Flapjacks vs Pancakes

Pancakes and flapjacks are likely familiar to breakfast lovers. These two morning favorites are different from one another despite the fact that they may appear to be similar. We’ll examine how flapjacks and pancakes differ from one another in this article, including how they’re prepared and cooked. Definitions of Flapjacks and Pancakes Although both are griddle cakes, they have diverse definitions around the world.

Seeded cheese and carrot flapjacks on board

Pancakes are commonly prepared in the United States with flour, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, oil or butter, and baking powder.

Typically circular and thin, they are served with fruit, butter, or syrup. On the other hand, flapjacks, which are made of rolled oats, butter, and brown sugar, are more common in British cooking.

They resemble granola bars more closely than regular pancakes since they are baked in the oven and chopped into smaller squares or rectangles before serving.

Pancakes and flapjacks have a long history.

Wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk were used to make pancakes in Ancient Greece, which is where they are thought to have first appeared.

In contrast, flapjacks, which were made with oats and baked on a griddle, were first documented in England in the 16th century.

Nowadays, people love both flapjacks and pancakes all across the world, with local variants and ingredients.

Key Takeaways

  • Flapjacks and pancakes are both griddle cakes, but they have different meanings in different parts of the world.
  • Pancakes are typically made with flour, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, oil or butter, and baking powder, while flapjacks are a combination of rolled oats, butter, and brown sugar.
  • The history of flapjacks and pancakes dates back centuries, with different variations and ingredients depending on the region.

Defining Flapjacks and Pancakes

Although they are not the same thing, flapjacks and pancakes are frequently used interchangeably when discussing morning dishes.

Close-up delicious pancakes, with fresh blueberries, strawberries and maple syrup

Both dishes are satisfying and delicious, but there are differences in the ingredients, methods of preparation, and regional variances.

We’ll go deeper into what makes flapjacks and pancakes special in this part.

Understanding Flapjacks

A granola bar-like classic British food is called a flapjack.

Healthy protein granola flapjack snack bars with seeds and nuts

Rolled oats, butter, and brown sugar are the main ingredients, although occasionally golden syrup, dried fruit, almonds, or chocolate chips are also added.

Typically, flapjacks are sliced into squares or rectangles after baking in the oven until golden brown.

Flapjacks are incorrectly referred to as pancakes in several regions of the world.

Unlike pancakes, which are generally served with syrup or other toppings, flapjacks are thicker and chewier.

Instead, they are frequently consumed as a dessert or a snack.

Understanding Pancakes

On the other hand, pancakes are a common breakfast item around the world, particularly in North America.

Tasty pancakes with blueberries and honey on a plate.

They can be flavored with a variety of ingredients, such as vanilla, cinnamon, or chocolate chips, and are created with flour, eggs, milk, and baking powder.

A griddle or frying pan is used to cook pancakes until they are fluffy and golden brown.

In addition to syrup, butter, and various toppings like fruit, whipped cream, or nuts, pancakes are frequently provided.

Depending on the ingredients and toppings chosen, they can be eaten as a sweet or savory dish.

Although pancakes are generally the same thing, they are sometimes referred to as hotcakes or griddle cakes.

Overall, despite certain similarities, flapjacks and pancakes are separate foods with distinctive qualities.

Whether you prefer the fluffy sweetness of pancakes or the chewy texture of flapjacks, both are delectable options for breakfast or at any other time of the day.

Historical Context

Flapjacks and pancakes have been around for ages, and their history can be divided into several continents.

Homemade healthy flapjacks with honey on cooling rack

Here is a synopsis of each’s historical background:


Pancakes, commonly referred to as hotcakes, griddle cakes, or flapcakes, have long been a traditional item served for breakfast.

The ancient Greeks and Romans prepared pancakes by combining wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk, claims National Geographic.

Buckwheat flour was used to make the pancakes that were a common dish among peasants during the Middle Ages.

Pancakes were a typical morning food among colonists in America. They were typically served with molasses or maple syrup and were made with cornmeal or buckwheat flour.

Today, pancakes are a well-liked morning item all across the world, and this traditional dish has various varieties.


However, flapjacks are a British invention. Flapjacks were first called “oatcakes” and were baked using oats, butter, and syrup, according to The Kitchen Community.

They were a favorite snack of Scottish and English farmers, who frequently ate them after long days in the fields.

Flapjacks have changed over time to include additional components including chocolate chips, almonds, and dried fruit.

The majority of shops and bakeries in the UK now sell flapjacks, a beloved snack and dessert.

In summary, pancakes and flapjacks have a long history and have changed over the years to incorporate new ingredients and cooking methods.

Whether you favor pancakes or flapjacks, both foods are delectable and have a distinguished history in cuisine.

Ingredients Comparison

Flapjacks and pancakes have certain similarities and variances in terms of their ingredient composition.

A stack of oatmeal banana pancakes with slices of fresh bananas

The components that went into each are listed below:


  • Rolled oats
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Additional ingredients like chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruits (optional)

Typically, rolled oats are used to make flapjacks, giving them a substantial texture and a somewhat nutty flavor.

In addition, they include butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup, which act as binders and sweeteners for the mixture.

Before adding the oats and any additional ingredients like chocolate chips, almonds, or dried fruits, these components are normally heated together in a skillet.


  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Butter or oil (for cooking)

Typically, flour, milk, eggs, baking powder, sugar, and salt are used to make pancakes.

In order to make the pancakes fluffy and tall, baking powder is used. Before cooking, the pan or griddle is greased with butter or oil.

To accommodate various dietary requirements or preferences, pancakes can be cooked using several types of flour, including all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and even almond flour.

Overall, the components in flapjacks and pancakes are different, with flapjacks being more oat- and sugar-based and fluffy pancakes being more flour- and flour-based.

To suit your tastes, both dishes can be altered by adding other ingredients.

Preparation and Cooking Techniques

The batter used to make flapjacks and pancakes is a mixture of flour, eggs, milk, and butter along with a few other components.

Oatmeal bars flapjacks close up macro shot with nuts and fruit and seeds on white background

Their methods of cooking and preparation do, however, have a few minor variations.


Flapjacks are frequently cooked with rolled oats, brown sugar, and golden syrup and are typically thicker and denser than pancakes.

Start by melting butter in a pan and combining it with brown sugar and golden syrup to make flapjacks.

Afterward, combine this mixture with the oats and any extra ingredients you’re using, such chocolate chips, almonds, or dried fruit.

In a preheated oven set to 180°C (350°F), bake the mixture for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut the flapjack into squares or rectangles and serve once it has cooled.


Pancakes are frequently produced with all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and milk.

They are normally thinner and lighter than flapjacks. Start by combining the dry ingredients in a bowl before making pancakes.

Whisk the eggs, milk, and melted butter in another basin. Mix the dry ingredients just until mixed after adding the wet ingredients.

Add a tiny quantity of butter or oil to a non-stick pan that is already hot over medium heat.

Once bubbles appear on the surface of the batter, pour a ladleful of the mixture into the pan and cook until golden brown. Continue by using the remaining batter.

Key Differences

The fundamental distinction between pancakes and flapjacks in terms of heating and preparation methods is the batter’s thickness and density.

Pancakes are cooked on a stovetop, while flapjacks are baked in the oven.

Pancakes are typically cooked with all-purpose flour and sugar, but flapjacks are frequently made with rolled oats and brown sugar.

While pancakes are sometimes offered in smaller servings as part of a larger breakfast or brunch spread, flapjacks are typically served in bigger portions as a snack or breakfast dish.

Nutritional Value

There are several nutritional parallels and differences between flapjacks and pancakes. Let’s examine each food’s nutritional makeup.

Sweet Homemade Stack of Pancakes with Butter and Syrup for Breakfast


Rolled oats, butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup are the usual ingredients in flapjacks.

It is also possible to use extra ingredients like chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruits.

Due to their high calorie, sugar, and fat content, flapjacks are not regarded as a healthy breakfast option. But they do have certain nutritional advantages.

NutrientAmount per 100g

Flapjacks are an excellent source of carbohydrates, which give the body energy.

Additionally, fiber, which is crucial for digestive health, is included in them. They should be consumed in moderation due to their high sugar and fat content, though.


Typically, flour, milk, eggs, and butter are used to make pancakes. Salt, baking soda, and sugar are examples of optional components.

Although pancakes have fewer calories, sugar, and fat than flapjacks, they might not be as nutrient-dense.

NutrientAmount per 100g

Protein is crucial for the body’s tissue growth and repair, and pancakes are a rich source of it. Additionally, they contain calcium, which is crucial for strong bones.

However, refined flour, which has less fiber and nutrients than whole grain flour, is frequently used to make pancakes.

Overall, you can treat yourself to either a flapjack or a pancake in moderation.

Instead, think about creating pancakes using whole grain flour and topping them with yogurt and fresh fruit if you’re searching for a healthy breakfast alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions

Flapjack snack bar with a chocolate decoration

What is the difference between flapjacks and pancakes?

Flapjacks and pancakes are both types of griddle cakes, but they have some key differences. In general, flapjacks are denser and chewier than pancakes. Flapjacks are made with rolled oats, butter, and brown sugar, while pancakes are made with flour, milk, eggs, and baking powder. Flapjacks are also typically baked in the oven, while pancakes are cooked on a griddle or frying pan.

Are flapjacks and pancakes the same thing?

No, flapjacks and pancakes are not the same thing. Flapjacks are a type of baked oat bar, while pancakes are a type of flat, leavened griddle cake. In some parts of the world, the terms flapjack and pancake are used interchangeably, but in other parts of the world, they refer to different things.

Can you make flapjacks with pancake mix?

Yes, you can make flapjacks with pancake mix, but they won’t be true flapjacks. Flapjacks are made with rolled oats, which give them their distinctive texture and flavor. If you use pancake mix instead of rolled oats, your flapjacks will be more like pancakes.

Are flapjacks healthier than pancakes?

It depends on how you make them. Flapjacks are typically made with rolled oats, which are a good source of fiber and protein. However, they are also usually made with butter and brown sugar, which are high in calories and fat. Pancakes are typically made with flour, which is lower in fiber and protein than rolled oats, but they can be made with healthier ingredients like whole wheat flour or almond flour. Ultimately, the healthiness of flapjacks and pancakes depends on the ingredients and cooking methods used.

Can you eat flapjacks and pancakes for breakfast?

Yes, flapjacks and pancakes are both popular breakfast foods. Flapjacks are often served with yogurt or fruit, while pancakes are often served with syrup or fruit compote. Both can be a satisfying and delicious breakfast option.

Pancakes with berries and maple syrup


Now that you are aware of the main distinctions between flapjacks and pancakes, you can decide which to serve at your next brunch or breakfast.

Flapjacks may be the best option if you’re seeking for a chewier, denser dessert. They are thicker than pancakes and are often made with oats and syrup.

Pancakes, on the other hand, are the best choice if you’d want something lighter and fluffier.

Usually made with flour, eggs, milk, and sugar, they are baked till fluffy and light.

Bear in mind that language and ingredients may vary depending on the locale. However, these two recipes are similar in that they both aim to be a quick, delectable treat.

Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Flapjacks are typically thicker and denser than pancakes, often made with oats and syrup.
  • Pancakes are typically lighter and fluffier than flapjacks, made with flour, eggs, milk, and sugar.
  • Both flapjacks and pancakes are typically prepared in the same way, with a batter made from flour, eggs, milk, butter, sugar or other flavorings.
  • The terminology and ingredients may differ depending on the region, but the underlying concept of a quick, delicious treat unites these two dishes.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.