Photos by Rikki Snyder
Crepes are the little black dress of the food world. In a word: versatile. They're great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can eat 'em sweet or savory. They're great straight up, with nothing but a little sprinkle of sugar to embellish them; they're also fabulous with fillings as fancy as can be.
Crepes are also one of those recipes that can be a bit intimidating if you've never made them before--but trust me, they're easier than you think! We've broken it down step by step so that learning how to make crepes -- nay, how to make perfect crepes -- will be a cinch.
Pretty much all crepe recipes start with the same formula: milk, eggs, melted butter, flour and water. You'll also need a bit of extra butter for greasing the pan. Once you've got basic crepes down, you may want to expand your horizons, experimenting with other types of flour (buckwheat crepes are amazing!) or even with vegan crepes. For now, we've started with this tried and true recipe.
Blend the Batter
Using a blender is the easiest way to get a beautifully smooth crepe batter. Simply place all of the ingredients into your blender, pulse a few times to combine, then whirl for a moment until smooth. Don't have a blender? No problem. A bowl, a whisk and a little elbow grease will do the trick. Whisk vigorously until the batter is free from any lumps.
Refrigerate the Crepe Batter
Next you'll want to refrigerate your crepe batter. This allows the flour to fully absorb the liquid and will result in much more tender crepes than if you were to cook them right away. Your batter should rest in the fridge for at least one hour. You can even make your crepe batter the night before and let it rest overnight in the fridge. When you're ready to make crepes, give the batter a good stir as the flour will have settled to the bottom of the bowl.
Grease Your Pan Well!
When you're ready to start making your crepes, heat the pan over medium-high heat. Don't have a crepe pan? Don't worry! A non-stick pan is the easiest for crepe making, but a well-seasoned cast iron pan will work as well.
After the pan is heated, you'll need to grease it for the first crepe or two. After that the pan should be sufficiently hot and 'seasoned' with the first couple of crepes. If you find that subsequent crepes are sticking, a little top-up of butter should do the trick.
Swirl the Batter in the Pan
Add a small amount of batter -- about one ounce -- to the center of your pan, and swirl to coat. It may take a few tries to figure out the perfect amount of batter. It should fully cover the bottom of the pan, but should be uniformly thin. If your crepe turns out a bit too thick, add a little less batter next time. Crepe too thin? Add a touch more batter.
The first couple of crepes are rarely beautiful, even for seasoned crepe-makers. Consider them a cook's snack!
Flip the Crepe Over -- Carefully!
Your crepe will cook for about 30 seconds on the first side. You'll know it's ready to flip when the edges start to lift from the pan. Carefully slide a spatula under the crepe and flip! Cook for another 10 seconds or so on the second side.
Remove the finished crepe from the pan and onto a waiting plate, cutting board, or wire rack.
Serve with Your Favorite Toppings (or Save for Later)
Now it's time to serve your crepes! You can make them as plain or as fancy as you like. Just a sprinkle of powdered sugar is fine, or you can get creative. Here are some of our favorite ways to top our crepes:
Sweet crepe fillings
- Strawberries and whipped cream
- Nutella and sliced banana
- Caramelized bananas
- Peaches and cream
- Apples and cinnamon
- Ricotta and lemon
Savory crepe fillings
- Spinach and Gruyere
- Scrambled eggs and cheese
- Tomato and basil
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Spinach and ricotta
- Broccoli and cheddar
If you're making your crepes for later, you can stack them between sheets of parchment paper and when they're completely cooled, put them in a large zip-top freezer bag and transfer them to the freezer. They'll heat up in a few seconds in a non-stick pan or in the microwave.