These Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes are like eating cottony clouds, but even better with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries! Read my best tips in this recipe and learn how to make them perfectly.
The Japanese take pancakes to new heights. Think cottony clouds of heaven that melt in your mouth! Have you seen Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes (スフレパンケーキ) on social media? Or maybe you have even tasted them when you visited Japan?
They are fluffy, airy, delicate pancakes that probably look too fancy for a weekday breakfast, but impossible to resist making on the weekend. These pillowy, soft pancakes are a must-try. You can’t miss the fizzy, bubbly sound from the soufflé pancakes when you cut them open to enjoy!
What are Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes?
The ingredients for soufflé pancakes are similar to regular pancakes, so what makes them different? What makes soufflé pancakes so pillowy soft and delicious?
Soufflé pancakes are all about the eggs. Egg yolks and egg whites are separated, and the whites are beaten to make the meringue. Just like you would with savory and sweet soufflé or chiffon cakes.
The egg whites are beaten until stiff peaks form and then folded gently and carefully into the rest of the batter. The soufflé pancakes are extra fluffy because the air bubbles hold their shape inside the pancake batter.
As a result, the pancakes are super airy, like soufflé. When you cut the pancakes, you can even hear the sound of air bubbles escaping!
Enjoy these soufflé pancakes the same way you do with standard flapjacks, with fresh whipped cream, some fruits, syrups, and toppings like chocolate chips and nuts.
Recent Pancake Craze in Japan
Pancakes are comfort food. The happiest comfort food. I’m sure you have many joyful memories of waking up on a Saturday, looking up at a stack of pancakes on your plate. And now as an adult, you are probably like me, always searching and trying different pancake recipes, happily eating your way on a journey to find the perfect pancake.
In Japan, even the simplest of comfort foods like pancakes are taken very seriously. In recent years, Japan’s pastry shops and cafes have been in a race to make the fluffiest, softest pancakes. And by 2016, the pancake craze in Japan was in full swing with pancake shops opening all over the country competing for the best soufflé pancakes. Here are some of the most famous:
- Kiln-baked Soufflé Pancakes (窯焼きスフレパンケーキ) at Hoshino Coffee (picture above)
- Miracle Pancakes (奇跡のパンケーキ) at Flippers
- Happy Pancake (幸せのパンケーキ) at A Happy Pancake
These pancake shops did not exist when I was growing up. If they did, I would have been there on every special occasion and birthday! I’m making up for the lost time by creating these soufflé pancakes every chance I get.
Watch How to Make Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
Super fluffy and airy, this Soufflé Pancake (スフレパンケーキ) is like eating cottony clouds, but even better with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries!
5 Important Tips to Make Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
Here are some of my personal tips that helped me achieve the perfect soufflé pancakes.
1. Beat the egg whites (meringue) correctly.
To be honest, making meringue requires a lot of practice. Some trials and errors are just part of the process, but I promise it does get easy once you have more experience and understand what it takes to reach the right consistency.
We’re looking for a stiff peak, where you lift up your whisk and the egg whites go straight up firmly, but the tip of the egg whites bend over like taking a bow. If you overbeat egg whites, they will break into pieces. If you under-beat, egg whites don’t have enough air bubbles and the pancakes won’t be fluffy.
2. Preheat the pan on the lowest setting for a longer time.
Even heating is crucial for the pancakes to cook through all at once. You want to preheat your frying pan at the lowest heat to help prevent hot spots (meaning some part of the pan is lower in heat, and the other part is too hot). This way you have full control over the cooking time and the final result.
3. Pile the batter vertically (high).
The key to making lofty pancakes is to add a new pile over the batter on the pan after it starts to form.
4. Cook slowly, covered with a lid, on low heat.
Unlike regular pancakes, you will need to cook these thick & fluffy Japanese pancakes for a much longer time. If you use higher heat, the pancakes may look done, but the inside will be too raw. Therefore, steady slow cooking over low heat is necessary. To lock in the heat and moisture inside the pan, cover with a lid.
5. Add water to create a little bit of steam.
I’ve tried without adding water before and the difference can be subtle. But since it doesn’t take much to add water, I include this step in my recipe. Just drop 1 tablespoon of water to empty spaces in the frying pan to add moisture to the pan.
Why Does My Soufflé Pancake Deflate? Trouble Shooting
When making soufflé pancakes, one of the common situations people run into is that the pancakes tend to deflate after cooking. Now, is that normal? No, a souffle, including souffle pancakes, should still stand tall after you place them on the plate.
What goes wrong? What can you do to stop your soufflé from collapsing?
1) You have probably under or overbeaten the egg whites. The goal is to create air bubbles in the batter that will give structure to the pancake. Without them, the pancake will deflate.
2) Stove heat was too strong. Just because the pancake is nicely brown, it doesn’t mean it’s done. The inside of the pancakes may still not be cooked through and if you move them out of the pan earlier, the air deflates. Properly cooked soufflé pancakes will have a solid structure and height. They will hold for 10-15 minutes as long as they are warm (just like hot air balloons).
How to Make More than 3 Pancakes at A Time?
To make two or more servings, you will need multiple frying pans on the stove. Alternatively, you can purchase an electric griddle with a lid like this.
At the soufflé pancake restaurants in Japan, they use multiple electric griddles with a lid to make pancakes. The staff would usually tell you the souffle pancakes will take at least 20 minutes to make.
These souffle pancakes definitely require extra time and effort, but I promise after that first bite, you will know it was all worth it. Give this unforgettable soufflé pancake recipe a try on the next special occasion!
I also have a Matcha Soufflé Pancake recipe that I think you’ll going to love! The brilliant green hue and extra flavor boost from matcha make the pancakes even more irresistible.
More Delicious Breakfast Recipes You’ll Like:
Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
- 2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 1½ Tbsp whole milk
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cake flour (If you're using a cup measurement, please follow this method to measure. Otherwise, the amount of flour tends to be more than you need. You also can make homemade cake flour.)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (for greasing the pan)
- 2 Tbsp water (for steaming)
For the Fresh Whipped Cream (optional)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ Tbsp sugar (not so sweet, but you can add more if you like)
For the Toppings
- 1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar/powdered sugar
- fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, etc)
- maple syrup
- Gather all the ingredients. You will also need a 12-inch non-stick frying pan (large enough to cook 3 pancakes at the same time) with a lid. It's also nice to have an infrared thermometer gun to check the temperature of the frying pan.
- Separate the egg whites and egg yolks into two different bowls. Put the bowl with the egg whites in the freezer for 15 minutes. Why do we partially freeze the egg whites? Please read 3 Tips to Make Perfect Meringue (Egg Whites) in this post.
- In the meantime, add the milk and vanilla to the egg yolks and whisk until thick and frothy.
- Sift the cake flour and baking powder into the bowl.
- Whisk to combine thoroughly (do not overmix) and set aside.
- After 15 minutes, take out the bowl with the egg whites from the freezer. The egg whites should be half frozen. Now, start beating the egg whites with a hand mixer (you can also use a stand mixer or balloon whisk).
- When the egg whites turn frothy and pale white, gradually add in the sugar (roughly one-third at a time). Continue to whip the egg whites.
- The egg whites will become glossy and firm. Stop beating when you lift up the hand mixer and the egg whites stand straight up but the tip of the peak curls over onto itself. This is called medium/firm peaks (not stiff peaks yet).
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan to 300ºF (150ºC) over the lowest heat. Brush with cooking oil and lightly remove any visible oil with a paper towel (otherwise the pancakes will have a spotty pattern). Keep the pan on low heat while you combine the egg whites and egg yolk mixture in the next step.
- Take one-third of the egg whites and add to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk together (don’t worry too much about breaking air bubbles at this point).
- Next, take half of the remaining egg whites and add to the egg yolk mixture. Using a whisk, gently fold them in without breaking the air bubbles in the egg whites. Why do we use a whisk instead of a silicone spatula? Please read 3 Tips to Make Perfect Meringue (Egg Whites) in this post.
- Now, transfer the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining egg whites. Carefully fold the two mixtures together without breaking any air bubbles. Make sure to mix the batter very gently until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Keep your frying pan heated to 300 ºF (150 ºC) at all times over low heat. Remember, each pancake gets roughly 4 small scoops of batter, and you will be making three pancakes. For the first pancake, place one scoop of batter and make a tall mound in the frying pan, using a small ladle or a serving spoon (that’s bigger than a regular spoon—probably 2-3 Tbsp). Next, stack one more scoop of batter onto the first scoop already in the pan. Repeat for the next two pancakes, giving each pancake two scoops of batter.
- By the time all three pancakes have two scoops, the surface of the batter is slightly dry already. At this point, you can mound one more scoop on top of each pancake, keeping the batter piled up high. In the bowl, you should still have roughly three scoops left (if you have slightly more, that’s okay).
- Set the timer for 6-7 minutes, add 1 Tbsp water in three empty spaces inside the pan, and cover with a lid. The steam from the water keeps the pancakes moist while they cook. Please note: The suggested time is just a guideline; how long you will cook the pancakes is based on the temperature of your frying pan.
- After 2 minutes have passed, open the lid, and add one final scoop for each pancake (or more scoops if you have more batter). Make sure to stack the batter high, not wide. If the water has evaporated, add a little bit more. Cover with the lid and cook.
- After 6-7 minutes have passed, lift the pancake VERY GENTLY using an offset spatula. If the pancake is stuck, don’t touch it until it firms up a little. If you force it, the pancake will crack in the middle. When the pancake is ready, you can easily move the pancake.
- Here is another set of images to show the process. Slightly pull the pancake to create an empty space and gently flip it over with a “rolling over” motion.
- Add more water to the empty spaces in the pan and set the timer for 4-5 minutes to cook the other side on the lowest heat setting.
- Once they are nicely browned, transfer the pancakes to your serving plates.
- Place the fresh whipped cream on the pancakes and top with the berries. Dust the pancake with confectioners’ sugar and drizzle with maple syrup. Enjoy!
To Make the Fresh Whipped Cream
- Prepare an ice bath: Put ice cubes and water in a large bowl and place a clean and dry medium bowl on top of the ice water. Add the heavy cream and sugar to the medium bowl to keep them cold.
- Whisk on high speed until medium to firm peaks form. The cream should not be runny but soft, fluffy, and firm instead. Keep the whipped cream chilled until you're ready to serve the pancakes.
- Soufflé pancakes can be tricky to make (probably not easy for a beginner cook), so make sure to read my tips in the post thoroughly before you start cooking.
- Beat your egg whites correctly. Underbeating or overbeating will cause the pancakes to deflate after cooking.
- Cook over low heat, and make sure the insides of the pancakes are properly cooked through. If the inside is not cooked through, there is no structure to hold up the pancakes and they will collapse as soon as the temperature drops.