Fluffy, airy, and downright Instagram-worthy, Japanese soufflé pancakes have taken the breakfast scene by storm. These pancakes, which originated in Japan, are known for their incredibly light texture and signature jiggle. They are also said to have been inspired by the French dessert soufflé, which is also known for being super light and springy. Japanese soufflé pancakes have exploded in popularity on TikTok, with thousands of users sharing videos of their attempts to recreate the pillowy pancakes at home. So whether you're a die-hard pancake enthusiast or just looking to switch up your breakfast routine, we highly recommend giving these cloud-like wonders a try. Just be warned: you may never go back to plain old American pancakes again!
What are Japanese soufflé pancakes?
Japanese soufflé pancakes are a delicious and unique twist on traditional pancakes, with their signature fluffy texture and impressive presentation. They start off with the same ingredients as the American variety — flour, eggs, and milk — but they get their signature height and fluffiness from the addition of the whipped egg white meringue. And thankfully, they’re surprisingly easy to make, although they might require a little bit of practice to get them just right.
The origins of Japanese soufflé pancakes
Soufflé Pancakes are a common breakfast and brunch dish in Japan, but they’ve become hugely popular in other parts of the world now, too. They are often served in trendy cafes and restaurants, and they have gained a reputation as a luxurious and indulgent treat. The dish has also gained popularity on social media, with many food bloggers and influencers sharing photos and videos of their own versions of the dish, especially on TikTok.
Why are Japanese soufflé pancakes so popular?
The popularity of Japanese soufflé pancakes on TikTok should hardly come as a surprise. After all, these pancakes are visually impressive and super-satisfying to watch as they puff up and rise in the pan. TikTok is a visual platform, and users are often drawn to videos that are aesthetically pleasing and shareable. The trend gained momentum as more people were spending time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they turned to cooking and baking as a way to pass the time and find comfort.
Perfect to cook at home
Plus, the trend of making Japanese soufflé pancakes at home taps into a larger trend that gained momentum during the pandemic: DIY and homemade cooking and baking. Many people started looking for ways to replicate the foods they love from restaurants and cafes at home, and the challenge of making soufflé pancakes from scratch is both fun and rewarding. Yes, it's totally possible to make restaurant-ready soufflé pancakes from your own home!
One of the earliest mentions of soufflé pancakes in Japan is from the early 2000s, when a Japanese TV show featured a restaurant in Osaka that served a type of pancake that was lighter and fluffier than traditional American pancakes. The restaurant's owner had developed a special recipe that included whipped egg whites and baking powder to create the signature pillowy texture. The pancakes quickly became a hit, and soon other restaurants in Japan started serving their own versions of the dish.
Attention to detail
In addition to being a popular food trend, Japanese soufflé pancakes also reflect the Japanese cultural emphasis on perfection and attention to detail. The dish requires precise measurements and careful technique in order to achieve the desired texture and presentation, and it is often served in a visually impressive way. If you're looking to try something new for breakfast or brunch, give these pancakes a try; they're sure to impress. But what are the necessary ingredients?
How do you make Japanese soufflé pancakes?
The key ingredients in soufflé pancakes are eggs, flour, milk, and baking powder. Unlike traditional pancakes, soufflé pancakes are made with whipped egg whites, which gives them their signature jiggle and their light and airy texture. This is what makes these particular pancakes stand out from the crowd.
How to achieve the signature fluffy texture
Speaking of texture, Japanese soufflé pancakes are also much fluffier than American pancakes. They're cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, allowing them to rise and puff up to three times their original size. It's no wonder they're often compared to clouds!
The cooking process
Another key difference between Japanese soufflé pancakes and American pancakes is the cooking process. Instead of flipping them once, you'll need to flip Japanese Soufflé Pancakes multiple times to ensure they cook evenly and maintain their shape. It's a bit of a delicate dance, but trust us — it's worth it.
A unique eating experience
But perhaps the biggest difference between these two types of pancakes is the experience of eating them. While American pancakes are often served with butter and syrup, Japanese soufflé pancakes are typically served with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and other toppings that complement their light and airy texture. It's a true indulgence that feels like a special treat every time you take a bite. For the most impressive end result — including maximum jiggle — we recommend serving a couple of pancakes stacked on top of each other. And don't forget to snap a picture and share it with your friends!
Toppings and serving suggestions
Soufflé pancakes are typically served with a variety of toppings, such as whipped cream, fruits, syrup, honey, or butter. We recommend fresh strawberries, sliced bananas, chocolate chips, and powdered sugar. The pancakes can also be served with savory toppings, such as bacon or eggs, for a more substantial breakfast or brunch dish. How about putting your own twist on these pancakes with some spices? You could add some cinnamon into the flour and serve the pancakes with some spiced pears. Yum. Or what about mixing some maple syrup with room temperature butter for a delicious maple butter topping?
What equipment do you need?
Ready to make the fluffiest, airiest pancakes of your dreams? You're going to need the right equipment. Here's a rundown of what you'll need to make Japanese soufflé pancakes at home. First up, you'll need a good mixing bowl and whisk. The meringue-based batter for soufflé pancakes requires a lot of whisking, so a sturdy bowl and whisk will come in handy. If you have an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, even better; it'll make the process a lot easier.
A non-stick pan is key
You'll also need a non-stick skillet or griddle. Unlike traditional American pancakes, Japanese Soufflé Pancakes need to cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, so a non-stick surface is key to ensuring they don't stick or burn. You'll also want a good spatula for flipping your pancakes. Soufflé pancakes are delicate and need to be flipped multiple times, so a flexible and sturdy spatula is key! You might want to invest in a piping bag or squeeze bottle, too, to help portion out your batter. Japanese soufflé pancake batter is quite thick, so a piping bag or squeeze bottle will make it easier to control the amount of batter you're using and create those perfect, puffy stacks, but this isn’t essential.
To cover or not to cover?
Finally, you'll want to have a lid or cover on hand to help cook the pancakes evenly. Covering the skillet or griddle while the pancakes cook will trap in steam and help them rise even higher. And for these pancakes, the taller, the better! Once you've got everything you need, get ready to whip up the fluffiest, dreamiest pancakes you've ever tasted. Just make a note of which ingredients you need.
Ingredients for Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
It's always a good idea to use room temperature eggs.
1/2 cup milk
Milk helps make the pancake batter nice and smooth.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla is optional, but it gives the pancakes a little extra sweetness.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Baking powder is important for making your pancakes so tall and airy.
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Cream of tartar is a stabilizer that helps to strengthen the egg foam created when you whip the egg whites. Without it, the pancakes would likely turn out flatter and denser. If you don’t have any cream of tartar, try using lemon juice instead.
Butter or oil for cooking
Handy tips and tricks for perfect Soufflé Pancakes
1. Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature before beating them, as this helps them to reach the desired consistency more easily.
2. Do not overbeat the egg whites because this can cause them to become dry and clumpy, which is not what you want for airy, fluffy pancakes!
3. Use a non-stick pan for best results. This will help to prevent the pancakes from sticking and breaking apart.
4. Do not cook the pancakes over a high heat, as this can cause them to burn or cook too quickly on the outside while still being undercooked on the inside. You want a low-medium heat here.
5. Be patient and take your time when cooking the pancakes; they require a slower and more gentle cooking process to achieve their fluffy texture.
6. Don’t crowd the pan with too many pancakes or make them too big. You’ll want enough space to be able to turn your pancakes easily.
7. For perfectly round pancakes, try dropping your mixture into a ring mold.
8. Add your own personal touches to the pancakes by experimenting with different flavorings, toppings, and add-ins, such as chocolate chips, nuts, or spices.
9. Don't let your pancakes go cold before eating them! Enjoy your delicious and fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes right away.
Step-by-step instructions for cooking Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
When you've got all your equipment and ingredients, you’re ready to make your Japanese pancakes. Here's what you need to do:
1. First, separate your egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls.
2. Add the milk and vanilla extract to the bowl with the egg yolks, and whisk until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
5. In a third bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until frothy.
Remember: your egg whites should be at room temperature before beating.
6. Next, add the cream of tartar to the egg whites, and continue beating until soft peaks form.
7. Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites, and beat until stiff peaks form.
8. Then, gently fold the egg white mixture into the batter using a rubber spatula. Be careful not to overmix, as this can deflate the egg whites and make the pancakes dense. The key to getting super-fluffy pancakes is to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
9. Next, you’re going to lightly grease your non-stick pan with butter or oil and heat it over a low-medium heat.
10. Using a ladle or large spoon, carefully drop a portion of batter onto the pan, about 1/4 cup per pancake. You can also use a piping bag if you have one.
11. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the pancake has puffed up and the bottom is golden brown. Now, you're ready to flip.
12. Carefully turn the pancake using a spatula, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side, until both sides are golden brown and the pancake is cooked through.
Top tip: this is not like flipping a regular pancake. Instead, gently turn your pancake over, being careful not to disturb the fluffy texture.
13. Congratulations! You have your first fluffy pancake. Transfer your lovely creation to a warm plate, and repeat these simple steps with the remaining batter.
14. Once all your pancakes are done, you're ready to serve! Serve your pancakes warm, stacked on top of each other, and topped with your favorite toppings, such as whipped cream, fruits, maple syrup, or honey.
Japanese soufflé pancake FAQs
1. Why are my pancakes not fluffy?
Achieving the perfect fluffy texture for Japanese soufflé pancakes requires careful attention to the meringue. If the meringue isn't strong enough, or if you overmix the batter, the pancakes may end up flat instead of airy and light.
The meringue is the foundation for the pancake batter, so it's important to make sure it's whipped to a stiff peak before folding in the egg yolks. Overmixing can cause the meringue to deflate, which will result in flatter, denser pancakes.
To avoid overmixing, it's important to use a gentle scoop and fold motion when combining the egg yolks with the meringue. This will help to preserve the airiness of the meringue and ensure that the pancakes rise properly. So be gentle and patient when mixing together the whites and yolks, and you'll be rewarded with perfectly fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes.
2. Why did my fluffy pancakes deflate?
As much as we wish our soufflé pancakes could stay perfectly fluffy forever, eventually they will deflate. The magic of their light and airy texture comes from the hot air that gets trapped inside during cooking. When the pancakes cool down, this hot air escapes, causing the pancakes to lose some of their fluffiness. While it's impossible to prevent this natural deflation from happening, there is a solution: enjoy your soufflé pancakes as soon as they're cooked!
The key is to eat them right away, while they're still warm and at their fluffiest. So, savor those soufflé pancakes as soon as they come out of the pan. The good news is, they're so delicious, you'll probably have no trouble devouring them while they're still perfectly fluffy and airy! However, if your pancakes deflate right away, you might have overbeaten your egg whites. Alternatively, your pan might have been too hot, meaning the pancakes look brown on the outside but are still raw in the middle, which will make them deflate after you take them off the heat.
3. Can I make soufflé pancakes in the oven?
It’s actually pretty simple to cook your soufflé pancakes in an oven instead of a pan or skillet. To prepare your pancakes for baking, preheat your oven to 150ºC (300ºF) and lightly grease a baking pan with non-stick spray or a small amount of oil. Using a ladle or tablespoon, scoop out dollops of the pancake batter and place them on the prepared baking pan. We recommend using approximately 3 full tablespoons of batter per pancake. Bake the pancakes for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until they are firm to the touch but still jiggly in the center. With this simple method, you'll be able to create perfectly fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes in no time!
4. Why do my soufflé pancakes taste eggy?
Since soufflé pancakes are primarily made of eggs, it's natural that they'll have a slightly eggy taste. However, if the egg flavor is too strong, it can be unpleasant. To minimize the eggy taste, it's important to cook the pancakes thoroughly. The golden brown color on the outside of the pancake isn't just for looks - it's actually caramelization, which adds a richer, more complex flavor to the pancake.
5. Can I flavor my soufflé pancakes?
Yes, absolutely! If you're looking to further enhance the flavor of your soufflé pancakes in a subtle way, you can also add some vanilla extract or a little bit of lemon zest to the egg yolk batter. These ingredients will add a bright and refreshing note to the pancakes, balancing out the richness of the eggs and making them even more delicious! If you’re looking for more of a bang, you could try using some cocoa powder for a chocolate kick or adding some cinnamon for a warming winter spin.
6. Why are my soufflé pancakes raw on the inside or too dark on the outside?
When it comes to cooking Japanese soufflé pancakes, it's important to ensure that they are fully cooked and not raw in the center. If your pancakes look pale and still raw inside, your heat may be too low or they may need to cook for a longer time. On the other hand, if they're burnt on the outside but still raw inside, your heat is likely too high. You need the right temperature, and the heat needs to be as evenly dispersed as possible.
7. What's the ideal temperature to cook soufflé pancakes?
To achieve the perfect texture, it's recommended to cook the pancakes on a low-medium heat. This should ideally be a temperature between 285°F and 320°F (140°C to 160°C), which is usually the lowest heat setting on your stovetop. However, it's important to note that stovetops can vary in consistency, so using an infrared thermometer to monitor the pan temperature can be helpful if you have the budget.
Additionally, since every stovetop is unique, it may require some trial and error to find the ideal temperature for cooking your pancakes. If your stovetop has options for different burner sizes, choose the appropriate one that will heat up your entire pan evenly. Finally, for best results, it's recommended to use an electric stovetop instead of a gas stove top as they tend to heat the pan more evenly.
8. Why won't my egg whites whip up?
To ensure that your egg whites become stiff and don't deflate, it's essential to start with clean equipment. Any grease or oil residue on your whisk or bowl can hinder the egg whites from whipping up to their full potential. That’s also why it's better to go for a glass bowl; plastic ones are more likely to keep hold of grease, which can affect your egg whites. In addition to making sure your equipment is clean, adding an acid like vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar can also help stabilize your egg whites. This will allow them to reach stiff peak and prevent them from deflating during the mixing process. By taking these simple steps, you'll be well on your way to making the perfect Japanese soufflé pancakes!
Pro tip: if you can turn your bowl upside down without your egg whites falling out, you know you’ve got a good consistency!
9. Can I make soufflé pancakes gluten free?
You’ll be glad to know that it’s very easy to make your pancakes gluten-free. Simply swap the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour — Bob's Red Mill four is a good choice — and cook the pancakes a couple of minutes longer before flipping them. They should turn out just as delicious as the original version. You can also use oat flour or rice flour as gluten-free alternatives. We wouldn’t recommend using tapioca flour, almond flour, or coconut flour, as these are heavier and might not result in the fluffy pancakes you want.
10. Is it possible to make Japanese soufflé pancakes vegan?
In a word: yes! While the vegan version of soufflé pancakes won’t be exactly the same as the traditional ones, they’ll still be light, fluffy, and delicious. First things first, you need a dairy-free milk alternative. We suggest opting for unsweetened soy milk, but you could get away with any kind of plant-based milk, including oat milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. As for the eggs, you can swap these for aquafaba. FYI: Aquafaba is chickpea water, and it’s a brilliant egg-free substitute for making meringues.
11. How long can I store soufflé pancakes after I make them?
The good news is that you can keep Japanese pancakes for up to two days; just make sure they’re in an airtight container. If you want to reheat them, our suggestion is to warm them up slowly in the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 200 degrees F, place your pancakes on a tray, and let them warm up to perfection. This method will ensure that your pancakes retain their delicate and fluffy texture without becoming tough or rubbery. However, we don’t recommend freezing these pancakes; they don’t thaw well.