How to Make Pancakes

Pancakes are more than a meal -- they're an interactive experience that turns breakfast into fun. Fortunately, the batter stirs together quickly and is super flexible, with lots of variations included here.

Pancakes have international charm -- the French have crepes, Indians have dosas, Chinese have a thin version served with Peking duck, and the Swedes, Russians, and Hungarians have their own style of pancake. Even the humble buttermilk pancake has international appeal. While some pancakes are savory in the United States, it is the beloved buttermilk breakfast stack that is the most popular. This syrup-drizzled version is also called flapjacks, griddlecakes, and hotcakes. Pancakes are so popular in the United States that there is a National Pancake Week, celebrated each February. Learn to make basic buttermilk pancakes here and how to make substitutions and stir in fruit.

How to Make Buttermilk Pancakes

This recipe takes about 25 minutes, start to finish, and makes 12 standard-size pancakes or 40 mini pancakes.

1. Stir Together the Batter

  • Dry ingredients: In a large bowl stir together 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Tip: To save time in the morning, combine the dry ingredients the evening before in a sealable storage bag.

  • Liquids: In another bowl use a fork to slightly beat 1 egg. Stir in 1-1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk (see tip) and 3 tablespoons cooking oil.

Tip: To make sour milk, place 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1-1/2 cups total liquid. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.

  • Mix the batter: Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy as in the photo above). Do not overmix the batter or the pancakes will be tough.

2. Cook the Pancakes

  • For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet, using a 1/4-cup measure or scoop and spreading the batter with a wooden spoon if necessary (see photo, above).
  • For dollar-size pancakes, use about 1 tablespoon batter per pancake.

Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden brown. The pancakes are ready to turn over when the top surfaces are bubbly and the edges look slightly dry (see photo, above).

3. Serve the Pancakes

  • Serve the pancakes immediately so they are warm, or transfer to an oven-safe platter or pan, cover with foil, and keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven for up to 20 minutes.
  • If desired, serve the pancakes with softened butter and warm maple syrup or flavored syrup.

Add Fruit

If desired, stir one of the following fruits into the pancake batter:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh apple, apricot, peach, nectarine, or pear
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apple, pear, apricot, raisins, currants, dates, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, or mixed dried fruit


  • Plain Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except substitute milk for buttermilk, increase baking powder to 1 tablespoon, and omit the baking soda. The buttermilk adds a tangy flavor to the pancakes but regular milk works fine.
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except substitute whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour and packed brown sugar for the granulated sugar.
  • Buckwheat Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except use 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and add 1 cup buckwheat flour.
  • Cornmeal Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except use 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and add 1/2 cup cornmeal.
  • Bran Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except use 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and add 1/4 cup oat bran, wheat bran, or toasted wheat germ.

How to Make Pancakes
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