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How to make fluffy pancakes

Hooray for pancakes! Every good thing has been made into a holiday and pancakes are no exception. In honor of National Pancake Day on March 1st, I am sharing my Favorite Fluffy Pancake recipe.

Pancake mix is readily available on the market, but I grew up making food from scratch and pancakes are no exception. And though our pancakes were good, they never seemed to stack up (pun intended) to those at restaurants. So in my adult years, I tried a few more recipes, researched techniques, and am now finally satisfied with the taste and texture of this go-to, simple fluffy pancake recipe.

Pancakes seem so easy, and maybe they are for you, but if you are one of those people who has made greasy or burnt pancakes, you know that the process is not completely intuitive. So let me share a few of the lessons life has taught me about pancake perfection.

Don’t overmix pancake batter.

This is one thing we did often when I was young by blending the pancake batter in the blender! With some baked goods, overmixing can make them tougher because your wheat gluten will kick in and make the dough chewy. Good for bread. Not good for pancakes.

Pancake batter likes to rest.

When I’m making pancakes, I’m generally in a hurry. Cooking is fun, but eating is better! And I want my pancakes hot. I want to make them quickly so I can sit and enjoy them warm. But letting your pancake batter sit a little bit (5-10 minutes) allows the flour to hydrate without overmixing and allows the leavening to distribute throughout your batter. So lighter, fluffier pancakes. This is why I mix my pancake batter and THEN begin heating my griddle or skillet.

Grease well.

I suppose some people have strong feelings about what you use to grease your pan, but I do not. I just use cooking spray, but I have found that it is better to be generous with it than to try removing stuck pancakes! So be generous and repeat spray as needed.

table spread with breakfast and Favorite Fluffy Pancakes
fork full of Favorite Fluffy Pancakes

Heat the griddle properly before you start.

Again, I think we’ve all experienced the pitfalls of rushing pancakes for hungry people. We heat the griddle too high to hasten our breakfast and then try to keep adjusting down as we continue to make pancakes. We end up with pancakes that are burned on the outside, runny on the inside.

Or, if you’re exercising too much caution and ere on the side of a too low temperature, your pancake will cook too slowly, absorbing grease from your pan. This is when you get the ugly, greasy dark pancake.

My experience is that it’s best to set a medium temperature from the start. A medium temperature remains perfect and doesn’t require constant adjusting. That way you can achieve the beautiful, toasty golden pancake that is light, soft and completely cooked. On my stove the setting is always slightly above the middle number on the dial. On my electric griddle, the setting is 325ºF.

Watch for bubbles

Rather than constantly checking the bottom of your pancake as it cooks, watch for the surface of the pancake to form bubbles that begin to pop. Then you can give a little peek underneath, but you can be sure that Mr. Pancake is almost ready.

Tips for the flip

Give yourself enough space in your pan. Don’t crowd your pancakes and don’t try to fill in the edges of your pan where the heat may not distribute evenly. Pancakes like even heat distribution.

One mistake that we often make as beginner cooks is to pour an oversized pancake. We’re hungry. We’re ambitious. It seems like a really good idea until we need to flip it.

Here’s the thing – the best, fluffliest pancakes are those that we touch the least. I mean we don’t keep stirring the batter, we don’t keep peeking underneath, and we don’t struggle with handling the pan and the spatula for several minutes working up to the proper balance and speed to complete the flip. I recommend the largest spatula that you can handle comfortably and manuever in your griddle space.

And if you flop the flip, remember that it’s all part of the experience. It’s no biggy. But note that it’s impossible to move a wet pancake. Don’t even bother to relocate your pancake in the pan until it has cooked a little. Then you’ll be able to slide it over if you need to.

The fluffy pancake recipe and the dairy-free option

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com and have been using it ever since. I like that it includes the rise of baking powder, baking soda and soured milk. Soured milk adds nice flavor, almost like buttermilk, but I don’t have to have buttermilk on hand to make tasty, airy pancakes. I have also made this recipe with almond milk which is very delicious in these pancakes. The almond milk curdles with the vinegar which looks weird, but the resulting pancakes are very good. Of course, with a basic recipe like this you can make your own variations. If I’m in the mood for blueberry pancakes, I can easily add fresh or frozen.

Favorite Fluffy Pancakes on plate with butter

Favorite Fluffy Pancakes

Yield: 6-5 1/2 inch pancakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Fluffy, yummy pancakes can be made from scratch with basic ingredients. Substitute non-dairy milks for a dairy-free option.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup milk*
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter, cooled
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Measure milk into a small bowl or liquid measuring cup and stir in white vinegar. Allow to rest 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Whisk egg in a small bowl. Whisk in “soured” milk and cooled, melted butter.
  4. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until completely blended. Allow batter to sit while you preheat the pan or electric griddle.
  5. Spray large skillet generously with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Or heat an electric griddle to about 325ºF. Scoop batter into a small measuring cup and pour onto your skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip pancakes and continue to cook until lightly browned.

Notes

* Non-dairy milks can be substituted. The vinegar may cause non-dairy milks to curdle, but this doesn't affect cooking results.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 2 pancakes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 839mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 8g
stacked Favorite Fluffy Pancakes pictured with berries

Look at that beautiful, high stack! If you’re interested in a gluten-free pancake, here’s a link to great gluten-free pancakes I’ve made as well. Without the gluten, you can mix them in a blender. I also adore my Carrot Pancakes! Be sure to check out these recipes, rate, review and share! Thanks so much.

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