I learned the secret to making the perfect crêpes twenty years ago from a French chef named Marie. She taught me the secret to making excellent crêpes is to focus on the consistency of the batter and not the exact measurement of milk and flour. I confirmed this theory years later by asking my in-laws and friends in France and another French chef for a recipe for crêpes, and everyone said the same thing, "I don't have a recipe. I just make them."
The key is adding enough milk to the flour to create the right batter consistency. The batter should have the consistency of heavy whipping cream, and like Chef Marie said, "The batter should fall off the ladle like a ribbon."
It isn't easy to give an exact recipe because the type of milk, flour, and even the size of your eggs can make a difference. You'll find hundreds of recipes for French Crêpes online, but the goal is always the consistency of the batter. Since I never measure the quantities of flour and milk, I made three batches of crêpes to measure and give you a guideline. Start with these quantities and watch this video to learn more about creating the right creamy consistency.
Instructions to Prepare the Crêpe Batter:
1. Add the flour to a bowl. Using a whisk, make a small well in the center of the flour.
2. Crack the eggs into the well and whisk the eggs and flour just until combined.
3. Add about 1 cup of the milk and whisk the milk, eggs, and flour until they are well combined. The batter will be thick, like a cake batter.
4. Add the rest of the milk and whisk well. The goal is to have a batter with a consistency slightly thinner than heavy cream. Again, as Chef Marie told me, "The texture should be like cream and flow like a ribbon off the ladle."
You can use the crêpe batter immediately, but when it sits for at least an hour, any lumps from the flour dissolve. To save time, make your crêpe batter the night before or in the morning and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Crêpe batter has raw egg so that it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to three days. When the batter sits, it will separate and may thicken a bit. Then, all you need to do is whisk it and add more milk, and it is ready to cook.
Instructions to Cook Crêpes:
5. Heat an 8- or 9-inch nonstick frying pan or crêpe pan over medium-low heat and lightly coat with butter. Only a tiny amount of butter is needed; I use about 1/8 of a teaspoon. The butter should sizzle in the pan but not turn dark brown. If the butter browns, reduce the heat.
6. Using a ladle, pour just enough batter into the pan to evenly coat it, about ½ - ¾ of a ladle. Crepes are thin, not thick like pancakes. Swirl the pan around in a circle to distribute the batter. If there are empty spots, add more batter over the spots. If the batter doesn't swirl easily, it is too thick. Add a bit of milk.
7. Cook each crêpe for about 2 minutes. When the sides start to curl up, use a spatula to flip it. Cook on the other side for less time, about 1 minute. The crêpe should be nicely browned but not too dark.
8. A famous saying is that the first crêpe is for the chef because the first crepe often sticks to the pan. However, once the pan is well seasoned with butter and heated, the cooking process goes more smoothly.
9. Continue to make more crêpes by adding another small amount of butter and the crêpe batter. You may need to adjust the heat down as the pan gets hotter. If the butter browns when added to the pan, reduce the heat.
10. Add your favorite topping to the crêpe, fold, and enjoy. You can find serving ideas in the notes below.
Tip: You can make enough crêpes for your meal, store the leftover batter in the fridge, and freeze the rest of the crêpes later and freeze. Watch this video to learn how to store and freeze crêpes.
Watch the video here.