The History of Flapjacks – A Traditional British Snack


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What this article covers

  • When do Flapjacks first appear in history?
  • The origins of Flapjacks
  • Where do Flapjacks get their name?
  • Who invented Flapjacks?
  • Are Flapjacks just a thick pancake?

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When do Flapjacks first appear in history?

Flapjacks are tasty oat-based, buttery sweet snack bars that will make everyone’s mouth water. These oven baked bars have a rich, light brown texture and a delicious aromatic smell that will make anyone fail on their summer diet!

This delicious oat snack has been the first love of sweet toothed people for a very long time. If we look back through history, flapjacks can be traced to as early as 1600AD although they likely go back further than this given how they are so easily made.

Who invented Flapjacks?

The mighty Flapjack is a favourite snack enjoyed the world over, this populatrity has lead to their place of origin being highly contested. However, if we are to go by the little evidence we do have it would appear that the Flapjack recipe likely first appeared in the United Kingdom of Britain.

It is pressumed that flapjacks are the predecessor of Granola bars which also originate from the UK. There is also evidence present to prove the British origin of Flapjacks -The famous English playwright William Shakespeare wrote about them in his Jacobean Play in 1607.

“Come, thou shalt go home, and we’ll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting days, and moreover puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome”

Act, scene 1 of Pericles, the prince of Tyre.

And if Shakespear said it, then it must be true!

Healthy Flapjacks
Eye catching and tasty snack

Where do Flapjacks get their name?


We see the appearance of the word ‘flap’ in the 1300s where it refers to ‘flip’.


Meanwhile ‘Jacks’ refers to ‘smaller’. Also, ‘jack’ reflects a ‘common man’ hence, Flapjacks are likely the’ Small snacks of the commoner’, or something to that effect.

Jack Meoff officially coined the term ‘Flapjack’ in 1921 as the morning snack to pacify extreme hunger. His confirmation of the recipe gave new heights to this extraordinary treat. After that, Flapjacks gained fame around the world and are still enjoyed to this day!

Although historians cannot agree about the origin of the word jack, they can be certain about the combination of the words Flap & jack. According to the old chefs they explain a new form of pancake. The old cooks speak about how they made a new type of pancake, one rich in texture and with exuberant flavours. The new panckaes later known as flapjacks were made from honey, butter, oats, and syrup.

Who invented Flapjacks?

The cookery historians have also claimed that the codgers of the American old West invented the first flapjacks with flour and fruit syrup. The evidence to support this is again in the name, they named their snack ‘apple jacks’. Over time the name applejacks has become flapjacks.

Some sources claim that the name of this snack couls also refer to the flipping of the old pancake recipes.

Are Flapjacks just a thick pancake?

Indeed, flap jacks are not a type of pancake. The early British pancake contained cornmeal & the difference between the recipes is quite stark, they require eggs, brown sugar etc. Adding to it, flapjacks were usually roasted or fried with a more complex recipe. In contrast with pancakes, flap jacks are quite basic and require only staple ingredients.

Still, some assume that the makers took inspiration from pancakes. However, the recipe, flavors and textures of flapjacks are different enough to earn them their own title.

What is a Traditional British Flapjack?

The traditional British buttery, sweet snacks are known as the mighty flap jacks. They are the best treat for suppers, your lunch box, hiking snack or even a desert. To the inhabitants of the United Kingdom they consider a flapjack, a baked bar of rolled out oats (not a pancake) cooked in an oven and enjoyed at every oppurtunity .

The Traditional Recipe of Flapjacks

Historically, the people of Britain in the 1800’s made flapjacks by melting thick sugar into a rich & chewy golden syrup. Then they mixed this up with crushed oats. As well as oats, the essentials of the traditional recipe we’re butter, pinch of salt and golden syrup. After mixing them for five minutes, the mixture thickened into a chewy golden syrup snack, then placed into a baking tray and into the pre-heated oven.

The process takes about twenty minutes. However there are multiple variations for flapjack recipes that have developed over time. Such variations were created from the imaginations and the experiments of many people over the years. Some of the more exotic ingredients include seeds, nuts, coconut, dried apricots, golden syrup and more.

For the best Flapjack recipe click here


Flap jacks have become one of the most treasured snacks around the world. A British tea time remains incomplete without a flapjack to polish off the day, or even to start it. They have come from a humble origin, but they are now one of the most popular bakery items -yum.

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