A German apple pancake (Dutch baby pancake) is the easiest and most delicious-and definitely most impressive-breakfast pancake you can make! Using peeled apples, plus a few simple ingredients, this Dutch baby pancake looks amazing when it emerges from the oven, and tastes divine. Breakfast will never be the same!
When you’re stumped for what to fix for dinner, or want something quick and easy for brunch, try a German apple pancake, also known as a Dutch baby, German pancake, baked pancake or even the most “technical” term, large puffy pancake. Whatever you call it, this custard like pancake recipe is going to be a favorite.
My grandparents immigrated from Germany when they were children and while my grandmother made some authentic German recipes, most of them were Americanized, as is this recipe. When traveling in Germany, I never came across an apple Dutch baby. That doesn’t mean it’s not absolutely wonderful.
A German apple pancake is my favorite thing to make for dinner when I have nothing in the fridge and I don’t feel like cooking. Of course, if you’re looking for a simple breakfast and brunch recipe, this is a great option.
If you’re on the fence about whether to make a German pancake, then I’m not describing it very well because this isn’t a regular run of the mill pancake. It’s nothing like a traditional pancake recipe but more like a cross between a crepe and a clafoutis.
I almost always have a couple of apples, eggs and milk around and it only takes about 15 minutes to prep. Most of that time is spent peeling the apples.
You’ll love the texture of this baked pancake, whether you use apples or decide on a peach Dutch baby pancake. Custardy on the inside and crispy on the outside, kind of like a popover but with more custard.
What is a German pancake
German pancakes are made with a crepe-like batter that is poured into a hot skillet and baked in a very hot oven. The heat and steam create a light and custardy batter, nothing like a traditional American pancake. They’re typically made with apples that are first caramelized on the stove or in the oven.
Why you’ll love it
- This is a great way to incorporate naturally sweet apples
- It comes together quickly
- No standing over the stove waiting on regular pancakes
- Everyone can eat at the same time
- It’s sweet enough by itself but even better with a bit of powdered sugar or maple syrup
What you’ll need
- Apples – you only need 2-3 apples; mix and match your apples for sweet and tart flavors. Sorry but you need to peel the apples for this dish. The texture is just not right when you leave the peelings on. A common apple to use is a Granny Smith apple since they are slightly tart and will not turn to mush while cooking. I prefer Fuji apples for their slightly sweeter taste.
- Staples – flour, whole milk, brown sugar, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt
How do you make a Dutch baby pancake
First, melt some butter in an oven proof skillet in a hot oven and then add a little brown sugar and sliced apples and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake the apples until they caramelize in the oven for a few minutes. You want them softened but not mushy.
Second, while the apples are cooking, make the pancake batter by first whisking in the milk and flour and then beating in the eggs and milk, let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Pour the egg mixture over the apples in your hot skillet and put it back in the oven to bake.
While it cooks, it will get puffy and gorgeous, but as soon as it starts to cool, it will deflate.
This is best just a few minutes after it’s been removed from the oven.
Pro Tip: A cast-iron pan is perfect for this, but if you don’t have one, any oven proof skillet will work. If you don’t have an iron skillet Le Creuset is a great one to add to your Christmas list. This will cook a little quicker in a cast-iron pan than in a regular oven proof skillet.
How to serve it
This delicious treat can be served right from the skillet, the sooner the better.
- Serve your German apple pancake right away, it gets cold quickly.
- This is naturally sweetened from the apples baked inside, so you can serve this dish as is.
- If you want to spruce it up, sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top or a drizzle of maple syrup.
Not only is an oven baked pancake quick and easy, it tastes wonderful. We decided that it’s almost like a clafoutis but not as sweet. Taylor said it reminded her of Kugel with the cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on the apples.
The first time I made an apple pancake it smelled so good that no one could wait for photographs. I make it all the time and every time I make one, my crew always asks why I don’t make it more often. It’s my go-to meal for when I have nothing planned.
What can I serve with it
- Scrambled eggs
- Fresh fruit or spicy fruit salad
- Bacon, sausage or ham
A Dutch baby pancake is great for dinner, breakfast or brunch, and if you have leftovers, it’s not bad at room temperature, not quite as light and fluffy but still tastes fantastic.
To store leftovers, place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, place in the oven for a few minutes, the microwave will make it rubbery.
I love to serve this on Christmas morning. It takes no time to prep and everyone loves it. They’re not as heavy as traditional pancakes and you don’t have to stand over the stove.
You won’t need to add maple syrup or even powdered sugar to this, the apples that have caramelized with the sugars add sweetness. We like this so much that when peaches were ripe, I developed a recipe for a Peach Dutch Baby Pancake.
FAQs and tips
What is a Dutch baby pancake?
A Dutch Baby Pancake or German Pancake is a custardy pancake that is baked in an iron skillet. I love that it’s made all in one skillet and everyone can eat at the same time, like with Sheet Pan Pancakes.
Does a Dutch baby pancake taste like a regular pancake?
A Dutch baby pancake is completely different from a traditional pancake. It tastes more like a crepe or a popover.
What kind of apples should you use?
You can use almost any type of apple in a German pancake, you just need to adjust the cooking time for the apples. If you love a little sweet and firm apple, Fuji or Honeycrisp are the way to go. If you like a more tart apple, throw in a Granny Smith apple. You can mix and match based on what you have. There’s no wrong answer. Firmer apples will have to cook a little longer before adding the batter.
Can you make a baked pancake without fruit?
If you leave out the fruit, you’ll have a delicious custard like pancake similar to a clafoutis.
Why is my baked apple pancake flat?
A German apple pancake doesn’t have yeast or baking powder, it rises because of air in the batter and steam in the oven. Make sure you let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes to let the gluten in the flour rest before adding to the cast-iron pan. This will help trap air and give it a nice pillow like texture. Also make sure the skillet is very hot when you add the batter.
How do you save pancake leftovers?
Place any leftovers in an air tight container and refrigerate it for 3-5 days. Warm it up in the oven for a few minutes. This type of pancake does not freeze well.
Looking for more apple recipes
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Puffed German Pancake with Caramelized Apples
- 2-3 apples About 3 cups, peeled and sliced and cut into pieces
- 4 tablespoons sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup milk not skim
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 eggs
- Heat oven to 400º.
- In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Cut butter into chunks and place in a cast iron skillet or oven proof pan. Place in the oven and let melt for about 3 minutes. The butter should be melted but do't let it burn. Remove the skillet and stir the brown sugar into the butter. Spread apples on top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Place in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes until apples are caramelized, stirring half way through.
- While the apples are cooking, whisk together the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until there are no lumps. Beat in the vanilla and eggs with a hand mixer, beating for 2 minutes until foamy. Let the batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan of apples from the oven and pour the batter over the apple mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and the center is set. The pancake will puff up substantially and then fall once removed form the oven.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can also use a blender or a food processor to combine the ingredients.
- Make sure you let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 20 minutes if you have time.
- Cook the apples until the are tender but not mushy.
- This is delicious even without the apples.
- If you aren’t using an iron skillet, it may take a little longer to cook.
- This is great served with a little powdered sugar or you can use maple syrup.
- This will not have the same texture if you use skim milk, it needs a little fat.