These Fluffy Japanese Souffle Pancakes are like eating cottony clouds, but even better with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries!
Japanese take pancakes to new heights. Think cottony clouds of heaven that melt in your mouth! Have you seen Fluffy Japanese Souffle Pancakes (スフレパンケーキ) on social media or maybe even tasted 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 souffle pancakes when you cut them open to enjoy!
What are Fluffy Japanese Souffle Pancakes?
The ingredients for Souffle Pancakes are similar to regular pancakes, so what makes them different? What makes souffle pancakes so pillowy soft and delicious?
Souffle Pancakes are all about the eggs. Egg yolks and egg whites are separated, and the whites are beaten to make the meringue. Just like how you would make savory and sweet souffle or chiffon cakes.
The egg whites are beaten until stiff peaks form and then are folded gently and carefully into the rest of the batter. The souffle pancakes are extra fluffy because the air bubbles hold their shape inside the pancake batter.
As a result, the pancakes are super airy, like souffle. When you cut the pancakes, you can even hear the sound of air bubbles escaping!
Enjoy these souffle 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 pancake. And by 2016, the pancake craze in Japan was in full swing with pancake shops opening all over the country competing for the best Souffle Pancakes. Here are some of the most famous:
- Kiln-baked Souffle 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 shop 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 souffle pancakes every weekend chance I get.
Watch How to Make Fluffy Japanese Souffle Pancakes
Super fluffy and airy, this Souffle 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 Souffle Pancakes
Here are some of my personal tips that helped me achieve the perfect souffle 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 stiff peak, where you lift up your whisk and the egg whites go straight up firmly, but the tip of egg whites bend over like a taking a bow. If you over-beat 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 on the frying pan is crucial for the pancakes to cook through all at once. You want to preheat the pan at the lowest heat to help prevent hot spots (meaning some part of the pan is low heat, some part is too hot). This way you have full control over the cooking time and the final result.
3. Pile up the batter vertically (high).
The key to make lofty pancakes is to add a new pile over the batter on the pan after it starts to form.
4. Cook slow, 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 in the pan.
Why Does My Souffle Pancake Deflate? Trouble Shooting
When making souffle 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 souffle from collapsing?
1) You have probably under or overbeating the egg whites. The goal is to create air bubbles in the batter that will give structure for 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 souffle 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 souffle 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 souffle pancake recipe a try on the next special occasion!
I also have a Matcha Souffle 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.
Fluffy Japanese Souffle Pancakes
- 2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 1 ½ 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 can make your 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)
Fresh Whipped Cream (optional)
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 ½ Tbsp sugar (not so sweet, you can add more if you like)
- 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.
- Separate egg whites and egg yolks into two different bowls. Put the bowl with egg whites in the freezer for 15 minutes. Why do we freeze egg whites? Please read 3 Tips to Make Perfect Meringue (Egg Whites) in this post.
- In the meantime, add 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 (but do not over-mix) and set aside.
- After 15 minutes, take out the bowl with egg whites from the freezer. The egg whites should be half frozen. Now start beating egg whites.
- When the egg whites turn frothy and pale white, gradually add in sugar (roughly ⅓ at a time). Continue to whip the egg whites.
- The egg whites will become glossier and firmer. Stop beating when you lift up the hand mixer and the egg whites stand right up with stiff peaks slightly bending over.
- Heat the large non-stick frying pan to 300ºF (150ºC) over the lowest heat. Brush with cooking oil and lightly remove any visible oil (otherwise the pancakes will have a spotty pattern). Keep the heat on while you combine egg whites and egg yolk mixture.
- Take ⅓ of egg whites and add to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk together (don’t worry too much about breaking air bubbles at this step).
- Next, take half of the egg whites and add to the egg yolk mixture. Using a whisk, gently fold 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 into egg whites. Carefully fold in two mixtures together without breaking the air bubbles. Make sure to gently mix the batter thoroughly!
- For my stove and frying pan, I kept 300 ºF (150 ºC) all times on low heat. Remember each pancake gets roughly 4 scoops of batter, so that’s a total of 12 scoops for 3 pancakes. Now, scoop the batter and place on the frying pan. My recommendation is to use a small ladle (or a serving spoon that’s bigger than a regular spoon - probably 2-3 Tbsp) and make a tall pancake. Next, stack one more scoop to the first pancake. Then move on to the next two pancakes giving each 2 small scoops.
- By the time all 3 pancakes have 2 scoops, the surface of the batter is slightly dry already, so you can stack one more scoop on top, keeping it up high. In the bowl, you should still have roughly 3 scoops left (if you have slightly more, that’s okay).
- Set timer for 6-7 minutes, add 1 Tbsp water in 3 empty spaces inside the pan and cover with the lid. Water keeps the pancake moist. Please note: the suggested time is just a guideline and it’s based on the stove and frying pan that I'm using.
- After 2 minutes passed, open the lid, and add one more scoop for each pancake (or more scoops if you have more batter). Make sure to stack high, not wide. If the water has evaporated, add a little bit more. Cover with lid and cook.
- After 6-7 minutes passed, using the offset spatula, lift the pancake VERY GENTLY. If you feel the pancake is stuck, don’t touch until they firm 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 over with “rolling over” motion.
- Add water in empty spaces and set a timer for 4 to 5 minutes to cook the other side on the lowest heat.
- Once they are nicely browned, transfer the pancakes to your serving plates.
- Place fresh cream on the pancakes and top with berries. Dust the pancake with confectioners’ sugar and drizzle with maple syrup. Enjoy!
Fresh Whipped Cream
- Prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and water in a large bowl and placing a clean and dry mixing bowl over. Add heavy cream and sugar to keep cool.
- Whisk on high speed until medium to firm peaks form (should not be runny, but soft and fluffy firm whipped cream). Keep it chilled until you're ready to serve the pancakes.
- Souffle 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. Under or overbeating will cause the pancakes to deflate after cooking.
- Cook over low heat, and make sure the inside of the pancakes are properly cooked through. If inside the pancakes are not cooked through, there is no structure inside and they will collapse as soon as temperature drops.