This is the recipe that will swear you off pancake mixes forever.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a huge pancake fan. I usually prefer French toast or waffles.
I think that’s because pancakes at most restaurants are so boring and bland both in terms of flavor and texture.
But these babies are the opposite. I LOVE pancakes with crispy caramelized buttery golden brown edges. The contrast of those edges with the fluffy and tender interior is my favorite. Add a healthy dose of maple syrup and it’s heaven on a plate.
How to Make the BEST Pancake Recipe
Do I have to use buttermilk?
For best results, yes. And you want the best right? That’s why you’re reading about the BEST pancake recipe!
I’ve done extensive side-by-side testing on buttermilk vs. buttermilk substitutes or vs. regular milk. You can read about my experiments here: Buttermilk 101.
At the end of the day, I find nothing quite compares to the taste and thick texture of the real thing. So if you can, I’d recommend using real buttermilk.
If you can’t, you can use this substitute: 2 scant cups whole milk + 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar or lemon juice
How to Make Fluffy Soft Pancakes
There are two keys to fluffy pancakes. First, make sure your baking powder and baking soda are FRESH. You can learn more about chemical leaveners and how to test if they’re fresh here.
Second, don’t overmix the batter! There must be some lumps and even streaks of flour remaining in the batter. Be gentle here! Even a little bit of overmixing can produce pancakes that are rubbery and tough instead of tender and fluffy.
How to Cook Pancakes with Golden Crispy Edges
First, a large nonstick skillet or griddle or a cast iron pan are best for frying up pancakes. You want to make sure the butter is hot before you pour any batter into the pan, but you only want the pan heated to medium heat. This will help you get golden edges with pancakes that are perfectly cooked through in the center.
So start by heating the pan over medium until it feels hot. This will take a few minutes. Place pats of butter on the pan where you will pour out the batter. Don’t cook more than 3 pancakes at once if you’re using a 12-inch pan.
Allow the butter the melt completely and get hot before ladling the batter by the 1/4 cup into the pan. This will make sure you get those golden crispy edges. However, if you don’t like those edges, you may want to cook a little lower and slower.
Allow the pancakes to cook without touching until large bubbles appear all over the surface of the batter, about 3 minutes (less time for a paler pancake). Using a thin wide plastic spatula, flip the pancakes with confidence through the wrist and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until done. I find the first one or two pancakes are always the ugliest and they make great chef’s samples 😉
How to Make Pancakes Ahead of Time
If you’re making a big patch, keep the oven warm at 200°F and transfer the cooked pancakes to a cooling rack set over a rimmed sheet pan. The cooling rack helps prevent the pancakes from getting soggy. Only keep the pancakes warm for about a half hour using this method.
Place a sheet of parchment paper between layers of pancakes and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave uncovered for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through.