Martabak Manis: Indonesian sweet thick pancake recipe

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Martabak Manis - Indonesian sweet thick pancake

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Martabak Manis

Martabak Manis is the Indonesian version of sweet and thick pancakes with a variety of fillings. The most sought-after one is the one with chocolate and peanuts filling. It has a fluffy and chewy texture with a rich buttery and sweet flavour.

Indonesian pancake with overlay text

This sweet street food was introduced by the Arab traders and very popular in the Arab peninsula and South-East Asian countries such as Yemeni, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. The food is called Murtabak – from the word Mutabbaq, that means folding. 

Interestingly, in Malaysia it is called Apam Balik, Apam Pinang, or Apong. Whilst in Singapore it is called peanut pancakes or Min Jiang Kueh.

Whatever word you use to call it, I can assure you that this thick squishy buttery sweet pancake is one street food you would like to try. It’s just deliciously moreish.

Anyway, here, I’m sharing with you the recipe of Indonesian sweet Martabak. 

Although you might think that it is easy to make this sweet thick pancake, it is actually tricky. Because of its thickness, it can be difficult to get the pancake rise properly without getting the bottom bit burned. And this is simply to do with the equipment that we use.

You see, the Martabak sellers in Indonesia use a very heavy bottom cast-iron pan. So the distribution of the heat to the pancake is pretty stable and even. 

Having said that, I only have a regular non-stick pan at home. Though it claims to be a heavy-bottom pan, I don’t think its thickness matches the pan that those Martabak sellers have.

So, my early attempts at making it mostly ended up in either burned at the bottom of the pancake or the hard-chewy texture of the pancake. 

After countless trials and feeling unsatisfactory, I finally found the recipe that I will be happily making again and again.  

This recipe gives Martabak with the right fluffiness and texture that not only is it soft, but it is also a bit elastically chewy. It reminds me of my favourite Martabak Bangka that I used to get when I studied at Uni in Bandung. 

Key Ingredients

Just like other types of pancakes, to make Martabak you need flour, eggs, and raising agents. Instead of using milk, you only need water to mix and emulsify everything.

But you need a little bit of tapioca flour to give an elasticity and chewiness to the pancake. 

The toppings variety 

Traditionally, Indonesians put plenty of butter, lots of chocolate sprinkles, chopped peanuts and generous drizzles of condensed milk as the toppings. 

However, you can put all sorts of topping varieties for Martabak Manis

Here are some of the combos that you may want to try. I promise you they’re all such a delight to have. 

  1. Chopped peanuts, chocolate (chopped or sprinkles), and condensed milk.
  2. Banana slices, chocolate and condensed milk.
  3. Banana slices, grated cheddar cheese and condensed milk.
  4. Chocolate spread, grated cheddar cheese and condensed milk.
  5. Chocolate (chopped or sprinkles) and condensed milk.
  6. Peanut butter and chocolate spread.
  7. Peanut butter and jam/jelly.

How to make a thick pancake

Just like making any pancake, firstly, you mix all the ingredients except raising agents into a smooth batter. You can use a hand whisk, a handheld blender, a hand mixer, or stand mixer to get your mixture well blended.

flour and water in a bowl
pancake batter

Then using a big spoon, keep mixing and stirring for about five minutes to help the gluten in the flour develop better.

When you finish mixing the mixture, let it rest for at least one hour. I often do it for almost two hours. Once I stretched it nearly three hours just because I was too busy to attend to the batter. And it worked just fine.

thick batter
pancake batter in a bowl covered with a plate

While you wait for your flour mixture to rest, you can get your toppings/ fillings ready. 

This recipe is enough to make 2 x 20 cm/ 7.87-inch in diameter pancakes or 3 pancakes of 15 cm/ 5.9 inch in diameter.

Once your batter is ready to cook, divide the batter into equal portions of the pancake sizes you want. And get your frying pan and its lid ready accordingly.

three bowls of pancake batter
pancake batter

Then you heat your frying pan at moderate-low heat using the smallest ring of stove fire/ cooker. At the same time, you mix ¼ teaspoon of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water. And quickly but carefully stir this raising agent mixture into one portion of the batter.

Check your pan with a drop of water. If the water evaporates quickly, you can pour your pancake mixture into the pan. Slowly rotate the pan so that the edges are covered with the batter half-way. Then let it cook at moderate-high heat. 

When the surface is fully covered with bubbles, and it is more than half-way cooked, sprinkle one teaspoon of sugar over the pancake. And put the lid on the pan then turn the heat down.

pancake batter on the frying pan
half cooked pancake on the pan
pancake on the pan with a lid on
ready-made martabak manis

It takes me about a couple of minutes until my thick pancake is fully cooked and ready.

Using a spatula, tease the edge of your Martabak and take it off the pan. Place it on a chopping board.

Then spread a generous butter on the pancake and put any toppings that you like. I mostly use chopped roasted peanuts, chopped milk chocolate and plenty of condensed milk drizzles. 

Once you are happy with your toppings, cut the pancake in the middle and carefully folded into a half-circle. Again, spread a generous butter on both sides of your folded thick pancake. Last but not least, cut it into small pieces. Mine gives about 5 portions. 

Enjoy your Martabak Manis with your cup of tea or coffee. 

Top tips for making softly squishy Martabak

  • Once your batter is smooth, you would want to keep working on it by mixing and stirring it using a big spoon. It takes me about 5-7 minutes to do it. But please don’t skip this. Because this helps the batter to develop gluten better that it will work nicely with the raising agent. So your Martabak will have hundreds of bubbles, and it will have a fluffy yet elastically soft and chewy texture. 
  • This resting period is needed for the gluten to develop. So don’t miss this out.
  • Ideally, you use a heavy bottom pan. But you can use your non-stick pan like mine too. Just make sure you don’t overheat the pan before cooking and keep turning the heat up and down as you cook your pancake. 
  • Keep moving your pan around the heat as you turn the heat higher and lower. The reason is you want to make sure the pan is not overheated and have enough heat for the raising agents in the batter to react. Never leave the pancake unattended. Otherwise, your pancake won’t rise evenly high, and it won’t be evenly cooked.

Related posts

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you’re now intrigued to try this Martabak Manis recipe. I’ve tried many times and had many failures. So I truly hope you won’t fail and will succeed right from the first try.

It will be great if you share what you think about the recipe in the comments below.

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest to sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Before you go, don’t forget to check out my other street food/ Jajan Pasar recipes that you may love.

Thank you and all the best.

Yield: 15

Martabak Manis

4 pieces of Martabak Manis on a white plate

Martabak Manis is the Indonesian version of sweet thick pancakes with some toppings of your favourite. It's soft but fluffy. And it has a little bit elastically chewiness that makes the pancake is just moreish with all those luscious fillings. Simply yummy.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes


  • 1 ½ cup/ 300 gr/ 10.58 oz plain flour/ all-purpose flour.
  • ¼ cup/ 50 gr/ 1.76 oz granulated sugar.
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 1 ¼ cup/ 300 ml/ 10.14 fl.oz water.
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract.
  • ¾ tsp baking powder.
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
  • 3 tbsp water.
  • For toppings:
  • ½ cup/ 100 gr/ 3.53 oz butter.
  • ⅓ cup/ 80 ml/ 2.82 fl.oz condensed milk.
  • 100 gr/ 3.53 oz milk chocolate, chopped.
  • 100 gr/ 3.53 oz roasted peanuts, chopped.


  1. In a mixing bowl, put the plain flour, sugar and tapioca flour. Stir well until all combined.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour, then put the eggs, vanilla extract and water in. Using a whisk, a handheld mixer, a handheld blender, or a stand mixer, beat and mix the mixture until smooth. Then using a big spoon, keep stirring and beat the butter mixture. Press it against the bowl as you mix. Keep mixing for about 7-10 minutes until the mixture is smooth, sticky and slightly gooey. Set aside and leave it to rest in a warm temperature area for about 1-2 hours.
  3. When your Martabak batter is ready to cook, divide it into equal three parts.
  4. Get your 18 cm dia heavy bottom frying pan ready. And heat it up at moderate-high heat. Test with a drop of water on the pan. If the water evaporates quickly, it means your pan is ready.
  5. Whilst your pan is heating up, put ¼ tsp of baking powder and ¼ tsp of baking soda in a little bowl. Then mix in one tablespoon of water. Stir until all the raising agents dissolve. And then quickly pour in one of the batter mixtures as you stir and mix using a big spoon. Make sure all the liquid blends with the batter.
  6. Carefully pour the mixture on the hot pan and gently twirl and rotate the pan so that the mixture will cover at least half of the height of the pan’s edges. Then let it cook at moderate-low to moderately high heat. You also want to keep moving the pan to ensure the heat distribution is even on every part of the pan.
  7. When the pancake’s surface is covered with bubbles, and the pancake is half cooked, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar on it. Then put the lid on the pan and leave it to cook at low heat. Again, you may want to keep rotating the pan to make sure the heat evenly spreads.
  8. Once the Martabak is cooked, tease the edges with a spatula and take the Martabak off the pan. Put it on a chopping board, then spread some butter on the pancake and drizzle the condensed milk over it. Sprinkle your preferred toppings. I use chopped peanuts and chopped milk chocolate.
  9. Afterwards, cut the pancake at the middle and fold it over into half. Spread some more butter, this time on both sides of the folded pancake. Finally, cut your Martabak into small pieces. I make about 5-6 pieces for an 18 cm dia size of Martabak.
  10. Continue to cook the rest of the batter following step 5-9.


  • Working on mixing and stirring the batter is crucial. Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes after you whisk the ingredients into a smooth mixture.
  • Make sure you let the batter rest in a warm temperature. If you have a light bulb in your oven, you can leave the batter to rest in it, with the bulb on. If not, you can turn the oven on for about 5 minutes at gas 3, then switch it off. Then put the mixing bowl in the oven with the door left slightly ajar.
  • The key to getting your Martabak fluffy with lots of bubbles is the heat distribution. So you will have to keep rotating the pan at the same time you play with the heat level. I turn the heat from low to moderate-high every so often. 
  • Don’t sprinkle the sugar too early. Make sure you wait until more than ¾ of the pancake surface is filled with bubbles. 

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 276Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 43mgSodium 126mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 2gSugar 11gProtein 7g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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