What Are Swedish Pancakes?

Today Scandinavia is well known for cutting-edge haute cuisine, but this wasn’t always so. Traditionally, foods in the region have tended to be more straightforward, although no less delicious.

For instance, the humble Swedish pancake is made from the simplest ingredients.

Swedish pancakes are pan-cooked cakes, much like pancakes and crepes. In Sweden, they were traditionally eaten as an after-dinner dessert, accompanied by butter or cream and lingonberry jam.

These days, they are eaten at any meal and sometimes paired with savory accompaniments. 

This article will explain the differences between Swedish and regular pancakes, provide a recipe for making Swedish pancakes, and describe the different types of pancakes found in Sweden.

Also, see What Are Swedish Crepes? to learn more.

Regular Pancakes vs. Swedish Pancakes: What’s the Difference?

People who have never had Swedish pancakes might assume they’re similar to pancakes from other parts of the world, such as traditional American buttermilk pancakes, for instance.

They’d be wrong. Swedish pancakes depart in so many ways from regular pancakes that they are considered a different dish. 

Swedish Pancakes Are Swedish

The Swedish pancake is of Swedish origin, whereas the first recorded regular pancakes were Greek, apparently. [1]

The humble pannkaka has been enjoyed in Sweden since at least the 16th century. [2]

The many proverbs and parables that mention pancakes are a testament to the centuries-long love affair between Swedes and their pancakes.

Swedish Pancakes Are Thinner Than Regular Pancakes

The most immediately observable difference between Swedish and regular pancakes is their thickness. 

Because they use more milk and less flour than regular pancakes, the batter for Swedish pancakes tends to be thinner. 

Also, unlike regular pancakes, Swedish pancakes do not use leavening agents, such as baking powder or baking soda, so they do not rise as much on cooking.

As a result, Swedish pancakes are thinner than traditional pancakes. [3] 

Swedish pancakes are so much thinner than regular pancakes that many people mistake them for crepes.

But although they are served rolled, like crepes, Swedish pancakes are thicker than crepes, putting them somewhere between pancakes and crepes in terms of thickness.

Tastewise, Swedish pancakes are fluffier than crepes, which have more flour, fewer eggs, and no butter. They are also denser than regular pancakes because they have more milk than them.

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

Swedish Pancakes Do Not Use Leavening Agents

As mentioned in the previous section, Swedish pancakes do not have leavening agents, so they do not rise as much as regular pancakes. 

The baking soda or baking powder in regular pancakes causes them to “inflate” as they incorporate more air into the batter than Swedish pancakes.

Swedish Pancake Batter Needs To Be Mixed Ahead of Time 

Regular pancakes can be prepared as soon as the pancake batter has been mixed.

On the other hand, the batter for Swedish pancakes needs to be integrated almost half an hour before the first pancake is prepared.

So, pans need to be heated only 20-25 minutes after mixing the batter for Swedish pancakes.

Swedish Pancakes Are Served Rolled

American-style pancakes are usually served flat or, when eating more than one pancake at a time, stacked. On the other hand, Swedish pancakes are served rolled.

Because they are thinner than American pancakes, it is easy to roll Swedish pancakes.

Swedish Pancakes Were Traditionally an After-Dinner Dessert

Swedish pancakes were traditionally a Tuesday dinner dessert following a meaty pea soup. Sweeter than the traditional American pancake, they were served with cream and tart lingonberry jam.

On the other hand, American pancakes are usually enjoyed for breakfast.

Common accompaniments for American-style pancakes include maple syrup, fruits, honey, eggs, bacon, and sausages.

These days, many people enjoy Swedish pancakes for any meal of the day.

They are also frequently taken with similar accompaniments as American pancakes, including savory toppings. 

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

How To Make Swedish Pancakes

For those interested in trying their hand at making some Swedish pancakes, the recipe is straightforward. [4]

Moreover, it only requires a few simple ingredients that are normally stocked in most pantries. 

Ingredients required to prepare Swedish pancakes include:

  • Wheat flour
  • Whole-fat milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) of sugar, depending on taste (less for savory pancakes) 
  • 2-3 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • Melted butter

Once the ingredients are at hand, making Swedish pancakes is easy. 

  1. The flour, salt, and sugar must be mixed in a big bowl.
  2. Half the whole-fat milk must be added to the bowl, and its contents must be incorporated into a smooth batter.
  3. Once the batter is smooth, the remaining whole-fat milk, the eggs, and the melted butter need to be added to it and whisked a little more.
  4. The batter needs to rest for 20-30 minutes. 
  5. After the batter rests, you can prepare the pancakes.

¼- ⅓ cups of batter can be used to make one pancake. Note that the batter must be churned each time a cup is drawn to make a pancake, as this is necessary to prevent clumping.

The batter must also be spread out evenly on the pan, and the pancake should only be turned once it starts to cook.

Swedish pancakes can be served with various toppings, including the traditional lingonberry jam and cream.

Also, see Do Scandinavians Feed Their Guests? to learn more.

Varieties of Swedish Pancake

Swedes also enjoy many types of pancakes besides the classic Swedish pancake. These include:

  • Plattar: Plattar are similar to the classic pannkaka, but smaller in size. They are usually made on festive occasions.
  • Raggmunk: These are crisp pancakes made of grated potatoes. They’re a winter specialty served with fried pork and lingonberries.
  • Rarakor: Similar to raggmunk, rarakor are, however, made only from potato spuds. They are usually served with shrimp or pork and topped with onions, fresh cream, and chives.
  • Kolbulle: Traditionally eaten by coal miners since the 19th century, kolbulle does not include eggs because of the lack of refrigeration underground in those days.
  • Gotlandska saffranspannkaka: A sweet aromatic dessert pancake from the island of Gotland. It is baked rather than fried and means “saffron pancake,” named after its most crucial ingredient. Saffranspannkaka are traditionally made around Christmas time with leftover rice pudding.
  • Blodplattar: A far-northern specialty made of reindeer blood. They are traditionally served with salted pork or reindeer meat and, of course, lingonberry jam.
  • Jasta pannkaka: The rare yeast-leavened pancake on this list, jasta pannkaka is a favorite in the southern part of the country. The batter is left to rise for an hour, and the pancakes are as fluffy as traditional American pancakes.

Also, see What Are Swedish Dishclothes? to learn more.

[1] Source
[2] Source
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[4] Source

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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