Buckwheat Crêpes

When most people think of crêpes, they picture the lightly colored, delicately thin pancake that is such an integral part of France's culinary culture.

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In reality, however, crêpes originated in Brittany and were made from buckwheat flour. They are much darker in color and have quite a different flavor. Brittany, on the northwest corner of France was not suitable for growing wheat, but when buckwheat arrived in the 12th century it thrived in the area and when buckwheat flour was mixed with water and salt, it made the first crêpe batter. These buckwheat crêpes are often called galettes and are still made in the traditional way in Brittany where batter is poured onto a hot surface called a billig and spread around with a wooden tool shaped like a rake and called a râteau.

Ingredients for buckwheat crêpes on a wooden table.

Buckwheat crêpes are made the same way you make sweet crêpes, but use buckwheat flour  instead. Buckwheat is actually not related to wheat at all, which is a bit confusing, but what this means (and here’s the good news for many of you) is that buckwheat is gluten-free! That means that at long as you make sure to get gluten-free buckwheat flour (some flours can’t make this claim because they are milled in the same factories as wheat flour), these crêpes, which use 100% buckwheat flour are gluten-free too. That is pretty fantastic for those trying not to eat wheat. 

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Buckwheat crêpe batter in a blender.

Using a blender is the easiest way to make the batter – it ensures that there will be no lumps, but doesn’t over-process the batter. It’s quick and super tidy, but if you don’t have a blender, I suggest you whisk the dry ingredients to break up any lumps, whisk the wet ingredients to blend them well, and then combine the wet and dry until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. You will always want to thin the batter with water, but how much water depends on how much flour has been added and how long the batter has been sitting. The buckwheat will continue to absorb water, so if you make this several hours ahead of time, you’ll need to add just a little more water. 

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Buckwheat crêpe batter in a bowl with whisk.

You can keep this batter in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, which means that you could make yourself a fresh crêpe every morning with the traditional Gruyère cheese, ham and fried egg. It honestly takes less time than it takes to toast a slice of bread! Alternately, you can make all the crêpes and freeze them for up to 3 months. Place a piece of parchment paper in between each crêpe and wrap well in plastic wrap before freezing and then let them defrost in the refrigerator until you can separate them before use. 

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Buckwheat crêpe batter in a traditional crêpe pan.

These buckwheat crêpes are my choice for savory fillings, like chicken, mushrooms and leeks, or ratatouille, or flaked cooked salmon, lemon and goat cheese. If you are looking for a sweet crêpe version, I’ve got you covered here

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Buckwheat crêpes shingled on a sheet pan.

Buckwheat Crêpes

  • Prep Time: 5 m
  • Cook Time: 20 m
  • Total Time: 25 m
  • Servings:
    10
    10-inch crêpes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk or water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup water or hard apple cider
  • butter for greasing the pan

Instructions

  1. Combine the milk, butter, eggs and salt in a blender. Pulse a few times to combine.

  2. Add the buckwheat flour and pulse again just until blended and then thin with water to the right consistency.

  3. Pre-heat a 10-inch skillet or crêpe pan over medium heat.

  4. Brush the pan with a little melted butter and then pour in enough batter to just cover the bottom of the skillet. If you have any excess batter in the pan, pour it back out into the batter bowl. (Measuring with a ¼ cup measure is a great way to be consistent.)

  5. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the crêpe for 1 minute on one side. Loosen the edge of the crêpe with a silicone spatula and then grab the edge with your fingers, lift it out of the pan and flip it over. Cook for another minute on the second side and then turn it out of the skillet onto a plate.

  6. Repeat for as many crêpes as you need, or until you run out of batter, monitoring the temperature under the pan to keep the crêpes from burning or not cooking quickly enough.

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