EUREKA! The Best Pancake Recipe Ever. Guys, I’m not even kidding when I say I’ve been looking for this buttermilk pancake recipe for my entire life. They are fluffy, crispy on the edges, tender in the middle, and completely stackable. The search is over!! Originally posted March 10, 2016.
Are you ready for the BEST PANCAKE RECIPE?
Other people have late-night pizza cravings; I have late night pancake cravings. Seriously, I am the one going to IHOP at 10pm because I need to get myself a stack. I love pancakes like a fat kid loves cake. You want to know the sad part?
I’m TERRIBLE at making pancakes. Seriously, I have tried a dozen recipes probably. No matter what I do they always turn out rubbery or flat or gummy (ugh, that’s the worst) or just plain flavorless. I am a chronic over-beater, it’s an addiction. I have some great specialty pancake recipes (Like these Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Syrup or these Banana Macadamia Pancakes with Coconut Syrup), but I had yet to find a good everyday recipe for when I want straight up, no fuss, buttermilk heaven.
A few weeks ago my friend Courtney over at Neighborfood posted her Top 15 Favorite Family Recipes. I have a special place in my heart for Courtney because she was one of the first bloggers to start reading The Food Charlatan, back when it was just me myself and my computer. She introduced me to our food blogging community. Plus her blog is totally amazing. Check out these Lemon Rosemary Melting Potatoes she just posted. What?? I’m nabbing that recipe next Courtney!!!
Anyway, back to her Top 15 post. The first recipe on the list was for these Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes. I decided to give them a go because every time someone tells me they have a favorite pancake recipe I try it…but then I usually mess them up. Don’t get me wrong, the recipes are fine. I’m just a terrible pancake maker (and an even worse pancake flipper, but that’s a whole other story.)
Anyway. So I tried Courtney’s recipe. AND THEY WERE AMAZING. I thought it had to be a fluke (I’m a pancake charlatan, after all) so I made them again. AMAZING. I made them a 3rd time to do this photo shoot and do you see that stack? I ate all of it.
Okay I’m totally lying, the kids and I all shared it (what else are you going to do with a giant stack of pancakes totally soaked in syrup from all the pour shots I tried to get? Life’s tough.)
What are the ingredients for Pancakes made from scratch?
Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!
- Butter. I use salted butter, but unsalted is fine too.
- All purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Buttermilk (yes, you can substitute milk mixed with a little vinegar, but try to get your hands on some actual buttermilk!! Are you making the best pancakes or not?)
- Bacon grease!!! Or butter is fine too.
- Milk (preferably whole milk)
That last ingredient brings up a good question, which is:
What kind of flour is best for pancakes?
I definitely recommend using regular old all-purpose flour. It creates the perfect light and fluffy texture! And I wouldn’t want anything getting in the way of that.
In theory, you could use whole wheat flour, but the measurement may not be quite the same and your pancakes will be much more dense. Bread flour is a definite no: the extra protein in bread flour creates a great chewy texture for pizza or french bread but makes pancakes tough.
Is it better to make pancakes with milk or water?
Milk. Definitely milk! Not only does it add flavor, the milk fat makes the pancakes much more rich and tender. Instant pancake mixes have dumbed down pancakes to the point that they often use powdered milk in their dry mix (and call for the user to add water, because hello easy.) But now we’ve got a whole generation of people who think water goes in real pancakes. NOPE.
What is the secret to the best pancakes?
Here’s how it’s done my friends, the grand secret: A separated egg. You don’t have to whip the egg whites or anything, just beat them with a fork for 30 seconds or so.
This 30 second step gives your egg white some space from the yolk, and time to shine. Beating the whites breaks up all the protein, so instead of stringy gloopy whites holding together in your pancake batter, it is beaten until bubbly and helps each pancake rise into perfectly fluffy little cakes when being cooked. Magical, right?? I just love that the secret is something SO EASY!
How to make the Best Pancakes
Before diving into the detailed step, each of which are covered in the recipe, here’s a quick overview:
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients separately.
- Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the wet ingredients.
- Whisk the whites and set aside.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients and DON’T OVER STIR! (See below.)
- THEN add the whisked egg white to the mixture.
- THEN love your pancakes!
How to get crispy edges on your pancakes
Can I tell you the other little secret about this recipe?
That’s right. I’m busting out the BACON GREASE. I got the bacon-grease-for-pancake-frying tip from my mother-in-law. If you are not the kind of person who has a little jar of bacon grease in your fridge at all times (seriously, who ARE you?), then the solution is obvious. Make some bacon. Then use a pastry brush to get the grease onto your griddle. If you really don’t want to bother, butter will work fine, but I’m telling you, the bacon grease adds a hint of flavor (but not overpowering–they taste like pancakes, not bacon) and the BEST crispy edges. Mmm. And what are pancakes without a side of bacon anyway?
How to make the Best Pancakes even better: Toppings!
- Strawberries, bananas, blueberries, basically any fruit is a win
- Jam or jelly
- Any fruit reduction syrup (cook fruit with a little sugar for a while)
- Whipped cream
- Peeled and cooked apples with cinnamon
- Flavored yogurt
- Toasted pecans or granola
- Peanut butter and powdered sugar (I’m telling you guys!!)
- Ice cream. My daughter is obsessed with doing this for her birthday breakfast, the only time of the year I will let her!
- Melted chocolate or caramel. I mean right? Try the ganache from these Dark Chocolate Waffles.
- Fried chicken (Why should waffles get all the love?)
How to store, freeze, and reheat Pancakes
No need to store leftover pancakes–you’ll never have any leftovers. Ever.
Okay, fine. Maybe you made a triple-batch.
- Refrigeration: These pancakes do just fine stored in the fridge for a few days in a sealed container.
- Freezing: Place your pancakes single-layered on a cookie sheet and freeze them for 20 minutes before putting them in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. They will keep for 2-3 months! (Or you can toss them in a ziplock all at once without flash freezing, and pry them apart when frozen, hoping they don’t break. I like to live on the wild side, people. Also, LAZY)
- Reheating: reheating is so easy and delivers, yo. I personally feel you can’t beat warming them in a toaster or, even better, a toaster oven. I often toast them straight from frozen, just toast on a low setting twice in a row. You can also warm pancakes in the microwave on 50% power. Just don’t forget to love them as much as the first time!
And just for fun, here’s my photo set up. My stack looks like it’s about to fall!
Okay, generally, you want to use baking powder for run-of-the-mill pancakes as baking soda only activates with an acid like that found in buttermilk. But we have buttermilk, so we’re using both leavening agents. The double guns of both baking powder and baking soda (activated by the buttermilk) makes for a fluffy bed of heaven, waiting for a syrupy covering!
Your pancakes will be fluffy if you follow this recipe. Promise! I mean just look at this gorgeous rise. I’ll reiterate a few fluffy-guaranteeing points so you can see them all in a list:
– Use milk, preferably whole or at least 2% ( you need the fat!)
– Don’t over mix the wet and dry ingredients
– Whisk the egg whites and add them last
– Make sure an acid like buttermilk or a milk+vinegar substitute (see recipe notes) is used to activate your baking soda
– Drop the batter onto the griddle only when it is very hot. Test it by sprinkling on some water droplets, they should immediately sizzle.
Anything you want! There isn’t a Pancake Topping Enforcement Squad; you get to do whatever you want here. Fruit, jam, yogurt, whipped cream, nuts, nut butter, chocolate, ice cream, you name it! See above for a list of other topping ideas.
The pancakes are ready to be flipped over when the edges start to set and you can see bubbles forming on the top. If you’re not 100% sure, you can slide your pancake turner under the edge and peek. We’re looking for light golden brown – if they’re pale and pasty, it’s not time yet.
More Pancake recipes you’ll love!
- Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Syrup << personal fav!!
- Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes << this is an oldie but a goodie
- Deep Dish Buttermilk Pancakes << why flip? make one giant pancake!
- Banana Macadamia Pancakes << you have to try this coconut syrup!
- Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes from Mom on Timeout
- Peach Pecan Pancakes from Buns in my Oven << Karly wrote an entire book about pancakes called Stack Happy. Definitely check it out! She has the most creative recipes!
More amazing sweet breakfast recipes:
- Sour Cream Coffee Cake, with a Ridiculous Amount of Streusel << Yes, I said RIDICULOUS amounts of streusel.
- Soft and Sticky Caramel Pecan Rolls << A decadent recipe worthy of a bakery.
- The FLUFFIEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls of Your Life (Can Make Overnight) << If you’ve never tried making cinnamon rolls with a simple sweet dough, you are totally missing out.
- Classic Waffle Recipe << Crispy, buttery, fluffy, breakfast-y. So good. These are Eric’s favorite.
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Pancake Recipe – The Best I’ve Ever Made
- 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, melted and cooled
- 2 & 1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda, see note
- 2 teaspoons baking powder, see note
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup milk, I used whole milk
- 2 eggs, separated
- bacon grease, for frying (butter works too)
- Heat your oven to 170 degrees F, sometimes called the “keep warm” setting.
- Get out 3 mixing bowls: large, medium, and small.
- Add the butter to the large bowl and microwave until it is melted. Set aside to cool a little bit.
- In the medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add the buttermilk and milk to the melted butter.
- Separate the eggs: add the whites to the small bowl and the yolks to the wet ingredients in the large bowl. Whisk in the yolks.
- Use a small whisk of fork to beat the egg whites a little bit, just 20 seconds or so until they start getting a little bubbly. It will help them fold in evenly.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir roughly with a wooden spoon. Don’t overdo it! Just barely combine it. There should still be streaks for flour. See photos.
- Beat the egg whites a little then add them to the batter. Fold in gently. It’s okay if there are still streaks of egg white.
- Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium heat.
- When it is hot, smear a little bacon grease over the griddle.
- Scoop the batter using a half cup measurement.
- When bubbles on top start to pop, flip the pancakes. They should be a nice golden brown.
- Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until they are golden on both sides.
- Remove the pancakes to a cooking rack and keep warm in the oven that you turned on.
- Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve with lots of butter and syrup. And peanut butter. What, am I the only one??
I have tried it and it was amazing I did 1-1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and baking soda it actually turned out amazing I used butter instead of bacon grease my mother enjoyed it because I made it for her last Saturday for Mother’s Day for me the main reason I like it was because I liked how thick and fluffy in a good way it looked and tasted so good adding ms butter worth syrup makes it taste amazing. I do got to say I kinda made them medium size and one was enough because of how filling it was thanks for the recipe great choice of ingredients
I’m wonder since this says serves 18 pancakes is the measuring for the 18 serving size? Cause if so I was wondering how to make it so it’s more like 5-8 pancakes measuring size
Hi Jaysun! If you’d like to make 1/3 to 1/2 of the recipe, you can use an online calculator to modify the existing ingredient amounts. You can also make the full batch and freeze leftovers for later. Enjoy!
At the end before the griddle do we put the small medium and large bowl together and mix then put on the pan?
Jaysun, adding the contents of the various bowls is described in steps 8 and 9 of the recipe. The buttermilk mixture is in the large bowl, the flour mixture is in the medium bowl, and the egg whites are in the small bowl. It’s less important to pay attention to the bowl size and more important to note what’s being added to what. The recipe card completely describes the process.
I made these and they were amazing! Do you have a similar waffle recipe?
Hi Tonya, so glad you loved the pancakes! Here’s the Classic Waffle Recipe; hope you love it just as much :-)
Just thought I’d give a heads up about baking soda. Over the years I’ve found that using “normal” aluminized baking soda from the grocery store to make things like blueberry muffins and such, will cause the berries used to run their colour, so I switched to a non-aluminum baking soda and that stopped. It also stopped that baking soda taste in lots of baked products if you use more than a teaspoon or so. Hope this helps everyone.
Ok… so I gave this a whirl but thought “yeah yeah… every food blogger says their recipe is the best… seo right?!” But legit… these are by far my fave pancakes I ever made and my wife felt the same. Def bookmarking this sucker!
bahaha Jessica I’m dying. those sneaky food bloggers!! On my site, if I say something is the best, it means it’s my personal favorite and best that I’ve tried 😘 so glad it’s your new fave too!
Hi, I live in Spain and we don’t have buttermilk here. I’m sorry but it’s not that “I like a cheat buttermilk” but I don’t have anything else or anything like that. I only make the comment so that you know that it is not a CHEAT to substitute ingredients if we want to make the recipe and enjoy. I’ll make the recipe and we’ll see
Hi Evelyn! While it sometimes gets called “cheater buttermilk,” you’re right, it’s never cheating to make something you enjoy :-) I make “cheater buttermilk” all the time (including for these pancakes) and love the results! I hope you do too.
The flavor of this mix was good. I put 1 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp almond extract.. added a tsp baking powder and a half cup of flour and they held up better. I did have a catastrophe with the butter re-solidifying but this worked out in the end.
Just wanted to comment that I make these ALL the time, and when I made them on a mom’s trip all my mom friends asked for the recipe. I get texts all the time when they’re making “the pancakes”. While I love it with real buttermilk, I do often make the ‘cheater’ buttermilk with milk and vinegar and they still turn out great. I’ve never tasted the baking soda, I think they’re perfect!