A classic recipe for pikelets, an Australian tea-time treat.

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Growing up in Australia, I loved eating pikelets for afternoon tea. My earliest memory of pikelets was when I was in primary school, perhaps about 8 years old, when our teacher made pikelets one afternoon and cooked them on an electric frying pan, with eager little bodies “helping” her with various tasks like measuring, stirring, flipping. Being young children, we were often always quite hungry and cooking classes like these were always met with much enthusiasm. As soon as the pikelets were cooked, we would spread them with butter and jam and eat them more quickly than they could be made.

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Pikelets are essentially little pancakes. In some parts of the world, they are called “drop scones”.

For a long time, I made them without using any particular recipe, relying mostly on memory; they were one of the few things I made so frequently on my own when I was growing up that I knew the recipe by heart.

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But then came university which was juggled with part-time work, and next the corporate world with its inherent long hours – afternoon teas became a distant memory. Alas, I can no longer remember the recipe which I had so fondly used in my childhood.

So when I recently wanted to recreate this tea-time treat from my childhood, I turned to the only person who I thought could be an authority on this point – Stephanie Alexander.

The Cook’s Companion is a wealth of information on not just traditional and modern Australian recipes, but it is a comprehensive compilation of information on ingredients and basic recipes which any home-cook would find an invaluable resource. Much like Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat, the Cook’s Companion is my kitchen bible.

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Stephanie Alexander’s recipe is quite straightforward and she also offers some variations to the recipe, such as adding sour cherries or raisins to the mixture before frying. These pikelets are wonderful served warm but they also taste great cold. Serve them at breakfast or afternoon tea for instant comfort.


Recipe adapted from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: Makes about 20 pikelets


  • 100 g (3/4 cup) plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) full cream milk
  • some butter
  • strawberry jam to serve


  1. Measure the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg and milk together in a measuring jug.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan or crêpe pan over medium heat.
  5. Drop a small amount of butter into the pan and wipe it around the pan with some kitchen paper.
  6. Using a tablespoon measure (15-20 ml) or large spoon, pour small drops of batter into the pan.
  7. As soon as small bubbles start to appear on the surface, flip the pikelets over and cook for a further minute or so. The pikelets should be evenly coloured on both sides.
  8. Remove the pikelets to a silicon tortilla or pancake warmer until all of the batter has been used.
  9. Serve each pikelet with a dollop of jam. They are also lovely served cold.

Kitchen Notes

You can use 1 teaspoon of baking powder in place of the 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar in this recipe.

Share your photos!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird


  1. At Anna's Kitchen Table 6 September 2011

    Those pikelets look so good. You’ve reminded me I’ve not made pancakes for the longest time!

  2. Monisia 7 September 2011

    Oh! great breakfast;)

  3. Maureen 7 September 2011

    The pikelets are my favourite food for breakfast. But I’m always lazy to make it myself that I always buy the ready made ones and heat it.

    This recipe looks pretty straightforward! Time to try it 🙂

    • eat little bird 7 September 2011

      Oh once you’ve made these pikelets from scratch, I’m sure you won’t be buying them anymore 😉

  4. nicola 9 September 2011

    I love these pickelets! We make pancakes most weekends for breakfast, my boys never get tired of them 🙂

    • eat little bird 9 September 2011

      Your lucky boys! We also often make pikelets or pancakes on the weekend when we have more time to linger, though if my hubby decided to make pancakes for breakfast during the week, I’m sure that would help me to get out of bed a bit earlier 😉

  5. manu 12 September 2011

    Never heard pikelets before, I can give it a go!! have a nice day!

  6. Julia Levy 14 September 2011

    Oh my, how did i miss and ELB posting. Fabulous. They remind me of pancakes too.


  7. Anita Menon 16 September 2011

    Never heard of these before. Sound and look a lot like tiny cute pancakes. the pictures are lovely

  8. […] particular recipe here on my blog which has been quite popular is Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for Pikelets. However, this recipe specifies a combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Here is […]

  9. […] of Eat, little bird had posted on this recipe some time ago, using cream of tartar , which is the one I have used here. If it’s hard to find […]

  10. Caroline 21 January 2012

    I have made these again this morning and the recipe has not lost any of its charm. I do not call them pancakes anymore but I am having a time re-educating the children!

    Be that as it way, out of several recipes I have tried, these are, by far, the best I have produced. Fluffy, with structure, holds up to plenty of syrup slathering; it’s perfectly delicious. My go to pancake…errrrr…pikelet recipe from now on.. 😀

    • eat, little bird 21 January 2012

      Oh how wonderful to hear!! I’m so glad that you and your family like these pikelets. They’re a classic in Australia and Stephanie Alexander’s recipe produces pikelets which taste exactly as I remember from my childhood. I think what’s really great about this recipe is that the pikelets still taste great when cold, which is not something you can say for most other pancakes. So for me, there is less stress when making these pikelets because you don’t have to worry about making sure they are all hot when served.

      I guess I should start calling your fish cakes fish “cutlets”? 😉

      • Caroline 23 January 2012

        Haha! Well, if ever amongst Indian’s it would earn you brownie points! :-). I love the fact that its still fluffy even when cold, which is always the worry isn’t it, with pancakes. I warmed the extras ( I managed to make a huge amount!) the next day and it was still pretty darn good to eat!

  11. amy 17 October 2012

    I love pikelets and use a Bill Granger recipe from a book my brother sent me from Australia. I haven’t heard of Stephanie Alexander before (maybe I should ask my brother!) but that book sounds good.

    • eat, little bird 18 October 2012

      Oh I wonder which Bill Granger book it is? I make pikelets so frequently now that I have the recipe memorised, just like I had when I was younger 🙂 I find these pikelets to be so much lighter and easier to eat than pancakes, plus they taste great cold and can be kept for the next day, which is not always the case for pancakes.

      Stephanie Alexander is the authority on Australian cooking. Her book, The Cook’s Companion, is a cooking bible found in most Australian homes. It’s a very big and heavy book but I would definitely put it on your Christmas wish list 🙂

  12. Amanda 5 March 2013

    I gave this recipe a try today… i love the fluffy siftvtexture of these oancakes.. Never made pancakes before..but this recipe seems straightforward and easy… A definite keeper. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work 🙂

    • eat, little bird 6 March 2013

      Thanks, Amanda! I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe. I make these pikelets all the time and love them hot or cold – definitely a keeper!

  13. […] A kitchen bible in many Australian homes is The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander. It’s a book I turn to when I have an ingredient which I don’t know how to cook or when I simply want to revisit the food of my childhood in Australia. Stephanie’s recipe for pikelets is one which I now make from memory, especially since it was one of the few things my little one would eat when he was going through a fussy stage recently. You can find the recipe here and here. […]

  14. […] Vegemite. If we have friends visiting during morning or afternoon tea, I love to make a batch of pikelets which are always a hit with the […]

  15. […] speaking, I think pikelets fall into the category of healthy snacks. Pikelets are small Australian pancakes, commonly referred […]


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