Food & Nutrition

Master Crêpes

Making these impossibly thin, perfectly round delicacies can be easier than you might imagine.

If you think of crêpes as something fussy and fancy, think again. These delicate-looking French pancakes are no more difficult than weekend flapjacks, if you know what you’re doing. The secret: Their thinner batter calls for a different cooking technique, and our step-by-step instructions walk you through it. Enjoy them as the basis of a light, sweet dessert or fill them with vegetables and protein for a main course. We start you off with both kinds of filling recipes, but once you get the hang of crêpe making, use your imagination and wrap them around virtually anything you like.

 

Ace your crêpes!


No fancy tools required A shallow 8-inch nonstick skillet works just fine. Use a thin-bladed spatula for flipping. (Silicone works well, since it’s soft enough to get under lacy edges without tearing them.)

Mix your batter early To make tender-yet-strong crêpes, the flour needs at least an hour to fully absorb the liquids. Prepare fillings while you wait.

All in the wrist The secret to thin, round crêpes: a smooth turn of the pan. Hold the skillet underhanded, ladle batter into the center, then tilt and swirl the pan until the batter sets. (If batter doesn’t flow easily, thin it with a little water.)

Timing is everything All flours react differently in the pan, but they all flip more easily if you wait until the top of the crêpe is dry and the edges are starting to brown. (Chickpea crêpes take longer than whole wheat, and may stick more.)

 

Make-ahead magic


Because you’re cooking them one at a time, making crêpes is tough on a weeknight. Instead, cook and freeze a double batch on a weekend afternoon, and you can have spur-of-the-moment crêpes anytime. To freeze, separate crêpes with wax paper or parchment paper. Stack, wrap well in plastic, and slide into a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months. To thaw, place the crêpes you need on a plate or cutting board—they should be ready in under an hour. (For quicker thawing, use the defrost setting on your microwave in 30-second blasts.) Reheat each crêpe briefly in a skillet on low heat, then fill.

 

More ways to fill crêpes

 

If you want something sweet...

 

  • Sliced berries and lowfat vanilla pudding
  • Fruit compote and fat-free whipped cream
  • Frozen yogurt and mini chocolate chips

 

Or, looking for a savory stuffing...

  • Curried chicken and vegetables
  • Shrimp, tomatoes, and garlic
  • Ham and eggs