My go-to everyday pancake recipe
This has been my go-to pancake recipe for more years than I care to count. It’s the kind of recipe I almost always have all the ingredients for and produces platefuls of tender, fluffy, flavorful pancakes with minimal time and effort.
I’ve got nothing against pancake mix. I just feel that if you’re the type of person who typically has staples like flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and milk in your kitchen, pancake mix is… unnecessary.
Mixing up the batter for these Everyday Quick Pancakes takes about 5 minutes, which is hardly a time commitment for anyone. And, since the reward is a plateful of tender, buttery pancakes, it’s time well spent on any morning. Or evening.
These pancakes are our morning breakfast on most weekends and on many evenings. Because no one in my house ever said no to pancakes for dinner, least of all me. The recipe is easily cut in half if you’re only making pancakes for 2 or 3, or doubled for a crowd.
Quick Tips for Perfect Pancakes:
For all of you cooking and baking nerds, I’ve included more detailed information below about the science behind tender, flavorful, fluffy pancakes. If you’d rather just cut to the chase, here’s what you really need to know to make perfect pancakes:
- Don’t over mix. When mixing pancake batter, less is more. Stir the batter JUST until all the ingredients are combined. Getting too vigorous with your mixing can cause the gluten in the flour to develop and make the pancakes chewy and tough. So, slow your roll, and mix just until the batter is relatively smooth. It’s perfectly fine if the batter is a bit lumpy.
- It’s important to monitor the temperature of the skillet while the pancakes cook. If the skillet gets too hot, the outside will burn before the inside of the pancakes are cooked through. On my stovetop, that usually means starting out at medium heat and then adjusting down to medium-low after the first batch or two. Just pay attention to how quickly the outside of the pancakes are browning, and adjust the heat as necessary.
- Cooking pancakes in butter = buttery pancakes. Let me ask you a super obvious question: Do you want pancakes or do you want buttery pancakes? That’s what I thought. The thing about cooking pancakes in butter is that you’ve got to wipe out the skillet in between batches, or the butter will start to burn. I usually just give the skillet a quick rinse in the sink before setting it back on the burner, adding a fresh pat of butter, and cooking more pancakes. But, you can also wipe the skillet out with a towel or paper towels.
- No buttermilk? No problem. For each cup of milk, replace 1 tablespoon with lemon juice or vinegar. Stir and let sit for a few minutes. The milk with thicken to a buttermilk-like consistency. I usually prefer the subtle flavor difference of using lemon juice over vinegar, but either works nicely.
The secret to soft, tender, fluffy pancakes
Making a plate of soft, tender, fluffy pancakes really comes down to one thing: Gluten. Or, lack thereof.
Wheat flour contains two proteins that, when combined with liquid, form gluten. Maximizing gluten development is imperative when making homemade bread or fresh pasta. Gluten creates the structure bread needs to rise and gives it that delicious chewy texture.
In fresh pasta, gluten binds up the starch granules, which helps reduce its stickiness. Gluten also gives pasta that gorgeous toothsome chewiness. YUM.
Here’s the thing… since gluten development creates structure, toughness, and chewiness, it’s something we want to avoid in cakes, cookies, pie crust, and pancakes. These are the types of foods that should be soft and tender, with a light crumb, and that means keeping gluten development at a minimum.
So…. how do we prevent gluten development in pancake batter? Two ways:
- Mix the batter as little as possible
- Add some fat to the batter
Mixing the batter as little as possible will ensure low gluten development in the batter. You can mix the batter with a spoon or a whisk, stirring just long enough moisten all the dry ingredients. There will be some lumps in the batter, and that is ok. In fact, it’s what you want.
Fat, in the form of melted butter, helps make these pancakes flavorful and moist. But it also inhibits gluten development. Fat prevents flour from absorbing as much water as it’s prone to do, thus minimizing gluten development. Fat also breaks the gluten that is formed into shorter strands, resulting in a more tender textured pancake.
There is a a balance here… too little fat will result in pancakes that are tough, dry, and almost crispy. But, too much will make them flat and dense. In this recipe, I’ve found that 4 tablespoons is the perfect amount, giving the pancakes a delicious buttery flavor and tender, fluffy texture.
If it doesn’t come from gluten, what gives pancakes structure?
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk (*seen note below for substitution)
- 4 tbsp melted butter, PLUS 4 - 6 tbsp butter for the skillet
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar to a bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- Add the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter and whisk just until the ingredients are combined. You will have a few small lumps - that's ok. It's important to not overwork the batter.
- Set a skillet over medium heat and add enough butter to generously coat the bottom of the skillet.
- When the butter has melted, add the batter to the skillet to form pancakes. I usually use about 1/3 cup of batter per pancake.
- When the tops of the pancakes are covered in small bubbles and the sides look set, they are ready to flip. Use a spatula to flip them over and cook until browned on the second side. (*See note below about monotoring temperature.)
- Flip the pancakes out onto a plate, wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, or rinse it briefly in the sink, add a new pat of butter, and continue cooking pancakes until all of the batter has been used.
- Serve with plenty of maple syrup or whatever you like to top your pancakes with.
Don't have buttermilk? No worries.
You can make a great substitute for buttermilk with milk and lemon juice or vinegar. For each cup of milk, replace 1 tablespoon with lemon juice or vinegar. So, for this recipe, measure out 2 cups of milk, remove 2 tablespoons, and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar. Stir and let sit for a few minutes. The milk with thicken to a buttermilk-like consistency.
In pancakes, I usually prefer the subtle flavor difference of using lemon juice over vinegar, but either works great.
Everyday Quick Pancake Tips:
- When mixing pancake batter, the goal is to whisk JUST until all the ingredients are moistened and combined. Mixing the pancake batter to vigorously can cause the flour's gluten to develop and make the pancakes chewy and tough. For light, fluffy pancakes, you want to mix just until the batter comes together. It's perfectly fine if the batter is a bit lumpy.
- It's important to monitor the temperature of the skillet while the pancakes cook. If the skillet gets too hot, the outside will burn before the inside of the pancakes are cooked through. On my stovetop, that usually means starting out at medium heat and then adjusting down to medium-low after the first batch or two of pancakes. Just pay attention to how quickly the outside of the pancakes are browning, and adjust the heat as necessary.
- When cooking pancakes in butter it's important to rinse or wipe out the skillet in between each batch and add a new pat of butter. If you don't, the butter will start to burn, flavoring the outside of your pancakes with the taste of burnt butter. I usually do this in the sink, running water from the tap into the hot skillet, swishing it around and dumping it out. I don't even bother drying the skillet - the heat from the burner will quickly evaporate any droplets of water. You can also wipe the skillet out with a rag or paper towel.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 977mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 11g