griddle cake vs. pancake


Hi, everybody.
As far as I can see, dictionaries treat griddle cake (or griddlecake) and pancake as synonyms. But is there really no difference at all? I'm wondering whether they're regional linguistic variants for the same recipe (and if so, what region does each belong to?) or they're two gastonomic variants, i.e. two different recipes. Or both, maybe?
Thanks in advance.
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    There are many variations of pancake recipes. There are also many names: griddlecakes, hotcakes, and flapjacks.

    I'm sure that recipes vary some by region, but what is probably more consistent is the use of the various names. I believe that "pancake" is the most popular or at least most widely understood name.


    Thank you, Bibliolept. Yes, I think we all know what pancakes are here in Italy but I had never heard of griddlecakes etc. I'm reading a novel set in Ireland, and they talk about griddle cakes there. I wonder if that's just the specific name they use for pancakes in Ireland...


    Senior Member
    English UK
    This Wiki article contains all you could want to know about pancakes and their variants.

    Just a taster (boom, boom):
    A pancake is a thin, flat cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan.[...]English pancakes have three key ingredients: plain flour, eggs, and milk. The batter is runny and forms a thin layer on the bottom of the frying pan when the pan is tilted.[...]American or Canadian pancakes (sometimes called hotcakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks in the U.S.) are pancakes which contain a raising agent such as baking powder; proportions of eggs, flour, and milk or buttermilk create a thick batter.
    EDIT: I've just seen your post 3, lisozima. Sadly, the Wiki article doesn't specifically cover Irish varieties....
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I found this on wikipedia:
    In Canada,[21] the United Kingdom,[22] Ireland,[23] New Zealand, and Australia,[24] pancakes are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday, which is also known as "Pancake Day" and, particularly in Ireland, as "Pancake Tuesday". (Shrove Tuesday is better known in the United States, France and other countries as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday). Historically, pancakes were made on Shrove Tuesday so that the last of the fatty and rich foods could be used up before Lent.

    So "pancake" is used in at least some parts of Ireland.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Thank you, Bibliolet and Loob. So probably names -- and recipes -- don't vary by region.
    Well, I think they do, in practice - see the detail in the Wiki article;). But I'm sure biblio's right in saying that pancake is the generic term.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I wonder if that's just the specific name they use for pancakes in Ireland...
    No, yes, or sometimes.
    We have griddle cakes and pancakes.
    The thing is, you can cook all kinds of things on a griddle, so griddle cake is not a well-defined thing.
    Likewise, even if you start with essentially the same ingredients for your pancakes, the end product can vary greatly in both diameter and thickness.
    For example, we often have pancakes for breakfast on Sunday.
    Usually they are the thin kind, approximately nine inches in diameter (200mm), about a tenth of an inch thick (3mm).
    Last weekend the request was for thick pancakes.
    Same recipe, tweaked a little for a thicker mixture.
    Same pan.
    Pancakes of various diameters from four inches upwards (100mm), a bit more than a quarter of an inch thick (8mm).
    I was going to say that some call these drop scones, but that's a whole new can of worms, so I won't.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    My grandmother used to make Scotch pancakes (small round ones) on a girdle (not griddle). A girdle is just a thick black surface placed over the heat. See griddle in Google images.
    Since you could nowadays use a pan, there should be no difference in the taste. Indeed, I wonder whether it is still possible to buy a griddle.


    Senior Member
    British English
    As Panj has pointed out, the thing is that lots of things can be cooked on a griddle, and anything that's basically cake-like in texture and ends up relatively flat and circular can be called a griddle cake. Some Irish farl recipes don't even use flour - they use potato instead - and yet are sometimes called griddle cakes.

    Pancakes, on the other hand, are fairly specifically defined in that they are the result of cooking a batter containing milk, eggs and flour in varying quantities (a thin batter and plain flour for crepes, a thicker batter with self-raising flour for scotch pancakes). Obviously, since they're often cooked on a griddle, they can also be called griddle cakes, but they are only a subset of the species.

    N.B. I'm pretty sure of my ground, and there's plenty of corroboration on the Web, but I'm not going to proclaim myself a cookery expert. The above, therefore, is not an attempt at a formal definition.
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    New Member
    english usa
    Though they may have been the same but called 2 different names-from what I know-Griddlecakes are made with cornmeal & are thin with grainy texture (quite nice) The pancake is cake type batter & can sometimes be much thicker.
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