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Flapjack vs Pancake: How Do They Differ?

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Are you more of a pancake or a flapjack person?

In the US, these two are considered to be the same thing. However, in the UK, there is a clear distinction between flapjacks and pancakes!

This article will explain the differences, overlap, and nutritional value of pancakes and flapjacks. As an extra, we’ll share the best flapjack and pancake recipes for your super sweet mornings!

Difference Between Flapjack and Pancake

The fundamental distinction between flapjacks and pancakes depends on whether you’re in the UK or US.


In the United Kingdom, flapjacks are rolled oat granola bars, whereas pancakes are thin and large cakes with crispy edges. They’re eaten wrapped or folded in triangles and filled with sweet and savory fillings.


In the US, pancakes and flapjacks are the same thing — fluffy, thick cakes piled on top of one another and enjoyed alongside fruits, syrup, or other sweet additions.

To better distinguish between the two, we must examine their ingredients, preparation methods, and serving styles in both the US and UK. Let’s go!

What Are Their Ingredients?

American pancakes/flapjacks are made of eggs, milk, flour, butter, and baking soda. British pancakes are made of eggs, milk, flour, and oil, either sunflower or vegetable. British flapjacks are made of rolled oats, brown sugar, golden syrup, and butter.

How Are They Prepared?

American pancakes/flapjacks are made by pouring the batter at the center of a frying pan without spreading the batter throughout the whole pan. The goal is to make more compact, fluffy cakes. When bubbles start to develop, the pancake needs to be flipped over and cooked until golden on both sides.

British pancakes, on the other hand, are made by pouring and spreading the batter across the whole pan to make them thinner and wider. Therefore, you must pour some batter into the pan and tilt it in circular motions to allow the batter to spread evenly throughout the pan.

British flapjacks are made by gently cooking all of the ingredients over low heat until a batter forms, then baking the mixture until brown. Once done, they are cut into squares and served.

How Are They Served?

American pancakes are frequently served with butter smeared on top and syrup poured over a stack of two or three pancakes. The most popular syrups for American pancakes are maple, simple syrup, grenadine, and corn syrup. Some people prefer to sprinkle honey or agave nectar on top. American pancakes are also enjoyed with fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

Traditional British pancakes are rolled or folded into triangles and stuffed with sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Other popular choices for pancake fillings are jam, Nutella, whipped cream, ice cream, caramel, or savory options like sour cream and smoked salmon.

British flapjack is a tasty delicacy that may be enjoyed with tea or coffee, packed in a lunch, or just enjoyed as a tasty snack. You may consume it as is or give your flapjack mixture a savory twist by adding a pinch of salt.

Flapjack vs Pancake Comparison Table

CategoryAmerican Pancake/FlapjackBritish PancakeBritish Flapjack
DefinitionFluffy, thick, and circular cake of cooked batterThin and wide circular cake of cooked batter with crispy edgesRolled oat granola bars
IngredientsEggs, milk, flour, butter, and baking sodaEggs, milk, flour, and oil, either sunflower or vegetableRolled oats, brown sugar, golden syrup, and butter
PreparationPouring the batter at the center of a frying pan without spreading the batter throughout the whole panPouring the batter into the pan and tilting it in circular motions to allow the batter to spread evenly throughout the panGently cooking the ingredients over low heat until a batter forms, then baking the mixture until brown
AppearanceRound, thick, fluffy, small, and golden-brownRound, thin, wide, and brighter in colorRectangular or square-shaped, crunchy, and golden-brown
Served withA stack of two or three pancakes topped with butter, syrup, honey, and fresh fruitRolled or folded into triangles and filled with sugar and lemon juice, jam, Nutella, caramel, ice cream, whipped cream, sour cream, or smoked salmonServed as-is or with a pinch of sprinkled salt on top

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

The nutritional table below shows that British pancakes are the healthiest option to go for — they have the least calories, carbs, and fat.

British flapjacks are the winners when it comes to salt level, but not so much when it comes to sugar. Clearly, American pancakes are the least nutrient-dense, but this is partly because of the butter and syrup that are typically offered alongside them. You can always serve them with fresh fruit and honey instead to make them more nutritious!

Flapjack vs Pancake: Nutritional Profile

Category (1 serving)American Pancake/Flapjack with butter and syrupBritish Pancake with sugar and lemon juiceBritish Flapjack

Recipe Time!

Now that you know all about the difference between American and British pancakes and flapjacks, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. We are going to be your best cooking guide. Let’s go!

Making American Pancakes

American Pancakes
American Pancakes

Batter Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 25g melted butter + a small knob more for cooking
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Serving Ingredients:

  • Butter cube
  • Maple syrup
  • Blueberries

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Begin by mixing the dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, sugar, and flour) into a large bowl. Then, take a separate bowl and combine the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, and melted butter). Once done, it’s time to combine the wet mixture with the dry one. Take a whisk and gradually add the wet mixture to the dry mixture while slowly whisking at the same time. Remove any lumps with a fork and continue whisking for a few more minutes. A mixer can also be used. After you’re finished, let the batter rest for a few minutes.

Cook the American pancakes over medium heat in a non-stick frying pan. Heat a knob of butter and oil and pour the batter in the center of the pan to form circles. Cook them for one to two minutes until you notice bubbles on the surface. Flip them over and cook them for no more than a minute. Once you’ve used all the batter, serve your American pancakes with maple syrup, butter, blueberries, or other toppings of your choice.

Making British Pancakes

British Pancakes
British Pancakes

Batter Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 100g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt and sugar
  • 300ml milk

Serving Ingredients:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Sugar

Cooking time: 30 minutes

In a large bowl, crush and whisk the eggs, add a pinch of salt and sugar, oil, and milk. Then, using a whisk or a mixer, slowly whisk the batter while incorporating the flour. Using a fork, scoop out any lumps. The batter should then be whisked further for a few seconds more before you let it rest for no more than 30 minutes.

In the meantime, oil up a non-stick frying pan and let it get all warmed up over medium heat. When the pan is heated, pour the pancake batter in the middle, tilt it slightly, and rotate the pan in circles to spread the batter evenly throughout the whole surface. Cook for one minute before turning the pancake over and cooking it for an additional 30 seconds or so on the other side. British pancakes should be rolled or folded into triangles and served with sugar, lemon wedges, or other delicious fillings.

Making British Flapjacks

British Flapjacks
British Flapjacks

Batter Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 6 oz unsalted butter + 1 tsp for cooking
  • 6 tbsp golden syrup

Serving Ingredients:

  • Salt

Cooking time: 35 minutes

First, preheat the oven to 350°F(180°C). Take the butter, grease a baking pan, and line the base with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, combine the butter and golden syrup and heat on medium until the butter has melted. Take the pan off the heat to add the oats and mix until a beautiful, thick batter is formed.

Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and spread it out evenly throughout. Bake your flapjacks for 25 minutes until they are golden brown, and once done, let them cool and harden. Then, cut the flapjacks into squares or rectangles. Enjoy them with a pinch of salt on top. Bon appetit!


The true distinction between flapjacks and pancakes largely depends on your location.

In the US, the term “flapjack” refers to what is most frequently and figuratively known as “pancakes.”

The term “flapjack” refers to a completely distinct baked item known as an oat-based granola bar in the UK.

Additionally, British pancakes aren’t as thick and fluffy as American ones. They are thin and wide and are either rolled or folded into triangles rather than being piled on top of one another.

Whatever you choose to name them or pick on the menu, we can agree that American pancakes, British flapjacks, and British pancakes all sound delicious.

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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