Flapjack vs. Pancake

Nothing beats waking up to a warm, delicious pancake covered in syrup and topped with fruit. This delicious breakfast treat will send your taste buds soaring. In America, the term flapjack is often interchangeable with pancake. Usually, when you hear pancake and flapjack spoken in the United States, it describes the hot griddle cake made out of flour, eggs, and milk that makes a delicious batter for a warm breakfast. Pancakes have several alternative names. These include:

  • Hotcake
  • Flapjack
  • Griddle cake
  • Slapjack
  • Battercake

If you dig deeper, you will quickly find that the original flapjack is not exactly the same thing as a pancake. This post will look at the traditional flapjack, popular in Great Britain, versus the traditional pancake.

Are Flapjacks and Pancakes the Same Thing?

Although in America, when someone says flapjack, often, a picture of a warm pancake covered in syrup is what someone sees in their mind's eye. However, in Great Britain, flapjack is something else entirely different. The traditional flapjack ingredients from Britain consist of oats, golden syrup, sugar, and butter. Sometimes there are also fruits put inside the flapjack. A traditional flapjack can be equated to a granola bar.

A pancake, on the other hand, is quite different. Pancake batter consists of flour, milk, butter, and typically eggs. After the batter is mixed, it is fried on a griddle or stovetop. Usually, people eat pancakes in a flat cake shape; however, you can also roll up a pancake and fill it with fruit. Therefore, the traditional flapjack and a pancake are entirely different.

However, in the United States, sometimes you will hear the term flapjack interchangeably with pancake; in this case, these terms mean precisely the same thing. So therefore, whether or not a flapjack and a pancake are the same will depend upon where you’re at and the term context.

Healthy protein granola flapjack snack bars with seeds and nuts
There are many different variations of a flapjack. However, in its simplest form, you only need oats, syrup, butter, and sugar to create this delicious treat.


Flapjack vs. Pancake: What is the Difference?

The original flapjack and pancakes are completely different. The main difference between a flapjack and a pancake is the ingredients used to make them. With a traditional British flapjack, you use oats, golden syrup, butter, and sugar. These ingredients will create a textured bar. A flapjack can also have other ingredients, such as fruits or grains.

On the other hand, pancake batter consists of eggs, milk, butter, and usually a type of flour or grain. These are simple ingredients that many use to make a typical pancake. However, there are many delicious pancake recipes to explore. For example, adding blueberries to your batter will make blueberry pancakes or chocolate chips can be sprinkled inside your batter to make chocolate chip pancakes. With an array of delicious flavors, many choices are available for varying taste buds to enjoy.

The texture of a flapjack is also very different than that of a pancake. Flapjacks have a grainy and gooey texture that is similar to a granola bar. Pancakes, on the other hand, are soft and chewy. Aside from the texture differences, there are also taste differences. The taste will be dependent on what ingredients are added to each treat.

What is a Flapjack?

The traditional flapjack rose to fame in Great Britain. Also, it’s possible that these sweet treats first arrived on the scene in Britain long before1680. Many believe this because William Shakespeare mentions them in his Jacobean play. 

Traditional British flapjacks are different from regular pancakes. Instead, they are roasted or fried in the oven and made of oats, syrup, butter, and sugar. Many people eat flapjacks for breakfast, a snack, or a dessert. One of the most common ways to make a flapjack the way that historical Britain has made it is by melting sugar, syrup, and butter together and then mixing them with oats. After mixing these four ingredients, they are placed inside a tray and heated in the oven. This recipe is the most straightforward way to make a traditional British flapjack. However, many variations of this specific recipe add different ingredients.

Chocolate chip flapjack on board
Original British flapjacks are a delicious way to eat a grab-and-go breakfast.


What is a Pancake?

Chances are you have heard of the traditional pancake. It's even likely you have enjoyed eating one! However, where exactly did the original pancake derive from? It seems pancakes have existed for a long time, maybe even since the Stone Age! Traditional pancakes used wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and milk ingredients. However, pancakes have changed some in the modern era. Now pancake batter typically consists of flour, butter, sugar, baking powder, eggs, and milk. You can even buy premade pancake batter that only requires adding milk or water, making it easy for us to prepare pancakes in the morning for families.

Pancakes come in several different shapes, flavors, and even sizes. Many people enjoy stacking small pancakes on top of one another. On the other hand, other people enjoy a large pancake or two smothered in syrup and topped with fruit. Regardless of how they enjoy it, many people worldwide love pancakes.

Healthy summer breakfast,homemade classic american pancakes with fresh berry and honey, morning light grey stone background copy space top view
There are many different ways to enjoy a pancake. Many people love topping their pancakes with butter, syrup, and delicious berries for a sweet treat that is hard to beat.

©Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock.com

Can You Substitute Flapjack for Pancakes or Pancakes for Flapjacks?

When it comes to traditional British flapjacks or pancakes, the answer is no; you cannot substitute flapjacks and pancakes. Although the terms flapjack and pancake are interchangeable and used to mean a flat pancake made on a griddle in the United States, they are initially different. Flapjacks are a British treat that is very similar to a granola bar. They contain sugar, syrup, and some oats mixed and heated in the oven. These ingredients create a delicious snack to enjoy after dinner or even a quick breakfast to grab on the go. There are many different ingredients that you can add to a flapjack, including fruit like dried apples, ginger, or even brown sugar, or chocolate chips.

Pancakes, conversely, are simple griddle cakes made out of batter and served hot. Both of these treats are delicious as breakfast or even a snack; traditionally, they are different and cannot be substituted for each other if you are speaking about the traditional flapjack. However, if you use the term flapjack interchangeably with a pancake to mean a griddled cake, they are essentially the same thing.

One Final Note

Both flapjacks and pancakes are delicious treats that many families enjoy. You can enjoy a flapjack or a pancake in many different ways. Many people enjoy pancakes with syrup or butter melted over them. Also, eating pancakes with fruit inside or even rolled up with filling inside is a great way to enjoy this delicious yet simple breakfast. Whether or not you want to enjoy a traditional British flapjack or a hot off-the-griddle pancake, it all boils down to what your taste buds enjoy and your personal preference. Both of these treats are worth trying in a variety of ways. Chances are, when you try these yummy treats, you will find something to love!

Here are a few ways to enjoy a traditional pancake: 

  • Blueberry pancakes
  • Banana pancakes
  • Japanese style pancakes
  • Lemon, poppyseed pancakes
  • Peanut butter pancakes
  • Orange zest
  • Apple pie
  • Pumpkin butterscotch pancakes
  • Cinnamon, almond
  • Raisin pancakes
  • Eggnog pancakes
  • Sweet potato

These are just a few variations of pancakes that people enjoy worldwide. A simple search on the Internet will bring thousands of pancake options to enjoy. So, if you love sweets, whether crunchy or smooth, flapjacks and pancakes are excellent choices for your next breakfast.

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