basic pancakes

Every time I want to make pancakes, I have to look up my pumpkin pancake recipe and mentally subtract out the pumpkin and fall spices. It’s about time I made my basic pancake recipe more accessible.

The thing about pancakes is that there are a lot of less-than-perfect recipes. Trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them. I suppose what’s less-than-perfect for me might be perfect for someone else. Maybe. Because if a pancake is not too thin and not too thick, not too sweet and not too bland, plus not too hard to make and not too bad for you, what else could you want?

Did you want adaptability? You can have that too. Add fruit or nuts. Replace the sugar with honey. Replace half (maybe more!) of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour.

Did you want to use something other than buttermilk? I’m becoming a fan of actual buttermilk (or what passes for it in the grocery store today, which is not actually the “milk” leftover after churning cream into butter, but something more similar to yogurt – whatever, I like it). I love having it around. It lasts a while in the fridge and gives me an excuse to make pancakes, waffles, biscuits, coleslaw, cake. If you instead want to do the milk+lemon juice trick, only use ¾ cup of milk along with a tablespoon of lemon juice. If you’re using powdered buttermilk, only use 7 (liquid) ounces of water instead of the cup it recommends. If you have both plain yogurt and milk around, mixing the two together is my favorite buttermilk substitute.

You can top your pancakes with whatever you want too, which probably means syrup. But, consider something different – maybe jam and plain yogurt? It’s healthier, but more important, it tastes great, with a nice balance of sweet and tart, hot (if you heat the jam first) and cool. Or just use syrup. However you prefer your perfect pancakes is fine by me.

One year ago: Brioche
Two years ago: Salad with Herbed Baked Goat Cheese

Printer Friendly Recipe
Basic Pancakes

Serves 2

There are all kinds of ways to play with this recipe – chunks of fruit or chocolate or nuts, spices, whole wheat pastry flour. The recipe is your oyster. You can even get away with using only 1 tablespoon of butter.

See the blog entry for notes on buttermilk substitutions.

1 cup (5 ounces) flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil for the pan

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg until thoroughly combined, then add the butter and buttermilk. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until batter is mostly mixed but still contains small lumps. Let the batter rest while the pan heats, at least 5 minutes.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet or a griddle over medium heat. Add a few drops of oil and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Using a ¼ cup measure, pour the pancake batter onto the hot griddle. When the pancakes are golden brown, after about 2-3 minutes, flip to cook the other side another 2-3 minutes. Keep warm in oven heated to 200 degrees.


  1. Yay for pancakes! My mom bought Bisquick recently. I was rather frustrated by the fact that making your own pancakes is much tastier and healthier, but alas my family just blew me off. They are rather skeptical of the food I make 🙁


  2. bridget says:

    Wei-Wei – My parents are big fans of Bisquick too! Because mixing up flour, salt, and baking soda is so difficult I guess?

  3. I love my pancakes naked – free of condiments – and slightly undercooked. My poor H cringes. He likes his doused in syrup and practically crispy on the outside.

  4. i love chocolate chips in my pancakes and then no topping. or maybe some strawberries for the side. its my absolute fave. i could eat them for breakfast every day!

  5. I recently got all uppity in my head because my MIL used a mix when we were visiting her. I don’t understand because it’s so easy to make really good pancakes. I make a different recipe every time, but I definitely want to try this one!

  6. I love pancakes plain doused with syrup, with chocolate chips doused with syrup, or the NY cheesecake kind featured at Ihop that I must recreate at home – no syrup required.

  7. Always looking for a new pancake recipe to try. Thanks! These look delicious and very versatile 🙂

  8. Great post – great blog. No syrup is a road seldom traveled. Nor is making you own mix at home – it is easy. Glad to see that some folks here are doing both. I’m a fan of my mother in-law’s gingerbread pancake recipe my husband makes all the time.

  9. homemade jam and cottage cheese is what goes on top.

  10. I have to admit here – I made these, um, last night. Just FYI, a double batch isn’t a smart idea; the leavening starts losing oomph and the last few batches were a bit flatter. The rest were wonderful though. Oh, and the fiance makes fun of me, but pancakes make for awesome PB&J sandwiches. I should know, it’s my lunch today 🙂

  11. I grew up on Bisquick or Jiffy. But the minute I was free from my box loving family I made my own. They really are easy and lovely to make.

  12. My mom prefers Bisquick too. I simply don’t get it!

  13. I always think that I should just make my own pancake mix by stirring up the dry ingredients in advance, then add the wet ingredients in the morning. Sadly, my offers of pancake breakfasts keep getting shot down by the hubby.

    How many “servings” did you get? Breakfast for two, or leftovers?

  14. bridget says:

    Stacy – I added the serving estimate to the recipe.

  15. neat recipe, will try it soon, i make sourdough pancakes usually because I like the “eggier” quality (but you have to mix them the night before and keep the sourdough starter. It looks like a lot of leavening though?
    Thanks for putting in other options for the buttermilk too.

  16. Hey Bridget, thanks for posting. These are now our family’s go to weekend pancake. There is NO reason for boxed mix EVER again!

  17. I am typing this as I sit with a belly full of pancakes. These were perfect. Not only were they fool proof but they were perfectly portioned and the recipe is easy to remember. I can finally be one of those people who can make pancakes without looking at a recipe. I will impress everyone!!!
    Seriously though, great recipe. Much appreciated.