Over spring break, I experimented with making different breakfast foods from scratch and one of the hardest ones to perfect was the Japanese soufflé pancake. If you're a foodie like me, then your Instagram explore tab is full of aesthetic foods, and this light and fluffy version of the typical pancake has surely appeared in your feed.

It's All in the Eggs

James Tran

The main difference between these soufflé pancakes and your average pancakes is in the eggs: we separate the whites from the yolks and whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Whipping the egg whites will add air into the batter, giving the pancakes their fluffy texture.

James Tran

Before we get into the egg whites, let's start with the egg yolk mixture. Combine the egg yolks, vanilla extract, milk, and sugar, then sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) with a sieve (see the recipe below for exact measurements). This step loosens the flour, prevent lumps from forming in the batter, and makes the end result smoother and fluffier! 

Whipping Egg Whites

Now for the egg whites, here are three tips for perfect stiff peaks:

1. Use room temperature egg whites. The egg whites will whip up faster this way.

2. Add cream of tartar. Cream of tartar stabilizes the egg whites and helps the whipped egg whites keep their shape.

3. Use clean equipment, free of liquids and oils. These could interfere with the egg whites and make them harder to aerate.

For your reference, here are some pictures of the various stages of egg whites:

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This is the foamy stage of the egg whites, nowhere near the finished product, but you should start adding the granulated sugar at this time. 

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Here we have very soft peaks, drooping down and barely holding their shape. 

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At this stage, the egg whites are starting to maintain their structure. They appear thicker and leave behind trail marks, indicating that the whites are very close to stiff peaks.

James Tran

Above we have egg whites at the final stage of stiff peaks. They hold their shape on their own and can stand upwards. A good test to tell when they're finished is if the whites stay completely upright when you invert your whisk or hand mixer.

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Combining the Batter

James Tran

Now to combine the egg yolk mixture and the egg whites, add the egg whites into the egg yolks in three parts and fold after each addition, just until no streaks of the yolk mixture are visible. Folding is a technique of using a spatula or a whisk to gently mix together ingredients, by scraping around the bowl and "folding" the batter on top of itself. Compared to vigorous mixing, this method prevents the air in the egg whites from deflating.

Cooking the Pancakes

James Tran

The last major step for this recipe is the cooking method. To ensure these soufflé pancakes are fully cooked, a medium-low heat and longer time is best. Using too high a heat will cook the underside while leaving the middle and top raw. A helpful trick is to add a small amount of water around the pan, away from the batter, and then cover with a lid. The water will steam and help even the cooking by distributing heat to the top of the pancake.

Once the base of the pancakes have set, add another scoop of batter on top to give them extra height. When the top of the pancakes are less glossy and less liquid-like, they're ready to be flipped! Be sure to flip them carefully so as to not deflate them.

And that's everything you need to know to start making your own soufflé pancakes! You can find the full recipe below. I hope you have fun trying this recipe!

Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:30 mins
  • Servings:3
  • Medium


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream tartar
  • Cooking spray or oil
James Tran
  • Step 1

    Mix egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of sugar, vanilla, and milk in a large mixing bowl.

  • Step 2

    Sift flour, salt, and baking powder into the egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine.

  • Step 3

    In a separate mixing bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.

  • Step 4

    Add about a third of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and whisk together to lighten the mixture. Afterwards, fold in the rest of the egg whites with a spatula.

  • Step 5

    Lightly coat a large pan with oil. Scoop out 1/2 cup of batter for each pancake and cook over medium-low heat. Once the base has set, add more batter on top to add height to each pancake. Cook for about 4 minutes, flip the pancakes, and then cook for about 1 more minute until the pancakes are done.