Does Anything Make Pancakes And Flapjacks Different?

In the United States, many people love a fluffy, round, syrup-drenched breakfast treat typically cooked in a pan; however, this beloved food has two names: pancakes or flapjacks. Because of this, some wonder what's the difference, if there is one.

On the surface, they look similar. They have the same shape with roughly the same batter (via MasterClass); however, given the different names, some still question if anything — ingredient-wise or cooking-related — is different between pancakes and flapjacks. There is also the possibility that the name difference could just be a regional difference, as is the case for several other food and drink across the United States.

According to Foods Guy, the answer is simple in the United States, but across the pond, it's a bit more complex, especially considering how many differences there are in food names between the United States and the United Kingdom. Regardless, both pancakes and flapjacks are delicious.

The difference between pancakes and flapjacks in the United States

There is no difference between pancakes and flapjacks in the United States as "pancake" and "flapjack" are both regional terms (via Foods Guy). Although there are plenty of pancake/flapjack recipes, there's no difference in the basic ingredients or the process of making the fluffy breakfast treat. There's also no difference in how they're served. Ask for either, and diners will end up with a giant stack slathered in butter and syrup.

As with many other words and phrases in the United States, the "pancake" versus "flapjack" discourse boils down to regional differences. Order a pancake or a flapjack anywhere in the United States, and the server will know what you're talking about. "Flapjack" is just a slang term for "pancake," and it's largely regional. Not many people will ask for "flapjacks" in the North, but one might find menus calling pancakes "flapjacks" in the South (via Lacademie). 

The difference between pancakes and flapjacks in the United Kingdom

If one orders either a pancake or flapjack in the United Kingdom, they'll get something different from traditional American pancakes, and what they end up with will depend on which word is used. "Pancakes" and "flapjacks" are not interchangeable terms across the pond, and they're not the pancakes Americans are probably used to eating for breakfast (via Caroline's Cooking).

British pancakes are flatter than American pancakes, and they're not fluffy. They look similar to crepes because they don't contain any ingredients that can raise them as they cook. They aren't crepes, though; crepes are larger and thinner than British pancakes. 

By contrast, British flapjacks are typically sweet, but that's where their similarities to British pancakes end. In the United Kingdom, flapjacks are made with rolled oats, brown sugar, and butter, and they have sweet or savory fillings added. A British flapjack is practically an American granola bar. British flapjacks don't touch a griddle; they're usually baked in an oven (via MasterClass). Although pancakes and flapjacks are the same thing in America, in the United Kingdom, they are nothing like American pancakes, and they're starkly different from each other.