Unraveling the Distinctions: Griddle Cakes Vs Pancakes

Griddle Cakes vs. Pancakes: Exploring the Differences

Fans of brunch are familiar with the delightful addition of pancakes to their tables. These soft and light cakes, topped with maple syrup, create a taste sensation that is hard to resist. However, when it comes to griddle cakes vs. pancakes, one may wonder about the differences between the two and which one is superior. In the United States, these terms are often used interchangeably because they refer to the same dish. However, pancakes and griddle cakes have different names and regional variations around the world.

Understanding griddle cakes

Contrary to the traditional notion of a cake baked in an oven, griddle cakes are small cakes cooked on a griddle. The process involves dropping batter onto a griddle pan where it cooks into a flat cake. The simplicity and convenience of griddle cakes lies in their use of common ingredients that are readily available in most kitchens. The basic ingredients for griddle cakes are egg, milk, flour, sugar, and baking soda. These ingredients combine to create perfect little griddle cakes with a light and fluffy texture. The addition of baking powder adds tiny bubbles to the batter, creating the desired fluffy consistency.

Understanding pancakes

Pancakes, on the other hand, are cakes cooked in a pan. In the United States, pancakes are typically made from a batter of egg, flour, sugar, milk, and baking powder. This thick batter is poured onto a hot griddle, forming round cakes. Pancakes are often served with a variety of toppings such as fruit, maple syrup, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and sliced nuts. A tower of freshly cooked pancakes with your favorite toppings is a culinary delight.

Are griddle cakes and pancakes the same thing?

While the ingredients for griddle cakes and pancakes are identical, there is no difference between the two in the United States. The terms “griddle cakes” and “pancakes” are used interchangeably, and the dishes are prepared in the same way with identical amounts of ingredients. Griddle cakes and pancakes have a long history and have been enjoyed by different cultures throughout time. It is believed that our prehistoric ancestors also consumed food made from batter cooked over a fire. In ancient Greece and Rome, as well as in Tudor times, these cakes were a regular part of the diet. The different names are probably due to regional variations or the adoption of names from other parts of the world.

Differences in pancakes and griddle cakes around the world

While the terms “griddle cakes” and “pancakes” are used interchangeably in the United States, different countries have different names for similar foods. In the United Kingdom, a thin batter is used to make pancakes, while in France they are called crepes. In China it is called bao bing, while in Hungary it is called palacsinta. Eastern Europe and Israel call it a blintz. Thicker pancake dough, similar to griddle cakes in the United States, is used to make pikelets in Australia, dropped scones or Scotch pancakes in Scotland, and tigantes in Greece.
Essentially, almost every country in the world has its own take on the pancake recipe, using the same basic ingredients. While there may be variations in the consistency of the batter, each country has adapted the recipe to include local ingredients. For example, American pancakes or griddle cakes have a thicker consistency due to the addition of a raising agent, which is not the case in other countries. In the United Kingdom, pancakes are flat and thin because no raising agent is used. Norwegian griddlecakes contain buttermilk instead of regular milk, while the Scottish version, known as a drop scone or Scotch pancake, is slightly thicker and sweeter than the American version.

Hotcakes and flapjacks: Are they the same as pancakes?

In certain regions, American-style pancakes may also be called hotcakes or flapjacks. However, it is important to note that these terms may not be widely known throughout the country. In the UK, if you ask for a flapjack, you will be served a baked cereal bar made from oats, butter and honey. Although delicious, it is not the same as the pancakes you might expect.

The Ultimate American Pancake or Griddle Cake Recipe

Making pancakes or griddle cakes at home is an easy and enjoyable process. Here’s a recipe for the ultimate American pancake or griddle cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • Assorted ToppingsInstructions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, and egg.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix; a few lumps are okay.
  4. Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat the surface with butter or cooking spray.
  5. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Transfer cooked pancakes to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
  7. Serve pancakes with your choice of toppings, including maple syrup, fresh fruit, whipped cream or chocolate chips.


In the United States, griddle cakes and pancakes are synonymous terms that refer to the same delicious breakfast treat. Globally, however, the terms can have different meanings and preparations. Griddle cakes are flat cakes cooked on a griddle, while pancakes are cakes cooked in a pan. Each country has its own variations, using the same basic ingredients but varying in consistency and additional ingredients.
Whether you prefer fluffy American pancakes or thin French crepes, both griddle cakes and pancakes are a delicious way to start the day. So the next time you’re enjoying a stack of pancakes or griddle cakes, take a moment to appreciate the cultural diversity and culinary history behind these beloved breakfast classics.


What is the difference between griddle cakes and pancakes?

Griddle cakes and pancakes are essentially the same thing in the United States. Both terms refer to cakes made from a batter that is cooked on a griddle or in a pan. The only differences are regional and cultural variations in the names and slight differences in thickness or ingredients in different countries.

Are griddle cakes and pancakes made with the same ingredients?

Yes, griddle cakes and pancakes are typically made with similar ingredients. Basic ingredients include eggs, flour, sugar, milk, and baking soda. However, specific recipes and regional variations may include additional ingredients or use different proportions of the same ingredients.

Can I use the terms “griddle cakes” and “pancakes” interchangeably?

In the United States, the terms “griddle cakes” and “pancakes” are often used interchangeably because they refer to the same dish. However, it’s important to note that these terms may have different meanings or preparations in different countries or regions.

How do griddle cakes and pancakes differ around the world?

Griddle cakes and pancakes have different names and preparations around the world. In different countries, these dishes may have different consistencies, sizes, or additional ingredients. For example, French crepes are thin and often filled with savory or sweet fillings, while American pancakes are typically thicker and served in stacks with various toppings.

Can I use the same recipe for both crepes and pancakes?

Yes, you can use the same basic recipe for both griddle cakes and pancakes. The ingredients and proportions are the same. The only difference may be the cooking method, as griddle cakes are cooked on a griddle and pancakes are cooked in a pan.

What are some popular toppings for griddle cakes and pancakes?

Griddle cakes and pancakes are often served with a variety of toppings. Some popular choices include maple syrup, fruit (such as berries or bananas), chocolate chips, whipped cream, nuts, or even savory options like bacon or cheese. The choice of toppings is entirely up to your personal preference and creativity.