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Pancakes are flat and round flour products made from batter by frying in a pan. Pancakes are used as an independent dish and together with fillings.

Pancakes may have been the first flour products and date back to prehistoric times. All peoples who use flour in cooking have varieties of pancakes.

The shape and structure of the pancake varies around the world. In the UK, pancakes are often unleavened and resemble a crêpe. In North America, a leavening agent is used (typically baking powder), resulting in a thick, fluffy pancake. A crêpe is a thin Breton pancake of French origin that is baked on one or both sides in a special pan or crêpe maker to create a lakelike network of fine bubbles. A well-known variation, originating in southeastern Europe, is a palačinke, a thin, moist pancake fried on both sides and filled with jam, cream cheese, chocolate or ground walnuts, but many other fillings – sweet or savory – can also be used.

When potato is used as the main component of the batter, the result is a potato pancake. In some countries, commercially prepared pancake mixes are available. When buttermilk is used instead of or in addition to milk, the pancake develops a sour taste and becomes known as a buttermilk pancake, which is common in Scotland and the United States. Buckwheat flour can be used in a pancake batter, creating a type of buckwheat pancake, a category that includes blini, kaletez, ploye, and memil-buchimgae.

Pancakes can be served at any time of day or year with a variety of toppings or fillings, but they have developed associations with specific times and toppings in different regions. In North America, they are typically considered a breakfast food and serve a similar function to waffles. In the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, they are associated with Shrove Tuesday, commonly known as “Pancake Day,” when historically perishable ingredients had to be used up before the Lenten