Pancake Day comes once a year, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be enjoying crisp crepes every weekend once you’ve invested in the right equipment.

Good pancakes need two things: a simple pancake recipe, and a good quality pan. Yes, you can use a bog-standard frying pan if you like, but a specific pancake pan is thinner so it heats up quicker, and the curved edges should give the ultimate toss.

We tested each pan with a thin crepe and thicker pancake mix, and judged them against criteria for heat distribution, ease of handling, and the finished dish.

If you only want to flip your way through Shrove Tuesday, look at the lighter non-stick pancake pans. But if you’d like to make crepes a regular brunch treat, go for the long-lasting traditional cast-iron crepe pans, which will give you years of pancake pleasure.

Ultimately these pans can be used to make any international pancake-based dishes, including Korean seafood pancakes, Malaysian roti jala, Indian dosa or Ethiopian injera, so you can eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The non-stick pans did not require any fat for cooking, however the cast iron pans benefit from a quick drizzle of melted butter between frying to keep the pancakes moving.

You may also want to invest in a good fish slice or palette knife to aid flipping, and a wooden T-shaped rateau a crepes to spread your pancakes like a true French crepiere. Here’s our pick of the perfect pans to make you look like a flipping genius in the kitchen.

Staub pancake pan, 28cm: £89.95 John Lewis & Partners

Used by top chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Staub is the aspirational kitchenware you should put on your birthday list – with this enamelled cast-iron pancake pan at the top. It conducted heat evenly over the entire surface to produce wafer-thin crepes, and it suits any hob-type, including induction. The elegant wooden handle was comfortable to hold, and suited making crepes the traditional way with a wooden T-shaped spreader. This heavy-duty pan would be a delight for a keen cook who wants to master a new technique with the ultimate bit of kit.

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Tefal non-stick unicorn pancake pan, 25cm: £15, Asda

As if eating pancakes wasn’t a big enough treat, this “pan-imal” range helps you craft them into unicorns (or an owl, a flamingo, and even a pug!). It was a shame the unicorn pattern was upside down when holding the pan handle, but the design was easy to follow after a couple of attempts. A free squeezy bottle distributed thicker batter along the lines, and provided inspiration to get creative. The Tefal thermo-spot took the guesswork out of heating up the pan, and the all-important toss was made easier with smooth non-stick coating, light weight, and angled sides. This would be great pan to get kids involved in cooking, and works for non-unicorn shaped pancakes too.

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Chasseur cast iron crepe pan, 30cm: £59.40, Harts of Stur

The largest traditional-style pan we tested turned out perfectly thin, golden crepes every time. Once we got the hang of swirling the wooden spreader, it became quite addictive and it was especially satisfying when each crepe was a whopping 30cm across. The pan needed a little swipe of melted butter from time to time, but it had a perfectly even finish. Made in the Ardennes, France, this enamelled cast-iron cookware is built to last and suits all hobs; the handle was on the shorter side and became hot while cooking, but since you flip the crepe with the wooden baton, this wasn’t an issue. Keen cooks will most enjoy this pan, as they can impress the family with traditional crepes.

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Le Creuset toughened non-stick crepe pan, 28cm: £99, Le Creuset

This elegant pan had an easy-to-manage weight, a shallow angled lip and an ergonomic handle, which made for excellent flipping technique. You get the size of a traditional crepe pan, with the added convenience of high-quality non-stick coating that turned out flawlessly thin and crisp crepes. Le Creuset suits keen cooks looking to invest in a versatile and hardwearing crepe pan that can be used on any heat source and withstands careful use of metal utensils.

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Netherton Foundry spun-iron crepe shallow frying pan, 26cm: £58.20, Netherton Foundry

This lightweight and versatile pan is ideal for pancakes as it heated up quickly and cooked to an even, golden finish. It was deeper than other pans we tested, so it would also double-up as a useful second frying pan. Sloping sides gave an excellent flip, it cooked incredibly quickly, and the pancake didn’t stick. It’s Shropshire-made spun iron with an oak handle that’s easy to remove if you’re finishing a dish off under the grill, and while it requires some ongoing seasoning with oil after each use, it’s ready to use straight away and the natural non-stick finish only gets better with age. It’s suitable for all hobs and retained heat well, but should be heated up slowly especially on induction hobs.

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Greenpan essentials ceramic non-stick pancake pan, 28cm, £40, Greenpan

This large pancake pan had very even cooking, and the wider angled edge helped pancakes slide out of the pan. It was slightly heavier than other non-stick pans we tested, but that weight made it easier to toss pancakes with control. It’s dishwasher safe, but the diamond-enhanced ceramic non-stick will last longer if you hand wash it.

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Master Class heavy duty professional non-stick crepe pan, 26cm, £17.95 Harts of Stur

This is a good value, heavy-duty family pancake pan, which turned out evenly cooked pancakes. It’s on the heavier side for a Teflon pan, but it was well weighted and the low, angled sides made it easy to toss pancakes. Platinum non-stick coating stopped thinner crepes sticking and gave a crisp edge. The textured aluminium base allowed efficient heat distribution, but it’s not suitable for induction hobs and is hand wash only.

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Typhoon living pancake pan, 24cm: £12, Amazon

This is a very lightweight pan, which made it easy to toss the pancakes and crepes glided off the non-stick coating. The carbon steel body heated up evenly, and once it was up to temperature it turned out golden pancakes with crisp edges. It’s straightforward, well designed, and a good budget option for a family or couple who only make pancakes occasionally, but still enjoy using a specific pancake pan.

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De Buyer mineral B crepe pan, 24cm, £19.60, Amazon

This crepe pan felt like a proper chef’s pan, as it’s incredibly durable and on the heavier side. The carbon-steel body had good heat retention to cook pancakes evenly, but it’s versatile and can also take a sustained high heat for browning steaks or cooking an omelette. Low sides made it easy to toss pancakes and slide them straight onto the plate. Follow the instructions to prepare the pan before first use, and wash off the protective beeswax finish.

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Zyliss forged aluminium non-stick crepe pan, 25cm: £28.79, Lakeland

The granite-effect finish is elegant, and the handle was one of the more comfortable ones we tested, but the straight vertical sides made it awkward to loosen and flip pancakes. It felt very robust, and triple-layered, ceramic-enforced non-stick coating would make this hardwearing crepe pan suit a busy family. It’s forged aluminium so it can withstand metal utensils and is dishwasher and oven safe too.

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Verdict: Pancake pans

If you want a heavy-duty pan that will turn out flawlessly impressive crepes for many breakfasts to come, invest in our favourite, the Staub, or the Le Creuset pancake pan. But, if you want a fun, lightweight, non-stick pan to just flip a few pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, go for the Tefal unicorn pancake pan.

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