Kaiserschmarren – Austrian Torn Pancakes

Kaiserschmarren (“Emperor’s Mess”) are light, fluffy pancakes made without baking powder. This dish is named after the Austrian Kaiser Franz Joseph I who liked his pancakes torn into small pieces. Serve with fruit preserves or applesauce.

There are certain recipes that you just know were created by accident – and this “Emperor’s Mess” must be one of them. There’s no way to know for sure, but I imagine a sleep-deprived, maybe busy cook trying to flip a pancake, and it misses the pan, breaks into pieces, so he just tears the rest apart, and a bit of butter and sugar later, the Kaiserschmarren was born.

Of course, it wouldn’t have that name anymore, because they had to present it to Franz Joseph I, and he had to like it, which he apparently did. So, I think the real question is, what was the name before it got to the Kaiser? Historical questions aside, the only thing we really need to know is that these are pancakes that are fun to make and delicious to eat.


How to Make Kaiserschmarren .

The procedure is quite simple, and there is a lot of room for variation. Here are some tips and tricks for the perfect homemade kaiserschmarren:

  . If you like, you can use more batter in a smaller pan to get taller, thicker and fluffier pancakes.

  . You can also carefully caramelize the pieces like I did, sacrificing a bit of inflation for the extra “crunch”.

  . You can basically just tear and serve, which will result in a bite with a softer, lighter texture.

  . Finally, and most controversially, you can add raisins to this if you want.

No matter how you adapt this recipe, I really hope you try these Austrian torn pancakes soon. Enjoy!



. 2 large eggs, separated

. 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

. 6 tablespoons of milk

. 4 teaspoons white sugar, divided

. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

. 1/4 teaspoon salt

. 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

. 1 teaspoon powdered sugar for dusting (optional)




Step 1

Combine egg yolks, flour, milk, 2 teaspoons white sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a bowl; beat until the mixture is combined.


Step 2

Combine the egg whites and lemon juice in a glass, metal or ceramic bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and fold carefully using a spatula until well combined, using as gentle a touch as possible.


Step 3

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Transfer the mixture to the hot pan, cover, and cook until the bottom is golden brown and bubbles appear on the surface, about 4 minutes.


Step 4

Use a spatula to cut the pancake into 4 parts and turn it over. Cover and cook for another minute. Use 2 spatulas to tear or cut the pancakes into 1- to 2-inch pieces.


Step 5

Add the remaining butter in small pieces to the pan and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of white sugar. Cook while tossing and stirring for a few minutes until the pancake pieces are lightly caramelized around the edges.


Step 6

Serve immediately, dusted with powdered sugar.

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