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Finnish Pancakes – The Only Recipe You Need for ‘Lettu’!

Lettu, lätty, plätty, ohukainen and räiskäle. What are these Finnish words? They all mean the same thing: the incredibly delicious, thin, Finnish pancake. It’s a must to try when in Finland!

You know that popular question “What would you eat as your last meal“, right? My answer in a heartbeat: Finnish pancakes with strawberry jam and whipped cream!

At their best, Finnish pancakes combine crispness and soft texture with the flavor of open-fire cooking. They are insanely tasty. I would even say that they are addictive.

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How to Make Finnish Pancakes

Finnish pancakes are ridiculously easy to make. Ok, let’s be honest here, all my recipes are ridiculously easy because that’s the only style of cooking I do.

Finnish pancakes can be done on your kitchen stove or open fire. I totally understand if open fire is not possible for you!

In Finland, pancakes are such a Finnish food staple that many cabins and houses have an open fire place and a big flat frying pan perfect for Finnish pancakes.

Finnish pancake recipe

Recipe for 10 Finnish Pancakes

This is the Finnish pancake recipe my family uses. I always make this amount in double because ten pancakes aren’t enough in this household.

There’s an old Finnish saying: “Siitähän tulee vain vihaiseksi”, which roughly translates as “That only makes you angry”!

I have put the names of the ingredients in Finnish. If you want to learn a bit of Finnish, this is a fun opportunity to do so!

The Finnish names are also handy if you are in Finland, and trying to find the ingredients in a Finnish grocery store.

Oh, and one last thing before we dive into the recipe. Finnish pancakes are best straight off the press. This is a dish that should be eaten immediately!

Finnish Pancakes Recipe with Finnish Measurements

  • 2 eggs (muna)
  • 5 dl milk (maito)
  • 1,5 dl all-purpose baking flour (puolikarkea vehnäjauho)
  • 0,5 dl barley flour (ohrajauho)
  • 0,5 dl melted butter (voi)
  • Half a teaspoon of salt (suola)

Finnish Pancakes Recipe with American Measurements

  • 2 eggs (muna)
  • 2 cups milk (maito)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose baking flour (puolikarkea vehnäjauho)
  • 1/4 cup barley flour (ohrajauho)
  • 1/4 cup runny butter (voi)
  • Half a teaspoon of salt (suola)

This no-fuzz batter is so flexible! If you cannot find barley flour, just use regular baking flour for the full amount of flour used in this recipe. I always use butter if I can, but I don’t have it, I substitute it with oil (for example, rypsiöljy in Finnish).

Here we go!

Mix everything with a whisk until smooth. Leave the ready batter to sit at least 30 minutes before frying the pancakes. This makes all the difference!

Time-saving tip: The batter doesn’t go bad, some busy mums do the mixture in the morning and leave it in the fridge for the whole day.

Heat the pan. If you are cooking on the stove, I use almost maximum heat when I start and adjust the heat after the first pancake.

Melt a teaspoon of butter on the hot pan and pour some batter after the butter has melted. Wait a while until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown and flip to get the same brownness for the top side.

Here is a must-know thing so that you don’t panic: the first pancake will look bad. It becomes over or undercook and usually a bit oddly shaped too. It’s impossible to make it perfect!

That’s why Finnish kids always yell: “The second lettu is for me – Toinen lettu on mulle!” 

Finnish pancakes from Finland by Her Finland blog
Finnish pancakes letut recipe from Finland by Her Finland blog

If you are making Finnish pancakes on open fire, the pancakes can be huge! Don’t worry if you mess up with the flipping, I sometimes do too. It doesn’t matter, the taste is equally good.

Serve the Finnish pancakes with strawberry or raspberry jam and whipped cream. Sometimes we replace whipped cream with whipped vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream.

Most Common Questions about Finnish Pancakes

Why my Finnish pancakes became rubbery?

If your pancakes become rubbery, try using less flour and make sure that you are using enough heat when pan-frying them.

Can I make Finnish pancakes gluten-free?

Absolutely! Yes, you can make these pancakes gluten-free. All-purpose gluten-free flour or buckwheat flour will work well. The pancakes will be more delicate when gluten-free flour is used.

Classic Finnish pancake recipe

Finnish Pancakes vs Crepes

As a Finn, I taste a big difference between Finnish pancakes and crepes. I think there are three reasons for this is:

  • Crepes tend to be very light in color. Often, they are not as golden brown as their Finnish cousins.
  • The classic crepes recipe includes just eggs, flour and liquid, no butter.
  • Butter, milk and flour have different tastes in every country

Finnish Pancakes vs Finnish Oven Pancake

Yes, this can be confusing! There are two types of pancakes in Finland:

The name is, literally, pan = pannu and cake = kakku, just like in English. In Ostrobothnia region, this dish is called kropsu so you would be making kropsua instead of pannukakkua.

  • The pan-fried, thin pancakes aka this recipe. These pancakes are not called pancakes at all! Lettu and lätty are the most popular names for this tasty dish.

Finnish baking magic

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How to Find Finnish Pancakes in Finland

Most restaurants specialized in Finnish food have Finnish pancakes on their dessert menu. Also, especially during the summertime, you can order pancakes at the market square cafés of most Finnish towns.

Have you tried Finnish pancakes? Or are you going to make them soon? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more Finnish recipes? Check out some of my other Finnish food posts:

About Varpu
I’m the founder of Her Finland. I love mornings, Moomins, libraries and cinnamon buns. My oldest passion: spotting funny things. My newest interest: bird songs. Read more about me..

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Tracy

Monday 29th of November 2021

Do you add any cooking oil or butter in the cast iron skillet before adding the dough? If I remember correctly, my grandma used to. She's gone now so I can't ask her, and my uncle just wings the recipe lol

Varpu

Thursday 9th of December 2021

Hei Tracy, a wonderful question! Yes, I add butter in the cast iron skillet every time before I pour the dough. <3 Enjoy!!!

Christine Earley

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

So glad to find this. My mother always called it plätty. We'd sprinkle some sugar on them. Can't wait to try it out.

Varpu

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

Yess! These are the best! Kiitos for sharing <3

Shelley Kerber

Monday 12th of July 2021

My grandmother came from Rovaniemi in the early 1900s and always called it kropsua, not pannukakkua. She was not from Ostrobothnia.

Varpu

Thursday 15th of July 2021

Hei Shelley! Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it!

k

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

Hi, Varpu! I learned about lettu recently (from a Finnish dog's social media account) and had to try them the very next day. I've never been fond of crepes, and I was so pleased to find out how different and delicious these are. Today, I tucked cottage cheese, peaches, and cherries into reheated lettu - such a pleasure for a weekday morning. Other recipes I found didn't contain butter, so here's my question for you: is it common for Finnish cooks to add melted butter to the batter? I'm not complaining - certainly, I think my tastebuds prefer it! I hope to be able to try them on an open fire this summer. Thanks again!

Varpu

Thursday 15th of July 2021

Hei there! Thank you so much for your comment, I'm so happy you are enjoying lettus, they are my favorite. I think there are as many lettu recipes as there are families in Finland! I also know recipes without the butter. Unfortunately, I don't know which one is more popular! <3

Dorothy Mugge

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

Do you have to use barley flour in this recipe?

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