For years Joel and I have been experimenting to find an easy recipe that makes perfect pancakes every time. We tried making test batch after test batch. Our goal was to find easy perfect pancakes that we could make for the two of us or breakfast with friends.
There are 5 key secrets that we have found to make perfect pancakes. There may not be a one size fits all recipe, but there ARE five secrets to creating the best pancakes you can, every time.
The 5 Secrets to the Perfect Pancakes
1. REMOVE THE OIL OR BUTTER FROM THE PAN
Do you know the joke about how bad the first pancake always seems to turn out? I am here to help you say goodbye to the first bad pancake and help you create the perfect pancakes every time. The key is to heat your pan with butter or oil, then wipe out most of it before putting your batter into the pan. You don’t want a completely dry pan, but you want to wipe out most of it. This allows you to season your pan, without the pancake batter soaking up the liquid.
2. DO NOT PRESS DOWN ON YOUR PANCAKE!
It’s tempting to press down on your pancake while it’s in the pan to make sure it’s done. This flattens your pancakes and takes away their natural fluffiness. Your pancakes need time to cook slowly on their own without any pressure from you. Pun intended.
3. DO NOT OVERMIX YOUR BATTER
When you mix your batter, you create gluten. Gluten creates a rubbery texture instead of a fluffy pancake. I suggest folding in your dry and liquid ingredients. You will still see lumps of flour, but they will cook out in the pan.
The less that you mix, the fluffier your pancake will be. The more you mix, the denser your pancake will be.
4. DO NOT OVERHEAT YOUR PAN
It’s tempting to put the pan on a higher setting to speed up the heating process. This will cause your pan to get too hot. If your pan is too hot, your pancakes will cook unevenly and be underdone in the middle. Slowly warming your pan while mixing your ingredients is one of the keys to the perfect pancakes.
5. FLICK YOUR WRIST WHEN YOU FLIP
This key does not affect the overall flavor of your pancakes. However, it will affect your presentation. Use a spatula and quickly flick your wrist to achieve the perfect pancake! It takes practice, but the less you “toss” the pancake, the flatter it will land.
CAN YOU REFRIGERATE LEFTOVER BATTER?
In my opinion, pancake batter does not cook the same the next day. It seems to lose its initial fluffiness in the cool temperature of the refrigerator. Joel and I make one batch to feed the two of us and double or triple the recipe when hosting breakfast with friends.
It goes without saying that to create the perfect pancakes, you will need a solid recipe to start. I have included our favorite recipe that we have created over time with the five keys in mind.
If adding chocolate chips, we like to add ours individually to each pancake. If you are adding berries, I recommend mixing them into the batter. Berries tend to cook better when fully covered in batter. I find that they stick to the pan less this way.
- 1 cup of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 3 tablespoons choice of sugar
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder aluminum-free
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 cup of almond, oat, or whole milk
- 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vegan or unsalted European butter, melted plus more for pan
- Pure maple syrup (optional)
- Nuts (optional)
- Berries (optional)
- Chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting while you make your batter.
- Place a skillet with flat or low sides over medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil. Be sure not to overheat your pan with the 4th secret in mind! You will want your pan hot, but not smoking. If it starts to smoke while heating up, reduce the heat and let it cool down slightly.
- While your pan is heating, add your milk and vinegar to a bowl then let it sit for 10 minutes.
Note: If you have buttermilk on hand and prefer to use that, you can skip this step. You will need to alter the amount of milk that you are using with ¾ cup of buttermilk plus ¼ cup of regular/dairy-free milk in your recipe.
- While your milk mixture is sitting, combine your dry ingredients into a large bowl and give them a whisk to thoroughly combine them.
- Once your milk mixture is done sitting, add the egg, vanilla, and melted butter into the bowl. Whisk gently to combine and break up the egg.
Note: I like to melt my butter in the pan I am heating for the pancakes to give the pan an extra coat with the excess butter.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient. Pour the liquid ingredients into the center of the well and fold into the dry, do not sit. It should only take about 2-3 folds for your batter to be mixed. You will have a few lumps of flour and your batter should be airy. The less that you mix, the fluffier your pancake will be. Let the batter sit for 1-2 minutes to thicken.
- Once your batter is ready for the pan, wipe out the butter or coconut oil that you used to coat the pan. You will want to wipe out almost all of it without making the pan dry. Key number one!
- Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan for each individual pancake and let them begin to bubble.
Note: If you adding chocolate chips, I like to add them in this step individually to each pancake. If you are adding berries, I mix them into the batter. Berries tend to stick to the pan less when fully covered in batter.
- Allow your pancake to bubble on the top about 1-2 minutes. Once it begins to bubble, it’s time to flip.
Note: Remember the 5th key while flipping your pancake and put your wrist into it.
- Allow your pancake to cook another 3-4 minutes on the opposite side to ensure it is cooked through.
Note: If you find that your pancakes are getting too brown too quickly, turn your heat down.
- Once each of your pancakes is done cooking, place them in the oven spaced apart if not serving immediately. This will allow the pancakes to remain warm while you are preparing the rest of your stack.
- Repeat the steps until you have used up all of your batter. Before pouring more batter into the pan, you will need to lightly season your pan with oil or butter each time. I like to use a cloth with a little oil/butter and wipe it into the pan to coat without creating too much liquid for the batter to soak up.
Serve your pancakes warm topped with melted almond butter, berries, maple syrup, or your choice of toppings.
If you have buttermilk on hand and prefer to use that, you can skip this step. You will need to alter the amount of milk that you are using with ¾ cup of buttermilk plus ¼ cup of regular/dairy-free milk in your recipe. I like to use dairy-free milk with lemon juice for a healthy option.
I like to melt my butter in the pan I am heating for the pancakes to give the pan an extra coat with the excess butter.
If adding chocolate chips, we like to add ours in this step individually to each pancake. If you are adding berries, I mix them into the batter. Berries tend to cook better when fully covered in batter. I find that they stick to the pan less.
If you find that your pancakes are getting too brown too quickly, turn your heat down.
Top with melted almond butter, berries, maple syrup, or your choice of toppings.