(Imperial Omelette/Pancake)

This is one of those German dishes that did not quite make it into the American culture. It can either be viewed as a real eggy pancake or as a cross between an omelette and a pancake. It is usually served torn into pieces and sprinkled with powdered sugar or with a fruit compote, kind of like crêpes.

I first encountered Kaiserschmarren when I worked in the Daimler-Benz factory in Sindelfingen (Summer of 1974). A couple times the cafeteria served this large chunk of pancake-like something that was sprinkled with powdered sugar and tasted of high egg content. I saw the name for it, Kaiserschmarren, which didn't tell me much. I had never heard of it before nor for the next 24 years.

Then while surfing the web in 1998, I decided to track down what that stuff was. After a few failed attempts to rediscover the proper spelling, I finally found it. I printed some of the recipes and tried one out. It was a hit with the family, so it entered our family recipes file.

I should comment on a couple principal problems that are encountered in German recipes, not counting that they are in German (that's the easy part!).

  1. All dry measurements are given in weight, not in volume. How many cups or teaspoons or milliliters is 100 grams of flour or 50 grams of raisins? In Germany, unlike here in the USA, they have special measuring cups with scales for flour, sugar, rice, etc.

    A friend at work who still has active family ties with Germany told me about the problems his wife's been having translating family recipes. She just cannot work out a straight-forward conversion method for the measurements; after an initial best-guess conversion, she still needs to experiment a few times before it turns out right.

  2. The same friend tells me that a lot of German recipes use brand-name products, such as mixes, and will not work without those specific products, which of course are not available here. That's somewhat like our recipes that rely on Jello or Bisquick.

The Recipe: Kaiserschmarren, Shuffled Pancake

I got this recipe from German Corner. The following recipe is as it was originally posted. However, in using it I have made a few substitutions: rum extract instead of rum, cooking spray instead of butter for frying, I haven't added raisins or sultanas yet, and I don't do the extra frying at the end.

2¼ cupsflour
2 cupsmilk
6egg yolks
2 tablespoonsbutter, melted
½ cupraisins or sultanas, soaked in lukewarm water for 1 hour and drained
2 tablespoons rum
6egg whites, beaten until stiff
butter for frying
powdered sugar


  1. Prepare a batter from the flour, salt, milk and egg yolks. Add the melted butter, the raisins or sultanas and the rum and mix well together.
  2. Gradually fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
  3. In a frying pan melt some butter and pour in a layer approximately ½ inch of batter.
  4. Fry until brown then turn to brown the other side.
  5. When both sides have been browned, using two forks, tear the pancake into approximately 1-inch square pieces. Add a little more butter and continue frying until all the pieces are brown.
  6. As each batch is cooked, place the pieces on a serving dish and serve hot sprinkled with powdered sugar.

If you do a web search on "Kaiserschmarren", you will find several other recipes for this dish. Since the links I had posted a decade ago are now all broken except for one (by Wolfgang Puck), I will leave that Google search as an exercise for the reader. Verzeihung!

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First uploaded on 2001 August 17.
Last updated 2011 July 08.