I’m pretty sure that everyone with Finnish ancestry grew up on pannukakku. In English, it’s called an Oven Pancake (because you bake it in the oven), but “pancake” doesn’t feel like the right word for it. Pannukakku is lightly sweet, kind of custard-y, puffy on the edges like a popover…it’s not quite a Dutch Baby, not quite a crepe, not quite a pancake. It’s easy, versatile, and really delicious!
Pannukakku can be breakfast, brunch, dessert, or a snack. Anything that you would put on a pancake, you can put on pannukakku: jam, berries, syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream.
I’ve read that the most traditional versions of pannukakku contain no leavening agent whatsoever. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it does describe the version I ate the most of as a kid. Unleavened pannukakku is very, very custardy and eggy. My version contains some baking powder, which gives it a little lift and reins in the “custard” texture somewhat.
Tools & equipment for Finnish Oven Pancake
- a pan: you’ve got some options here. This recipe would fit well in a 9×13 or a large cast iron skillet. Your cook time may vary somewhat based on your pan, though.
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups & spoons
Ingredients for Finnish Oven Pancake
- Milk (whole is preferred)
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract (optional, for flavor)
- All-purpose flour
- Fine sea salt
- Baking powder
- Ground cardamom (also optional)
- Your choice of toppings: maple syrup, whipped cream, berries, jam
How to make Pannukakku
In a medium mixing bowl or a large liquid measuring cup (my preference), beat together eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla until well beaten. If you have it handy, adding a teaspoon of lemon zest here can add a freshness to your pannukakku! I didn’t include it in the main recipe because I don’t often take that extra step, but it does add a little something.
In a separate large mixing bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and cardamom. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg/milk mixture. Whisk together until just combined- similar to regular pancake batter, you can leave a few flour streaks, just make sure the big lumps all get combined!
Let the batter rest for 30 minutes (it will help it lift!) Towards the end of the resting time, place the butter in the pan, place the pan in the oven and begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit. Leave the pan in the oven until the butter is melted and hot- keep an eye on it to avoid burning!
When the oven is preheated & the butter is hot, pour the batter into the pan. The butter will spread over the edges of the batter.
Place in the oven and bake 15-20 minutes-this will vary depending which pan you chose, so keep an eye on it. Remove from the oven when golden brown, cooked through, with puffy edges.
Slice and enjoy! Your Finnish oven pancake will deflate shortly after being removed from the oven, but it will still have crispy, tasty edges. Top with your toppings of choice- I am partial to maple syrup and blueberries.
If you like, sprinkle some cinnamon over the top of the batter before baking!
A dusting of powdered sugar over the top after baking is also delicious.
Your Finnish oven pancake will be best eaten fresh, though you could save it for a couple of days in the fridge.
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbsp) unsalted butter
- In a medium mixing bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, beat together eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla until well mixed.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and ground cardamom until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into a well in the center of the flour mixture. Mix well- I usually use a whisk for this. Mix until combined, leaving some small streaks of flour is fine, but make sure all the big flour clumps get mixed in.
- Let the batter rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
- Towards the end of the resting time, place your butter in your baking pan, and your baking pan in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit, leaving the pan in the oven until the butter is hot. Keep an eye on it: You do not want your butter to burn! When you remove the pan from the oven, tip it so that the butter covers the bottom of the pan.
- After 30 minutes, when the oven is preheated and the butter is hot, pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, until the edges are puffy and browned and pannukakku is cooked through. Bake time will vary based on which pan you choose.
- Pannukakku will deflate substantially after removing from the oven. Slice, serve and enjoy!
1. Adding a teaspoon of lemon zest in with the wet ingredients adds a nice freshness.
2. Sprinkling some cinnamon over the top before baking is another fine idea, as is a dusting of powdered sugar over the top after baking!
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Ready for another Finnish recipe?
How did it go? Let me know in the comments!