of this skillet Dutch baby Provençal describes it this way:

"Big on chic French flavours, this meal in a skillet is a winning marriage of easy and impressive. A blended batter that’s packed with herbs and goat cheese gets puffed to perfection in the oven, and then topped with a punchy salad. A giant pancake for dinner? Yes please!"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Sources

© 2021 Linda Lum

Comments

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

Shauna, you've got that right. It's not chic to peek. Yeah, Seattle is famous for something other than Starbucks (or Amazon, or Boeing). Now you know.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 28, 2021:

I've never had a Dutch Baby, Linda. Love the background and that they were born in Seattle. How cool is that?

I'd love the bacon and eggs version or the kale (swap spinach for kale). They look easy to make. Just mix, pop in the oven and let 'er rip! I would imagine this would be one of those recipes that you don't dare open the oven door until it's done!

Rozlin from UAE on September 27, 2021:

Most welcome, Linda. I will try someday triple chocolate baby pancake. I like chocolate flavor. Thanks for sharing all the yummy recipes.

Blessings and love!!

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

John, you've given me a totally new thing to explore. Pikelets. Like your wonderment at Dutch babies, and had never heard of pikelets. How cute. Thank you for this.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 26, 2021:

I have never heard of Dutch baby pancakes, but these look great. So much variety. We have small pancakes which we call pikelets …but they are exactly that, just smaller but thicker pancakes.

“ The difference between pancakes and pikelets is usually the size and the texture or consistency of the batter. Though the size of the pancake wholly depends on the person cooking it usually, pikelets are smaller than pancakes and are thicker. Due to this, pikelets are regarded as the smaller versions of pancakes.”

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

Peggy, the Dutch baby is the best of both worlds--not really a pancake, but not a popover either. I hope this will inspire you to give them a try.

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

I have had pancakes and popovers, but somehow I have never eaten a Dutch pancake. Thanks for the history and assortment of good-sounding recipes.

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

Thank you dear Rozlin. Will you try them perhaps? I'd suggest the triple chocolate.

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

Flourish, I am a bit surprised that these are not more well known. Perhaps this article will help. Thanks for stopping by.

Rozlin from UAE on September 26, 2021:

Dutch baby pancake, never heard before. Thanks for sharing this interesting article. I enjoyed reading the story behind. All the recipes sound delicious. Take care and stay safe.

Many blessings and love, dear friend Linda.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 26, 2021:

This is a cute backstory. I have never heard of these but would love to taste some of these recipes! Your variety is wonderful here. I especially like the pumpkin idea this time of year.

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

Thank you Liza. How lucky that you have a spouse who cooks.

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

Bill is the eternal optimist. Warm, dry place? Not today. Thanks for your support dear friend

Liza from USA on September 26, 2021:

Yummy! When it comes to a Dutch Baby Pancake, my husband is the champion. He is the first one who discovered before me. LOL. One time, he decided to make it for my birthday. I was surprised by the result. It was delicious! Thanks for your thorough article about this comforting dish. Although I prefer the sweet type, I definitely would love to try the savory one as well.

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

Never heard of them, which means this article was both informative and entertaining, two qualities I have grown to expect from you. Thank you for the education, my friend. Now, go find a nice, warm dry place to hunker down in; the rains will be here soon.

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

Misbah, a Sunday afternoon spent in the kitchen is one of my favorite things. Imagine what fun we could have if we could cook together! Thank you for your kind and generous comments.

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

Thank you, Pamela. I always appreciate your kind and generous comments. I hope you have a great week as well.

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

Brenda, homemade pop tarts? Oh, you meant the store-bought in-the-box. Yes, the apple is super, but I'm a 'loves cheese and savory' sort of gal. So, I'll go with one of the others. Thanks for stopping by.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on September 26, 2021:

Hi Linda, I have to admit that you have been making me feel more hungry on weekends for the past few weeks. Sunday was always my day of relaxation, and because of you, I had to spend my energy in the kitchen to satisfy my appetite. Lol!!

Thank you so much for sharing about these delicious Dutch baby pancakes. I especially liked Triple Chocolate Dutch Baby, Chorizo-Cheddar Savory Dutch Baby, and Skillet Dutch Baby Provençal. I also enjoyed reading about the story of these pancakes.

Thank you for making me feel hungry. ;) Have a blissful Sunday!!

Blessings and Love to you..

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2021:

I learn so much from you as I never heard of Dutch baby pancakes, Linda. They look delicious, and not difficult to make.

I enjoyed reading the history, and all of those pictures looked wonderful. I didn't see one that I wouldn't like. Thank you for all this excellent information.

Have a great week, Linda!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 26, 2021:

Linda

I'll take the apple please...or the strawberry.

Please...please...my tastebuds are watering now.

Sounds so much better than a pancake or a poptart.

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