Fluffy, easy and so classic! A delicious buttermilk pancake recipe for breakfast/brunch or even dessert.
I realised that out of all the pancake recipes on my site, I haven’t done a plain + simple, American style pancake recipe. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll probably know that I am a little bit obsessed with pancakes. I grew up eating Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix pancakes which my mum would bring back from America when she’d go over to visit relatives. When I started cooking for myself, pancakes were something that I started trying to make from scratch so I could eat them more often.
After many years now of pancake-making, I’ve picked up tips along the way as well as learnt my own best practices for the perfect texture. A few things I’ll note below..
My top pancake-making tips:
- Adding some malted milk powder to the batter: I can’t remember where I read this but I love this little addition. I add malted milk powder instead of sugar (as it’s usually sweetened) and it adds such a delicious flavour to the pancakes. It’s optional as I know loads of people won’t have it to hand, plus it’s only just there for the taste.
- Using a mixture of plain yoghurt and water to make ‘buttermilk’: we *can* get buttermilk in the UK but it is harder to find and I find it has more limited uses than yoghurt does. I eat yoghurt in many different meals/recipes so (a) I usually have it in the fridge and (b) it’s more likely that I’ll use it all up. Thinning the yoghurt out with some water helps bring it closer to buttermilk texture. The acidity, protein and fat content of the yoghurt is close to that of buttermilk so works in a pretty similar way to buttermilk. That said, if you have buttermilk and want to use it, go for it! I just tend to do the yoghurt trick instead.
- Separating the eggs (but not whipping the whites): a lot of fluffy pancake recipes require you to whip egg whites and fold them into the batter which does definitely help make a super light pancake. However, the majority of the time I don’t want to do this step! I would rather have a less fluffy pancake than have to clean my electric whisk. I picked up this tip of mixing in the yolks and whites separately from this pancake recipe on The Kitchn. It does seem to help make the pancakes a bit fluffier and is so easy to do.
- Cooking the pancakes on a low heat: I find this ends up helping you get the right level of browning on the pancake whilst also making sure the batter in the centre is cooked.
- Reheating pancakes for a crowd: If you’re serving the whole batch of pancakes to a bunch of people at once, I’d recommend making them and then transferring to a baking tray. Once they’re all made, you can pop the tray into the oven at around 100C (200F) for 10 minutes to warm them back up. You can keep a tray in the oven and keep adding to it as you’re cooking the pancakes but sometimes this can mean that you first pancakes end up sitting in the oven for 30 minutes and get really dry.
- Reheating pancakes for 1 to 2 people: just do this straight in the frying pan! You can brush the pan with a bit of oil first and then add the cooked pancakes to the pan over a high heat on the stove. Flip them over once the underside is hot and let the other side warm up too. This is the best way to preserve their texture plus it’s very quick when you’re only doing it for a few pancakes. I sometimes reheat pancakes in my toaster when I’m feeling extra lazy, but I find that a lot of the time they end up crumpling, getting stuck in the toaster and subsequently burning.
What should the thickness of American pancake batter be?
If you’re only used to making crepes/English pancakes, making American-style pancakes can seem like a whole other world. I tend to think that thicker batter helps the pancakes rise more and be fluffier in the end and you can try this out yourself: hold back some of the liquid (around 50ml?) when making your batter, mix the ingredients together and see what the texture is like. Maybe even make a test pancake with it! Then, if needed, you can always add more liquid to loosen it up. It’s easier to adjust a batter that’s too thick than try to fix a batter that’s too thin.
You want the texture of the batter to be pourable so it’ll spread out a bit once in the pan, yet definitely thicker than crepe batter. Almost like a thick-ish cheese sauce texture, if that makes sense.
Other pancake recipes:
- Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter (Granger & Co. Style)
- Clinton St. Famous Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Butter
- Sticky Toffee Pudding Pancakes (& my fave GF pancake recipe)
- 150 g (1 1/4 cups) plain white (all-purpose) flour
- 2 tbsp malted milk powder e.g. Horlicks (optional - see notes)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/4 tsp fine table salt
- 250 g (1 cup) natural plain yoghurt
- 80 g (1/3 cup) water
- 25 g (2 tbsp) light olive oil/vegetable oil OR unsalted butter, melted
- 2 medium UK eggs (large US eggs), separated
- vegetable oil for the frying pan
- Combine the flour, malted milk powder (if using), baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine and remove any lumps.
- Add the yoghurt, water and oil/melted butter to the bowl of dry ingredients. Add the yolks in too and stir until the mixture is mostly combined with a few floury patches left. Once you're at this stage, add the egg whites to the bowl and then stir until fully combined but being mindful of your mixing (overmixing will produce a dense pancake).
- Set a large, non-stick frying pan on the stove over a medium heat. Add some vegetable oil to the pan, you only need a thin layer to coat the pan with - I like to use a heatproof pastry brush to spread it out over the whole surface but you can just tilt and swirl the pan to achieve this.
- Scoop up a few tablespoons of batter (I like using a 50ml mechanical ice cream scoop for this) and dollop into the pan to form one pancake. Repeat to form 2 to 4 pancakes in your pan (depending on the size of your pan), making sure you leave room around each pancake for it to spread and puff.
- Turn the heat down to low and leave to cook until the underside of each pancake is golden and the edges of the batter on top starts to look dry. Use a metal spatula to flip the pancake over and let it cook until golden on the other side. Remove to a baking tray and repeat the cooking of the rest of the batter as before, adding more oil to the pan as needed between batches.
- I like to warm up my tray of pancakes in the oven (at around 100°C/200°F) after I've cooked all of the batter.
- Serve warm with butter & maple syrup.