Making perfect pancakes requires a foolproof recipe, a touch of flipping flair and ideas for delicious fillings, plus the right tools. A good non-stick pan is an absolute essential, but true pancake aficionados may wish to go one better and invest in a specialist pancake pan.
Reasons to buy a pancake or crêpe pan include the shallow lip that aids flipping, the optimum non-stick surface, the thin, flat metal base for quick heat distribution and even cooking, plus the perfect surface area. The pan can multi-task and serve as a really good frying pan, too.
We put pancake pans to the test to bring you our favourite products. You may also want to check out our review of the best tools for Pancake Day to find whisks, moulds, spatulas and more, plus visit our reviews section to find over 400 buyer’s guides.
The best pancake pans to buy online in 2021
Le Creuset 24cm toughened non-stick crêpe pan
Best blowout pancake pan
If the high price tag makes you wince, be assured the Le Creuset crêpe pan is of the highest quality, with its three-layer reinforced non-stick surface, so smooth you will need little or no oil or butter for cooking. It heats evenly across the pan in no time at all. And, with the help of gentle lip up the sides, flipping pancakes was smooth and easy.
The pan is reasonably light given how robustly made it is. The curved stainless-steel handle is riveted firmly onto the pan and lovely to hold, and also hollow, so does not get hot.
The pan was the most expensive on the test but will serve you well for frying and griddling; is ovenproof to 260C; dishwasher-safe – but not needed as it cleans with just a wipe – and comes with a lifetime guarantee, so is a superb investment piece.
Kuhn Rikon Cucina 22cm non-stick crêpe pan
Best budget pancake pan
The Kuhn Rikon crêpe pan may have a budget price tag, but do not be fooled, this is a cracking pan and turns out a great pancake in no time.
The pan is made from aluminium making it super-light, a great heat conductor but unfortunately does not work on induction, all other heat sources are fine. At only 22cm it is relatively small but still big enough for a decent-sized pancake.
The pan heats up extraordinarily fast, so care is needed not to burn thin crêpes by keeping the heat low to medium. The handle is plastic which also adds to the lightness, and with its good non-stick surface, our pancakes soared.
Surprisingly, the pan comes with a 2-year guarantee making it an absolute bargain for the price.
Netherton spun iron crêpe pan 26cm
- Available from Netherton Foundry (£58.20)
Best handcrafted pan
The Netherton crêpe pan is hand-made of spun iron in Shropshire and comes pre-seasoned with flax oil and ready to use out of the packaging, with just a quick rinse needed.
The pan is lighter than it looks, and with its comfy oak handle and gentle flared side, it is perfect for easily flipping a crêpe. The pan can also be used for other cooking and frying.
Thanks to the spun iron, the pan heats rapidly and evenly, including up the side. It needs nothing more than a low to medium heat to make evenly, beautifully coloured pancakes.
No dishwasher here; wash the pan without detergent to keep from damaging the lovely surface which builds up over time. The seasoning will need repeating from time to time, but you will be rewarded with a beautiful, non-stick, multi-purpose pan that will last for years to come.
Judge crêpe pan 22cm
The best pancake pan for flipping
If there’s one attribute important in a pancake pan, it’s the ability to flip that pancake up in the air effortlessly with just enough oomph to launch it and turn it over and for this, the Judge crêpe pan is the one.
The 22cm pan has a super smooth Xylan Plus coating and comes with a 10-year guarantee. There’s a heat resistant handle, and with a reasonable weight to the pan, holds really well. And, washing-up is a dream, even after testing both American pancakes and crêpes, it only needed a quick wipe, but it is dishwasher-safe if you must.
It is the pan’s flipping qualities that make it a standout. All the above are essential, but this pan has a smart lip on the rim near the handle, which is like a starting block for the pancake, as you flip, the pancake slides up it and gracefully flies into the air. We loved it.
Nordic Ware smiley face pancake pan
Best pancake pan for fun designs
This pan is excellent quality and makes delicious American-style pancakes that will make you smile; there are seven cute, cheeky, funny faces on the pan to choose from and keep the whole family happy.
Unfortunately, the pan is made from cast aluminium so, is not suitable for induction hobs. It has a robust non-stick surface, so all that is needed for the pancake is the lightest brush of oil or butter; we found that a brush worked better for this job as it got nicely into the crevices of the faces.
We needed to cook several pancakes to get the amount of batter right – a good tablespoon; we finally settled at medium for the cooking heat as any hotter the little faces burned. Three minutes on each side gave a lovely, fluffy pancake with good colour.
The pan is only suitable for making this pancake style, so it is quite pricey, but it will provide hours of fun.
Prestige eco non-stick 24cm frying pan
Best pancake pan with eco credentials
Prestige makes a bold claim with their eco pan, claiming it is the world’s friendliest, plant-based, non-stick, good-for-you-and-the-planet pan. It’s PFOA and palm oil-free, and for every pan sold they plant a tree. It is made with recycled material and is fully recyclable. Oh, and it makes excellent pancakes.
The pan is ostensibly a frying pan, but the super, silky non-stick, beautifully curved sides and soft-grip cool handle make it ideal for pancakes.
For the American style, the pan is roomy enough to cook four at a time while still easy to turn over. With the crêpes, the batter swirls smoothly over the surface, and when flipping, they fly like a dream.
The pan is one of the few on the test which is dishwasher-safe, and even at the low price comes with a 5-year guarantee.
Circulon Infinite French skillet 25cm
- Available from Circulon (£35.50)
Best multi-purpose pan
It is more than possible to make crêpes and pancakes in a frying pan, especially one with the promised non-stick system here. Little oil or butter is needed, and the heavy-based pan heats up evenly right across in seconds.
The pan has low-high grooves across the surface which anchors the crêpe in place, stopping it slipping around, but no way sticks it down.
It’s a French skillet rather than frying pan meaning it has higher, gently curving sides that the crêpe flies up, flips over and lands effortlessly back in the pan in a flash.
It’s reassuringly weighty, but not heavy, and has a comfortable curving handle that makes it very easy to lift and move around. Here is an excellent multi-purpose pan that also makes beautiful pancakes, so if space (or cost) is a consideration, this does the job of several pans in one.
Nordic Ware silver dollar pancake pan
Best pancake pan for American-style pancakes
The heavy cast aluminium pan heats rapidly and evenly, requiring only a medium heat, though if the heat is a little too high, it responds quickly to turning down. Though it is called a heavy cast, the pan is, in fact, light and has a long, heatproof handle.
The American pancakes tested were the best on the test. The super non-stick coating meant we used very little oil for cooking.
The pancakes rose beautifully and were the right side of a golden colour and nicely set after 3 minutes, making turning over with a small silicone spatula so easy. Breakfast may never be the same again with these light, fluffy pancakes on the table.
Silverwood 29.5cm griddle pan
Best for versatility
This lovely looking griddle is handcrafted in Birmingham and could quickly become a kitchen favourite given its versatility. With care, the griddle can be used for crêpes, but even better will cook drop scones, Welsh cakes, blinis, and on and on.
The downside for some, though, is the griddle is not induction friendly. If you do have the right heat source, it has amazingly fast, even heating. The American pancakes were light and fluffy with an even colour, and after a few attempts of not letting the batter run over the edge, we managed impeccable crêpes too.
The griddle has a lovely basket-style handle which is safe and secure for moving even when hot, and better still, folds away for easy storage. The griddle washes up easily in hot, soapy water, which is just as well as dishwashers are a no-no.
If you don’t have an induction hob, this versatile griddle can be used for pancakes and much more beyond.
Why buy a specialist pancake pan?
The pancake pans that passed our test all have great non-stick credentials, but also have a flat, shallow design with a small lip to help flip the pancake.
The heat of the pan is very important when making pancakes – pancake pans are often thinner than regular frying pans so they conduct heat quickly and efficiently.
In a similar vein, handles are likely to get very hot during a batch cooking session, so rubberised or plastic handles are common to protect your hand. A tapered handle will also feel more comfortable in the hand.
A pancake pan can also double up as a general use fryer. They’re particularly good if you like to cook with minimal oil – some of them barely need any at all. Recipes like omelettes are ideal for pancake pans as the shallow sides will help them slide out easily onto the plate.
Which pancake pan to buy
- Consider how you’ll be using this pan. If you just want to use it to make crêpes and pancakes, you can go for a smaller size (around the 24cm mark). However, if you want this to double up as a fryer, go for a larger diameter.
- If you’ll be using this pan frequently, opting for a material like reinforced cast metal should ensure longevity.
- The non-stick coating is of paramount importance. Among our sample were a number of heavy duty, cast iron, skillet-style pans that had no non-stick coating. While this ‘natural’ finish has its benefits in some ways, it’s a no-no when it comes to pancake making – we found ours just stuck to the bottom and had to be scraped off.
- Most of the pans we tested were suitable for all hob types, including induction. However, the Nordic Ware skillet and some other pans had to be tested on gas. Do check before buying to ensure the pan is suitable for your cooker.
How we tested pancake pans
We reviewed a representative sample of pancake pans and scored them against the following criteria on our testing matrix. We used our foolproof easy pancake recipe to test the pans, plus our fluffy American pancake recipe.
Pancake-making sessions can last a while, especially when you have a big batch of batter. We looked for a handle that was comfortable, didn’t get too hot and could be easily gripped – rubber or plastic handles work well on this front. We also liked handles that had a notch for hanging.
We expect pancake pans to heat up quickly and evenly. If the finished pancake had darker spots or cooked quicker in certain parts of the pan, we marked the product down.
The non-stick surface
Arguably the most important criteria for pancake pans. We looked for a surface that allowed us to easily tease the pancake up to be turned or flipped. We looked for a PFOA-free coating and discounted any pans that omitted an unpleasant chemical smell, even after being washed several times.
Ease of flipping
We judged the pans on how easy the pancakes were to flip – both the handle comfort and shape and size of the lip are important here. A shallow, well-angled lip is ideal.
Finished effect of the pancake
Golden, evenly cooked, nicely round pancakes were what we were after – any burnt spots were taken into account.
Ease of cleaning
We judged how well the pans could be cleaned with hot soapy water and a sponge.
Pancake recipes and tips
This review was last updated in February 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which pan do you use to make pancakes? We’d love to hear your product recommendations in the comments below…