Quick and easy Scotch Pancakes (also known as Drop Scones) are light, small and fluffy for teatime or breakfast. Ready in just 30 minutes. With a little rustic chestnut flour and orange for a Corsican twist, these Scottish treats are Ec-corsais!

scotch pancakes in a tea towel

What’s the Difference between Scotch Pancakes and American Pancakes?

Scotch pancakes, also known as drop scones or griddle cakes in the UK, are not like the usual fluffy stacks of large American pancakes dribbled with maple syrup. Instead, these are much smaller and normally spread with butter and/or jam or curd.

They’re also known as Drop Scones, as the batter is particularly thick (not runny like American pancakes).

American pancakes don’t really have an equivalent in France, as our French pancakes, or sweet crêpes, are much thinner and don’t use any rising agent like baking powder or soda.

dropping thick batter on to a hot griddle

Why is it Called a Scotch Pancake?

Said to have originated in my homeland of Scotland, Scotch pancakes are what my family always called them. According to my Collins Scots Dictionary (1995), in Scotland:

“A Pancake is a round flat cake cooked on a griddle, smaller and thicker than an English pancake and usually eaten cold with jam, butter, etc. In England it is known as a drop scone or a Scotch pancake.”

The name of drop scones is due to the thicker batter, which just drops from a spoon on to the hot griddle or pancake pan.

This recipe is Scottish and what my Gran seemed to live on, as they’re so easy and quick to rustle up.  Every time we visited her in Edinburgh, the girdle (yes, that’s what they also call it in Scotland) sat pride of place on the kitchen stove.  Likewise, on the table, there was a tea towel – filled with Scotch pancakes. I often wondered if she ever got fed up with them, but no.  She normally just served them with lashings of butter. Only sometimes we’d see a spoon or two of jam or honey.

small golden brown thick pancakes with knife spreading butter as they're wrapped in a teatowel

Are they the Same as Scones, Pikelets and Crumpets?

Drop scones are not the same as scones that we also make in Scotland – see my recipe for fluffy cheese scones.

They are also not the same as pikelets in the UK, as they are thin crumpets with holes.

However, I see that Scotch pancakes (drop scones) as we know in the UK are the equivalent of what are called pikelets in Australia and New Zealand.

thick pancake rounds on a hot pan turning out on to a tea towel

Adding Chestnut Flour to Pancakes

To keep Corsican hubby happy, I came up with an Auld Alliance version, merging Scotland and Corsica in a simple Scotch pancake. The addition of just a little chestnut flour is a typical rustic flour used in Corsican cuisine and easily found in health food stores or the healthy section in supermarkets.

Chestnut flour adds a nutty, rich texture and goes beautifully when paired with orange. If you can’t find it, no worries. Just complete with plain flour – or use a little wholemeal flour.

For more recipes using chestnut flour, check out the new chestnut page from our local French market.

small thick pancakes with a spoonful of jam

How Do You Eat Scotch Pancakes?

Serve Scotch pancakes (or drop scones) slightly warm, if possible immediately freshly made with a scraping of butter. They also go well with honey, jam or lemon curd.

For a French touch we like spreading on some sweetened chestnut and vanilla spread too – and a clementine or two, just to add some fruit for the day. Also enjoy with the following jams and curd:

spreading butter on thick little pancakes

How to Make Scotch Pancakes (Drop Scones)

This recipe is so easy and quick; the batter doesn’t need to rest so they are even quicker to make than regular French pancakes or crêpes.

Made with just simple, basic ingredients of flour, sugar, an egg, milk and a pinch of salt, it’s up to you to add the optional orange and chestnut flour. They don’t contain any alcohol.

scotch pancakes in a tea towel
5 from 3 votes

Scotch Pancakes

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course : Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine : French, British, Scottish
Keyword : drop scones recipe, easy scotch pancakes, scotch pancakes cups, how to make scotch pancakes
Servings : 6 people (calorie serving: 3 each)
Calories : 350kcal

Description

Quick and easy recipe for Scotch Pancakes. Although I have added chestnut flour for a Corsican twist with orange, this can be replaced with the regular (or wholemeal) flour. Also known as drop scones, as the batter is so thick it should just drop from a spoon.

Ingredients

  • 125 g (4.5oz/ 1 cup) plain/all-purpose flour (or self-raising flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (omit if using self-raising flour)
  • 25 g (1oz/ 3 tbsp) chestnut flour sifted * (see notes)
  • good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 25 g (2 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 1 large egg organic
  • 150 ml (4oz/ 2/3 cup) whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest organic (unwaxed)

Instructions

  • Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder & salt in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre.  Whisk in the egg, orange zest and gradually add in the milk until thick and smooth.
  • Lightly grease a griddle/pancake pan or heavy frying pan over moderate to high heat.
  • Cook in batches.  Drop the equivalent of 4 spoonfuls of the mixture spaced apart for 3 minutes until bubbles rise to the surface.
  • Turn the pancakes over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Notes

Makes about 18 Scotch pancakes with 350 calories per serving of 3.
To serve: enjoy freshly made, spread with butter, jam or curd. If not eating straight away, cover with a clean tea towel.
* Flour: If not using chestnut flour, use wholemeal flour for a slightly nutty flavour. If using just plain flour (150g), then use slightly less milk.
Measures: Please note that all my recipes are best made using digital kitchen scales in precise metric grams. Both ounces (and cups) are given as an approximate guide. 
 
 

This recipe was originally published 2 March 2011 but has now been completely updated.

From the market

From the kitchen

29 responses to “Easy Scotch Pancakes”

  1. 5 stars
    Love the orange addition! Wondering, could I use buckwheat flour in place of the chestnut/wholeameal, or would that make it “heavy”?

    • Absolutely, Rona. Buckwheat in place of chestnut will be ideal, as I’ve made the proportion quite small along with the normal flour quantity. As they are both strong and heavy ‘rustic’ flours, this will give it that extra ‘je ne sais quoi’. Enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    I have some chestnut flour left over from my castagnaccio> love the idea of adding it to drop scones. Might just have to give this a go. Fab recipe and photos as always Jill.

    • Oooh we love castagnaccio too – and the chestnut flour, Choclette. Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    Haven’t made drop scones in forever! Thanks for reminding me that I need to make them again, Jill. Yours look lovely, and I’ll just take mine with that butter, thank you very much! 🙂

    • To be honest, I had’t made them in a long time either – especially as Antoine prefers his crêpes (recipe in my book). However, I’d forgotten how good these are, especially with chestnut flour.

  4. I have never used chestnut flour, these pancakes sounds amazing. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Once you try chestnut flour, I can imagine you’ll be hooked. Pleasure with the recipe. Use about a quarter with normal flour and it gives a lovely rustic nutty flavour to quiches etc.

  5. Oh my gosh, chestnut flour sounds like an amazing addition. I’ve never heard of Corsican Chestnut Liqueur, but I want some! Thanks for the recipe.

  6. I love chestnuts but have never come across chestnut flour. These pancakes sound wonderful with the chestnut liqueur.

  7. Those look great! I never would’ve thought of adding in the Grand Marnier to my pancakes, but I’m sure it would be delicious!

  8. Never tried cooking with chestnut – the addition of liqueur is genius!

    Reminds me of a chinese combo with their cakes…

    Thanks for dropping by the site, Jill 🙂

  9. These pancakes sound so good, especially with orange
    liquer. a very upscale “pancake” to be sure.

  10. I’ve never used chesnut flour or liquer, definately something to be on the lookout for. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you have a great week.
    -Gina-

  11. And it has chestnut flour! Loving the nuttiness and earthiness of it. Forget fluffy buttermilk and bring them on.

  12. Chestnut and orange??? YUM! I have never had these pancakes, but I love the idea of pairing chestnuts with orange. I am going to save this and as soon as I find the chestnut flour I am going to give it a try!!! 🙂

  13. i’m not much for pancakes…doesn’t suit our taste here. but they’re pretty to look at. drop scones…such a cool name. i missed your blether here 😛

    i’ve an award for you in my blog. pick it up as and when time permits. if already received from elsewhere feel free to ignore!

    how did your book signing go off?

  14. I need to find chestnut flour because these sound absolutely wonderful… and I’d love to try them with the orange flower water!

  15. This is awesome. I didn’t know that chestnut flour exist. It must have such a great flavor and the Liqueur taste must make it so unique. I would love to try it, is so unfortunate that the weekend is already over, i should try it next weekend. thanks for sharing.

  16. I saw chestnut flour the other day and was tempted to purchase it. These look wonderful, whether you call them pancakes or scones, it hardly matters!

  17. I love the chestnut/orange flavours which lift these pancakes out of the ordinary. Coming to a skillet near me very soon…

  18. I’ve never heard of these before but they look absolutely scrumptious, nonetheless. I’m intrigued by the chestnut flour 🙂

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