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Pancake vs. Flapjacks — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 28, 2024
Pancakes are thin, flat cakes made from a batter and cooked on a griddle or frying pan, often enjoyed with syrup or toppings; flapjacks in the U.S. refer to pancakes, but in the UK, they are oat bars baked with syrup and butter.
Pancake vs. Flapjacks — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Pancake and Flapjacks


Key Differences

Pancakes are typically made from a batter that includes eggs, flour, milk, and baking powder, creating a light and fluffy texture; whereas in the U.S., flapjacks are another term for these same pancakes, but in the UK, flapjacks are dense, chewy oat bars.
While pancakes are usually served hot with toppings like syrup, butter, or fruit, British flapjacks are often cooled and cut into squares, commonly enjoyed as a snack or quick breakfast.
The preparation of pancakes involves cooking them on a hot surface until golden brown on each side; on the other hand, British flapjacks are baked in an oven, which caramelizes the syrup and binds the oats together.
Pancakes can be adapted to include a variety of additional ingredients like blueberries, chocolate chips, or nuts, enhancing their flavor and texture; whereas flapjacks can also be varied by adding dried fruits, seeds, or nuts to the oat mixture.
While pancakes are often associated with breakfast and sometimes dinner in North America, flapjacks in the UK are regarded more as a sweet treat or energy bar, suitable for any time of day.

Comparison Chart


Thin, flat cakes from batter
US: Same as pancakes; UK: Baked oat bars

Main Ingredients

Flour, eggs, milk, baking powder
US: Same as pancakes; UK: Oats, butter, syrup

Cooking Method

Fried on griddle or pan
US: Same as pancakes; UK: Baked in oven


Soft and fluffy
US: Same as pancakes; UK: Chewy and dense

Common Servings

Breakfast, with syrup, fruits, or cream
US: Same as pancakes; UK: Snack, often with fruits

Compare with Definitions


Can be sweet or savory depending on added ingredients.
She enjoys her pancakes with fresh berries and yogurt.


Consumed as an energy snack.
Flapjacks are popular among cyclists for quick energy.


A thin, round cake made from batter and cooked on both sides.
Pancakes are often topped with maple syrup.


Often includes additional ingredients like dried fruits.
Flapjacks with raisins and seeds are nutritious snacks.


Variations include buttermilk, buckwheat, and blueberry.
Buttermilk pancakes are richer than the standard type.


A sweet tray-baked bar made from oats, butter, and syrup.
She packed some flapjacks for the hike.


Part of many national cuisines under different names.
French crêpes are thinner than American pancakes.


Known for their chewy texture.
Homemade flapjacks are chewier than the store-bought ones.


Often eaten for breakfast in many cultures.
Pancakes are a favorite for Sunday brunch.


Not to be confused with pancakes.
In the UK, flapjacks are very different from pancakes.


A pancake (or hotcake, griddlecake, or flapjack, not to be confused with oat bar flapjacks) is a flat cake, often thin and round, prepared from a starch-based batter that may contain eggs, milk and butter and cooked on a hot surface such as a griddle or frying pan, often frying with oil or butter. Archaeological evidence suggests that pancakes were probably the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies.The pancake's shape and structure varies worldwide.


See pancake.


A thin, flat cake of batter, fried on both sides in a pan and typically rolled up with a sweet or savoury filling
Crispy pancakes filled with cheese
Pancake batter


Chiefly British A hard or chewy bar traditionally made from oats and brown sugar, softened with butter and golden syrup, and then baked.


Make-up consisting of a flat solid layer of compressed powder, used especially in the theatre.


Plural of flapjack; pancakes.


(with reference to an aircraft) make or cause to make a pancake landing
The plane landed, pancaking down on the runway


Flatten or become flattened
Hurley's car was pancaked


A thin cake made of batter that is poured onto a hot greased surface and cooked on both sides until brown. Also called flannel cake, flapjack, griddle cake, hotcake; also called regionally battercake.


To cause (an aircraft) to make a pancake landing.


To make a pancake landing.


To fall flat to the ground with great force, especially to collapse in such a way that higher floors or structures fall directly on the ones beneath.


A thin batter cake fried in a pan or on a griddle in oil or butter; in particular:


In England, an often unleavened cake similar to a crepe.


In the US (and e.g. Scotland), a leavened, thicker, fluffier cake.


(theater) A kind of makeup, consisting of a thick layer of a compressed powder.


(juggling) A type of throw, usually with a ring where the prop is thrown in such a way that it rotates round an axis of the diameter of the prop.


Anything very thin and flat.
Pancake lens


Composite leather made of scraps, glue and board, by extension of (4), material originally used for insoles, but later used also for heels and even soles.


A box on which an actor stands to make them appear taller.


(volleyball) A defensive play in which the ball bounces off the top of a hand that has been pressed flat against the floor.


(intransitive) To make a pancake landing.


To collapse one floor after another.


(transitive) To flatten violently.


A thin cake of batter fried in a pan or on a griddle; a griddlecake; a flapjack.


A flat cake of thin batter fried on both sides on a griddle

Common Curiosities

What are some common pancake toppings?

Syrup, fruits, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.

How are flapjacks different in the UK compared to the US?

In the UK, they are oat bars, while in the US, they refer to pancakes.

Are UK flapjacks considered a healthy snack?

They can be nutritious but are often high in sugar.

Can additional ingredients be mixed into pancake batter?

Yes, ingredients like blueberries or chocolate chips can be added.

Are flapjacks in the UK served warm or cold?

They are typically cooled and served at room temperature.

Can pancakes be served at times other than breakfast?

Yes, pancakes are sometimes served for dinner in North America.

What are the main ingredients in a pancake?

Eggs, flour, milk, and baking powder.

How do the textures of pancakes and UK flapjacks differ?

Pancakes are fluffy and soft, while UK flapjacks are chewy and dense.

What is the typical cooking method for pancakes?

They are usually fried on a griddle or in a frying pan.

Is there a vegan option for either pancakes or flapjacks?

Both can be made vegan by substituting plant-based ingredients.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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