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Buckwheat pancakes – Caroline’s Cooking

    French buckwheat crepe filled with cheese ham and egg on plate

    These French buckwheat crepes are easy to make, naturally gluten free and with a lovely slightly nutty flavor. They’re perfect loaded up with cheese, ham and egg for a classic “crêpe complete” for brunch/ lunch, or with many other tasty fillings.

    French buckwheat crepe filled with cheese ham and egg on plate

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    I’ll admit, my first experience of buckwheat was not a good one. It was when I was on a project in rural Russia as a teen and we had batch-made buckwheat porridge every day. It wasn’t exactly the easiest to eat.

    But then in later life I had it cooked properly and grew to like it more. And I also discovered buckwheat flour used in a few traditional recipes from different parts of the world.

    buckwheat crepes cut open to show cheese, ham and egg filling

    Does buckwheat contain gluten?

    Despite the name, buckwheat is not a form of wheat and in fact not even a grain, though it’s treated as one. Buckwheat is naturally gluten free, and high in protein – you can find out more interesting facts in this article.

    The lack of gluten does mean it can be a little challenging to use in baking, for example. You typically have to blend it with wheat flour. However it works on it’s own in thin pancakes such as these classic French crepes and Russian blini.

    You will find buckwheat flour comes in light and dark varieties. The lighter is hulled, while the darker is unhulled. You can use either here – dark is higher in protein, but light I think has a milder flavor.

    ingredients for buckwheat crepes ready to mix

    Where are these crepes from?

    These crepes originate in the Brittany area of ​​northwest France. They are sometimes referred to as a “galette”. I know, that name can be confusing as that’s also the name for a free-form pie/tart (like my blueberry galette and mushroom galette). So be aware these would be a “buckwheat galette” or “buckwheat” (the two names for buckwheat).

    Some recipes include some wheat flour to help with the consistency, but traditionally, you just use buckwheat flour, as I have done here. This has the bonus of meaning they are gluten free crepes. You can make them with water or milk – I think milk is better flavor-wise but as you prefer.

    This recipe has a relatively high proportion of egg which counteracts some of the challenges you can have with buckwheat – it can make them prone to cracking. If you like, you can thin out the mixture to make it less “eggy” with a bit more flour and milk/water.

    curled edge of cooking buckwheat crepe in skillet

    Tips for cooking these crepes

    Traditionally, these are made on a crepe maker called a billig that’s basically a big round hot plate. You use a tool called a roselle to spread the batter really thin and even.

    Obviously, it would be unrealistic to have one of these at home, though I do find my crepe pan pretty useful as an alternative (sadly, don’t have it here right now). But you can still have pretty good success with these on an everyday skillet/frying pan. They might just be a little thicker, which makes folding them a little harder, but it’s a minor thing.

    To help them to turn out well, I’d recommend using a nonstick skillet or crepe pan over a medium-high heat and butter it slightly just before cooking the first one. You shouldn’t need to butter again unless you seem to have problems with it sticking.

    Once you add the batter, lift the pan off the heat and quickly rotate it to spread the batter right around the pan. If you need some help with how to do this, it’s the same principle as I did for my apple crepes where I have a video. Though I admitted my technique not as good as it could be in the video, so please don’t judge! Also, I found I only needed to rotate the pan once with this batter as it’s a bit thicker.

    all toppings added to crepe - ham and egg visible over cheese


    Typically, these crepes are served with savory toppings. Sweet crepes usually use a wheat flour batter. One of the most classic toppings is with cheese, typically gruyere, ham and egg called a “crêpe complete”. That’s what I’ve shown here, and it’s definitely worth trying.

    In some cases, the egg will be added directly onto the crepe to cook, but that’s less successful without the crepe maker. So instead, it’s better to fry the egg separately then tuck it in. You can also scramble the egg, if you prefer.

    If you are looking for other topping ideas, you are really only limited by your imagination. I having remembered these from a market one time and the stall had chopped wilted spinach, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, caramelized onions, cheese, ham, chopped chicken and more to choose from. So get creative!

    buckwheat crepes being kept warm in cloth

    If you’re making a few of these, to be able to serve them more or less together, the best idea is to cook all the crepes first. Then, store them wrapped in a clean dishcloth and warm one at a time to add the toppings.

    Have the toppings prepared before you start filling the crepes ie grate the cheese, fry the eggs. You only need a minute to add the toppings to the warmed crepe, fold in the edges, then serve.

    These buckwheat crepes have a lovely flavor to them, that pair perfectly with a range of savory toppings. The classic ham, cheese and egg version shown here makes a delicious brunch or lunch. So give these gluten free crepes a try for a French twist to your morning.

    buckwheat crepe with fillings - egg showing - on plate

    Try these other tasty pancake recipes:

    If you’re looking for more ways to use buckwheat, both as flour and groats, this Food 52 article has lots of ideas.

    French buckwheat crepe filled with cheese ham and egg on plate

    Print Recipe


    Buckwheat pancakes

    These naturally gluten-free French crepes are typically served with savory toppings, and have a lovely gently nutty flavor.

    Prep Time4 mins

    Cook Time16 mins

    Total Time20 mins

    Race: Brunch, Lunch

    Kitchen: French

    Services: 4

    calories: 376calories

    Author: Caroline’s Cooking



    To cook/serve

    • ½ tablespoon butter 7g, approximately
    • 8 tablespoon grated gruyere cheese
    • 4 slices ham
    • 1 tablespoon butter or oil, or more as needed to cook eggs
    • 4 eggs


    For the pancakes

    • Mix together the ingredients for the crepes either by hand with a whisk or with a blender. Ideally, chill the mixture, covered, overnight or at least 30 minutes.

    • When ready to use, stir the batter well. The consistency should be similar to heavy cream (double cream) – if it is too thick add a little water (I needed around 2 tbsp).

    • Warm a crepe pan or large skillet/frying pan (approx 12in/30cm diameter) over a medium-high heat. When warm, add the butter – it should bubble immediately but not brown.

    • For approx ¼ cup of the crepe mixture into the warm frying pan/skillet. Do this with the pan off the heat and at the same time swirl it round the pan so it covers all of the base, as far as possible. Fill any gaps with a little extra batter.

    • After a couple minutes, the top will be dry. Loosen the edge and once the edge starts to curl up and go crisp, turn the crepe over with a spatula/palette knife. Cook a couple more minutes on the other side.

    • Remove to a plate with a clean dish towel on top and cover with the towel. Repeat with the rest of the batter – you should get 4 pancakes.

    To fill the pancakes

    • Prepare fillings first – grate the cheese and separate into 4 piles of 2tbsp each ready to use. Break up the ham if larger pieces. Fry the eggs in a medium-high heat skillet with butter or oil so that the whites are cooked but yolks are still soft (unless you prefer cooked more).

    • Re-heat a crepe in the crepe pan/skillet over medium heat for around 30 seconds. Add the cheese in the middle, leaving, top with the ham then the egg leaving the sides without any filling (or at least not too much).

    • Fold in two opposite sides over the filling but leaving the yolk of the egg visible. Fold in the two other sides so that you form a pocket. Press the sides down with a spatula to get them to hold, as far as possible, then remove from pan and serve. Repeat with rest of pancakes.


    Note the process of re-heating the crepe and adding the filling is much the same, even with other fillings. If you like, you can flip the crepe over to help the sides hold together better, but it will cook the filling a little and for the egg, can mean the yolk will burst open.


    calories: 376calories | Carbohydrates: 13g | protein: 25g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 269mg | Sodium: 708mg | Potassium: 307mg | fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 760UI | Calcium: 370mg | Iron: 2mg

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    These French buckwheat crepes are easy to make, naturally gluten free and with a lovely slightly nutty flavor.  They're perfect loaded up with cheese, ham and egg for a classic "full pancake" for brunch/ lunch, or with many other tasty fillings.  #crepes #buckwheat #glutenfree #frenchfood