Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

Known for their towering heights and cake-like texture, soufflé pancakes are a show-stopping version of the breakfast staple, made popular by cafes in Japan. While the name itself may sound intimidating, all of the ingredients—flour, eggs, milk, butter—are easily be found in your pantry and match those in American pancakes.

The key difference between the two pancakes is all in the technique. Making soufflé pancakes takes a little bit of practice, but we’ve broken it down into steps that anyone can manage—and once you take a bit of the light-as-air rounds, you'll find that the extra work is worth it.

The Secret to Super Fluffy Soufflé Pancakes

American pancakes rely on baking powder and gentle mixing to get nice and fluffy. There’s baking powder in soufflé pancakes as well, but the secret to their impressive texture comes from meringue.

Unlike regular pancakes, in which whole eggs are beaten right into the other ingredients, Japanese pancakes get their height from whipped egg whites that are added after the rest of the batter is prepared, making them impossibly tender and airy.

Tips for Making Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

  • Always use a clean, dry metal or glass bowl and utensils when making a meringue. Any residue will prevent the eggs from foaming and whipping properly.
  • Make sure to use room temperature milk so that it does not clump the butter.
  • Make sure to cool the melted butter slightly before adding it to the egg mixture to keep from scrambling the egg.
  • If you don’t have cake flour you can replace it by adding a teaspoon of cornstarch to your regular flour.
  • Be as gentle as you can when folding in the whipped eggs whites into the rest of the batter. The more you mix, the more air comes out of the mixture.
  • It’s very important to cook the pancakes very slowly on low heat. This ensures that the pancakes are actually cooked through. It also prevents the exterior from over-browning or burning.

How to Make a Ring Mold from Tinfoil

This recipe calls for cooking the batter in ring molds to get a perfect, tall round pancake. If you don't have any, you can make one out of aluminum foil in a few easy steps.

  1. Fold a piece of foil over several times until you get a piece that's about 1.5-inches tall.
  2. Measure and cut a circle measuring 3 inches wide.
  3. Take the remaining piece you just cut off and fold it over the cut edge to secure the ring.
  4. Grease the ring mold and you're ready to make some soufflé pancakes! If you have a difficult time removing the pancake, you can simple unroll the foil and reshape to use again.

How to Serve Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

We covered them with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and fresh fruit, but you can also add whipped butter, jam, or your favorite syrup.

“These Japanese soufflé pancakes are so incredibly light and fluffy! It does take more work than traditional pancakes, so it’s definitely a weekend brunch or special-occasion breakfast kind of recipe. Patience is key when making these pancakes—make sure to cook them low and slow to get the perfect airy texture.” —Patty Lee

Japanese Soufflé Pancakes Tester Photo A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

  • 6 tablespoons cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Warm a non-stick skillet on low heat as you prepare the batter. 

    Japanese pancake ingredients  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  2. Add the egg whites, lemon juice, and salt to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until foamy and fluffy. about 3 minutes.

    Beaten egg whites in a bowl  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  3. Continue to beat on high speed and gradually add 5 tablespoons of the sugar as you're beating. The egg whites will become glossy and stiff peaks will form when you lift the beater out of the egg whites. The very tip of the peak will flop over and the rest of the peak will stand up completely straight, about 7 minutes.

    Egg whites beaten to stiff peaks  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  4. Add the egg yolks to another smaller mixing bowl. Whisk the remaining tablespoon of sugar and vanilla extract with the yolks until pale and smooth, about 1 minute.

    Egg yolks and mixer  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  5. Add the milk and butter to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk to combine. 

    Mixture in a bowl with mixer  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  6. Add in the flour and baking powder Mix to combine.

    Pancake batter in a bowl  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  7. Add scoops of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture, carefully folding in without deflating the egg whites. Add all of the egg whites until there are no longer streaks of egg yolks. Don’t over-mix.

    Japanese pancake batter  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  8. Grease the skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Grease 3-inch wide pastry rings. Place them on the warm skillet. Allow them to warm for about 1 minute.

    Skillet with pastry molds on top  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  9. Add about a 1/2 cup of the batter to each of the rings. 

    Batter in pastry rings on skillet  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  10. Place a few teaspoons of water on the bare spots of the pan and then cover the rings with a lid. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until they have risen and bubbles have formed on the top. They should also be almost completely cooked all the way through. This will make it easier to flip them and will leave less room for error.

    Japanese pancakes cooking on a skillet  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  11. Remove the lid. Slide a spatula underneath the pancake ring. Position another spatula on top of the ring and flip the pancakes over. Then slide the spatula out from underneath the ring.

    Flipping Japanese pancakes The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 

  12. Put the lid back on top and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. If they are cooked through the pancakes will still be slightly jiggly, but will spring back when you touch them. Each side should be lightly browned. 

    Carefully remove the rings. You can loosen the edges of the ring with a knife. Repeat the cooking process with remaining pancakes until all of your batter has been cooked. 

    Cooking Japanese pancakes  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  13. Serve immediately with whipped butter, maple syrup, and fruit. 

    Japanese pancakes  The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

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