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Pancakes vs. Crumpets — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Urooj Arif — Published on February 21, 2024
Pancakes are thin, flat cakes made from a runny batter, known for their smooth surface. Crumpets are thicker, with a spongy texture and distinctive holes on the top, made from a thicker yeast-leavened batter and cooked in a ring mold.
Pancakes vs. Crumpets — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Pancakes and Crumpets


Key Differences

Pancakes and crumpets are both popular griddle cakes but differ significantly in ingredients, texture, and cooking methods. Crumpets, traditionally British, have a more specific recipe involving flour, milk or water, and yeast, contributing to their thicker consistency and characteristic holes.
Pancakes have a wide range of variations across cultures but are generally made from a batter of flour, eggs, milk, and a leavening agent like baking powder, resulting in thin, soft, and fluffy rounds with a smooth surface. They are versatile, served with various toppings like syrup, fruit, or butter, and can be made quickly, making them a popular choice for breakfasts and desserts.
The holes on crumpets are formed by the yeast fermentation process, creating bubbles that rise to the surface and burst, leaving behind a porous texture ideal for absorbing butter, honey, or jam. Crumpets are cooked slowly in ring molds, allowing the batter to set and rise, which is key to developing their unique texture.
Pancakes are enjoyed for their light, tender texture and adaptability to sweet or savory flavors, whereas crumpets are prized for their chewy, spongy texture and the way they deliciously soak up toppings. The choice between them often comes down to personal preference and the occasion, with pancakes offering a quick, customizable option and crumpets providing a distinct, comforting treat, especially when toasted and buttered.

Comparison Chart


Flour, eggs, milk, baking powder
Flour, milk/water, yeast


Light, fluffy, and soft
Thick, spongy with holes on top

Cooking Method

Cooked on a hot griddle or pan without molds
Cooked in ring molds to maintain shape and thickness


Smooth, can be golden brown
Porous top with visible holes, typically pale

Leavening Agent

Baking powder or baking soda
Yeast, allowing for fermentation


Served with a variety of toppings; can be sweet or savory
Traditionally served toasted with butter, honey, or jam


Various global variations
British origin

Preparation Time

Quick to mix and cook
Longer due to yeast fermentation process

Compare with Definitions


Enjoyed worldwide with regional variations.
American pancakes are thicker and fluffier compared to the French crêpes.


Characterized by holes on the top surface.
The holes in the crumpets are perfect for holding delicious pools of honey.


Quick and easy to prepare.
Pancakes are a popular choice for a fast, satisfying meal.


Traditionally British, often served toasted.
Toasted crumpets are a comforting tea-time snack in the UK.


A thin, flat cake cooked on a griddle, known for its versatility.
Pancakes are often topped with maple syrup and fresh berries for breakfast.


Requires ring molds for cooking.
The batter was poured into ring molds to maintain the crumpets' shape.


Can be sweet or savory.
Savory pancakes might include ingredients like corn or cheese.


A thick, yeast-leavened griddle cake with a spongy texture.
Crumpets soaked up the melted butter, enhancing their flavor.


Made from a batter without yeast.
The pancake batter rose quickly with baking powder, ready for the griddle.


Involves a fermentation process.
The crumpet batter fermented overnight, developing its characteristic texture.


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.


A small flat round of bread, baked on a griddle and usually served toasted.

Common Curiosities

Can pancakes be made without eggs?

Yes, pancakes can be made without eggs, using alternatives like banana or commercial egg replacers to bind the ingredients.

What makes the holes in crumpets?

The holes in crumpets are formed by the air bubbles created during the yeast fermentation process.

Are crumpets and English muffins the same?

No, crumpets and English muffins differ in texture and ingredients; English muffins are more bread-like and cooked on both sides, while crumpets are spongier and cooked only on one side.

How do you store leftover pancakes and crumpets?

Both can be refrigerated or frozen, with pancakes best reheated on a pan or toaster and crumpets toasted to revive their texture.

Why do my homemade crumpets not have holes?

Lack of holes can result from the batter being too thick, under-fermentation, or cooking at too low a temperature, preventing the bubbles from forming properly.

Can pancake batter be used to make crumpets?

Pancake batter, due to its lack of yeast and thinner consistency, won't produce the same spongy texture and holes typical of crumpets.

What's the origin of pancakes and crumpets?

Pancakes have ancient origins and are found in many cultures worldwide, with variations in ingredients and thickness. Crumpets originated in the United Kingdom and have been a staple part of British tea time for centuries.

Why do crumpets need to be cooked at a lower temperature than pancakes?

The lower cooking temperature for crumpets allows the yeast time to create air bubbles and the batter to cook through without burning, ensuring the development of their characteristic holes and spongy texture.

Can you make crumpets without ring molds?

While possible, using ring molds helps maintain the traditional shape and thickness of crumpets, ensuring even cooking and the development of holes.

What's the best way to eat crumpets?

Crumpets are best enjoyed toasted with butter, which melts into the holes, although jam, honey, or even cheese can also be delicious toppings.

How do you achieve the perfect flip with pancakes?

Wait until bubbles form on the surface and the edges appear set, then use a wide spatula to quickly and confidently flip the pancake, cooking until both sides are golden brown.

Is there a vegan version of crumpets?

Yes, vegan crumpets can be made by substituting plant-based milk for dairy and ensuring no animal-derived ingredients are used in the yeast or other additives.

Are pancakes or crumpets healthier?

The nutritional value depends on the specific ingredients used, but generally, both can be part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation and made with wholesome ingredients.

What's the best way to serve pancakes for a large group?

Keep cooked pancakes warm in a low oven on a baking sheet until ready to serve, allowing you to cook batches in advance and serve everyone at once.

Can you add flavors or mix-ins to pancake and crumpet batters?

Yes, both pancake and crumpet batters can be customized with flavors like vanilla or cinnamon and mix-ins such as blueberries or chocolate chips for pancakes. For crumpets, it's best to add flavors to the batter rather than mix-ins to preserve the texture.

Is buttermilk necessary for pancakes?

Buttermilk is not strictly necessary but is often used for its acidic properties, which react with the baking soda to create a fluffier texture. Milk with a little vinegar or lemon juice can be used as a substitute.

How can you tell when crumpets are fully cooked?

Crumpets are ready when the tops are full of holes, the surface appears dry, and the edges are slightly lifted from the ring molds, indicating that the middle is cooked through.

Do pancakes or crumpets freeze better?

Both pancakes and crumpets freeze well. Pancakes can be reheated in a toaster or oven, while crumpets are best toasted from frozen to refresh their texture.

Are there savory versions of pancakes and crumpets?

Yes, both pancakes and crumpets can be adapted for savory versions. Pancakes can incorporate ingredients like corn, cheese, or herbs, and savory toppings like smoked salmon or cheese can complement crumpets.

Can crumpets be made with gluten-free flour?

Yes, crumpets can be made with gluten-free flour blends designed for baking, though the texture may vary slightly from traditional crumpets.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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