Easy-to-make recipe for French crêpes filled with creamy eggs, sharp cheddar, and chives. Perfect for brunch!
Does the idea of making French crêpes at home scare you? Because if it does, this post is for you. If you can make a pancake, you can make a crêpe. Seriously. And while I love a good breakfast-for-dinner featuring pancakes, crêpes are infinitely more flexible. You can fill them with savory ingredients or sweet, and serve them for any meal of the day. In fact, they’re really just a fancy delivery mechanism for whatever filling you have on hand.
This Egg and Cheddar version is a fantastic idea for brunch or just when you’re in the mood for a fancy weekend breakfast. After making the crêpes themselves (or, of course, buying them—no judgment!), you’ll delicately scramble some eggs with butter then fold in shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Use these to fill your crêpes, then garnish with chives for an elegant yet easy (and completely delicious) vegetarian meal.
What are French Crêpes?
French crêpes are a thin pancake made without leavener (such as baking soda or baking powder), so they do not rise and fluff up like an American pancake. Crêpes can be filled with sweet or savory fillings, and the crêpe batter itself can change slightly depending on whether you intend them for a savory or sweet preparation. Typically, crêpes are made with flour, eggs, and milk. All-purpose flour is most common, though the Bretagne region in France is famous for its savory crêpes called galettes made with buckwheat flour (see below). Additional batter ingredients might include sugar, for sweet crêpes, or liqueurs or spirits.
Making French Crêpes from Scratch
1. Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in large bowl and whisk vigorously until well-combined (about a minute). You can also use a blender for this step—blend for about 10 seconds. Next, whisk in 1 tablespoon of chopped chives. The batter should be much thinner than pancake batter—closer to the consistency of heavy cream.
2. Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes. You can leave it up to overnight, but move into the refrigerator if you are not using right away.
3. After resting the batter, give it another quick whisking.
4. Now heat a 9- or 10-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet on medium heat, cut off a sliver of butter, and swirl it around your pan. Use a paper towel to coat the pan evenly.
5. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter directly in the center of the pan, then quickly lift the pan up and roll your wrist around as you hold it, so that the batter spreads out in a thin even layer over the pan.
6. Cook without disturbing the crêpe until you see the edges beginning to brown, then use a non-scratch spatula to flip your crêpe and cook the other side. You can use your spatula to peek if you need to—you want the bottom to be just golden brown in spots. Keep an eye on your heat—the crêpes should take about 1 minute to cook on the first side, and 30 seconds or so on the second side.
7. Repeat with the rest of your crêpes, including buttering the pan between each one. As you finish your crêpes, stack them on a plate separated by squares of wax paper or parchment paper.
You will likely have more crêpes than you need for this recipe. You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for future use.
Making the Egg and Cheddar Filling
1. To make the eggs, first whisk together 8 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper until totally incorporated.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, then add eggs. Use a rubber spatula to slowly stir eggs, pulling the spatula around the sides of the pan and through the middle. Cook the eggs slowly, stirring frequently.
At first it will seem like not much is happening, then all at once they will begin to cook quickly. The entire process should take at least 5 minutes.
3. When the eggs start to clump up as you stir with your spatula, leaving the bottom of your pan clear, add 2 ounces of grated cheddar cheese and stir in.
4. Continue to cook until eggs are done, and cheese is melted.
5. To assemble the crêpes, lay a crêpe on a cutting board and add a small scoop of eggs along one half of the crêpe.
6. Top with a small sprinkle of chopped chives and shredded cheese, then fold over the top of the crêpe. Fold in half again, and garnish with additional chives and cheese if you’d like. To serve, place 2 folded and filled crêpes on each person’s plate.
- Crêpes: as I mentioned above, feel free to buy your crêpes rather than make them yourself. You can use regular crêpes like these, or buckwheat crêpes. Look for crêpes without sugar added—crêpes with sugar are best for dessert crêpes.
- Flour in Crêpe Recipe: you can use gluten-free flour or whole wheat flour instead but note that the texture of your crêpes may be different. If you want to use whole wheat flour, I’d start by replacing 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. If the texture is still ok, go up to 1/2 cup.
- Chives: if you don’t have chives, you can substitute finely chopped green onions. Unless they are very finely chopped, though, I’d use them just as a garnish rather than also including in the crêpe batter.
- Cheddar Cheese: as a substitute for cheddar cheese, try gruyère, gouda, or Comté.
Can I Make These Ahead of Time?
Yes and No. Crêpes are excellent for make-ahead. They will store for several days in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag or airtight container. And, you can freeze crêpes for up to 3 months. Use a piece of parchment or wax paper between each crêpe so that they don’t stick together, then put in a ziplock bag or airtight container. If you freeze them, thaw in the refrigerator before using. When you’re ready to eat one, heat it gently in the microwave for 15-30 seconds before filling. As for the filling, it’s best to make scrambled eggs right before you’re ready to serve, as they can get rubbery when refrigerated and reheated. You can definitely grate the cheese and chop your chives up to 24 hours in advance, and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
Why Does Crêpe Batter Need to Rest?
Resting is important because the starch in the flour has time to absorb liquid, air bubbles rise to the surface and are released, and the gluten which develops when you mix the batter has a chance to relax (while gluten in a nice chewy artisan bread loaf is appreciated, not so in a crêpe). All of that makes for a more tender crêpe.
What Tools Do You Need to Make Crêpes at Home?
You can make crêpes with just a rubber or wooden spatula and a nonstick skillet (or very well-seasoned cast-iron skillet). If you plan to make crêpes regularly, investing in a pan like this Cuisinart brand crepe pan is not a bad idea. Crêpe pans have a nice weight to them and conduct heat nicely so you get an even cook on your crêpes. And the sides on a crêpe pan are fairly low, which helps you get your spatula under the crêpe to flip it. I have a crepe pan at home in the States, but here in France I’ve been making do with a 10-inch nonstick skillet. (Kind of ironic, right?)
The other tool you might want to invest in is a wooden crêpe turner—these are long and flat, and make it easy to lift your crêpes and flip them without damaging them. Again, they aren’t necessary for crêpe making, but they do make the job a little easier if you find yourself making crêpes frequently.
What’s the Best Way to Roll a Crêpe?
There are many ways to fold or roll a crêpe. The easiest is just to sprinkle or spread the filling across the entire crêpe and then roll up starting at one side and continuing to the other side. This method is best for thin fillings like a layer of Nutella or butter and sugar. For heartier fillings, such as this egg and cheddar one, I recommend the triangle method. Fill one half of a crêpe, then fold over the empty side. Fold over again into a stacked triangle shape. If you are making very large crêpes, you can also put the filling in the middle of the crêpe and then fold up each edge slightly to form a square with the filling exposed in the middle. This is the most common presentation for the Bretagne buckwheat galettes.
History of Crêpes
Crêpes originated in the 13th century in Brittany, a region in the northwest of France. They were invented after buckwheat was brought to the region by the Crusades. Today in France, buckwheat flour is commonly used for savory crêpes, also known as galettes, while white flour is used for sweet crêpes. Buckwheat is not a grain, and so crêpes made just from buckwheat flour are gluten-free and can be enjoyed by people with gluten allergy or intolerance. In France, crêpes are traditionally served on La Chandeleur (Candlemas) on February 2nd. Legend has it that great wealth would come to you if you could toss a crêpe in the air and catch it in your pan while holding a gold coin in your other hand.
Are crêpes healthy?
On their own, crêpes are not particularly healthy or unhealthy. They are typically made with eggs, flour, milk, and butter. In France, savory crêpes are often made with buckwheat flour, which is high in fiber, protein, iron, and zinc, and significantly healthier than all-purpose flour. Sweet crêpes typically use all-purpose flour, and often include sugar in the crêpe batter—of course, if you do that, your crêpes will be higher in calories.
Crêpes are so thin that what you use to fill your crêpe is really what matters: vegetable and egg fillings can be quite good for you; nutella and whipped cream, not so much.
Filling Ideas for French Crêpes
Crêpes have so many uses! Think of them like sandwich bread or a pie crust. You can fill them with all sorts of things, both sweet and savory. In France, sweet crêpes are often topped with Nutella, jam, or with butter and sugar or sugar and lemon. Fruits like sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, raspberries, or blueberries, along with whipped cream, are also quite popular. Or, try a combination, as with my Banana Nutella Crepes! You can also top sweet crêpes with caramel or lemon curd.
But despite the fact that there are oh so many sweet options with crêpes, my favorite recipes are savory. Crêpes are wonderful for leftovers—you can stretch leftovers that aren’t quite enough for another full meal by spreading them out over crepes and folding them up. In summer, I love to turn garden tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and pesto into these Caprese Crêpes. When it’s colder outside, these Creamy Dijon Chicken and Mushroom Crêpes completely hit the spot.
Other Breakfast/Brunch Ideas
Looking for other yummy recipes for a special breakfast or brunch? Here’s a few you might want to check out:
- Quiche Florentine
- Croissant Breakfast Sandwich with Spinach
- Spinach Bacon Egg Cups
- Almond, Pecan, and Pumpkin Seed Granola
- Cheesy Pancetta, Corn, and Leek Frittata
For the Crêpes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 grams)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 2 T. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 T. chopped chives
- 3 T. unsalted butter, for cooking
For the Eggs
- 8 eggs
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
- 1 T. butter
- 2.5 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 T. chopped chives, to serve
- For the crêpes: combine the flour, milk, water, eggs, butter, and salt in large bowl and whisk vigorously until well-combined (about a minute). You can also use a blender for this step—blend for about 10 second.
- Next, whisk in the chives. The batter should be much thinner than pancake batter—closer to the consistency of heavy cream.
- Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes. You can leave it up to overnight, but move into the refrigerator if you are not using right away.
- After resting the batter, give it another quick whisking.
- Now heat a 9- or 10-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet on medium heat, cut off a sliver of butter, and swirl it around your pan. Use a paper towel to coat the pan evenly.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of batter directly in the center of the pan, then quickly lift the pan up and roll your wrist around as you hold it, so that the batter spreads out in a thin even layer over the pan.
- Cook without disturbing the crepe until you see the edges beginning to brown, then use a non-scratch spatula to flip your crepe and cook the other side. You can use your spatula to peek if you need to—you want the bottom to be just golden brown in spots. Keep an eye on your heat—the crepes should take about 1 minute to cook on the first side, and 30 seconds or so on the second side.
- Repeat with the rest of your crepes, including buttering the pan between each one.
- As you finish your crepes, stack them on a plate separated by squares of wax paper or parchment paper.
- To make the eggs, first whisk together eggs, salt, and pepper until totally incorporated.
- Melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, then add eggs.
- Use a rubber spatula to slowly stir eggs, pulling the spatula around the sides of the pan and through the middle.
- Cook the eggs slowly, stirring frequently. At first it will seem like not much is happening, then all at once they will begin to cook quickly. The entire process should take at least 5 minutes.
- When the eggs start to clump up as you stir with your spatula, leaving the bottom of your pan clear, add 2 ounces of the grated cheese and stir in.
- Continue to cook until eggs are done, and cheese is melted.
- To assemble the crepes, lay a crepe on a cutting board and add a small scoop of eggs along one half of the crepe. Top with a small sprinkle of chives and shredded cheese, then fold over the top of the crepe. Fold in half again, and garnish with additional chives and cheese if you’d like.
- To serve, place 2 folded and filled crepes on each person’s plate. You will likely have leftover crepes, that you can store in the refrigerator for future use.
- Feel free to make the scrambled eggs to your liking—some people like to cook them fast, over high heat, and some prefer the slower approach. I like my eggs soft and creamy, so I use the slow approach. Also, cooking the eggs slowly allows the cheddar cheese to really melt into the eggs. Note that the smaller the skillet, the more time it will take to cook the eggs.
- You can absolutely buy store-bought crepes and speed up this recipe time quite a bit!
- As a substitute for cheddar cheese, try gruyère, gouda, or Comté.
- If you are a meat-eater, adding crispy crumbled bacon as a topping for these eggs is delicious. Just cook some bacon or lardons in your skillet before scrambling your eggs, then removing them from the pan. You can then scramble the eggs in a bit of the remaining bacon fat.
- If you have leftover crepes, wrap them (unfilled) in plastic wrap or in a ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer. It’s best to keep a piece of parchment or wax paper between each crepe so that they don’t stick together. If you freeze them, thaw in the refrigerator before using. When you’re ready to eat one, heat it gently in the microwave for 15-30 seconds before filling.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 549Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 533mgSodium: 788mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 25g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.