Shrove Tuesday History & Delicious Recipes!

Shrove Tuesday equipment and ingredients for pancakes

We look at the rich history and traditions of Shrove Tuesday and share some of the most delicious recipes for you to try this Pancake Day and throughout the year…

Early Origins Of Pancakes

Shrove Tuesday lemon pancakes

Lemon pancakes

We love a good feast of pancakes here in the UK, but pancakes have actually been around since the Stone Age where it’s thought a flatbread type of pancake, cooked over coals was eaten. The Romans advanced to making sweet pancakes which were sold on street corners.

Shrove Tuesday History and Traditions

Pancake Day also known as Shrove Tuesday, is traditionally the day before Lent starts in the Christian calendar. In the past people would use up their rich store cupboard ingredients of eggs, milk and butter before fasting for Lent and pancakes were a good way to do this.

In one rural town in England they mark Shrove Tuesday with a tradition that spans 900 years. Royal Shrovetide Football, in Ashbourne is a game more similar to rugby and even has the royal seal of approval! The town is closed off from Shrove Tuesday to Ash Wednesday, as the Up’ards and Down’ards compete to win the beautifully decorated ball and score goals, in a dramatic match over two days!

Further south in Buckinghamshire is the town of Olney where the first ever pancake race is thought to have taken place back in 1445. The tradition has carried on with a traditional ladies-only race held every year.

On Shrove Tuesday in the UK we consume 117 million pancakes and anything goes from vegan pancakes, to savoury, sweet, American style or crepes – there is literally a pancake to suit every personality! Fancy something different this year? Try some new recipes at the bottom of the page.

Pancake Facts: Did You Know?

  • We love pancakes so much, that here in the UK an egg’stravagent 52 million eggs are used on the day!
  • The largest pancake was made in Rochdale, Manchester, England back in 1994, measuring a whopping 15.01m (49ft 3in) in diameter!
  • Pancake Day is also known as ‘Sprengidagur’ or bursting day in Iceland, ‘Mardi Gras’ in France and ‘Fetetirsdag’ or Fat Tuesday in Denmark and Norway.
  • The record for the most people tossing a pancake at the same time was set in Sheffield in 2012, when 890 people managed to choreograph their pans!
  • Favourite topping combinations in the UK include sugar and lemon or maple syrup and chocolate spread.

Perfect Pancake Chef’s Tips and Recipes

The perfect pancake is easy when you know how. We’ve gathered some expert tips  in our guide to making the perfect pancake.  From better batter to making it fun, these top tips from Head Chef Steve Smith from the Michelin Starred Bohemia in Jersey will give you pancake perfection!

We all know how to whip up a quick batter but if you want a new twist on a traditional pancake then check out these recipes, with something for everyone!

Shrove Tuesday Stack of chocolate pancakes, drizzled with chocolate sauce, hazelnuts and garnished with orange segments

    Chocolate pancakes with drizzled sauce, hazelnuts and orange segments

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Claire Gill

I'm a journalist, editor and podcaster who loves to tell your stories. I've been lucky enough to work across all parts of My Weekly from the fabulous fiction to health and cookery. As well as live events and My Weekly's very own podcast My Weekly's Magical Flying Bookshop which I created and hosted. I've loved interviewing your favourite authors including Anton Du Beke and queen of cosy crime Ann Cleeves too!