Basic Crêpes

This is the standard batter that I use for so many of my crepes, both savory and sweet. To boost the “dessertiness” of the crêpes, add about 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the batter. I always use the blender to make crepe batter, but you can of course whisk together the batter by hand, if you like.

My advice is to make a double or triple batch of these crepes. Spend 45 peaceful minutes making them, and then tuck them into your freezer in packets of around eight crepes each. Then you’ll have the best fast-food option on the planet at your fingertips. If you’re new to crepe-making, prepare to mess up the first crepe (or even more) as you get the hang of swirling the batter into the pan, having your pan at the right temperature, and the timing. These are a popular after-school snack for kids lucky enough to live in crepe loving countries.

Incredible flavor comes from the addition of brown butter, or beurre noisette in French, which means “hazelnut butter.” It’s an apt name because the milk solids in the butter get toasted into a lovely mellow nuttiness. You can instead anoint the crepes with butter, sugar, and lemon. (See Variations following the recipe.)–Martha Holmberg

LC Fold, Flip, Flop, Or Otherwise Finagle Note

Yes, the making of crepes is pretty much dictated by precise techniques and turns of the wrist. But the folding, flopping, or otherwise finagling of crepes onto plates is a lot less defined. As author Martha Holmberg notes, “All ways are good. The key is to eat them right away while they’re warm, and watch out for dripping butter!” Amen to that. Still, it’s handy to have a few optional flourishes in your apron pocket. For beginners, you can simply flop a crepe on a plate, leaving it flat as a pancake, and call it a day, er, journée. Or you can stack two or three crepes on a plate for more robust appetites. Beyond that, you can simply fold a crepe over itself to create a half-moon. Or take that half-moon and flip it over again into quarters. Or roll it into a tight cylinder. We’re fairly certain there are more ambitious crepe shapes you could attempt—airplanes, anyone?—though the aforementioned options have proven to be more than sufficient for us.

Basic Crepes Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 30 M
  • Makes 15 to 18 crêpes

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan

Directions

  • 1. Place 1 3/4 cups milk, the eggs, and salt into a blender. Whiz for a few seconds to blend everything together. Remove the lid, add the flour, cover, and blend again until very smooth, about 20 seconds. Remove the lid, pour in the melted butter, cover, and whiz until combined, about 10 seconds more.
  • 2. Pour the batter into a large glass measuring cup with a spout (or a bowl that’s large enough to easily dip a 1/4-cup measuring cup into). Let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 24 hours. (If resting for more than 30 minutes, cover and stash the batter in the fridge.)
  • 3. When you’re ready to make the crepes, test the batter’s consistency; it should be as thick as heavy cream but not as thick as pancake batter. If it feels too thick, whisk in a little more milk at a time, using up to a 1/2 cup more.
  • 4. Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle upon contact. Using a folded paper towel, spread about 1/2 teaspoon butter around the interior of the pan. You want the pan to be sufficiently hot so that the butter sizzles upon contact, but not so hot that it instantly burns and turns brown.
  • 5. Pour about 1/4 cup crepe batter into the center of the pan and at the same time (or very shortly thereafter) lift the pan from the heat, tilting and turning it in all directions so the batter spreads evenly across the bottom of the pan into a thin circle. (If the crepe has any holes, quickly add a few drops of batter to fill them. Or if you’ve ladled in too much batter and the crepe looks too thick, immediately pour the excess back into the measuring cup or bowl of batter; if there’s a “tail” that’s left behind, you can trim that later.)
  • 6. Cook the crepe until the edges begin to dry and lift from the sides of the pan and the bottom is nicely browned, about 1 minute. (To check for color, use a table knife, slim off-set spatula, or your fingers to lift up an edge of the crêpe and peek underneath.) When the first side is ready, use the knife, spatula, or your fingers to lift the crêpe and quickly flip it over. Smooth out any folded edges or pleats and then cook until the center is firm and the second side is browned, about 20 seconds more. The first side is almost always much prettier and more evenly browned (in these recipes, we’ll call it the presentation side), while the second side tends to be more spotty.
  • 7. Slide the crepe from the pan onto a large plate or cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and wiping the pan with more butter as you cook. You can stack the crêpes on the plate as they’re done. Serve the crêpes individually or in short stacks or, if desired, fold the crepe in half to create a half-moon shape, or fold it again into quarters.
  • 8. To stash the crepes in the freezer, place pieces of waxed or parchment paper between the crepes so they don’t stick to one another. Then wrap the stack in plastic wrap, slide it into a large resealable freezer bag, and keep in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Let the stack sit at room temperature until the crepes are pliable, about an hour, and then peel them apart and proceed with your recipe.

    To stash the crepes in the fridge, just stack them neatly; no need for the paper separators. (Keep the stacks small if you usually cook for just a few people, or make the stack larger if you find yourself cooking for a crowd most nights.) Slide the crepes into a large resealable plastic bag and toss them in the fridge.The crepes will keep like this for up to 3 days. Let the stack sit at room temperature until the crepes are pliable, about an hour, and then peel them apart and proceed with your recipe.

Crepes Variations

  • Brown Butter Crepes
  • For most recipes, I not only melt the butter, but I cook it until the water has boiled off and the milk solids are starting to turn golden and take on a toasty flavor. At this stage, it’s called beurre noisette in French (“hazelnut butter”) or brown butter in English. I think it’s such a clever way to add a depth of flavor to the crêpes. Simply substitute brown butter for the butter, tablespoon for tablespoon, in the ingredient list above. To make brown butter, melt 7 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Cook the butter, swirling the pan every few seconds, until all of the water from the butter has sizzled off and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan begin to turn a pale golden color, 2 to 4 minutes. Continue cooking the butter until it turns golden brown and smells nutty and delicious, another few seconds. Immediately pour the brown butter into a bowl to stop the cooking. Let it cool to room temperature before using. (You should have about 6 tablespoons brown butter.) When you add the butter to your crêpe recipe, be sure to include the delicious toasty brown milk solids.
  • Lemon, Sugar, and Butter Crepes
  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Lay the crepe, presentation-side up, in the skillet and let it heat through for about 15 seconds. Flip it over, and using a rubber spatula or the bottom of a spoon, spread it with 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, at room temperature. Sprinkle the butter with 1/4 teaspoon granulated or confectioners’ sugar (or more to taste), then fold the crepe into a half-moon shape and sprinkle again with sugar, and squeeze a little lemon juice over the top. Then fold once more into a triangle. Sprinkle with more sugar if desired. Slide the crepe onto a plate and eat it right away. (Or, if you’re the lazy sort, just stack two or three crepes on a plate, each one buttered, sugared, and “lemon-ed.”)
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

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Testers Choice
Colleen Bloxham

Jan 31, 2013

Oh, there is just no messing with the classics! This is the perfect French crêpe done in the very traditional French way. Having traveled extensively throughout France, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that this is the most delightful thing one can eat. Sweet, savory, lemony—all the taste sensations are touched with this little beauty. Now I must confess to have cheated just a little on this one because I do actually have a crêpe pan with very low sides which makes the flipping part ever so easy. No, really, it is easy! Just a little flip of the wrist and the crisp, giant "pancake" turns itself beautifully. The recipe is very simple, in fact it doesn't get any easier than a blender, now does it? I especially like the beurre noisette (brown butter) in this recipe—not completely traditional but a bonus nonetheless. The lemon and sugar give the crepes that little pop along with the slightly crunch sugar, if you use granular, which you really should. A lovely breakfast or a light lunch or after-school snack. Any time of day really is appropriate with this little beauty.

Testers Choice
Dawn E.

Jan 31, 2013

I followed the recipe exactly and it yielded the most delicate, buttery, and delicious crêpes ever! These are so good! I've tried many a crêpe recipe over the years, and this by far is my favorite. The ingredients come together so quickly. But what I really liked about these crêpes was how nicely they cooked and browned in the pan. I served some of the crêpes with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar, some with homemade nutella, and some plain. I can't wait to make these again!

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Jan 31, 2013

This is a VERY simple recipe yet a very good idea. Butter, sugar and lemon are each very nice on their own, but when you put them together, it’s nearly impossible to fail. If you already have the crêpes prepared, anyone can make the variation, including an adolescent or, a child, with supervision. This is a very tasty recipe but if you wish to put them over the top, I suggest sprinkling some lemon zest over the crêpes since you’ll already have a lemon at your disposal!

Testers Choice
Mackenzie Campbell

Jan 31, 2013

This is definitely a recipe I’d recommend to my friends. The Basic Crêpes recipe is great, as it’s simple and comes together quickly, and I of course followed the suggestion to use brown butter in place of regular melted butter. Fantastic. This just adds a nice depth of flavor to the crêpes that complements both sweet and savory fillings. I like the suggestion to add vanilla and sugar to the crepe batter if using for dessert fillings, but I used the Basic Crêpes recipe as-is for a sweet filling just to see how versatile it truly was. I found the lemon, sugar, and butter crêpes to be so simply satisfying! It’s a great classic combination, especially if you take the time apply the sugar in layers as the recipe suggests. I like to use a low enough heat so that the sugar can melt and caramelize as much as possible before the crepe itself becomes too crisp. It doesn’t take too long to get the hang of making the basic crêpe, so I think everyone should give it a try! They freeze well, so make up a big batch of these, have a crêpe party, and play around with the fillings (just don’t forget the obligatory Lemon, Sugar, and Butter version!)

Testers Choice
Anna Scott

Jan 31, 2013

I really enjoyed this versatile crêpe recipe—it will definitely be my go-to crepe recipe from now on. Such an elegant snack, dessert, or even breakfast (that’s how we ate them!) that takes no time at all. I whisked the ingredients together rather than use the blender; also, I ended up using the full 2 1/4 cups whole milk to get the consistency correct for the batter. I also did the browned butter version, which added a really nice nuttiness to the crêpe batter. When you get a bite of tender crêpe with butter, lemon juice, and confectioners’ sugar, it is such treat! This was a delicious topping. Making these made us brainstorm what kinds of fillings to use next time. Ham and butter? Almond paste? Strawberry jam, maybe? Nutella?

Testers Choice
Ozoz Sokoh

Jan 31, 2013

The recipe was well written and easy to follow. This was the first time I came across keeping the brown butter solids, and using the entire beurre noisette adds a light caramel dimension to the crepes. The final, finished versatile crêpe is delicious—chewy, sweet, fragrant, and sauced with the lemon, sugar, and butter combination. It’s also great served with bananas and crème fraîche.

Testers Choice
Sita Krishnaswamy

Jan 31, 2013

A good crêpe recipe is almost like a blank canvas for you to paint with sweet or savory flavors. I quite enjoyed the sweet and sour flavor of these crepes. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. I will be definitely making them again. I used a blender to whisk together my batter.

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Jan 31, 2013

This recipe for Basic Crêpes with Lemon, Sugar and Butter is lengthy, but well worth the effort. And we loved the addition of the brown butter! That rich and nutty flavor was delicious. I chose to use granulated instead of confectioners’ sugar and we also loved the “crunch” of the sugar. The squeeze of fresh lemon juice gave just the right sweet and tart flavor to each bite. In making the Basic Crêpes recipe, I used the full 2 1/4 cups whole milk and I followed the boost of “dessertiness” by adding the 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the batter. After using the blender to mix the batter, I covered the blender with plastic wrap to let the batter rest; my 1/4-cup measuring cup fit in the blender jar perfectly, which saved me from washing another bowl. Crêpe-making is a learning experience, but these directions were easy to follow. I made extras for the freezer and stacked them with wax paper between each crêpe. This recipe will become a regular now!

Testers Choice
Megan M.

Jan 31, 2013

This was a simple and tasty little snack. The slight crunch of the sugar provided a nice contrast to the crêpe’s texture. I ate it rolled up and I squeezed lemon over the roll after each bite. The result was very enjoyable.

Testers Choice
Carrie S.

Jan 31, 2013

Lemon, sugar, and butter with a crêpe is a simple and perfect combination. What makes this recipe really shine, though, is the brilliant use of brown butter. It makes all the difference. The recipe is simple and so fast in a blender that it really is worth it to take the additional five minutes to make brown butter. Do add the sugar and vanilla if you’re making a sweet crepe, as it complements the brown butter flavor and the richness of the eggs so well! Also, I may have a smallish blender, but I think that doubling or tripling this recipe would exceed my blender size, so I’ll probably just make three separate batches if I use my blender.

Testers Choice
Sofia Reino

Jan 31, 2013

This crêpe recipe is an absolute go-to as it’s simple and comes out perfectly. I had totally forgotten about how amazing lemon is with crêpes, and this variation is such a simple yet classy way of serving them. I made two batches. One of them I used all-purpose gluten-free flour and the other with normal all-purpose flour. I used exactly 2 cups of milk for each batch. We served them to some friends of ours that often travel to Paris and they felt there was no difference in taste between the gluten-free crêpes and the normal crêpes.

Testers Choice
Linda B.

Jan 31, 2013

This is the most success I’ve ever had with crêpes. The batter was nice and silky (I didn’t need to add any additional liquid) and the instructions were perfect. The lemon and sugar filling is classic and light. I also used a caramelized nut paste that was delicious.

Comments
Comments
  1. Elisabeth Romero says:

    For the crepe recipe you should add about 1 Tsp. of vanilla to enhance the flavor. Otherwise this would be good only for filling with savory not sweet items.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Many thanks, Elisabeth. If you glance at the note above the recipe, you’ll see that the author suggests exactly that when making these for dessert. But we really appreciate you chiming in and clarifying, as you are, of course, right.

  2. Your crepes looks scrumptious! I haven’t tried brown butter in crepes. What a great idea. Thanks for the link love!

  3. This reminds me that I haven’t made crepes for awhile. The recipe I use is very similar to yours and you are right—it is super simple. Nutella is great but I can’t wait to try a little biscoff spread.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Abbe, lovely to hear from you. And yes, making crepes is like riding a bike—once mastered, one simply does not forget how. Sorta similar to how once one has tried Nutella, life is forever altered….

  4. Lauralee Hensley says:

    Watched an old Julia Child episode recently (within past week) about crepes. She folded some of them like burritos, a third folded over from the side to the middle third, and then the other side folded over to the middle. Of course, these were some of her very first episodes on TV, so the buttery cream sauces were included, along with fairly high fat additions to the centers of some. I think I could make crepes fairly easily if I use my one really good nonstick pan. Now I just need to do it.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      We’ll be waiting to hear how it goes whenever you do get around to trying crepes, Lauralee. (And if you need an excuse or a nudge, this Saturday is La Chandeleur in France, also known as Crepe Day….)

  5. Adding on to the theme of the morning (yes, I’m awake and reading this at 5:20 AM!), I am a big fan of the Rose Levy Beranbaum crepe recipe (what’s not to love about a nice Jewish lady cake-baker?) which uses cornstarch instead of flour. There’s a kind of light-but-yummy–gummy-chew to them. I use her “full-cup” of cornstarch for a less-lacey, more hunker-down effect.

    I set them out on the table in the morning when a bunch of kids sleepover with a bowl of scrambled eggs (Griffin’s job), fresh maple syrup, ramekin of cinnamon sugar (Tallulah’s job), Nutella and cherry preserves.

    I make sure to steal mine before the kids go at it like the hungry Shih Tzus they are. Needless to say we have a popular house for sleepovers. :-)

    • Beth Price says:

      I would say that your house would be very popular, Jennifer!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Jennifer, many thanks, can’t wait to try them. I have a sort of indiscreet love affair going with chewy gooey tapioca rice noodles from Chinatown, and it sounds as though the crepes you mention have that same intriguing and playful texture. Look forward to trying that next time I’m in the mood for a not-quite-classic crepe.

      • “…Indiscreet love affair with chewy gooey noodles,” Renee?!
        That’s hot!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          heh. um. i almost typed indecent, but i’m slurping the noodles, not doing anything wrong with them. they are just so darn amazing! have you tried rice noodles that have a little tapioca starch in them, jennifer? i think you’d really, really like the slippery little suckers.

          • Just got back from Northern Thailand 3 days ago, in fact! Lots of slippery suckers slurped!

            Nothing wrong with the obscene appreciation of a spongerific carb or two! I try and expand my Carbo Footprint wherever I go. Slurping. Suckling. You know. (Naughty noodle pics coming your way.)

            xx

  6. Mrs E says:

    This recipe makes beautiful crepes, didnt change a thing, barely buttered the pan, lovely!

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