Japanese Souffle Pancakes

Japanese Souffle Pancakes
These Japanese-style Souffle Pancakes are incredibly light and fluffy. They are a popular trend in Japan, but you can recreate them in your own home.

As you may recall, during my trip to Tokyo, I had the most incredibly fluffy souffle pancakes at Gram Cafe. I’ve been wanting to recreate them ever since.
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I tried quite a few recipes I came across on the internet and while they tasted delicious, they didn’t quite taste like the ones I had at Gram.

After about a dozen attempts, I think this is as close as I can get until they share their recipe.
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These do take more effort than your regular classic buttermilk pancakes, but they are a fun treat. The pancakes are cooked in a skillet just like regular pancakes but the batter involves a meringue, which is what makes these so much lighter.
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I’m sharing all my findings below so that you can successfully make these delicious hotcakes on your first attempt.
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I’m actually sharing two versions. Here are the differences.

Version 1: Using baking powder

Pros: Nearly all the recipes I found use baking powder. The baking powder almost guarantees that your pancakes will rise high and helps create a more stable structure. Of the two, this is the easier recipe. They taste quite good, like fluffy little cakes.

Cons: I didn’t think these tasted as much like the version I had in Japan. I found that the baking powder changed the texture of the souffle pancakes, making them more cake-like. While fluffy, they aren’t quite as light and don’t “jiggle” the way the ones in Japan do. (If you look up videos of the ones in Japan, people love filming videos of the cakes jiggling.)

Version 2: Without baking powder

Pros: For me, this one tastes most like Grame Cafe’s version. It is even lighter than cake and tastes more like souffle. Souffle traditionally doesn’t use any baking powder and neither does Japanese souffle cheesecake. When I ate the version at Gram Cafe, they had a similar texture to Japanese Souffle Cheesecake, so I think this is closer to the original recipe.

Cons: The flavor of these might not be for everyone as it does have an eggier taste. Japanese tend to like these not as sweet. I know eggy might sound unappetizing, but a hot souffle usually is quite eggy unless masked with other flavors. However, once you mix it with the syrup and whipped cream, it masks most of that eggy taste.

It is also a little trickier to make these, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with making meringues or souffles. If your timing is off and you flip these too soon, they will deflate and collapse.

Other Notes

  • I used these English Muffin Rings which helps to make these uniform and also helps them achieve a better height as they cook up instead of spreading out. I have seen people make them free form, they just likely won’t be as round and may not rise as high. If you do make them free form, I suggest that you keep them small, so that the batter doesn’t spread out too much.
  • These are best eaten hot and right away. It’s not really something you can make ahead of time. Once cold, the texture changes and they aren’t as fluffy.
  • Make sure you sift the cake flour into the batter, otherwise it will make the batter too heavy. If you don’t have a flour sifter, a fine mesh strainer works just as well and is what I used.
  • You want to use chilled egg whites as it will keep your meringue more stable.
  • Adding a little water to “steam” the cakes helps them achieve their texture and rise.

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Japanese Souffle Pancakes

This is a homemade version of the popular Japanese Souffle Pancakes. They are incredibly fluffy and light.

Ingredients:

Version 1: With baking powder

  • 6 tbsp cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp full fat mayonnaise or kewpie mayonnaise (this is the Japanese mayonnaise)
  • 3 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, egg whites and egg yolks separated (keep egg whites chilled in fridge until ready to use)

Version 2: Without baking powder

  • 5 tbsp cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, egg whites and egg yolks separated (keep egg whites chilled in fridge until ready to use)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Directions:

Version 1

  1. In a medium bowl, add milk, baking powder, vanilla, mayonnaise and egg yolks. Sift in cake flour using a flour sifter or fine mesh strainer (make sure you don't skip this!). Mix with a whisk until batter is smooth and mixture is a pale yellow.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add chilled egg whites and sugar. Make sure your mixing bowl and whisk attachment are completely clean and dry. If there is any oil, your egg whites won't turn into meringue. Whip on the highest speed your mixer allows, until stiff peaks form. (About 2-3 minutes.) Your meringue should be able to hold its form and if you turn the mixing bowl upside down, the meringue will not slide out.
  3. Using a spatula, scoop out one third of the meringue and add to your egg yolk batter. Gently fold the meringue into the batter until there are no more white streaks. Make sure you start your folds from the bottom, so that the batter at the bottom of the bowl doesn't go unmixed. You need to be gentle when folding. If you mix too hard, the meringue will lose its structure. Once the meringue has been incorporated, add in another third. Fold in. And then the final third. At the end, you batter should be very light and airy, with the meringue only just incorporated to the point where there are not visible white streaks.
  4. If this is your first time making these, you may want to start with just one as a test, to determine the heat setting for your stove and how long to cook the pancakes. But the directions I am sharing is for how I would normally cook these. Add two ring molds to a large skillet. Spray the insides of the ring molds with cooking oil spray. I found that this is the best method to grease, as it completely greases the interior of the molds and also the bottom where the pancakes will be, but doesn't spread grease to the rest of the parts of the pan you won't be using.
  5. Bring your skillet to low heat. It may take a test one to figure out where exactly you want your heat setting. For me, I turned my dial to heat setting 4 (with 10 being the highest) on my gas stove top. Once the oil and pan are hot, fill each ring mold between 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter, allowing some room for them to rise. Add 1/2 tbsp of water to each side of the pan (preferably not touching the pancakes). Close the lid and allow to cook about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Your pancakes are ready to flip when the tops look almost completely cooked and you can move the bottom of the pancakes without batter spilling out. Use a spatula or turner to flip the pancakes (while still in their molds). I prefer to use a cookie spatula because they are thinner and slip under the molds easier.
  7. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes until pancakes are completely cooked and golden brown on both top and bottom. Place pancakes onto plate. Gently push out of the molds to remove from molds. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruit, or other toppings of your choice.

Version 2

  1. In a medium bowl, add milk, melted butter, vanilla, and egg yolks. Sift in cake flour using a flour sifter or fine mesh strainer (make sure you don't skip this!). Mix with a whisk until batter is smooth and mixture is a pale yellow.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add chilled egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar. I don't recommend skipping the tartar as it really helps to keep the egg whites stable so that the souffles don't collapse. Make sure your mixing bowl and whisk attachment are completely clean and dry. If there is any oil, your egg whites won't turn into meringue. Whip on the highest speed your mixer allows, until stiff peaks form. (About 2-3 minutes.) Your meringue should be able to hold its form and if you turn the mixing bowl upside down, the meringue will not slide out.
  3. Using a spatula, scoop out one third of the meringue and add to your egg yolk batter. Gently fold the meringue into the batter until there are no more white streaks. Make sure you start your folds from the bottom, so that the batter at the bottom of the bowl doesn't go unmixed. You need to be gentle when folding. If you mix too hard, the meringue will lose its structure. Once the meringue has been incorporated, add in another third. Fold in. And then the final third. At the end, you batter should be very light and airy, with the meringue only just incorporated to the point where there are not visible white streaks.
  4. If this is your first time making these, you may want to start with just one as a test, to determine the heat setting for your stove and how long to cook the pancakes. But the directions I am sharing is for how I would normally cook these. Add two ring molds to a large skillet. Spray the insides of the ring molds with cooking oil spray. I found that this is the best method to grease, as it completely greases the interior of the molds and also the bottom where the pancakes will be, but doesn't spread grease to the rest of the parts of the pan you won't be using.
  5. Bring your skillet to low heat. It may take a test one to figure out where exactly you want your heat setting. For me, I turned my dial to heat setting 4 (with 10 being the highest) on my gas stove top. Once the oil and pan are hot, fill each ring mold between 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter, allowing some room for them to rise. Add 1/2 tbsp of water to each side of the pan (preferably not touching the pancakes). Close the lid and allow to cook about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Your pancakes are ready to flip when the surface looks completely cooked. The cakes will rise quite high (possible past the rim of the molds), but they will start to collapse slightly once you remove the lid and let out some of the heat. Be careful not to try to flip these too soon because they will collapse and will stay collapsed. Use a spatula or turner to flip the pancakes (while still in their molds). If you have batter spilling out when you flip these, then they are not ready to be flipped and will likely collapse. I prefer to use a cookie spatula because they are thinner and slip under the molds easier.
  7. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes until pancakes are completely cooked and golden brown on both top and bottom. Place pancakes onto plate. Gently push out of the molds to remove from molds. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruit, or other toppings of your choice.
  • I used these English Muffin Rings
  • Some of the product links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

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18 comments on “Japanese Souffle Pancakes”

  1. wow, those are stunning… and super generous to add two whole versions. they look like little geometric clouds *_*

  2. I freaking love this!!! They’re so beautiful and I love the idea of this texture.

  3. I absolutely love those ! Cant wait to try them!

  4. Very nice, just had them for breakfast. Though I find they have to be cooked quite slowly as to get them cooked through without burning as they’re so moist. I normally use stiff eggwhites for my pancakes anyway so I used my normal 4 eggs whites and a bit of extra milk.

  5. Is it possible to make the batter ahead of time? and put it in the fridge before use?

    • Sorry I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure. Sometimes refrigerating the batter can change results, but I don’t know for this particular batter.

  6. Hi! Your pancakes look really nice and decided to give it a go at the baking powder version one. However we found that the egg yolk mixture became really sticky and dense, nothing like the one shown in your photo. So we added more milk and other ingredients to make it into a smoother consistency. Do you mind sharing the amount of milk that was added in your mixture?
    Love the outcome though after we tweak it but still not as fluffy as yours!
    Thanks!

    • Hi Jan, the amount of milk I put in the recipe is how much I used. The egg yolk mixture actually is supposed to be very sticky and thick before you add in the egg whites. So I think you were probably fine before adding the extra ingredients and the extra milk and ingredients probably caused your pancakes to not come out as fluffy. The other thing is, you do need to make sure you sift in the flour as it will let you have a smooth egg yolk mixture much easier than if you just add in the flour directly. The sifting will prevent any lumps and allow you to easily incorporate the flour. Hope that helps!

  7. Omg!I love this receptie!

  8. This looks delicious! I found your blog through this recipe on Pinterest. I can’t wait to try this and also explore your site some more. Everything looks so good!!

  9. Hi Kirbie,
    I love your blog and this recipe so much and am so looking forward to making these pancakes however I don’t have any ring molds. Do you perhaps have a suggestion of another piece of equipment I could use instead of them or if I could perhaps bake them in the oven?

    • I’m sorry I don’t have any other suggestions for ring mold replacements. I have seen people get creative and make their own. I don’t recommend baking as this recipe is designed specifically for cooking on the stovetop.

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