Japanese Hotcakes Are the Fluffiest Pancakes Ever—Here’s How to Make Them

This is not a drill: You can make these two-inch-thick, light-as-air pancakes at home. For real. Called hotcakes—hottokēki in Japan—they’re best enjoyed with plenty of maple syrup, melted butter or whipped cream. Oh, and they’re not only super fluffy, but also they soak up vanilla ice cream and delicious sauces like it’s no one’s business.

What Exactly Are Japanese Hotcakes?

Japanese hotcakes, also known as Japanese soufflé pancakes or just soufflé pancakes, start with the same ingredients as American pancakes: flour, sugar, milk, leavening, eggs. But instead of mixing everything together at once, the eggs are whipped into a fluffy meringue and gently folded into the remaining batter. The result? Towering height and an airy, custardy texture.

Per The New York Times, the exact origins of soufflé pancakes are murky, but may be traced back to two shops in Osaka, Japan—Shiawase no Pancake (in English, a Happy Pancake) and Gram Cafe—which started selling the hotcakes in 2014. Eventually, these cafés opened outposts in Tokyo, and around 2016, the pancakes were overtaking Instagram.

What’s the difference between pancakes and hotcakes?

While the terms are often used interchangeably in the U.S., there is a slight difference between pancakes and hotcakes. Pancakes are generally considered to be a sweet breakfast dish, whereas hotcake is a more general term for griddled cakes across the board, sweet or savory. But it can also be a regional distinction, depending on where you are in the world.

What Do I Need?

  • A large round cookie cutter
  • non-stick spray
  • a non-stick skillet
  • a spatula


  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

How to Make Japanese Hotcakes

Blend the eggs, buttermilk, sugar, vanilla extract and salt on low until combined; add the rest of the ingredients and blend until just combined. Heat the skillet over medium-low and coat it with non-stick spray. Coat the inside of the ring too, put it in the skillet and fill it up halfway with batter. Cook the pancake until bubbles appear all over it, gently flip it and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Anddd repeat!

Will My Pancakes Look Like That Irl?

Unless you’re texting and cooking, it’s practically guaranteed. The best news? They taste even better than they look. Bring on the extra maple syrup (and ice cream).

23 Healthy Midnight Snacks for Late Night Snacking

heathgoldmanheadshot 1

Food Editor

From 2017 to 2019 Heath Goldman held the role of Food Editor covering food, booze and some recipe development, too. Tough job, eh?


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...