Baghrir are sweet, fluffy Moroccan pancakes with tiny holes on top. Make this recipe for a breakfast, snack, dessert, or iftar meal during Ramadan!
Pancakes- Worldwide Breakfast, Dinner or Dessert of Champions
Pancakes come in many different forms. Here in the United States, unless you see them at an ethnic restaurant, you may not realize how different they are from our weekend buttermilk pancakes.
In China, you can enjoy a dinner of moo shu pancakes with beef, pork or chicken. Travel to Scandinavia for a breakfast of paper-thin Swedish pancakes, or to the Middle East for sweet stuffed dessert pancakes known as qatayef.
In North Africa, and especially Morocco, bahrir are the pancake of choice. They are very different from the thick cake-like consistency of an American pancake.
Baghrir “Thousand Hole Pancakes”
Moroccan pancakes differ from most others, both physically as well as structurally. Here’s how:
- Honeycomb appearance– The signature tiny holes across them is why they also go by names like “thousand hole pancakes”, honeycomb pancakes, and Moroccan crepes.
Many pancake recipes call for baking soda or baking powder. Those leaveners react with other ingredients, releasing carbon dioxide bubbles, which cue you to flip them over.
But in the case of beghrir, the holes remain, and the spongy consistency is perfect for soaking up honey butter, syrup, or whatever you decide to serve them with.
- Cooked on just one side– I don’t know about you, but I’m for anything that saves time in the kitchen. No flipping means Moroccan pancakes cook in half the time!
- Semolina pancakes– Semolina flour is what most people think of as “pasta flour”. Like all-purpose flour, semolina is a type of wheat flour. The difference is, semolina is made from durum wheat, which has more gluten than traditional wheat flour.
The extra gluten adds structure, so it’s perfect for creating pasta shapes, cakes, cornbread, and pancakes. Plus, semolina flour has a golden yellow color that makes for a gorgeously golden beghrir!
- Yeast in the batter– Rather than using baking soda or powder, this recipe calls for active dry yeast. In the same way that yeast helps bread flour to rise, it also helps semolina flour to rise. As a result, the pancakes are spongy, light and airy!
A Note About Semolina Flour
“One thing that you may see on shelves while looking for semolina is a myriad of other products that claim to be semolina. They might say, for instance, ‘corn semolina’ or ‘rice semolina’” In fact, these grains are not officially semolina at all.”
Moroccan Pancakes Video
This recipe is very easy to make, but you can watch the process from start to finish. Check out the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Making the batter. The best way to make the batter is in a blender. Blending adds air, resulting in smoother batter that is less likely to have lumps..
- Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes. Keep in mind that this recipe calls for yeast. For the yeast to do its job, cover the bowl of batter and let it rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- The consistency matters. If the batter is too thick, it will prevent bubbles from forming while cooking. To thin the batter, add 2 tablespoons of water and mix to combine. Then, cover and let it rest for another 10 minutes before using.
- Don’t forget the sugar. Yeast needs to feed on sugar to do its job, so don’t leave it out. If you can’t have processed sugar, you can substitute an equal amount of honey or molasses. Artificial sweeteners will not work.
- Use moderate heat, not high. If the skillet is too hot, the edges of the baghrir will curl upward. Keep the heat at medium (6 to 7) and you should be good to go.
FAQ about Baghrir
Without any toppings, a single Moroccan pancake has 70 calories.
Yes, you can freeze pancakes! Just allow them to cool first, then lay the cakes in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Place the entire pan into the freezer for a couple of hours to allow the pancakes to freeze. Then transfer them to a freezer storage bag. They will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.
You can substitute yeast with equal parts acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) and baking soda. This pancake recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of yeast, so you can use 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
Or, you can simply use 2 teaspoons of baking powder as a substitute for yeast. Just keep in mind that baking powder activates instantly, so you’ll want to start cooking the pancakes right away.
The traditional topping for this dish is honey butter. You make it by combining equal parts melted butter and honey. It’s delicious!
For a sweeter topping, spread some jam, chutney, or chocolate hazelnut spread over them. Then, roll them up and enjoy!
Baghrir (Moroccan Pancakes)
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1/4 cup honey combine with melted butter
- Preheat oven to 200°F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or thin kitchen towel.
- Place all the ingredients into a blender and puree for 1 minute. Pour the batter into a medium bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let stand at room temperature until bubbly on top (15 to 20 minutes). The consistency of the batter should be thin like crepe batter or whipping cream (See Note 1).
- Preheat a non-stick griddle or skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir the batter, and using a 1/4 cup, pour batter into skillet and cook until holes form and the baghrir feels dry to the touch, about 2-3 minutes. Be careful to watch heat and lower if they get too dark around edges before they're dry on top. Baghrir is only cooked on one side, do not flip. Transfer each pancake to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining batter.
- Serve warm or room temperature with melted butter and honey drizzled on top. For a sweeter option, spread 1 tablespoon of Nutella on top and roll the pancake up to eat by hand.
- A thicker batter will prevent the bubbles from forming while cooking. If it has the texture of pancake batter, add a couple of tablespoons of water and mix. Cover and let rise again for 10 minutes before using.
- Cook time is 2 to 3 minutes per pancake. To cook an entire batch takes approximately 35 minutes.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.