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Irish Shrove Tuesday Pancakes with Lemon

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Irish Shrove Tuesday Pancakes are a delicious way to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. These crepe-like pancakes are folded into quarters and sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar.

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes on a Green and White Plate

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What is Shrove Tuesday?

Once forbidden during Lent, eggs and fats were ingredients to dispose of by Ash Wednesday. On Tuesday, Irish bakers would make Shrove Tuesday Pancakes, use up forbidden ingredients, and clear the pantry for the Lenten season.  

Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is known by many names: Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and even Pancake Day.

Celebrating Shrove Tuesday like the Irish

“Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.”

Read More: How did your Irish ancestors traditionally uphold Lent

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes in a Baking Dish with Powered Sugar

What is Pancake Day?

In Britain, the day before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Tuesday, an old English word derived from “shrive,” meaning to “confess all sins.” 

Closeup of folded Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

How Shrove Tuesday is Celebrated in Britain

Pancake Day is a traditional day for making and eating pancakes. It’s also a delicious way to use stores of milk, butter, and eggs, which are forbidden during Lent. 

Irish Central says, “The earliest records of pancakes and pancake tossing appeared in the fifteenth century when the pancakes were a little thicker than the modern pancake; they would also often have added spices for a little decadence. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century and the influence of French cooking and their thin crepes that pancakes more as we know them now.”

Shrove Tuesday traditions in Scotland and Wales

“In Scotland, special oatcakes called Bannocks were made using oatmeal, eggs, and salt and cooked on a griddle. A charm would be added to the dough and if an unmarried person found it, they would be married within the year.”

“Wales also had their own customs where people would pass from door to door begging for flour, lard or butter. In some parts of Wales, children would kick tin cans up and down the streets, believed to be commemorating the putting away the pots and pans for Lent.”

Quartered Pancakes in a White Baking Dish

Symbolism for Shrove Tuesday Pancakes 

Pancakes have been featured recipes in cookbooks since 1439. Flipping those pancakes has been a tradition for nearly as long.

In 1619, Pasquil’s Palin wrote, “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.” 

Pancake ingredients symbolize significance during this time of the year.

  • Eggs: Creation
  • Flour: The staff of life
  • Salt: Wholesomeness
  • Milk: Purity
Quartered Shrove Tuesday Pancakes on a Green and White Plate

Irish Shrove Tuesday Pancakes Recipe

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes on a Green and White Plate

Irish Shrove Tuesday Pancakes with Lemon

Yield: 18 Pancakes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Irish Shrove Tuesday Pancakes are a delicious way to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. These crepe-like pancakes are folded into quarters and sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and confectioners' sugar.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter an ovenproof baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Blend or whisk vigorously the eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt. A blender works great, but it can also be done whisking by hand. Gradually add flour; blend until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with butter. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the batter into the bottom of the pan, tilting to coat and form a circle. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 30 to 45 seconds. Using a spatula, turn the pancake.
  4. Cook the flipped side until the bottom becomes brown and speckled; about 30 seconds. Turn out onto paper towel. Cover with another paper towel. Repeat this process until all of the pancake batter has been used. Brush the skillet with melted butter as needed.
  5. Sift powdered sugar over the speckled side of each pancake, then lightly sprinkle a little lemon juice over each pancake. Fold into quarters and lay in the prepared baking dish. Continue to overlap the pancakes as they are folded. Cover and bake until the pancakes are heated through; about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with additional powdered sugar and lemon juice as desired.


Garnish Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

  • Powdered sugar
  • Fresh lemon juice
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 86Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 87mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g

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