15 Best Ingredients To Fill Your Crepes

Light, delicate, and incredibly versatile, crepes have won over palates everywhere. To make a good crepe, it is necessary to first prepare a good batter, which is made with flour, milk, eggs, and butter, and must be runny enough to coat your pan evenly but thick enough to hold whatever fillings you see fit to add. Originally from France, these thin pancakes have a naturally sweet flavor that lends itself well to a seemingly endless variety of fillings. Not only that, but their thin and lacy appearance conceals a tender, slightly chewy bite that melts in your mouth, especially if you add some good quality melter butter. These subtleties in taste and texture give crepes the status of blank canvas, allowing a myriad of fillings to shine brightly, from simple classics like lemon juice and powdered sugar to more elaborate combinations like pineapple and dulce de leche.

Crepes can also be used to host savory fillings like ham and cheese, but let's be clear: savory fillings are typically reserved for the domain of galettes, which are made with buckwheat flour instead of regular flour, and come specifically from the Brittany region of France. Their texture is a bit thicker, allowing them to accommodate heartier fillings like melted brie cheese and a sunny-side-up fried egg. Other than that, galettes look and behave very much like our dear, old crepes. So let's take a look at which fillings work best in these culinary delights, whether they be crepes or galettes.

1. Pineapple and dulce de leche

A pineapple is probably not the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think about French cooking, including crepes. Likewise, dulce de leche, a Latin American dessert staple, is decidedly not French. But we live in a globalized world, and good thing we do, because French crepes, tropical pineapples, and Latin American dulce de leche happen to make a winning combination. The soft but firm texture of the crepe perfectly accommodates the gooey goodness of the dulce de leche, while the pineapple bursts in to provide a tart foil to the sauce's extreme sweetness.

The best news of all is that you can easily assemble this decadent dessert at home. Whip out your favorite crepe recipe, prepare the dulce de leche with granulated sugar, cold butter, milk, and condensed milk, and bake the pineapple at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes after coating it in brown sugar, cinnamon, and a few dollops of butter. Combine your ingredients and serve with whipped cream or ice cream, because life is short.

2. Caviar and crème fraîche

For a truly sophisticated take, try to think of the most expensive ingredient money can buy, and put it in your crepes. In particular, we suggest adding a few small spoonfuls of caviar coupled with some crème fraîche to counteract the saltiness of the fish eggs. That's how simple it is. And the premise is simple, too. If caviar and crème fraîche can be used to great effect on blinis, those little Russian pancakes made with buckwheat, why not put them on a crepe instead? It works just as well, and you don't even have to do any cooking aside from making the crepe itself. Just serve it up with some caviar and crème fraîche on the side and your guests can dish up as much of the toppings as they like.

Just make sure you don't serve caviar in a metal bowl or use a metal spoon to scoop it up. That's because it tends to take on a metallic taste (which doesn't happen in the tin cans in which it's stored because of the inclusion of a non-reactive coating). Instead, keep the caviar in glass or ceramic bowls, and use a mother-of-pearl spoon to serve it.

3. Tiramisu

You can't exactly put a tiramisu in a crepe. It's too big and heavy; the crepe wouldn't hold. But you can put a deconstructed tiramisu in a crepe, and you'll be glad you did. The idea comes courtesy of chef Michael Symon, a frequent host on the Food Network. Just fill your premade crepe with mascarpone cheese, vanilla, espresso coffee, powdered sugar, heavy cream, rum, and a pinch of salt to bring out all these amazing flavors. Serve it all up with sifted cocoa powder on top, just like a real tiramisu.

And since there are many varieties of tiramisu these days, why not try them all out on your crepes? Consider using the ingredients from this no-cook pumpkin tiramisu recipe, which includes pumpkin puree and a bevy of warm spices, or you could try elements of this tiramisu cheesecake recipe, particularly the graham crackers (in ground form), cream cheese, and Kahlua.

4. Lemon juice and powdered sugar

When it comes to crepes, the basic, most simple recipe you can find, aside from eating them completely plain, is to top them with powdered sugar and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. But basic and simple don't mean boring, by any means. This sweet and tart combination brings out the silky texture and subtle flavors of the crepe, filling your mouth with an intense burst of sugar with hints of childhood insouciance.

Just be aware that because the ingredients are so simple that they really stand out, so you're going to want to make sure you use good quality lemons and sugar. If you have a granulated sugar that you like, or raw cane sugar or even coconut sugar, you can make the powder yourself in a high-powered blender or a spice grinder. You can even add a touch of cornstarch to make your home-made powdered sugar more shelf stable.

5. Gruyère and ham

A ham and cheese sandwich is a marvel of simplicity, with its perfect blend of meat, cheese, and bread. A ham and Gruyère crepe works in much the same way. Gruyère is the ideal cheese to use in this scenario because of its particular creaminess when melted, as well as its full flavor. Meanwhile, black forest ham pairs well with Gruyère as each brings out the other's light smokiness.

You can execute this recipe in several different ways. You can place the cheese directly on your crepe and put the ham on top, or you can switch it around and top the ham with grated cheese. In either case, you'll put the finishing touches by heating the whole crepe in the oven to melt the cheese. The beauty of this recipe is that unlike a sandwich, it works perfectly well for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sure, you can have sandwiches for breakfast, but let's face it, that feels a little off.

6. Matcha green tea powder

Matcha green tea powder seems to be everywhere these days. Pretty much every urban coffee shop serves it, you can find it in your waffles, cheesecakes, and even your tiramisu. And now, you can also put it on your crepes. Because of matcha's unique combination of flavors, which include sweet, bitter, grassy, and earthy, it's quite possible that there is nothing this powder can't do.

To make this delicious twist on a classic crepe, just add some matcha powder to your crepe batter and continue to cook it as you normally would. But the matcha's role doesn't end there. Now it's time to blend some more powder into a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt along with some honey. Fill your crepes with this mixture and roll them up or fold as desired. Some drizzled melted chocolate on top can't hurt with the flavor and will be sure to make the dish even more visually appealing.

7. Fresh berries and honey

One of the reasons crepes are so versatile is that you can make them as rich and decadent as you want, but they can also be made equally light and healthful. In the latter category, we suggest making a quick and simple crepe and then just adding some fresh berries and honey on top.

Since the berries are the main attraction here, you should make sure you pick fresh, good quality fruits. If you've ever walked out of a grocery store to find that your blueberries have turned to mush (or that maybe they've been mush all along), you'll know how disappointing it can be to end up with subpar berries. But there is a simple way to keep this from ever happening again. Just pick up your container of berries, flip it over, and watch to see if any of them stick to the bottom. If they do, put the container back on the shelf. If they don't, buy it posthaste. That's because fresh berries will bounce around like young whippersnappers, but if berries stick to the bottom, it means they've turned to mush or have started to grow mold.

8. Fried egg

If lemon and sugar or ham and cheese are the most basic fillings for crepes, a fried egg fulfills that role for galettes. But again, basic is not boring, because if you play your cards right, that fried egg is going to provide a beautiful gooey sauce that will soak into your spongy galette like maple syrup does with pancakes.

This interplay works best when you add ham and cheese. Just spread some Dijon mustard on your prepared galette, top it with a piece of ham and some cheese, and plop your fried egg right on top of that. But be sure not to overcook your fried egg. In order to create that gooey sauce, your egg needs to be done over-easy or sunny-side-up. You shouldn't be frying that egg for any longer than two minutes on one side in the former case, and 30 seconds to one minute in the latter.

9. Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon takes to crepes like a fish to water. Start your foray into this ingredient with a simple recipe: cook your crepes as you like them, then simply top them with cream cheese and smoked salmon as if they were a run-of-the-mill bagel. The soft and spongy texture of the crepe will give you a slightly different experience while still preserving the familiarity of the cream cheese and smoked salmon combination. You can even add capers and Bermuda onions if you dare.

For something more involved, consider adding spinach and turning that smoked salmon into a sauce. To prepare the filling, sauté some onions with chopped spinach and mix them in with some ricotta and dill. Place this in your prepared galettes, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for about 20 minutes before drizzling with a crumbled smoked salmon roux. Bake for another 5-10 minutes and serve. Although crepes are not typically baked in the oven, this recipe helps ensure the flavors in the filling blend in seamlessly with each other and the crepes.

10. Brie and walnuts

One crepe or galette filling you will often see served at creperies in France is the combination of brie and walnuts. That's probably because this is a winning pairing, but it's also simple to make. Just prepare your crepes as you have in the past and place a few slices of brie on top with a dollop of butter to ease the melting process. Add a few chopped walnuts, or put them aside to serve as a garnish, and bake the crepe in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes, until the brie is nice and gooey. Serve with a drizzle of honey on top.

Now, since we're being so fancy here, you're probably wondering which sophisticated wines you should be drinking with your brie and walnut crepe. The answer would be an acidic wine to counteract the effect of the brie's typical richness. And if that's too plebeian for you, consider that bubbles are also great at providing respite from the heaviness of rich cheeses. Try pairing your brie with a fine glass of Champagne or a dry Prosecco.

11. Nutella

Another simple and easy crepe filling is the addition of Nutella, the inimitable chocolate hazelnut spread that seems to go with everything because it probably does. In fact, this might be the easiest recipe to make on this list, because all you have to do is make your crepe, spread some Nutella on top, and you're done.

If you want to get technical with your Nutella crepe, be aware that the jars sold in America differ slightly from those sold in Europe. Although the ingredients are largely the same, the proportions seem to vary, with the Italian Nutella carrying a more hazelnut-forward flavor, while the American version is sweeter and more oily. That is to say that if you prefer very sweet foods, feel free to stick to American Nutella, but if you're a big hazelnut fan, see if you can get hold of some original, Italian Nutella straight from Europe. For an added burst of flavor, layer some banana slices on top of your Nutella spread.

12. Peanut butter and jelly

No one can deny the deliciousness of a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so it's safe to assume that these ingredients will get along just as well when wrapped in a soft, warm crepe instead of two slabs of bread. As with the Nutella crepe, this recipe also involves just making your crepe and spreading your favorite peanut butter and jam on each half of a freshly made crepe.

If that seems too easy to be true, you can follow a few extra cooking steps to get back into your comfort zone. For one, you can easily make your own peanut butter. Avoid the sugars, preservatives, and mystery ingredients in mass-produced peanut butter and simply shell some peanuts yourself and zap them in your food processor until smooth. For the jam, cook some Concord grapes with sugar, lemon juice, and salt and safely can the resulting jam to use later on your peanut butter and jelly crepe.

13. Mascarpone and orange marmalade

Now that we've established that jam is a great crepe filling, let's move on to orange marmalade. This bitter-sweet spread is the ideal counterweight to rich and creamy mascarpone, which is the mild, soft cheese that gives tiramisu its silky texture. The best way to use these ingredients is to spread a thin layer of marmalade over your crepe before adding a few dollops of mascarpone, which you can use as is, or sweeten by mixing in some sugar beforehand.

Although you probably shouldn't try making mascarpone at home, unless you have a cow, you can certainly make the marmalade. Just blitz some orange slices in a food processor before boiling the resulting pulp with some lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and water. Once the marmalade cools and sets, you can confidently spread it over your crepe and save the rest for your morning toast.

14. Caramelized apples

Craving apple pie but not willing to put in the effort? We have a solution for you. Just cook up some caramelized apples with all of your favorite warm and cuddly spices, and use them as the filling for your crepe. No need to toil away on a laborious pie crust.

Because the apples take center stage in this recipe, the trick is to pick the right ones for the job. In particular, you will need a robust apple variety that holds its shape during the caramelization process and doesn't turn to mush. Some great choices in this regard include Cortland apples, due to their hardy nature, Braeburn apples, due to their crispiness, and the Granny Smith apple, which is ideal for retaining its shape during cooking — just remember that it is very tart as apples go, so if you want something sweeter, it's best to opt for a different variety.

15. Beurre Suzette sauce

The Crepe Suzette is the quintessential French crepe dessert, and there was no way we were going to leave it off this list. As with a surprisingly high number of successful dishes, this one was created by mistake when a chef in Monaco was preparing a dessert for King Edward VII of England when he accidentally lit a brandy sauce on fire. With a bit of skill and quick thinking, he poured the flambé over a crepe and discovered that the concoction was downright delicious. He proudly served it to the king, who also loved it and named it Suzette, after one of his dining companions.

But you won't have to rely on happenstance to replicate this tasty dish. Simply prepare your crepes as on any other day, then boil orange juice, sugar, and orange zest before adding some Grand Marnier. Lastly, dip each crepe in this mixture until soaked through. Serve with whipped cream, fresh fruit, or an orange peel as decoration.