Swedish Language Blog

Swedish pancakes – Svenska pannkakor Posted by on Mar 22, 2012 in Culture

All through the ages the phenomenon of pancakes has existed. They have been called all sorts of different things, but they have been around. The shapes have varied as have the names for them. In Sweden alone, there are plenty of different names to keep the discussion of what is the correct name for a pancake ongoing even to this day.


There are normal sized pancakes, which are very thin, and the size of a frying pan. These are in English refereed to as “Swedish pancakes”. In Swedish most people would refer to them as just “pannkakor”, however, people from the north, Finnish people, people in Skåne and Blekinge have been said to call all pancakes made in a frying pan “plättar” whatever size they have. The rest of Sweden seems to agree that only the smallest sized pancakes are called plättar. Plättar are the size of American pancakes, but they don’t contain any baking powder making them as flat as can possibly be.


Not only do Swedes make pancakes on the stove, they can “bake” pancakes in the oven. These are called “Ungspannkaka” or “Tjockpannkaka” by most but as mentioned above, the Finnish, people from the north and the very south just call Ungspannkaka for pannkaka. The Swedish word “ugn” meaning oven, giving the word “ugnspannkaka” the general meaning of an oven pancake.

There is also a savory version of the “Ungspannkaka” which contains strips of pork. You pour the pancake batter into a high rimmed tray and let it bake in the oven. The savory version is commonly called “Fläskpannkaka” (fläsk meaning pork).


Actually, there is really no shortage of different versions of pancakes being made nowadays. Vegan pancakes without eggs, pancakes made with Saffran or with alternative grains of flour to make them more healthy.

In a lot of older children’s stories children ate pancakes all rolled up with strawberry or raspberry jam inside. Sugar is also a popular topping. In Sweden pancakes are often eaten with cream or ice-cream + the jam. Pannkakstårta is a pancake cake, between each layer of the “normal” pancakes a layer of jam and cream is spread, in addition to ice-cream. On the very top strawberries are the classic form of decoration. A very summery food, often a sort of birthday cake during the summer.


The word “pannkaka” is also used metaphorically in Swedish and Swedish culture. Often it is describing a negative outcome of something. For example: an unsuccessful soufflé sinks into a flat mess, just like the Swedish pancakes. Thereof the Swedish expression “Plat som en pannkaka” (“flat as a pancake”). Another common expression is “Det blev bara pannkaka av alltihop” (It all turned into pancakes”).

2012 the International Pancake day was the 21st of February, the same day as Fettisdag.

If you have never tried the Swedish pancakes, you must! They really are delicious and not hard at all to make.

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  1. Frank:


  2. Rachel:

    Hihi.. mam mam, it’s very delicious ^_^

  3. Emma:

    I’m from Skåne, Malmö and I have always called the big ones pannkaka and the small ones plättar and the ones in the oven ungspannkaka.

  4. owen h:

    this recipe looks really good but I will try to veganize it. I think this can be a great addition to my recipe list.