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 rather than use a standard frying 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 five 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.
Best pancake pans 2020
Eaziglide 25cm non-stick pancake pan
Best non-stick pancake pan
Eaziglide’s USP is that the non-stick surface is so good, you don’t need to use oil or butter. Credit where it’s due, the non-stick surface of this pan is impressive, but being traditionalists we found the pancake tasted better when cooked with oil and butter.
The ‘Neverstick2’ coating is designed to be durable and is layered to give the pan longevity. The pan heats quickly and evenly, and the pancake swirled nicely in the pan with a few rotations of the wrist.
The pan is lightweight and easy to control, and while the handle isn’t rubberised, it is long, tapered and feels comfy in the hand. This pan is in the mid-price range, and at 25cm in diameter, would easily double as a good multi-use frying pan.
Tefal Expertise 25cm pancake pan
Best pancake pan for handle design
This shallow pan has a good-sized lip and really comfy handle – the slightly tapered design feels very comfy and the plastic protects your hands from the heat of a batch-cooking pancake marathon. It’s also oven-safe for up to an hour.
The pan is well constructed and features Tefal’s signature Thermospot technology – a spot that changes colour when the pan is at optimum cooking temperature. Add to this the Titanium Excellence non-stick coating and you have a pancake lover’s perfect pan.
The finished effect of the pancake was excellent, golden and evenly cooked. A little more of an investment, but a solid purchase.
Le Creuset toughened non-stick 24cm crêpe pan
Best blowout pancake pan
This is a big outlay for such a niche product. But this robust pan is a quality piece of kit that could be used to fry when you don’t want to use too much oil, such is the quality of the non-stick surface.
It feels heavy considering its diminutive 24cm size, plus it packs a punch in the heat distribution stakes, getting up to temperature quickly, evenly and efficiently.
The lip has a good curve so pancakes are easy to flip, we just needed to slightly tease the pancake off the surface and we were away. All told, this is a buy for serious pancake fans.
Nordic Ware Silver Dollar pancake pan
Best pancake pan for fluffy, American-style pancakes
This specialist pan can be used with any pancake recipe but we think it makes excellent fluffy American pancakes. We tested it using our American blueberry pancakes recipe and found the circular cavities produced even, golden, perfectly round pancakes.
The pan is lightweight but robust and the cast aluminium heats quickly and evenly. American pancakes sometimes contain sugar, which can cause them to catch on the pan, but we found the pan reacted quickly to the temperature being turned down.
This is definitely a niche product, but the pan could be used to make fried eggs, blinis and fritters too. If you’re big on brunch or have a family of pancake lovers to feed, this pan is for you. However, do note it’s unsuitable for induction hobs.
Why buy a specialist pancake pan
The pancake pans that passed our test all have great non-stick credentials, but they 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 January 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.
Which pan do you use to make pancakes? We’d love to hear your product recommendations in the comments below…