The entire internet has gone absolutely crazy for these Japanese pancakes! They are so light, airy and tasty! A Japanese cloud pancake just became a staple at our house, so get out your egg whites and let’s give breakfast around the world a try!
Japanese cloud pancakes are fluffy and decadent, we are going to walk you through each step of making them. They require a little extra care and attention than traditional American buttermilk pancakes. They are worth every bit of effort though! Trust me on that!
What is a Japanese Cloud Pancake?
Japanese cloud pancakes, also known as soufflé pancakes, are delicate cottony pancakes. They are made by folding whipped egg whites into pancake batter so when they cook, they puff up like a soufflé.
I’ve decided that while the authentic pancake clearly uses a ring mold, I just do not have the time or mental capacity to worry about buying molds, spraying molds, filling molds AND cleaning molds. So! Here’s my tricky solution and should you wish to use molds, these seem to be the best buy: https://amzn.to/41KZYAw.
Instead, the key is to uses a nonstick pan that has a lid that will securely fit on the pan and add the batter in layers, allowing the first to begin to cook and then dolloping more on top. I know, I know, but it’s still easier for me than a mold. I’ll go into all the details below.
What Do I Need to Make Japanese Pancakes
Even though these are Japanese, you don’t need any exotic ingredients. In fact, you’ll probably have most of the ingredients in house already, and if not, everything can be found at your standard grocery store. Here is your ingredients list:
- Egg Yolk: adds structure and richness to the pancakes
- Sugar: adds sweetness
- Whole Milk: The milk must be whole milk. The fattier milk makes for a better souffle.
- Cake Flour: gives the pancakes a lighter texture then all purpose flour
- Baking Powder: acts as a leavening agent for the pancakes to give them some lift
- Vanilla Extract: adds flavor
For the Egg Whites
- Egg Whites: adds rise and fluffiness to the pancakes
- Cream of Tartar: helps stabilize the egg whites so they hold their fluffiness
- Sugar: adds sweetness
- Water: used to help cook the pancakes by adding steam
The measurements for all these ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to Make Japanese Cloud Pancakes
Here is your step by step guide to making Japanese cloud pancakes without a mold…
- Prepare batter by whisking the yolk and sugar in a large bowl until pale and then slowly whisk in the milk.
- Sift the flour over the top of the egg yolk mixture and then add the baking powder and vanilla. Whisk everything together until well combined.
- Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric stand mixer (or hand mixer) in a separate bowl until they are pale and frothy. Then add the sugar slowly and continue whipping until the egg whites become a thick meringue that hold a stiff peak.
- Combine the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture starting with one scoop of the egg whites and continuing with half of the remaining egg whites. Continue to whisk everything together being careful not to deflate the egg whites as you combine everything together.
- Fold in the last of the egg whites gently using a rubber spatula.
- Heat a large nonstick pan over low heat. Make sure the pan has a lid. Brush the pan with melted butter.
- NOTE: A souffle needs low gentle cooking, and I found medium low to be too hot.
- Drop scoops of the batter onto the pan far enough apart so that they have room to cook and won’t touch each other. Add the lid to the pan and let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add another scoop of batter to each pancake and small drops of water in the empty spaces of the pan. Cover with the lid again and cook for 4-5 more minutes.
- Lift the lid again and gently lift each pancake with a spatula and add one more scoop of batter to the top of each pancake and slowly flip the pancake onto the pan. Repeat with each pancake. Add the lid back to the pan and let the pancakes cook for 5-6 more minutes.
- When the pancakes are golden and cooked all the way through, carefully remove them from the pan and serve with your desired toppings (see section below for suggestions).
- NOTE: These pancakes will deflate as they sit! These are best made and eaten immediately!
These instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post in full detail. The recipe can be saved or printed from the recipe card as well.
Now Watch How to Make Japanese Cloud Pancakes…
Why are My Pancakes Flat?
If your pancakes never puff up like a soufflé, there could be a couple of reasons. First, your egg whites weren’t strong enough or weren’t whipped enough before adding them to the batter. You want to make sure they are stiff and hold a peak…no drooping! Second, when you combined the whipped egg whites with the batter, it was over mixed. Overmixing can cause the pancakes to deflate.
Why Did My Pancakes Puff Up and Then Deflate?
If you’ve ever made soufflés before, you will know that they all deflate eventually. As soufflés cook, they trap hot air inside of them which causes the rise and fluffiness. As the hot air cools and hot air escapes, the pancakes will deflate. This is why you want to make them and eat them immediately.
What to Put on Top of Cloud Pancakes
As with all pancakes, you can totally customize your toppings to your liking! Or better yet, set all the toppings out and let each person building their own pancake creation! For me, since the pancakes are so light and cloudlike, I like to keep my toppings light. I usually go with just a little powdered sugar, some fresh berries and maybe a little maple syrup. Here are more options:
- Buttermilk Syrup
- Whipped Cream
- Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Chips
- Sliced Bananas
- Chopped nuts, like pecans, almonds or walnuts
Storing Japanese Pancakes
Japanese cloud pancakes should be stored in fridge in an airtight container. They will keep for 2-3 days.
They are best reheated in the oven at a low heat. Set the oven to 200 degrees F and let them warm up for 5-10 minutes.
I do not recommend freezing them. They do not thaw well and the texture is completely different.
Make sure that your pancakes around the world adventure makes a stop in Japan because these fluffy Japanese pancakes have a texture that is unmatched! It is like taking a bite of perfectly sweet cloud that melts in your mouth.
More Pancake Recipes to Try:
- Buttermilk Pancakes
- Swedish Pancakes
- Oladi Ukrainian Pancakes
- Dutch Baby (German) Pancakes
- Finnish Pancakes
- Homemade Pancake Mix
Japanese Cloud Pancakes
- 1 Egg Yolk, large
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Whole Milk, must be whole milk
- 1/4 Cup Cake Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Dash Vanilla Extract
For the Egg Whites
- 2 Egg Whites, large
- 1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 Tablespoon Water, for steaming
- Whisk the egg yolk vigorously with 1 tablespoon of sugar until pale and frothy. Slowly whisk in the milk.1 Egg Yolk, 1 Tablespoon Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
- Sift in the flour so that it remains light and fluffy and add the baking powder and vanilla over the yolk mixture and whisk well one more time.1/4 Cup Cake Flour, 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder, 1 Dash Vanilla Extract
- In a bowl with an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy and pale.2 Egg Whites, 1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- Add the the sugar in a little at a time until the whites are whipped into a thick meringue that holds a peak.1 Tablespoon Sugar
- Take a scoop of the whipped egg whites and whisk it into the bowl with the yolks until completely incorporated. Add half of the remaining whites and whisk using a fat whisk into the yolk batter as well, being careful not to deflate.
- Gently add the egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites, and switch to a spatula to fold together gently. Heat a large non stick pan (with a lid) over low heat. A souffle needs low gentle cooking and I found medium low to be too hot.
- Lightly brush with melted butter or nonstick spray. Using an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, drop the batter onto the pan. Cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add some more batter on top of each pancake. Also, add 1 Tablespoon of the 2 Tablespoons water in three empty spaces inside the pan.2 Tablespoon Water
- Cover once again and continue to cook for 4-5 more minutes.
- Lift the lid and use a spatula to gently lift the pancake which should release easily.
- Add any batter leftover to the top of the pancakes and then gently and slowly flip. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Once the pancakes are golden and cooked through, gently remove and serve with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and maple syrup. Enjoy immediately! These pancakes will deflate as they sit! These are best made and eaten immediately!