What Are Swedish Crepes?

It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t enjoy pancakes. If you visit Sweden, you’ll encounter Swedish crepes (or Swedish pancakes) at some point.

What are Swedish crepes, and what makes them different from regular pancakes?

Swedish pancakes are similar to regular pancakes or crepes. However, they are fluffier and lighter.

The texture and sweet and smooth taste are due to the lower flour content and more eggs and butter. Because of this, they’re known for their richness. 

The Swedish crepe is a mouthwatering dessert that’s surprisingly easy to make. If you’re interested in perfecting this recipe, read the steps below. 

Also, see How Do You Make Swedish Pancakes? to learn more.

How Do You Make Swedish Crepes?

Swedish pancakes are similar to French crepes or American pancakes at first glance, but you can tell the difference as soon as you bite into them. [1]

They have a lighter and more airy texture than regular crepes or pancakes, giving them a melt-in-the-mouth taste. This is because you use less flour to make them [2]. 

Swedish pancakes prioritize eggs and butter to create an almost custard-like batter that makes an irresistibly decadent dessert.

Though they’re naturally sweet, they also double as tasty savory dinner options. 

Swedish pancakes are frequently accompanied by:

  • Buttermilk syrup
  • Fresh cream
  • Lingonberries [3]

There is a wide variety of Swedish pancake types that you can make, many of which feature unexpected ingredients. Below are a few popular examples [4]: 

  • Klassiska svenska pannkaka, or classic Swedish pancake. 
  • Raggmunk, or potato pancake, is made entirely of potatoes, crisped to perfection. It tastes delicious with lingonberries or fried pork. 
  • Kolbulle, or coal bun, originated in the 1800s and was cooked over a fire. Today, it’s made the same way: water, flour, and a pinch of salt, fried in a pan with lard. Serve it with lingonberries, and enjoy! [5] 
  • Gotländska saffranspannkaka, or saffron pancake, originated on the Swedish island of Gotland. It is sweet and aromatic, and the ingredient that naturally sets it apart is saffron. This pancake is served with cream and berries and baked rather than fried [6]. 
  • Blodplättar, or blood pancake, is precisely what it sounds like. This pancake is made from blood (traditionally reindeer), flour, salt, rye, and beer. As usual, lingonberry jam is served alongside [7]. 
  • Jästa pannkaka, or yeast pancake, is made with yeast and hot milk, and traditional batter, creating a thicker and fluffier result. This is the only Swedish pancake that includes yeast [8]. 

What Is the Secret to the Best Swedish Crepes? 

The rules for Swedish pancakes differ slightly from the traditional French crepe or American pancake. Still, a few tricks will improve any Swedish crepe recipe regardless of the type: 

  • Don’t cut corners with the eggs. Eggs are a leavening agent, meaning they help the dough or batter to rise when it heats up. Without enough eggs in the mix, the batter will become dense and cakey and lose its signature airiness. 
  • Be generous with the butter. Butter makes the batter velvety and creates a light, melt-in-your-mouth effect when the batter is cooked into a pancake. 
  • Let the batter rest. Allowing the batter to chill in the fridge for a while before cooking allows the gluten in the mixture to relax, creating a succulent result rather than a mouthful of carbs, which can be cakey and less enjoyable. 
  • Cook at medium heat. Cooking at low heat can result in a chewy mess, and cooking at high heat can cook the outside but leave the inside raw. Medium heat will cook the batter through without burning it [9]. 
  • Cook with butter, not oil. Butter gets absorbed into the mixture faster, contributing to the pancake’s fluffiness. An excess of oil in a pan can produce a chewy or inedible pancake [10]. 
  • Go easy with the sugar. Pancakes and crepes are traditionally sweet, but making them too sweet will ultimately make them harder to eat and less enjoyable. Add light sweetness to the batter, and include berries and cream as sweeteners. 

Where Swedish pancakes differ significantly from other crepes and pancakes is the number of eggs added to the mixture.

Traditional recipes call for you to use mostly or only egg whites in the batter to make it light and fluffy, but Swedish pancakes? Not so much. 

Egg yolk is a vital part of creating the rich, smooth batter and delectable final result that Swedish pancakes need to really classify as such, so following traditional recipes will turn out a different result. 

Also, see What Are Swedish Fish Candy? to learn more.

Are Swedish Pancakes the Same as Crepes?

Looking at Swedish pancakes’ ingredients, we can already guess the answer to this question. 

Swedish pancakes are not the same as crepes. While the shape and some of the key ingredients are similar, crepes are very thin and should be slightly chewy.

On the other hand, Swedish pancakes aren’t chewy and are much lighter. 

Swedish pancakes rely heavily on leavening agents like flour and eggs to make them rise, whereas crepes should rise as little as possible.

In fact, crepes often don’t even contain leavening agents like egg yolk or baking powder. 

How much their batter rises when cooked is a difference that can also be determined by how long the batter is left to rest [11]. 

  • Swedish pancake batter should rest for a bit, but somewhere around 20 minutes should be sufficient so they don’t release too much air. 
  • Crepes need a much longer resting time to release the air bubbles that would’ve otherwise made them rise, making them flat and sheet-like. Give the batter about two hours in the fridge to achieve the best consistency. 

Swedish pancakes are similar to American pancakes or flapjacks in their fluffiness and decadence, but they’re not quite as dense. Swedish pancakes are in a league all their own. 

Also, see Do Scandinavians Eat a Lot of Fish? to learn more.

Why Do Swedes Use Lingonberries So Often?

Virtually every mention of Swedish crepes is followed by some mention of lingonberries. Lingonberries are known for their tartness and pleasant sourness that perfectly complement sweet baked goods. 

In Sweden, allemansrätten is the right for people to come and go in nature as they please and benefit from the flora they find.

Unsurprisingly, this abundant access to berries makes it a popular choice for jams and preserves [12].

Aside from pancakes, lingonberries are used to garnish several other dishes, such as:

  • Meatballs
  • Bacon
  • Fried herring
  • Stuffed cabbage rolls
  • Rice pudding
  • Porridge
  • Black pudding 

Lingonberries (lingon) also come in drink form, with Swedes enjoying both cold and warm lingonberry juice. This juice is available mainly from special suppliers and online stores. 

Lingonberries aren’t the only fruit that Scandinavians go wild over. Smultron, or wild strawberries, make up 90% of the berries cultivated in Sweden [13]. 

Other beloved berries are:

  • Black and red currant (svarta vinbär and röda vinbär)
  • Cloudberries (hjortron)
  • Bilberries (blåbär)
  • Rowan berries (rönbär)
  • Gooseberries (krusbär)
  • Raspberries (hallon)
  • Blackberries (björnbär)
  • Juniper berries (enbär)
  • Arctic brambles (åkerbär)

These are all naturally occurring berries that anyone is free to cultivate by law, so berry-picking and foraging are popular activities in Sweden. 

Also, see Why Don’t Scandinavians Feed Their Guests? to learn more.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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