The best way to make apple pancakes

I’ve been baking pancakes for ages. I think it’s one of the first things I ever made in a frying pan. Making pancakes isn’t very difficult, except for that very first one, but that’s just a good excuse for trying a pancake whilst baking pancakes.  Anyway, once you get the hang of it, you can start to spice them up. There’s variations in the batter (adding beer, cinnamon or vanilla), or to the baking process (bacon, banana, raisins or apples).

Ingredients for apple pancakes
Ingredients for apple pancakes: 400g flour, 2 eggs, 800ml milk and 2 apples. 

When I was at university, we made pancakes quite often in my student house. It’s cheap, it’s delicious and easy to make for when you eat with loads of people. Because I’ve baked pancakes with so may different people, I’ve had lots of discussions about what the best way is to bake apple pancakes. I was surprised to find that people can have very, very strong opinions about this.

Which way is the best way to make an apple pancake? Let’s find out:

There’s three basic shapes in which you can add the apple:

Traditional:  remove the core and cut ‘m so you get circular apple slices.

Lazy: cut up the apple in pieces

Experimental: use a peeler to make thin apple slices

Once you’ve decided on a shape, there’s two ways you can actually make the pancake: Do you first put in the batter and then the apple? Or do you first bake the apple and then pour the batter on top of it?

That gives us six different options for making apple pancakes:

Baking apple pancakes
Baking apple pancakes six different ways
  1. Traditional – Batter First
  2. Traditional – Apple First
  3. Lazy – Batter First
  4. Lazy – Apple First
  5. Experimental – Batter First
  6. Experimental – Apple First






The results: 

Traditional: batter first (left) apple first (right)
Traditional: Batter First (left) and Apple First (right)
  • Traditional – Batter First 

The apple lies on top of the batter, and when you move the pan around to equalize the batter across the surface, some batter ends up on top of the apple slices. That helps with turning the pancake over without losing the apple. When you eat the pancake, you get a strong apple flavour because the apple’s been sliced quite thickly. But you don’t get apple in each bite. You can’t roll up the pancake, in case you’d want to take it to work for lunch or something.

  • Traditional – Apple First 

The apple is in the pan and the batter is poured over and around it. The apple is surrounded by batter, but is not a part of the pancake.  Once the batter has set, you flip over the pancake at least one slice of apple is left behind. I’ve tried it a couple of times for the experiment, but every time at least one slice didn’t want to be flipped. It tasted nice, but the pancake has a large hole.



  • Lazy – Batter First

    Lazy: Batter First (left) and Apple First (right)
    Lazy: Batter First (left) and Apple First (right)

By cutting up the apple in to pieces, you get an equal distribution of apple across the pancake. You’ve got to be quick with the apple-adding because once the surface becomes more solid, the apple stick to the pancake and just fall off. The result is nice, because you get a bit of apple in almost every bite. And you have the added benefit of being able to roll up the pancake, in case you wanted to eat it elsewhere.

  • Lazy – Apple First

You get the same distribution across the pan, but when you pour the batter on top, the pieces are moved around. So you don’t get a nice and even distribution of apple. The apple is better integrated into the pancake, compared to when you first pour in the batter.



  • Experimental – Batter First

    Experimental: batter first (left) apple first (right)
    Experimental: batter first (left) apple first (right)

By using a slicer, you get very thin slices of apple. This means that you can spread it out very well across the surface of the pancake batter. The slices are light, so they stick well and don’t fall of when you flip the pancake. However, because the slices are so thin, you don’t get a very strong apple flavour.

  • Experimental – Apple First

Same as with the little pieces of apple: the batter moves the apple around so the result is a very localized apple instead of an even distribution. The flavour of the apple isn’t very pronounced, but the apple does stick well to the batter.



It is always best to first pour the batter, and put the apple on top of the pancake.

You get the best apple flavour from the traditional way, but if you don’t get it in every bite. The Lazy- Batter First method gives a good apple flavour in every bite and the pancakes are easy to roll up.


What is your preferred method and what is your favourite pancake variation? 

2 thoughts on “The best way to make apple pancakes

  1. Here is another method: in a separate dish mix some batter with the apple (pieces/slices whatever). So when you add these to the pan, they already have batter all over! The same goes for raisins.

  2. I usually don’t make apple pancakes but yet another option would be to bake the apples separately and add them as a topping after baking the pancakes. With friends a long time ago we added batter first, then pancake and then some more batter to cover the apple to make sure it really became part of the pancake. I believe that helped as well to make sure you didn’t lose the apple when turning.
    And some of your science training must have stuck. 😉

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