Batter up! Learn how to make pancakes from scratch, then, once you’ve mastered the quick and easy process, you can experiment with fun flavors and toppings. Whatever variation you choose to add to your morning roster, this classic homemade pancake recipe will help you start the day with a breakfast home run.

By Karla Walsh
Updated March 12, 2019
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Making pancakes from scratch can feel a bit daunting compared to stirring together a just-add-water boxed mix (or easier yet, chowing down on cereal). But we’re here to teach you how to make pancake batter way better than store-bought. Plus, steal our Test Kitchen’s best tricks for a stack of hotcakes that look as incredible as they taste.

Unlike their fussier cousin, crepes, mastering how to make pancakes from scratch is a cinch. Start with our Classic Buttermilk Pancake recipe, stir in our tips along the way, and you’ll have a reason to boast at the breakfast table. We're also dishing about flavor variations and mix-in options for the ultimate flapjack. So tie your apron on and learn how to make homemade pancakes!

How to Make Buttermilk Pancakes

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

Step 1: Make 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. Ensure your baking soda and baking powder are fresh for the optimal leavening power.

Tip: To save time in the morning, combine the dry ingredients the evening before in a resealable storage bag or a sealed mason jar.

Wet Ingredients

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. Whisk just until moistened (batter should be lumpy as in the photo above). Do not overmix the batter or the buttermilk pancakes will be tough.

Add Fruit

If desired, stir your choice of the following fruits into 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

Step 2: Cook Pancakes

For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. Spread 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. Pancakes are ready to turn over when top surfaces are bubbly and the edges look slightly dry (see photo, below).

Step 3: Top & Serve

Serve pancakes immediately when hot, or transfer to an oven-safe platter or pan, cover with foil, and keep warm in a 200°F oven for up to 20 minutes.

Top with softened butter and syrup. Try making your own maple or citrus syrup!

Pancake Recipe Variations

  • Plain Pancakes: Prepare Classic Buttermilk Pancakes as above, and substitute milk for buttermilk. Increase baking powder to 1 tablespoon and omit baking soda.
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes: Prepare Classic Buttermilk Pancakes as above; use ¾ cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour instead of 100 percent all-purpose.
  • Buckwheat Pancakes: Prepare Classic Buttermilk Pancakes as above; use 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and add 1 cup buckwheat flour.
  • Cornmeal Pancakes: Prepare Classic Buttermilk Pancakes as above; use 1 cup all-purpose flour and add 3/4 cup cornmeal.
  • Bran Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above; use 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and add 1/4 cup oat bran, wheat bran, or toasted wheat germ.

More Homemade Pancake Pro Tips

Have you ever wondered how we make pancakes in the Test Kitchen? For homemade pancakes your family will flip for, try these tricks our recipe testers swear by. These five next-level short stack strategies will teach you how to make fluffy pancakes even better than your favorite diner.

  • Fluff ‘em up. For extra airy buttermilk pancakes, replace some of the milk with bubbly club soda.
  • Perfect your portions. Measure even homemade pancakes without a special batter dispenser. An ice cream scoop or dry measuring cup does the job nicely.
  • Do a test run. Take the pressure off your first batch as you adjust the temperature level of the pan and your portioning. Try one pancake as a trial, then start your first batch once you’re feeling more confident about your ‘cake-making skills.
  • Wipe the skillet clean. Between each batch, carefully use a paper towel to clear any debris from the skillet. Regrease and start the next round.
  • Put pancakes on ice. Made too much? Freeze! Top your counter with a 24-inch-long piece of plastic wrap. Starting on one end, add a buttermilk pancake, and flip it over to fully coat in plastic wrap. Add the next on top. This way, the homemade pancakes won’t stick together and you can grab as many as you need. Simply toast and top as your pancake-loving heart desires.

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