Food News

The Dutch Baby Recipe That Started an Online Whirlwind

May 15, 2018

There are more than a few words that bring to light the differences between American English and British English: sweater vs. jumper, eggplant vs. aubergine, vacation vs. holiday. Let's add to that list Dutch baby vs. Yorkshire pudding.

That's right. The word for "a newborn from the Netherlands" shares its meaning with what sounds like some fancy Duke of York's gelatinous dessert of choice.

It all began on Twitter this weekend, when The New York Times shared Florence Fabricant's Dutch baby, a cast iron–bound mega pancake:

British subscribers expressed almost immediate concern. Why? This confident super crepe is similar, if not identical, to that British classic Yorkshire pudding.

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Hailing from Yorkshire, a county in Northern England, Yorkshire pudding isn't a pudding in the way we in the States know it, but rather a puffed, bready affair, more closely akin to what we call popovers. Usually served with gravy and roast beef, sometimes sausages, it's a far cry from the powdered sugar and jam–laden preparation recommended by the Times.

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Top Comment:
“I understand that many in the UK refer to popover batter cooked in other ways (including as a sweet) as “batter pudding,” which seems like sensible nomenclature. There is just nothing here worth having a controversy about.”
— Suzy S.

Fabricant's recipe starts off rather Yorkshire pudding-y: You whirr together eggs, milk, and flour, and pour the batter into a generously buttered cast iron. After 20 minutes in the oven, it emerges voluminous and billowy, begging for a companion. It’s only then, when the question of toppings comes into play, that the differences announce themselves. People took to Twitter to express confusion, anger, bewilderment…

It seemed Brits were having a grand old time with the blasphemed version of the regional staple. What The New York Times—and many of our American readers—see as an ideal breakfast or dessert is just dinner in England.

Many were quick to point out that Yorkshire pudding even predates the founding of America. The earliest printed recipe for it can be traced back to Hannah Glasse’s 1747 cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.

The British have proven to be fervently protective of the recipe’s history. Even the official Twitter account of Visit York threw its hat into the ring, letting everyone know just who’s responsible for the dish:

But if anyone gets the final word, it’s none other than Nigella Lawson, who tweeted out her own take on a Dutch baby five days before any of this controversy began. Ever ahead of the curve, her tweet was quick to highlight the similarities. She even called the Dutch baby a “Yorkshire pudding in pancake guise.” And in case anyone was worried about the "Dutch" in Dutch baby, she was there to clear that up as well:


Do you lean one way more than another? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Suzy Shedd
    Suzy Shedd
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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Suzy S. December 23, 2021
Tante December 23, 2021
I’m Dutch, but I’ve never heard of this as a dish specifically from Holland. It seems delicious to me, but very like Yorkshire pudding. Does anyone know where this Dutch link comes from?
Tante December 23, 2021
(Oops, I missed the earlier reactions about PA Dutch.)
Betty May 30, 2018
One grandma front England the other from Germany. Both recipes the same with the Fitch baby adding sugar. Bottom line is I'll take either or both anytime I can get them.
Marybeth S. May 29, 2018
Prior to seeing this debate, I made a Dutch Baby as part of a big breakfast yesterday for a large crowd. We tried to get a extremely fussy eater to try it by describing it as a sweet popover.
As a final note, my mother made these since the 60's but in our house they were called pancakes non pareil. She probably was inspired by this recipe from the NYT in 1966.
Suzy S. May 20, 2018
Oh, for heaven’s sake: both YP & DB are types of popover . No one is trying to misname YP ( which, BTW, has to be baked in meat drippings to be genuine). I understand that many in the UK refer to popover batter cooked in other ways (including as a sweet) as “batter pudding,” which seems like sensible nomenclature. There is just nothing here worth having a controversy about.
ChefJune May 16, 2018
I've never heard the above controversy. But when I first came on Food 52, I was surprised to see what I have always called a "German Pancake" being called a "Dutch Baby." Still don't know what makes it either Dutch or a Baby. ;)
Valerio F. May 16, 2018
The word Dutch actually comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch, a German community that immigrated to the state a bit ago. As for the baby, maybe they got that name because they're so dang cute!
ChefJune May 16, 2018
The "PA Dutch" makes sense. My recipe came from my sister's mother-in-law who was German-American from Milwaukee.
But Valerio -- your "bit ago" was about two centuries!
zwieback May 15, 2018
Here's my contribution:
mrslarkin May 16, 2018
That was so fun to watch!
zwieback May 16, 2018
glad you liked it, so many years ago but we still make Puff Daddies frequently