It’s a Pancake; It’s a Donut; It’s an Ebelskiver

Wake up to these warm, filled, Danish pancake-donuts.

Santa brought me a new toy.

OK, really it was my cousin and her husband who did. But you get my drift.

I fairly squealed when I opened the big box to see my very own ebelskiver maker. Uh, what’s that you ask? It’s like a specialty frying pan with seven big dimples in it. You pour batter into each crater to create spherical, filled Danish pancakes known as ebelskivers.

For years, I’d seen the pans featured in the Williams-Sonoma catalogue. I wondered if they were easy to use. And I was curious whether the round donut-hole-shaped pancakes really tasted all that much better than your standard flat ones.

Once you get the hang of making them, they are pretty quick to make. It helps to have your batter, and your fillings at the ready near the stove, because you need to work fast.

And yes, since you need to beat the egg whites separately, and then fold them into the batter, be prepared to dirty more than one bowl.

Adding cherry jam.

Heat the pan over medium heat, with 1/4 teaspoon butter in each well of the pan. Pour in a tablespoon of batter, add a small amount of your favorite filling, then top with a little more batter to seal the filling in. After the bottoms brown (about 3 minutes), use two wooden skewers to flip over each pancake ball to cook the other side.

Serve with maple syrup, a sprinkle of powdered sugar. or a little whipped cream. Eat with a fork, or use your fingers. Enjoy as breakfast, brunch, or dessert.

Unlike flat pancakes, the ebelskivers get a crisper exterior that gives way to a soft interior that holds a surprise inside.

After all, half the fun is experimenting with the fillings. Use your favorite jam, applesauce, Nutella, a couple of chocolate chips each, or even a dab of peanut butter. I’m dying to try a little ricotta next time.

Feel free to use your favorite pancake batter recipe or this one below.

And thank you again, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, aka Wayne and Terry, for my new toy.

Filled Pancakes

(makes about 40; the recipe also can be cut in half)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 eggs, separated

2 cups milk

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking

Fillings of your choice

Syrup or whipped cream for serving

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks, then whisk in milk, and 4 tablespoons melted butter. Whisk yolk mixture into flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir whites into batter in two additions.

Put 1/4 teaspoon butter in each well of the ebelskiver pan. Set over medium heat and heat until butter begins to bubble. Pour 1 tablepoon batter into each well. Put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of filling of your choice in the center of each pancake and top with a little bit more batter to seal the filling in. Add 1/4 teaspoon more butter to the top of each ebelskiver. Cook until bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Using two wooden skewers, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter and filling. Serve immediately with syrup or whipped cream.

Adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe

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  • They look very tempting and delicious!



  • We love these Danish pancakes too. Actually married the first guy i met who knew what they were. Both our families have Ableskiver traditions. For recipes search multiple spellings. We prefer to fill ours after cooking, keep batter a bit less stiff and turn frequently so the batter spills into the quarter opening and the balls get totally spherical not like a flat tire. Ours have a hollow center and we split and fill with Jam, sour cream, syrup and powdered sugar. We make them most holidays for breakfast, but in Denmark they are usually a dessert food. I prefer Crisco for frying them, can get the pan hotter so the outside cooks and inside runs into the cup when you start turning by quarter turns. I own 5 different pans. Like the full circle iron one the best, it sits better on the stove. Enjoy!!!

  • It’s fun learning how every where around the world, people have their own way of dressing up a pancake! This reminds me of Okinawan donuts, in a way. I bet you could set up your own stand and make millions! Well, maybe not millions, but I’ll bet you’ll draw a line! Lemon ricotta sounds yummy!

  • My kids love these pancakes too. The recipe I used doesn’t need egg whites to be beaten separately. I also don’t do the quarter turn methods… I guess it takes a lot of practice to do it that way.

    Williams Sonoma also has a video on their website to show how to “bake” the pancakes.

  • Oooh, instead of a lemonade stand on my front lawn, I could set up an ebilskiver stand. I like that!

    Thanks for all the great tips. I especially am happy to know that I don’t have to necessarily beat the egg whites separately. Saves on bowl washing.

    Luv2Cook, I am so impressed you own FIVE of these pans. YOU could definitely start your own ebilskiver stand. I can see the throngs lining up right now. And I’m definitely going to try the constant-turning method to see if I can get mine totally round.

  • YUMMY! I am so impressed, when I first saw the picture, my assumption was that you had gone down to Solvang for a day trip. When I read that this was actually your first attempt at these tempting treats well, now I agree with SingleGuyChef that you need to set up your own stand. Papabeard has nothing on these!

  • Yikes, the closest I got to an Ableskiver stand was the day mom made me head chef for a brunch for 25 women when I was like 18. Bowls and Bowls of Egg Whites, gallons of half and half. It was a long time until i was willing to make them again!!! I guess I perfected the technique then. Mom loved a pickle fork to turn them long narrow two tong thing. I inherited the fork with two pans from her, but even i can’t keep more than two pans moving at the same time. I have been known to cook 3 crepes at a time on 3 burners, but not more than 2 pans of Ableskivers…

    I will have to add them to my Holiday Brunch menu… I have a huge brunch each November for friends… Might be just the thing to wow them. I’v done Claofuti, crepe suzette and egg and potato hash more than once… I perfected baked bacon this year, so easy, cleanup later was worth it… What is it about breakfast I just love it!!!

  • Pancake? Donut? yes please!

  • this looks great carolyn! your little ‘donuts’ look so pretty! (as usual) 🙂

  • I got one of these from my grandmother and still haven’t used it. So now that i found a recipe and some one else who has used it I will have to give it a go.

  • OOoooo looks good. I bet you could make Japanese takoyaki in that pan too!

  • I have definitely been wanting an ebelskiver pan for a long time, but I am afraid that if I get one I won’t use it. They look sooo good!

  • Though you probably can’t beat a batter made from scratch, Williams Sonoma does sell an ebelskiver mix that tastes great. I find that it is a little labor intensive to make just 7 little ebelskivers in each batch which are eaten up in seconds by my family, so the mix saves time up front and I can concentrate on making more of them so I can eat some!

  • Wow, I’m impressed that our aebleskver have made it to the States. I love aebleskiver. So even though they are really a Christmas thing I often cook them throughout the year. A really great recipe uses buttermilk instead of milk and a bit of orange or lemon zest.

  • If you’re looking for interesting fillings for your ebelskivers, why don’t you use some of that raspberry-and-hot-chile jam that you got from a friend in Phoenix? That should liven them up a bit!

  • Luv2Cook, if you can keep even two pans going at the same time, you deserve a gold star, because that can’t be easy.

    Marc, you are a genius. I never thought about trying to make those Japanese octopus balls in the ebelskiver pan. But ya know, you might have something there. I might just have to try that. How intriguing!

    And Gordon — ahem — and just who might that raspberry-chile jam be from? Hah. Thank you again for it. And I do have a little bit left, so I should try spooning it into my ebelskivers. That surprise bit of heat will definitely wake ya up in the morning.

  • Those look so so so good! They’d be great with some coffee or hot chocolate.

  • You could try doing azuki bean-filled taiyaki and giving Sweet Breams a run for their money!

    I wonder how it would taste with a sourdough pancake batter.

  • who doesn’t loves pancakes? and filled pancakes? OMG, I wish I have the same ebelskiver maker to try this recipe right away!!

  • My aunt used to make these for us all the time when I spent nights at her house. I always used to look forward to them! Back in college I bought an aebeskiver pan and then sold it in a garage sale since I didn’t use it much. I’m wishing I still had that pan!

  • Is it bad that I’ve had this pan for well over a year and am too intimidated to even try making them? Thanks for posting this – I guess it’s time I use up some of the lemon curd in the pantry and get to making these little pockets of joy.

  • Lys, if you can cook in stilettos (as the glam name of your blog implies), you can make ebelskivers. Indeed, if you can cook in stilettos, you are way ahead of me.

  • I can’t pronounce this but it looks delish. I’m inviting myself over next time you make them!

  • Stylegal, I will even let you pick your fillings when I make them for you.

  • YUM! I was just in William Sonoma the other day and was drooling over the pictures in the store of this very same idea along side a pan that creates little pancake balls of goodness ( What a fantastic idea. They are sorta like mini doughnuts, minus the frying part. LOVE IT.


  • Umm..ok I got so excited about your pics that I skimmed right to the recipe and didn’t read the whole part where you talked about the very same thing I just mentioned. Sigh. Alrigh, enough food gazing for me today…


  • I use wooden kabob skewers to turn but once-upon-a-time many-long-years-ago, ladies in Danmark (“DK”) turned theirs with knitting needles.

  • Hi Gin: I love that quaint tradition. And it so make sense! 😉

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