These gluten-free crêpes are an easy twist on traditional French crêpes, and are every bit as delicious as the classic thin pancakes.
If you know me well, you know that I love French crêpes.
They're my favorite type of pancake, and they're just all-around awesome because you can stuff them with whatever fillings you want!
You could probably eat a different type of crêpe every day for the rest of your life.
If you really wanted to.
And so, a few weeks ago, when my mother-in-law, who is gluten-intolerant, said she'd been looking for a gluten-free crêpe recipe-- she got my attention.
These gluten-free crêpes were taste-tested back-to-back with my old standby-- Julia Child's French crêpe recipe, and I'm happy to report-- in an (admittedly small, 4 person) taste test, no one could tell the difference between the gluten version and the gluten-free crêpes.
And since those 4 taste testers were all crêpe-obsessed food lovers-- I'm going to call that a win.
Do Gluten-Free Crêpes Need Xanthan Gum?
Before testing these crêpes, I read gluten-free crêpe recipe after gluten-free crêpe recipe-- and one thing seemed sure.
No one could agree on xanthan gum.
Xanthan gum is a food additive in a lot of gluten-free flours. It's designed to replicate (and take the place of) gluten, and provide strength and elasticity to whatever you're baking.
And because it's a food additive, and also because some people have sensitivities to xanthan gum-- it's understandable to try omitting it wherever possible.
Some recipes I read called for all-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum. Others said to buy flour without xanthan gum, and add a little yourself (but less than there would be if it was already mixed in).
Other recipes I read said to leave the xanthan gum out entirely, because the crêpes would be fine without it.
I finished my crêpe research more confused than before I started, and decided that the only way to know for sure would be to try each combination myself.
I started by making a batch of traditional French crêpes (with gluten), so that I could use those crêpes to test each of the gluten-free crêpe recipes.
Gluten-Free Crêpes with Xanthan Gum
First, I tried an all-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum mixed in. I used Cup 4 Cup flour, which is supposed to work as an easy all-purpose flour substitute.
This batter looked, poured, and cooked just like the traditional recipe.
All-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum added was definitely my favorite batter to work with, and had a texture and flavor that most closely resembled traditional crêpes.
Gluten-free Crêpes Without Xanthan Gum
I tested this version with King Arthur's All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Without Xanthan Gum.
I tried two versions with this flour-- one with a small amount of xanthan gum added, and one without any xanthan gum.
Both batches turned out very similar to one another, and left me wondering why I'd bothered spending $10 on a bag of xanthan gum.
I don't recommend buying xanthan gum seperately for this recipe-- all you need is the flour.
Both of these crêpes were quite tasty, and were quite close to the original recipe.
Just not quite as close as when I used the Cup 4 Cup flour.
When cooking, the King Arthur flour batter was more fussy. The flour kept settling to the bottom, and I actually ruined an entire batch because I didn't realize that I needed to stir the batter each time before pouring it onto the pan.
Once I figured that out, things went much more smoothly.
Compared to the traditional crêpes, these were a little more delicate, and didn't fold quite as easily than the softer, traditional crêpes. That said, they DID fold, and when I folded or rolled them, they didn't crack at all.
I also found these crêpes to be slightly greasier to the touch than both the traditional crêpes and the previous gluten-free batch (The Cup 4 Cup with xanthan gum in the flour).
If you want to avoid xanthan gum entirely, I recommend leaving it out! The
crêpes will be delicious.
Why Doesn't This Crêpe Batter Need to Rest?
Traditional crêpe batter rests for at least an hour after whisking in order to let the gluten relax after being vigorously stirred up.
Since this batter doesn't have any gluten, it's okay to skip the resting period.
That said, if you want to make this batter the night before, it's totally fine to leave it "resting" in the fridge overnight.
How to Flip a Crêpe
Start with the right pan.
You can use an omelette pan or a crêpe pan.
At the moment, my favorite crêpe pan is one of those mini cast iron pans that come with chocolate chip cookie gift packets. It's small, heats evenly, and is just completely perfect for crêpe making!
Heat the pan, add a little butter or oil, and then lift the pan up off the heat. Pour a little batter in, swirl the pan with your wrist until the batter coats evenly, and set it back down on the heat.
When the edges start to brown, flip the crêpe, and cook until the bottom is done.
Serve these gluten-free crêpes with your favorite fillings and toppings, and bon appetit!
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (with xanthan gum), such as Cup 4 Cup Use a rice-based AP flour, never a bean-based flour. See Recipe Notes for directions to use flour without xanthan gum
- 1 cup cold milk
- 1 cup cold water
- 3 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more butter or oil for brushing hot pan
Optional add-ins for savory crêpes:
- diced fresh herbs
Optional add-ins for sweet crêpes:
- dash sweet liqueur
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl.
- Pre-heat non-stick pan on high heat, and brush or spray with oil or butter. Oil should shimmer on the pan.
- Holding pan just off heat, add 2-3 TB batter and swirl to coat pan. Place back on heat and cook for about 90 seconds, until the bottom of the crêpe is golden and slides off the pan easily.
- Flip and cook the other side for 5-10 seconds. Move crêpe to a wire rack or plate to cool, and repeat with remaining batter.
- Make Ahead: Stack with wax paper in between crêpes. Refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3-4 months in an airtight container. Don't skip the wax paper-- the crêpes will stick together.
- Use ⅔ cup milk + ⅔ cup water (instead of 1 cup of each)
- Whisk the batter in before pouring into the hot pan for EACH crêpe. Without the xanthan gum, the flour will tend to sink to the bottom and the liquids will rise to the top.
- I recommend King Arthur's Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour without Xanthan Gum